Statue of a Ptolemaic Queen

Statue of a Ptolemaic Queen
Basalt; H. 48.6 cm; W. 23.5 cm; D. 14 cm
Egypt; 80–50 BCE
Yale University Purchase Fund; Yale University Art Gallery: 1931.106
© Courtesy of the Yale University Art Gallery


This statue is characterized by a hairstyle sometimes referred to as “Lybian,” comprising elaborately arranged series of corkscrew locks and braids that flow down on both sides of the head. Fashionable in the fourth century BCE primarily among Egyptian women, the style was adopted in many portraits of later queens depicted in the guise of the goddess Isis. The image is completed by a diadem and uraeus decorating the top of the head, and a tightly draped costume knotted between the breasts.

Winifred Needler, Some Ptolemaic Sculptures in the Yale University Art Gallery. Berytus 9, no. 2 (1949): 129–141, Pl. 26, fig. 1, 2.

Stanwick, Paul E. Portraits of the Ptolemies: Greek Kings as Egyptian Pharaohs. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2002. 118, D5, figs. 121-122.