Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Cyrene: Hellenistic marble head of Berenice II

Hellenistic 3rd century BC portrait head of Berenice II. Only the face and front of the hair extant.

Marble, height 20.6 cm, width 12.3 cm.

MPH: 0.246 MPH(chin to crown): 0.20 MPW: 0.123 MPTh: 0.157
Large grained white marble (-7.10/+2.76/Pentelic)

Excavated at the sanctuary of Demeter and Persephone outside Cyrene.
Excavation inv. nos. 73-151 and 74-359

Interpol Folder: 2000/31561-1.16

Published as "Head of a Female Statue. Late Trajanic - Early Hadrianic."
Publ.refs: D. White, "Excavations in the Sanctuary of Demeter and Persephone at Cyrene 1974. Fourth Preliminary Report," American Journal of Archaeology 80 (1976) p. 172, n.20, pl. 27, 20-21 and D. White et al., "Seven Recently Discovered Sculptures from Cyrene, Eastern Libya," Expedition 18 (1976) pp. 22-23.

Three fragments, joined together, from a life-size head, broken off at top of neck; Missing; left side of face, chin, mouth, tip of nose, back of head; surface now chipped and battered but once finely polished with rasp and abrasives.

Life-size head of a young woman with distinctly Libyan features. Her oval face has well-modelled cheekbones and a small, slightly aquiline nose. Her hair is arranged in sections that are drawn back from the forehead in the manner of a "melonenfrisur" hairstyle. A large bun composed of three superimposed braids is set on the upper back of the head. Spiral curls mark the edge of the hairline over the temples.

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