This limestone representation of the head of a pharaoh is what is usually called a sculptor's model, a piece that may have served as a model for an ancient Egyptian artist (although some scholars believe that they were trial pieces or votive or cult objects).
The king is wearing the nemes head cloth. The facial features are finely sculpted, with large, almond shaped eyes, eyebrows, a fleshy nose and a small, smiling mouth which is typical for the fourth to third century B.C.
The back of the object is flat and without any grid marks.
Sally-Ann Ashton, Ptolemaic Royal Sculpture from Egypt: The Interaction Between Greek and Egyptian Traditions (BAR International Series, 923). (Oxford, 2001);
Idem, "A Question of Authenticity and Date: Roman Copies and Ptolemaic Originals", British Museum Studies in Ancient Egypt and Sudan 2 (London, 2002), p. 1–10;
Idem, "The Ptolemaic Royal Image and the Egyptian Tradition", in: John Tait (ed.), "Never Had the Like Occurred": Egypt’s View of its Past (London, 2003), p. 213-223;
Idem, "Limestone and Plaster Royal Sculpture of the Late and Ptolemaic Periods in the Fitzwilliam Museum" in A.M. Dodson, J.J. Johnston, W. Monkhouse (eds.), A Good Scribe and an Exceedingly Wise Man: Studies in Honour of W.J. Tait (London, 2014), p. 7-23;
C.C. Edgar, Sculptors’ Studies and Unfinished Works (Catalogue général des antiquités égyptiennes du Musée du Caire, nos. 33301-33506) (Cairo, 1906), esp. pls. VIII-XIV, nos 33340, 33342, 33346, 33355;
N.S. Tomoum, The Sculptors’ Models of the Late and Ptolemaic Periods. A Study of the Type and Function of a Group of Ancient Egyptian Artefacts (Cairo, 2005);
E.R. Russmann, Eternal Egypt: Masterworks of Ancient Art from the British Museum (London, 2001), p. 250-251, no. 139;
Eric Young, "Sculptors' Models or Votives? In Defense of a Scholarly Tradition", The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, vol. 22 (New York, 1964), p. 247-256.
Ptolemaic Period, circa 3rd century B.C.
Height 9 cm.
Belgian private collection A.C. (1960s-1970s).