The present article is the result of a collaboration between the Museo Egizio in Turin, the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa and the Università degli Studi di Padova.1 It aims to offer some preliminary results of an ongoing research project focusing on the sculptures and sculptural fragments discovered at Tebtynis by Carlo Anti (Villafranca di Verona, 1889 – Padua, 1961), professor of Archaeology at the Università degli Studi di Padova and director of the Missione Archeologica Italiana in Egypt (1928–1936).2 The project aims to retrace the post-excavation history of these sculptures and provide an in-depth analysis of their features and archaeological context. The investigation is being conducted using an interdisciplinary approach combining a thorough stylistic analysis with the study of the archival records related to Anti’s fieldwork at Tebtynis now preserved in Padua and Venice.

This paper presents three case studies from this ongoing research project. More specifically, it examines three sculptures discovered in 1931 in the area near and around the entrance to the temenos of the temple of the god Soknebtynis (Fig. 1), namely: Alexandria, 2Graeco-Roman Museum inv. no. 22979;3 Turin, Museo Egizio S. 18176 (Cat. 1); and Turin, Museo Egizio S. 19400 + Turin, Museo Egizio S. 19400/01 (Cat. 2), recently rediscovered in the museum. The first two sculptures depict two pharaohs, easily recognizable by their royal attributes, and the third a non-royal figure, which Anti originally identified as a priest.

The two royal sculptures and the non-royal statue in the vestibule of the temple. MSA-Fondo Anti inv. no. Box1Sparsa126, No. 184. Photo n. 14. Under concession by the Università degli Studi di Padova. All rights reserved.

Fig. 1

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The two royal sculptures and the non-royal statue in the vestibule of the temple. MSA-Fondo Anti inv. no. Box1Sparsa126, No. 184. Photo n. 14. Under concession by the Università degli Studi di Padova. All rights reserved.

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The paper is divided into three main sections and two catalogue entries. The first section describes the discovery of the statues and the archaeological context as they emerge from the archival records related to Anti’s fieldwork at Tebtynis. The three statues are discussed here in order of discovery, following Anti’s report on the 1931 season. Two blocks of limestone and a Greek inscription are also taken into account to test Anti’s hypothesis – put forward in notes written mostly after the excavation – of an original link between the statues and these elements. The second section retraces the post-excavation history of the two sculptures now in Turin through a study of published and unpublished documents. The third section provides a stylistic analysis of the statues and proposes a date for them. Finally, the catalogue entries offer the first detailed publication (editio princeps) of the two statues now held at the Museo Egizio in Turin. The study of these two sculptures is based on direct examination and on photographs taken at the time of the discovery and now preserved in Padua.4

G.C., G.D.

Discovery and archaeological context

The ancient village of Tebtynis, present-day Umm el-Breighât, is located in the southern area of the Fayum. It was probably founded during the Middle Kingdom, around 1800 BC, but it flourished during the Graeco-Roman period as an agricultural and religious centre with a great temple, devoted to the god Soknebtynis.5 It was continuously inhabited until the 11th century AD, when it was abandoned because of the advance of the desert.

This area was already mentioned in 1819 by Giovan Battista Belzoni,6 but was first explored only in 1899 by Bernard Pyne Grenfell and Arthur Surridge Hunt.7 It was later investigated by Otto Rubensohn,8 in 1902, and Evaristo Breccia in 1929.9 The site was then systematically excavated by Carlo Anti and his assistant Gilbert Bagnani from 1930 to 1936. After the Second World War, it remained abandoned for decades, until 1988, when the Università degli Studi di Milano and the IFAO resumed work at the site. One of the first aims of the French-Italian team was to study the documentation from previous excavations, notably the folders related to the fieldwork at Tebtynis preserved in the Anti archive at the Università degli Studi di Padova.10 However, the team only had access to a part of Anti’s whole archive, since after his death this had been split amongst three locations, namely, the Museo di Scienze Archeologiche e d’Arte dell’Università degli Studi di Padova (MSA, Padua), the Istituto Veneto di Scienze Lettere ed Arti, located in Venice (IVSLA), and the Musei Civici agli Eremitani in Padua.11

Only in recent years have scholars finally managed to examine the whole range of documents related to the seven campaigns directed by Anti at Tebtynis.12 1769 photographs, 121 slides, 26 plans and technical drawings, 1514 papers, including notes, letters, reports and preliminary studies and one cinematographic film have been traced in the holdings of the Museo di Scienze Archeologiche e d’Arte dell’Università degli Studi di Padova and (by the author of the present section) at the Istituto Veneto di Scienze Lettere ed Arti. Careful study of this recently discovered documentation has allowed the author of this section to reconstruct the activities of the Italian archaeological team in Egypt in the Thirties of the last century and to locate the exact find-spots of the objects.

Carlo Anti excavated at Tebtynis when he was director of the Missione Archeologica Italiana in Egypt. He was appointed to this position in 1928, after the death of the previous director, Ernesto Schiaparelli. After the first few years, which he devoted to studying the work previously done by the Italian mission, and a first excavation in Ptolemais (Menschiah) in 1929,13 he decided to work in Tebtynis in collaboration with the Istituto Papirologico (currently Istituto Papirologico “G. Vitelli”, Florence). This collaboration was made possible by an agreement with Girolamo Vitelli and Evaristo Breccia.14

Anti personally directed three campaigns (1930–1932). In 1932 he became Rector of the Università degli Studi di Padova and consequently had to remain3 in Italy. He therefore appointed Gilbert Bagnani director of the fieldwork.

During his first campaign, Anti worked in the urban area and the southern necropolis. In his second and third campaigns, in 1931 and 1932, he discovered and dug the temenos and temple of the god Soknebtynis.

The 1931 campaign, which is the one relevant to the present article, started on the 9th of January and ended on the 4th of April, Anti was joined by architect Fausto Franco and archaeologist Gilbert Bagnani.15 The team also included some Egyptians, namely, Michel Bolos Ghattas and his father – the latter of whom had previously worked with Schiaparelli – as well as several local workers.16

During the entire campaign the workers were divided into groups and assigned to different zones. Anti’s team photographed the structures and the artefacts as soon as they were cleared from the sand (Fig. 2), while Fausto Franco drew sketches of the buildings on sheets of paper. These sketches were combined at the end of the campaign into a general plan of the temple and its annexes. On this plan, Anti wrote the numbers assigned to the rooms found within the temenos and information related to the objects discovered therein (Fig. 3).174

Photograph taken shortly after the discovery of the vestibule of the temple, 1931. MSA-Fondo Anti inv. no. Box1sparsa064. Under concession by the Università degli Studi di Padova. All rights reserved.

Fig. 2

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Photograph taken shortly after the discovery of the vestibule of the temple, 1931. MSA-Fondo Anti inv. no. Box1sparsa064. Under concession by the Università degli Studi di Padova. All rights reserved.

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Fausto Franco’s general plan of the temple; the box highlights the vestibule of the temple and Room 12 (at the top). MSA, Anti’s archive, map n. 1. Under concession by the Università degli Studi di Padova. All rights reserved.

Fig. 3

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Fausto Franco’s general plan of the temple; the box highlights the vestibule of the temple and Room 12 (at the top). MSA, Anti’s archive, map n. 1. Under concession by the Università degli Studi di Padova. All rights reserved.

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The first period of the 1931 campaign was devoted to uncovering the area near the western housing blocks, unearthed in 1930 – called “Scavo Nuovo” in Anti’s reports. Anti was persuaded that these blocks were arranged around a square with a marketplace (Fig. 4). When he came across hall-like structures, he initially called them “temples” in his reports. Only later on, after the discovery of the vestibule of the temple of Soknebtynis, did he correctly recognize them as deipneteria arranged on either side of a dromos.18

Fausto Franco’s map of Tebtynis,1931. MSA, fondo Anti, inv. no. 267 (adapted version by G. Deotto). Under concession by the Università degli Studi di Padova. All rights reserved.

Fig. 4

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Fausto Franco’s map of Tebtynis,1931. MSA, fondo Anti, inv. no. 267 (adapted version by G. Deotto). Under concession by the Università degli Studi di Padova. All rights reserved.

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The discovery of the “South Temple”, the so-called vestibule, was reported in several papers published by Anti after the 1931 campaign19 or preserved unpublished in his archive,20 and was crucial for the reconstruction of the town plan of Tebtynis, due to its position within the urban fabric. The vestibule was a small open court located at the beginning of the dromos, at the main entrance of the temenos. Its walls were decorated with reliefs showing the pharaoh offering to the god Sobek, and priests and other non-royal individuals attending the feast in honour of the god. It was excavated from the 26th of January till mid-February, when the pylons, the entrance of the temenos, were found.

As Anti’s report informs us, several decorative and architectural elements probably belonging to the vestibule were discovered in this area. Some of them were still in situ, such as the reliefs carved on the walls, but most of the decoration was found scattered in fragments. Two statues depicting a pharaoh and another depicting a non-royal individual were discovered in fragments in the area between the 30th of January and the 24th of February.21

The archive documents, mostly unpublished, highlight Anti’s interest in these statues and in ancient sculpture in general. Statuary was indeed one of his main fields of study, as illustrated, for example, by his designing and publication of the statuary display in the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Venezia22 or by his various publications on African Art, Near Eastern Studies or Classical Art, which are especially focused on ancient sculpture.23 The archive documents bear witness to the painstaking care Anti took in examining the three sculptures and to the method he used for their study. He noted down every stylistic detail (colours, hairstyle, eyes, hands and feet),24 and all useful information relative to their discovery, including the date. We can thus present the sculptures here following their chronological order of discovery. Moreover, during the campaign the fragmented statues were partially restored in order to be documented5 and photographed, and an excavation number was assigned to each.

The first statue to be discovered, now in the Graeco-Roman Museum in Alexandria (inv. no. 22979), was found broken in four parts. The shins and feet were in situ, as Anti reports, between the east wall of the dromos and the entrance to the vestibule (Fig. 5). The second part, a fragment extending from the knee to the hip, lay inverted near the first. The third and fourth fragments, respectively the torso and the head, were found near the west pylon (Fig. 6).25 The statue, partially recomposed during the excavation, was extensively photographed (Fig. 7) and also makes a fleeting appearance in a film shot by the Istituto Luce at the end of the campaign.26

Front of the vestibule of the temple. East pedestal and feet of statue Alexandria, Graeco-Roman Museum inv. no. 22979. MSA, Fondo Anti, inv. no. 186. Photo 001. Under concession by the Università degli Studi di Padova. All rights reserved.

Fig. 5

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Front of the vestibule of the temple. East pedestal and feet of statue Alexandria, Graeco-Roman Museum inv. no. 22979. MSA, Fondo Anti, inv. no. 186. Photo 001. Under concession by the Università degli Studi di Padova. All rights reserved.

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Front of the vestibule of the temple. Statue Alexandria, Graeco-Roman Museum, inv. no. 22979. MSA, Fondo Anti, inv. no. Box1Sparsa125. Under concession by the Università degli Studi di Padova. All rights reserved.

Fig. 6

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Front of the vestibule of the temple. Statue Alexandria, Graeco-Roman Museum, inv. no. 22979. MSA, Fondo Anti, inv. no. Box1Sparsa125. Under concession by the Università degli Studi di Padova. All rights reserved.

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Back view of statue Alexandria, Graeco-Roman Museum, inv. no. 22979. MSA-Fondo Anti inv. no. 282. Photo no. 17. Under concession by the Università degli Studi di Padova. All rights reserved.

Fig. 7

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Back view of statue Alexandria, Graeco-Roman Museum, inv. no. 22979. MSA-Fondo Anti inv. no. 282. Photo no. 17. Under concession by the Università degli Studi di Padova. All rights reserved.

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This sculpture was not in the Italian share of the partage. It had its own excavation number (T 31. 312) and was inserted in a list of items requested for transfer to Italy, along with other objects from Tebtynis.27 In this list, a Journal d’entrée number (JE 55960) was added in red ink, as for all the finds that Anti had intended to send to Italy, but which the Service des Antiquités de l’Égypte decided instead to keep in Egypt. After the end of the campaign, the statue was thus sent to the Cairo Egyptian Museum, but was subsequently moved to the Graeco-Roman Museum in Alexandria. Its presence in Alexandria was reported in a letter written by Evaristo Breccia to Anti dated 17 April 193128 and is confirmed by a second letter sent in 1933, where Anti asked Achille Adriani, who had succeeded Breccia as director of the Museum, for information about the exact dimensions of the statue, which by this time had probably been completely restored.29

The second royal statue (Turin, Museo Egizio S. 18176, Cat. 1) was found6 broken in three parts. Two were in the vestibule30 (Figs. 8, 9), while the head was inside a room in the northwest building of the first court of the temple’s temenos, designated as number 12 in Franco’s map31 (Fig. 3). It was found in a layer of rubbish, related to the use of Room 12 as a stable before the abandonment of the site. Anti hypothesized that the destruction of this sculpture dated back to ancient times, without being more specific as to the time of this destruction.32

Feet of royal statue Turin, Museo Egizio S. 18176 inside the vestibule of the temple. MSA-Fondo Anti inv. no. 281. Photo n. 009. Under concession by the Università degli Studi di Padova. All rights reserved.

Fig. 8

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Feet of royal statue Turin, Museo Egizio S. 18176 inside the vestibule of the temple. MSA-Fondo Anti inv. no. 281. Photo n. 009. Under concession by the Università degli Studi di Padova. All rights reserved.

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Vestibule of the temple. On the left: royal statue Turin, Museo Egizio S. 18176, put back together during the 1931 season. MSA-Fondo Anti inv. no. 282. Photo n. 024. Under concession by the Università degli Studi di Padova. All rights reserved.

Fig. 9

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Vestibule of the temple. On the left: royal statue Turin, Museo Egizio S. 18176, put back together during the 1931 season. MSA-Fondo Anti inv. no. 282. Photo n. 024. Under concession by the Università degli Studi di Padova. All rights reserved.

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After its discovery, this sculpture was earmarked for the Italian share of the partage and included in the list of items requested for transfer to Italy, where it is referred to by its excavation number, T 31.313. In this case, Anti was granted permission to send it to his country.33

Finally, Anti’s team also unearthed three fragments34 of a third statue (Cat. 2) inside the vestibule. This sculpture was described by Anti as a portrait of a priest.35 It was included in the abovementioned list of items as number T 31.314 and also sent to Italy following the partage.36

Thus, the fragments belonging to all of these sculptures were found in different locations within the site and reassembled during the campaign. Indeed, Anti regarded these three statues as a group, mentioning and studying them together both during the campaign and after its end, as the documents from his archive attest.37 Furthermore, he studied the three sculptures with a care which he did not devote to other items discovered at the site. The fragments were photographed after their discovery and each statue was then recomposed and moved to the vestibule to be individually photographed. A black sheet was held up behind the statues by two Egyptian workers to provide a background against which they would stand out more (Figs. 15-20).

Anti also linked the statues with other elements found separately in the area near and around the vestibule, notably two squared blocks of limestone and a Greek inscription relative to Ptolemy XII. These elements should hence also be taken into consideration to understand Anti’s views about the area and the original location of the statues.

Anti found the two squared blocks in the area in front of the vestibule. They were made of two types of limestone, one dark-coloured and hard, the other light-coloured, soft and fragile. After the discovery7 of the statues, he identified them as pedestals. He tried to date these elements, regarding the pedestals as belonging to an earlier chronological phase than the paving of the processional street. Unfortunately, he suggested only a relative chronology, not an absolute one.38

The two square blocks of different sizes are clearly recognizable in Fausto Franco’s general plan of the temple of Soknebtynis (Fig. 3 and Fig. 10), respectively on the east and west side of the entrance to the vestibule.39 It is also easy to recognize the east pedestal in some photographs from Anti’s archive relative to the discovery of the royal statue now held in Alexandria (Fig. 5). Fragments of this statue were indeed unearthed close to the east pedestal, as reported in Anti’s papers.40

Detail of Fausto Franco’s general plan of the temple. MSA, Fondo Anti, inv. no. plan01 (adapted version by A. Meleri – Horus Project). Under concession by the Università degli Studi di Padova. All rights reserved.

Fig. 10

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Detail of Fausto Franco’s general plan of the temple. MSA, Fondo Anti, inv. no. plan01 (adapted version by A. Meleri – Horus Project). Under concession by the Università degli Studi di Padova. All rights reserved.

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Finally, a Greek inscription relative to Ptolemy XII was found, together with other blocks of stone, near the west pedestal, in the corner between the entrance to the vestibule and the west wall of the dromos (Fig. 11).41 As a consequence, the block with the inscription was considered by Anti to be one of the collapsed elements of the west pedestal itself.42 This block had the shape of an irregular parallelepiped.43 In its description, Anti assigns a letter to each of its sides, except for the one interpreted as its back: the letter A thus indicates the face of the block with the inscription, while the letters B and C designate the sides. The irregular shape, the presence of gypsum on the unpolished back of the block, and the kind of limestone, which is different from that used in the vestibule, allowed Anti to hypothesize that it was part of the west pedestal, which was made of different blocks of the same limestone as that of the inscribed block.44 Moreover, the dimensions reported by Anti for the pedestal and the inscription are compatible.45

Greek inscription related to Ptolemy XII. MSA, Fondo Anti, inv. no. 289. Photo 001. Under concession by the Università degli Studi di Padova. All rights reserved.

Fig. 11

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Greek inscription related to Ptolemy XII. MSA, Fondo Anti, inv. no. 289. Photo 001. Under concession by the Università degli Studi di Padova. All rights reserved.

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Once in Italy, Anti reconsidered the original location of the royal sculptures, supposing a connection between the two pedestals and the two statues of pharaohs found in 1931. Unfortunately, only few notes are available on this topic, since he was not able to complete and publish the study.46

Our study of Anti’s notes, photographs and plans allows us to reassess Anti’s hypotheses regarding the original location of the sculptures. Anti identified the two blocks at the entrance of the vestibule as pedestals. He attributed the Greek inscription in honor of Ptolemy XII to the western one, as the inscription was found near it, was made of the same material, and its shape and measurements were compatible with this attribution. The eastern one, instead, he identified as the pedestal of the colossal royal statue discovered in fragments around it in 1931.47 Both of these hypotheses seem indeed plausible.48

The fragments of the royal statue now in the Museo Egizio in Turin (S. 18176, Cat. 1 in the present article) were mostly found inside the vestibule.49 As a consequence, Anti’s hypothesis that it originally stood at the entrance of the vestibule and was paired with the other royal statue lacks confirmation. It seems more likely that it originally stood inside the vestibule.50

Finally, Anti did not speculate about the position of the non-royal statue (Cat. 2). However, the archive documents indicate that all its fragments were found inside the vestibule; it is thus likely that this was also the original location of this sculpture.

G.D.

Post-excavation history

The archival documentation also sheds light on the post-excavation history of the sculptures. The records reveal that the three sculptures went separate ways immediately after their discovery51 and allow us to retrace the history of the two statues sent to Italy. More precisely, a private letter sent from Gilbert Bagnani to Carlo Anti and a second letter written by the latter to Guido Calza reports that the non-royal sculpture was displayed in an exhibition held in Rome in 1932.52 The title of the exhibition is not8 mentioned in the letters, but the reference to Rome and to Villa Giulia, and the date of the letter sent by Bagnani have allowed the author of this section to identify the exhibition as the Mostra d’arte antica, Roma, Galleria Nazionale a Valle Giulia, April-June 1932,53 organized to showcase the growth of Italian archaeological and art-historical activities in the years 1922–32.54As explicitly acknowledged in its catalogue, the exhibition did not display the objects in chronological order or according to specific scientific criteria, and included modern European drawings and paintings along with ancient Greek, Roman, Italic and Etruscan artefacts.55 Four items discovered at Tebtynis were displayed in Room IX among other sculptures, namely, a statue of a pharaoh, a statue of a priest and two Coptic column capitals. Unfortunately, these objects are neither photographed nor thoroughly described in the catalogue, which only mentions their provenance, the name of the director of the archaeological mission who discovered them and the year of discovery.56 However, thanks to the documents held in Anti’s archive we do know that the “statuetta di sacerdote” displayed in Rome wears a fringed draped garment57 and that the Italian archaeologist discovered only one such sculpture at Tebtynis. The identification of the statue displayed in Rome in 1932 with the non-royal statue studied here (see below, Cat. 2) is therefore indisputable. Due to its provenance from the same site and archaeological season, it is also virtually certain that the pharaoh displayed in the exhibition was the smaller and more poorly preserved of the two royal sculptures discovered by Anti in 1931, now held in the Museo Egizio in Turin (Cat. 1).

Over the four decades following this exhibition, this material from Tebtynis seems to have been forgotten, until 1972; in that year, the late Silvio Curto, director of the Museo Egizio in Turin, discovered some boxes containing Tebtynis items in the Museo Nazionale Romano in Rome. The Superintendent of the antiquities of Rome at the time, Gianfilippo Carettoni, had these objects transferred to Turin to be stored in the Museo Egizio, where they still are today.58

In Turin, the royal sculpture, inventoried with the number S. 18176, has been exhibited in the permanent display ever since its arrival, and is currently shown in Room XII. The non-royal statue, instead, was stored in the basement of the museum awaiting restoration, probably due both to its original poor state of preservation and to damages suffered after its excavation. However, since then its whereabouts remained unknown to scholars. In 2004, Vincent Rondot briefly described the non-royal sculpture discovered at Tebtynis “uniquement à partir des photographies d’archives […] cette statue est aujourd’hui presque entièrement détruite. Les photographies d’archives montrent qu’elle était déjà très érodée au moment de sa découverte et je n’ai pu la retrouver entière dans aucun des musées où elle pourrait être conservée, Le Caire, Alexandrie ou Turin”; he added that “dans la réserve du musée de Turin consacrée aux objets de Tebtynis est conservée une tête très pulvérulente dont tout indique qu’il s’agit de la tête de notre statue”,59 adding that the fragment was “sans numéro”.60

In February 2016, the author of the present essay had the opportunity to look at some Ptolemaic sculptures held in the Museo Egizio in Turin. One of the aims of this visit was to locate the sculptural fragment described by Vincent Rondot as the head of the non-royal sculpture discovered at Tebtynis. The investigation started with a search in the internal database of the museum, which allowed the author to identify the head of the non-royal sculpture with sculptural fragment S. 19400. The database indicates the item as originating from Anti and Bagnani’s excavations at Tebtynis and having been given to the Museo Egizio by the Museo Nazionale Romano. The measurements given (h. 24, w. 13, d. 23.5) closely match those indicated by Rondot for his “tête très pulvérulente”61 (Fig. 12). Autopsy of the object further confirmed this identification.62

Turin, Museo Egizio S. 19400 (head). Photo by Nicola Dell’Aquila/Museo Egizio.

Turin, Museo Egizio S. 19400 (head). Photo by Nicola Dell’Aquila/Museo Egizio.

The sculptural fragment is poorly preserved because of the friable state of its material. The left side of the head is almost completely lost. In the central part of the face one can still discern remains of the hair and of a crown of oval treble leaves. The wide almond-shaped eyes with the elongated outer corner are still unmistakably visible. The nose is long and narrow. The round and full cheeks are poorly preserved but still clearly distinguishable. The ears are both lost, as is the lower right part of the head. The mouth and chin are partially lost and the parts that survive are poorly preserved. The back of the head9 retains the trapezoidal top of the uninscribed back pillar. Traces of red pigment are clearly visible on the right side of the head. These appear to be very similar to the pigments found on the royal statue from Tebtynis that is presently also in the Turin museum.63

Research in the museum also revealed the presence of another object numbered with the same inventory number as the limestone head, with the addition of sub-number “/01”.64 Like the head, the database identified it as having been acquired by Anti and having been transferred to the Museo Egizio from the Museo Nazionale Romano. The state of preservation of the artefact is very poor and conservation action is envisaged in the near future. On account of this, the autopsy of the object was initially impossible, and a preliminary analysis had to be based on the photographs available in the museum’s files (Fig. 13). They show the headless statue inside the crate in which it was transported from Rome to Turin. The photographs show that on the outer right side of the crate used to hang a reproduction of the picture from Anti’s archive showing the head of the non-royal sculpture from Tebtynis (Fig. 13 and Fig. 26).

Turin, Museo Egizio S. 19400/01 (body) inside its crate. Photo from a conservation report by the Nicola workshop in Aramengo (Province of Turin). Photo Nicola Restauri/Museo Egizio.

Turin, Museo Egizio S. 19400/01 (body) inside its crate. Photo from a conservation report by the Nicola workshop in Aramengo (Province of Turin). Photo Nicola Restauri/Museo Egizio.

This detail confirms that when the body and head arrived from Rome they were known to belong to the same statue, and their provenance from Anti’s excavation at Tebtynis was also known. Accordingly, the same inventory number was assigned to the body and the head. However, doubts still lingered about the identification of Turin, Museo Egizio, S. 19400/01 with the body of the non-royal statue from Tebtynis, due to the fact that in the available photographs the artefact was completely covered by a protective wrap, except for the broad feet with long toes and merely incised square toenails. Feet carved in this manner are found on all three of the limestone statues discussed in the present paper, and may indeed characterize all sculpture made at Tebtynis between the late Ptolemaic Period and early Roman Era. Direct viewing of the object was consequently needed in order to definitively confirm the identification.

The crate containing object Turin, Museo Egizio S. 19400/01 was opened on 23 March 2017. It contained an acephalous statue completely covered by a protective wrap, except for the feet. The reproduction10 of the picture from Anti’s archive showing the head of the non-royal sculpture from Tebtynis (Fig. 26) was hung on the right side of the inner case.

The removal of the protective wrap revealed the poorly preserved body of the non-royal statue from Tebtynis (Fig. 14).

Turin, Museo Egizio S. 19400/01. Photo by Nicola Dell’Aquila/Museo Egizio.

Turin, Museo Egizio S. 19400/01. Photo by Nicola Dell’Aquila/Museo Egizio.

The surface of the sculpture is highly damaged. The left shoulder and the left arm are unfortunately totally lost. The lower part of the right forearm is missing. However, the main features of the statue are still unmistakable (cf. Fig. 24). The drapery of the garments and the modelled outer edge of the cloak are mostly preserved. Oblique pleats are still evident on the outer part of the cloak wrapped around the left shoulder and on the right side of the torso, while five semi-circular pleats are incised on the right hip. Trapezoidal fringes with individually carved strands are clearly visible along the edge of the cloak. The pleats falling downwards are evident on both sides of the skirt. The thick ankles and the solid and broad feet characterized by toes with squared nails are well preserved. The identification of this fragment with the body of the statue discovered by Anti is thus certain.65

G.C.

Stylistic analysis

From a stylistic point of view, the three statues undoubtedly share several features. Unfortunately, their poor state of preservation has resulted in the loss of some of their features. More precisely, the torso and arms of Alexandria, Graeco-Roman Museum inv. no. 22979 (Fig. 6 and Fig. 18) and the head and the arms of Turin, Museo Egizio S. 18176 (Figs. 15, 16, 17) are poorly preserved and their details are not distinguishable even in the photographs taken by Anti immediately after the discovery. Furthermore, the torso of the non-royal statue is covered by the garment and is thus not comparable with the naked torsos of the royal statues. Nevertheless, a stylistic analysis of the facial features and lower limbs of these statues can help to date them.11

Turin, Museo Egizio S. 18176. MSA- Fondo Anti inv. no. 184. Photo n. 04.Under concession by the Università degli Studi di Padova. All rights reserved.

Fig. 15

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Turin, Museo Egizio S. 18176. MSA- Fondo Anti inv. no. 184. Photo n. 04.Under concession by the Università degli Studi di Padova. All rights reserved.

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Turin, Museo Egizio S. 18176. MSA-Fondo Anti inv. no. 184. Photo n. 16. Under concession by the Università degli Studi di Padova. All rights reserved.

Fig. 16

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Turin, Museo Egizio S. 18176. MSA-Fondo Anti inv. no. 184. Photo n. 16. Under concession by the Università degli Studi di Padova. All rights reserved.

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Turin, Museo Egizio S. 18176. MSA-Fondo Anti inv. no. 184. Photo n. 06. Under concession by the Università degli Studi di Padova. All rights reserved.

Fig. 17

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Turin, Museo Egizio S. 18176. MSA-Fondo Anti inv. no. 184. Photo n. 06. Under concession by the Università degli Studi di Padova. All rights reserved.

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The royal statue held in the Graeco-Roman Museum in Alexandria (Figs. 18, 19, 20) is characterized by realistic facial traits. The head is large and square. The forehead is narrow and characterized by a wrinkle rendered by means of a single horizontal line. The arched and finely carved eyebrows run from the inner to the outer corner of the eyes. The eyes are wide, almond-shaped and elongated. Their outline is modelled in relief. The pupils are carved.66 The partly damaged nose is hooked, broad and long, with wide wings. The nasolabial furrows are rendered by means of two diagonal lines running from the wings of the nose to the corner of the mouth. The cheeks are full and the ears are broad, with stylized details such as helix, antihelix, tragus, antitragus and lobule. The mouth is wide and characterized by thin lips. The upper lip is slightly turned down. The chin is partially damaged but it was originally broad and pointed.12

Alexandria, Graeco-Roman Museum inv. no. 22979. MSA-Fondo Anti inv. no. 184. Photo n. 17.Under concession by the Università degli Studi di Padova. All rights reserved.

Fig. 18

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Alexandria, Graeco-Roman Museum inv. no. 22979. MSA-Fondo Anti inv. no. 184. Photo n. 17.Under concession by the Università degli Studi di Padova. All rights reserved.

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Alexandria, Graeco-Roman Museum inv. no. 22979. MSA-Fondo Anti inv. no. 184. Photo n. 19. Under concession by the Università degli Studi di Padova. All rights reserved.

Fig. 19

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Alexandria, Graeco-Roman Museum inv. no. 22979. MSA-Fondo Anti inv. no. 184. Photo n. 19. Under concession by the Università degli Studi di Padova. All rights reserved.

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Alexandria, Graeco-Roman Museum inv. no. 22979. MSA-Fondo Anti inv. no. 184. Photo n. 18. Under concession by the Università degli Studi di Padova. All rights reserved.

Fig. 20

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Alexandria, Graeco-Roman Museum inv. no. 22979. MSA-Fondo Anti inv. no. 184. Photo n. 18. Under concession by the Università degli Studi di Padova. All rights reserved.

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Scholars have commonly identified this portrait with that of Ptolemy XII (80–58 and 55–51 BC),67 highlighting strong similarities between the profile of the statue and the portraits of this ruler found on coins.68 This identification appears to be correct. The royal statue is indeed characterized by a long and hooked nose and a pointed small chin. These peculiar features are not widely attested on royal Ptolemaic portraits and are particularly distinctive of Ptolemy XII’s portrait on coins,69 as shown on the obverse of silver coin Boston, Museum of Fine Arts inv. no. 53.456,70 which belongs to the one basic coin type known for this sovereign. In it, Ptolemy is characterized by thick irregular curls, a hooked nose and a small round chin.71 Moreover, the wide-open eyes and the arched eyebrows that reach the outer corner of the eyes are typical of the portrait type struck on coins of Ptolemy XII as shown on a silver coin in the British Museum (London, British Museum inv. no. 1987,0649.520).72 This coin’s portrait and the Alexandria statue specifically share another significant feature: the round rendering of the eye pupils. Unfortunately, any reliable comparison with sculptural portraits of Ptolemy XII is impossible due to the absence of statues surely identified by inscriptions or archaeological context. Although some sculpted heads are plausibly attributed to this sovereign by scholars (Alexandria, Graeco-Roman Museum inv. no. 1127573 and Louvre Ma 3449,74 to cite only few examples), their identification is based only on stylistic criteria and on comparisons with portraits on coins. Only the latter can thus be regarded as certainly depicting Ptolemy XII.

More significantly, in the same area of the vestibule where this sculpture was discovered Anti found (also in 1931) an inscribed rectangular limestone block75 (Fig. 11), identified by Guido Bastianini and Claudio Gallazzi as part of the statue’s pedestal.76 It bears five lines of a Greek honorary inscription dedicated to Ptolemy XII. The inscription is framed by horizontal lines and its guidelines are still visible. The text reads as follows:13

  • Βασιλέα μέγαν Πτ̣ο̣|λεμαῖον θεὸν Νέ|ον Διόνυσον Φιλο|πάτορα καὶ Φιλά‖δελφο̣ν· (ἔτους) κςʹ Φαρμο(ῦθι) ιβʹ77
  • The great king Ptolemy, Theos Neos Dionysos Philopator and Philadelphos. Year 26, 12(th day) of Pharmouthis [April 15, 55 BC].

The inscription’s formula, with the name of the ruler in the accusative, his titles and the date, is a commonly attested format for honorary inscriptions carved on the base of royal statues.78 Incidentally, this inscription is the most ancient record of the second part of the reign of Ptolemy XII (55–51 BC).79 The current whereabouts of this block are unknown and some scholars suppose it is now lost.80 The block was not found in situ during the archaeological excavations carried out at Tebtynis in 1988 by the Istituto di Papirologia dell’Università di Milano with the Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale du Caire. The objects discovered at Tebtynis by Anti between 1930 and 1936 were divided up between Egypt and Italy,81 but so far the inscription has not surfaced in any museum of either country. Thus, all existing studies of it are based on the photographs taken by Carlo Anti.82

The connection between the block with the inscription dedicated to Ptolemy XII and the statue Alexandria, Graeco-Roman Museum inv. no. 22979 remains possible, but is far from certain. According to Anti’s notes on the discovery of the block, it was found on the west side of the entrance to the vestibule, whereas the statue was found on its east side.83 According to Anti’s records, as mentioned above, two square blocks made of two different varieties of limestone were also found on the east and west sides of the entrance to the vestibule (Fig. 10).84 The Italian archaeologist hypothesized the presence of two statues, one for each side of the entrance, and did not link the inscribed block with the royal statue now held in Alexandria.85 Anti’s hypothesis that another, now lost statue of Ptolemy XII stood at the entrance of the vestibule and that the inscription was relative to this statue is certainly appealing. The two limestone blocks are very similar in shape and dimensions,86 and are symmetrically positioned on either side of the entrance to the vestibule. Furthermore, the dimensions of the plinth of statue Alexandria, Graeco-Roman Museum inv. no. 22979 are compatible with the size of the east pedestal, just as the dimensions of the west pedestal are compatible with the size of the block with the inscription.87 The identification of the two limestone blocks as statues pedestals seems thus virtually certain. However, the relationship between the statue, the pedestals and the inscription remains uncertain and needs further investigation.

Even without the match with the inscription, the identification of the character portrayed in this statue with Ptolemy XII seems virtually certain, as shown above through the highlighting of the strong similarities between its facial features and the portraits of that pharaoh on coins. Some of the facial features of the royal statue held in Alexandria are also found in the non-royal sculpture found in the vestibule of the temple of the god Soknebtynis. Both have a full and squared head, arched eyebrows, wide, almond-shaped eyes with elongated outer corners and a long narrow nose. However, the two sculptures look quite different. The royal statue reproduces the physiognomic features of the ruler, while the non-royal one does not show any realistic facial details that would allow the identification of the person portrayed. As to the head of the royal statue held in Turin, its facial features are completely ruined and no identification with known rulers is hence possible.

The three sculptures are furthermore characterized by an analogous modelling of the lower limbs. The legs are massive with calves clearly outlined. The details of the ankles are clearly visible. The feet are broad, with long toes displaying squared nails (cf. Cat.1–2).

The stylistic analysis of the two preserved heads and of the three bodies thus highlights strong similarities and suggests that the three sculptures should approximately date to the same period. Unfortunately, none of them bears an inscription. However, the virtually certain identification of the ruler portrayed in the statue held in Alexandria with Ptolemy XII suggests that all three sculptures were probably made during the reigns of the last Ptolemies (80–30 BC ca.).

G.C.14

Final considerations

These first results of our research project on the sculptures and sculptural fragments discovered by Carlo Anti at Tebtynis highlight the crucial importance of studying the original artifacts in conjunction with the archival and photographic documentation relative to them. The usefulness of this approach was already exhaustively explained by Jaromir Malek at the end of the last century.88 According to this scholar, “in addition to the troika of monuments in situ, material in museums and publications, archives constitute Egyptology’s fourth estate. These four categories are the main sources of information for the study of ancient Egypt, each with its own characteristics and peculiarities, but none dispensable”.89 Malek’s statement is grounded in his awareness of the destruction or deterioration of many ancient Egyptian monuments over time and of the loss of information in situ. The only hope of recovering at least some of these data is to search for them in records left by early travellers and Egyptologists. Notes, drawings, papers, watercolors and photographs invariably record monuments when they were better preserved than today. Some were published in articles or reports, but much of this documentation is unpublished and this information hence only exists in archives.90

In this specific case, the information relative to Tebtynis sculptures in Anti’s archive is particularly bountiful, thanks to the scholar’s vigilant precision and his special interest in statuary. We were thus able to uncover previously unknown details about the discovery, material features and post-excavation history of the three statues. Anti’s notes give the exact place of discovery of the fragments of each statue and some of their previously unknown movements following their discovery. Moreover, the study of the photographic material in Anti’s archive and direct observation of the statues allowed us to propose a date for them and to certainly identify sculptural fragment Turin, Museo Egizio S. 19400 with the head of the non-royal statue found in 1931 and sculptural fragment Turin, Museo Egizio S. 19400/01 with its body.

The research is still ongoing and a number of issues need further investigation.91 We will be carrying out additional work in the context of this multidisciplinary approach and study the entire corpus of sculptures discovered by Anti at Tebtynis. We will further analyse the archaeological context, the possible link between all the sculptural elements found in the area of the temple (including limestone blocks and inscriptions), and the original setting of the statues. The resulting comprehensive study will shed light on the cultural and artistic function of these statues inside the temple area.

G.C., G.D.

Cat. 1. Royal statue

(Fig. 21, Figs. 15-17)

Turin, Museo Egizio S. 18176.From Tebtynis, area of the vestibule of the temple of the god Soknebtynis. Discovered by Carlo Anti in 1931.Excavation number: T 31.313.80–30 BC ca.Unidentifiable pharaoh.Limestone.H: 164 cm,92 W: 35 cm, D: 55.7 cm.

Essential bibliography:93Rondot, Tebtynis II, pp. 136, 274, figs. 100–02.

Turin, Museo Egizio inv. no. S. 18176. Photo by Nicola Dell’Aquila and Federico Taverni/Museo Egizio. Additional view available in download.

Turin, Museo Egizio inv. no. S. 18176. Photo by Nicola Dell’Aquila and Federico Taverni/Museo Egizio. Additional view available in download.

This poorly preserved life-size statue was found broken into three fragments, from the top of the double crown to the neck, from the neck to the knees, and from the knees to the base, and was reassembled with cement. In 2012, the statue was cleaned and reinforced by the Doneux e Soci company,94 and is now displayed in Room XII of the Museo Egizio in Turin. The following description of the features of the statue is based on the photographic material in the Anti archive and on the author’s direct observation of the sculpture.

The sculpture depicts a striding male figure with the left leg forward and the arms held straight down along the body. The character wears royal attributes, including a double crown, a banded nemes and a plain shendyt fastened by a narrow belt. The face is very damaged, the facial features being barely visible. This poor preservation makes an identification of the ruler portrayed impossible. Similarly, the double crown, the upper section of the nemes and the lower section of the legs are poorly preserved. The15 lateral sections of the nemes, the left arm and the knees are partly lost. The double crown is wide and finely modelled. Vincent Rondot mentions remains of a uraeus “à la base de la couronne rouge”,95 which are now barely visible. The horizontal bands of the nemes are thicker above and thinner below. Differences within the decorative pattern of the same nemes are attested in Egypt since the third millennium BC,96 and nemes headdresses showing this variation in pattern are often found in combination with the double crown since pharaonic times.97 A similar rendering of the nemes can be observed in other Ptolemaic royal sculptures, such as a statue from Tanis98 and the head of a sphinx also coming from the Fayum region.99 There is no hair coming out of the frontlet. The poorly preserved head still shows full, round cheeks and thick lips. The torso is naked and modelled in detail. A horizontal line in relief at the base of the neck is probably the remaining part of a collar. The king’s shoulders are broad and slightly drooping. The pectorals are full and squared and the nipples engraved in the shape of shallow circles with the inner circle in relief. The torso is tripartite,100 the chest, rib cage and abdominal region being modelled almost as separate sections. The waist is clearly marked, the abdomen slightly protruding and the navel carved as a deep circle. The arms are adjacent to the hips and the stone between each arm and the upper part of the torso was not removed. The muscles are not clearly defined in that only their outline is barely visible. The elbow pit and the wrist of the right arm are clearly marked. Part of the left arm was partly restored at an unspecified time after discovery. The thumbs of both hands are characterized by incised squared nails. The plain shendyt covers the upper part of the thighs. These are massive, with clearly outlined calves. The right knee is poorly preserved, but the detailed kneecap is still visible. The left knee was crudely restored at an unspecified time after discovery. The ankles are anatomically modelled. The feet are wide and characterized by long carved toes with merely incised square nails. The first three toes of the right foot are missing. The back of the statue is worked in detail, with the bands of the nemes and the perimeter of the shendyt worked with the same accuracy as on the front16 of the sculpture. The back is characterized by a wide, uninscribed back pillar, which reaches up to the central section of the headdress. The top of the back pillar is poorly preserved. It currently appears to be slightly rounded, but the Anti archive photographs seem to show that it was originally rectangular; its current shape is thus probably the result of post-excavation wear. The rectangular base is thick. Small traces of red pigment can be made out in some areas of the surface of the statue. These were first noticed by Vincent Rondot and interpreted by him as a coating applied in order to imitate the appearance of Aswan red granite.101 These traces of pigment are now mostly visible on the sides of the back pillar, close to the areas on which conservation was done in the past.

The almost total loss of the facial features of the statue makes a stylistic analysis impossible. The torso is of a type frequently attested throughout the Ptolemaic Period and hence does not provide any help in dating the statue. Parallels include Amsterdam, Allard Pierson Museum inv. no. 7780 (attributed to Ptolemy VIII),102 London, British Museum EA 1209 (attributed to Ptolemy IV or Ptolemy IX),103 and Paris, Musée du Louvre A 28 (attributed to Ptolemy XII).104

The style of the limbs, instead, is more informative. The modelled calves and broad feet are also found in Alexandria, Graeco-Roman Museum inv. no. 22979, as well as Cat. 2 in the present article. The legs are particularly similar to those of the former statue. They are massive, with clearly outlined calves. The details of the ankles are clearly visible. The feet are broad and characterized by long carved toes. Both feet have engraved squared nails. These similarities make it likely that the three sculptures date approximately from the same period, namely the reigns of the last Ptolemies (80–30 BC ca.), thanks to the virtually certain identification of the ruler portrayed in Alexandria, Graeco-Roman Museum inv. no. 22979 with Ptolemy XII.

G.C.

Cat. 2. Private statue

(Fig. 12, Figs. 22-27)

Turin, Museo Egizio S. 19400 (head) + S. 19400/01 (body).From Tebtynis, area of the vestibule of the temple of the god Soknebtynis. Discovered by Carlo Anti in 1931.Excavation number: T 31.314.80-30 BC ca.Non-royal figure.Limestone.H: about 130 cm.105Head (Turin, Museo Egizio S. 19400): H: 24 cm W: 13 cm D: 23 cm.Body (Turin, Museo Egizio S. 19400/01): H: 110 cm W: 22 cm D: 48 cm.

Bibliography:Rondot, Tebtynis II, pp. 139, 277 figs. 108–111 ;Cafici, EVO 39 (2016), pp. 149–61.

Turin, Museo Egizio inv. no. S. 19400. Photo by Nicola Dell’Aquila/Museo Egizio. Additional view available in download.

Turin, Museo Egizio inv. no. S. 19400. Photo by Nicola Dell’Aquila/Museo Egizio. Additional view available in download.

Turin, Museo Egizio inv. no. S. 19400/01. Photo by Nicola Dell’Aquila and Federico Taverni/Museo Egizio.

Turin, Museo Egizio inv. no. S. 19400/01. Photo by Nicola Dell’Aquila and Federico Taverni/Museo Egizio.

This poorly preserved non-royal limestone sculpture was found broken in three fragments – top of head to neck, neck to knees, and knees to base, respectively – all discovered in the vestibule.106 The following description of the features of the statue is based on the photographic material in Anti’s archive as well as direct observation of Turin, Museo Egizio S. 19400 + Turin, Museo Egizio S. 19400/01.

The statue depicts a striding male figure with the left leg forward and a back pillar, uninscribed. The identity of the person portrayed is unknown due to the absence of inscriptions. He was surely a member of the local elite – e.g. a priest or local benefactor – but his status in the contemporary society of Tebtynis cannot be further specified. He wears a leaf crown and draped garments. The right arm hangs straight along the body, with the hand clenched into a fist.107 The left arm is bent across the abdomen, with the left hand grasping the edge of the cloak.

Cafici: Turin, Museo Egizio S. 19400+ S. 19400/01. MSA-Fondo Anti inv. no. 184. Photo n. 10.Under concession by the Università degli Studi di Padova. All rights reserved.

Fig. 24

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Cafici: Turin, Museo Egizio S. 19400+ S. 19400/01. MSA-Fondo Anti inv. no. 184. Photo n. 10.Under concession by the Università degli Studi di Padova. All rights reserved.

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Cafici: Turin, Museo Egizio S. 19400+ S. 19400/01. MSA-Fondo Anti inv. no. 184. Photo n.15. Under concession by the Università degli Studi di Padova. All rights reserved.

Fig. 25

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Cafici: Turin, Museo Egizio S. 19400+ S. 19400/01. MSA-Fondo Anti inv. no. 184. Photo n.15. Under concession by the Università degli Studi di Padova. All rights reserved.

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The head of the sculpture is wide and squared. The locks of hair are short and plastically modelled. The locks on the top, sides and back of the head are wavy and untidily arranged. Those on the forehead are straight and carefully arranged, and form three pincers resulting from the parting of locks (two above17 the right eyebrow and one above the left). The hair on the forehead is parted by a knotted crown made of oval treble leaves, probably of laurel, with its far ends carved on the sides of the back pillar.108 The head does not show realistic facial features. The forehead is narrow and unwrinkled. The eyebrows are thin, arched and plastically modelled. The eyes are wide and almond-shaped, with the outer corner elongated and rimmed in relief. The upper eyelids are modelled in relief, while the lower eyelids are carved. The broad ears are protruding and their details are roughly rendered. The nose is long and narrow. The cheeks are round and full. The upper lip is thinner than the lower lip. The chin is barely modelled and the neck is thick and does not show any anatomical detail.

Turin, Museo Egizio S. 19400. MSA-Fondo Anti inv. no. 184. Photo n. 08. Under concession by the Università degli Studi di Padova. All rights reserved.

Fig. 26

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Turin, Museo Egizio S. 19400. MSA-Fondo Anti inv. no. 184. Photo n. 08. Under concession by the Università degli Studi di Padova. All rights reserved.

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Turin, Museo Egizio S. 19400, MSA-Fondo Anti inv. no. 184. Photo n. 09. Under concession by the Università degli Studi di Padova. All rights reserved.

Fig. 27

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Turin, Museo Egizio S. 19400, MSA-Fondo Anti inv. no. 184. Photo n. 09. Under concession by the Università degli Studi di Padova. All rights reserved.

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Due to the friable state of the stone, the head is poorly preserved. Its left side is almost completely lost. In the central part of the face one can still make out remains of the hair and of a crown of oval treble leaves. The details of the eyes, nose and cheeks are still visible. The ears are both lost, as is the lower right section of the head. The mouth and chin are partially lost, and the parts that survive are poorly preserved. The back of the head retains the trapezoidal top of the uninscribed back pillar. Traces of red pigment are clearly visible on the right side of the head. They appear very similar to those found on the Turin royal statue (Cat. 1).109

The individual portrayed wears a type of draped garment that is widely attested during the Ptolemaic Period.110 The clothes cover most of the body, in18 that only the lower part of the right arm, the right forearm, the wrists, ankles and feet are exposed. The garment is composed of a short-sleeved undergarment with a round neck, a skirt tied around the lower part of the body and a fringed cloak draped around the torso, but leaving the right shoulder and right pectoral exposed. The shoulders are disproportionately narrow with respect to the head and the neck. Of the fingers of the right hand, only the downward stretched thumb is visible. The left hand holds the outer edge of the cloak; its knuckles are clearly visible and its thumb is stretched horizontally. The skirt does not seem to be fringed.111 The clearly visible anatomical details are the right arm and its elbow pit, the hands, the right pectoral, the left leg, the ankles and the feet. The drapery of the garments is geometrically rendered. The outer edge of the cloak is plastically modelled and covers the left shoulder and the upper part of the torso. Its upper part extends from the breastbone to the left shoulder and is characterized by vertical pleats running towards the left arm. The lower part of the cloak has oblique pleats. Similar pleats seem to be carved on the right side of the torso, and five semi-circular pleats are engraved on the right hip. The edge of the cloak is graced with trapezoidal fringes with individually carved strands. The pleats of the skirt fall downwards; three are clearly visible on its right side. The ankles are broad and stout, and the toes of the broad feet have sharply rendered squared nails. The back pillar runs from the top of the head to the feet and does not bear any inscription or decoration. Direct observation of the sculpture shows that the back pillar originally had a trapezoidal top. The base is thick and is rectangular in shape. Its front is slightly rounded, probably as a result of post-excavation wear.

The state of preservation of the body of the non-royal statue is very poor. It was summarily restored by the Nicola Restauri firm between 9 December 2008 and 15 January 2009.112 The aim was exclusively to reinforce the object, as the restoration report explicitly states. The restorers thus decided to replace the old bandaging only where strictly necessary. The broken fragments were gathered in a box placed inside the crate. After the restoration, the crate with the sculpture was stored in the basement of the Museo Egizio.19 The crate was reopened on 23 March 2017 (Cf. supra p. 9). It was found to contain an acephalous statue completely covered by protective wrap, with the exception of the feet. The protective wrap was removed, revealing the deeply damaged surface of the sculpture. Unfortunately, the left shoulder and arm are totally lost. The left side of the torso and the lower part of the right forearm are missing. The drapery of the garments and the plastically modelled outer edge of the cloak, instead, are mostly preserved. The upper left part of the back pillar is much damaged and partly missing. Modern restoration has altered the shape of the original base. The missing left part of the thick base was restored in modern times, giving it a rectangular shape.

Signs of restoration are also detectable elsewhere. Traces of a red substance are clearly visible on the left side of the back pillar. This substance was probably used to strengthen the statue. For the same reason, metal spikes were inserted into the statue. They are now visible on its back and on its left side. A fracture runs continuously from the right thigh to the left side of the back pillar. It is not visible in the photographs taken by Anti at the moment of the discovery, and is hence surely a result of post-excavation damage. At present we do not know when this damage was wrought.

Stylistic analysis highlights significant similarities in the rendering of the facial features between this statue and Alexandria, Graeco-Roman Museum inv. no. 22979. Both have a full and squared head, arched eyebrows, wide and almond-shaped eyes with elongated outer corners, and a long and narrow nose. Still, the two sculptures look quite different. The royal statue reproduces the physiognomy of the subject, while the non-royal one shows no realistic facial features that would allow identification of the individual portrayed. An analogous rendering of eyebrows, eyes, cheeks, and mouth is also attested in a limestone head of a sphinx coming from Medinet Madi (Fayum) (Milan, Museo Archeologico E. 0.9.40012) and commonly attributed to Ptolemy VIII. This identification, however, is far from certain113 and cannot assist in dating the statue. Nevertheless, this parallel bears witness to analogous renderings of facial features within the Fayum.20

Stylistic analysis of the lower limbs provides useful dating criteria. The modelled calves and wide feet with long toes with carved squared nails are also found in royal statue Alexandria, Graeco-Roman Museum inv. no. 22979 and in Cat. 1 (described above). It is thus likely that the three sculptures date approximately from the same period, namely the reigns of the last Ptolemies (80–30 BC ca.), thanks to the virtually certain identification of the ruler portrayed in Alexandria, Graeco-Roman Museum inv. no. 22979 with Ptolemy XII. This hypothesis is further confirmed by the detail of the back ends of the crown carved on the sides of the back pillar, a sporadic feature typically attested in sculptures made at the end of the Ptolemaic Period, such as Berlin, Ägyptisches Museum 2271114 and Louvre E 20361.115

G.C.

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