Circa: 300 BC to 100 BC
Dimensions: 1.75" (4.4cm) high
Style: Ptolemaic Period
Following the death of Alexander the Great, his empire was divided between his three generals, each of whom set up their own kingdoms. One of them, Ptolemy, took Egypt as his share and made Alexandria his capital. Ruling as Ptolemy I Soter, he established the last dynasty to rule Egypt with the title of Pharaoh. For the next two and a half centuries, the Ptolemaic Dynasty of Greeks controlled Egypt, mingling Hellenic traditions with the mighty legacy of the Pharaohs.
A fragmentary figure from a larger work, perhaps an oil lamp, this item derives from the Ptolemaic period in Egypt. The figure appears to be that of a man, clinging tightly to something that he straddles, perhaps the torso of a horse upon which he is mounted. He also appears to have scale armor about his midriff, supporting the notion that this individual may represent mounted cavalry. The depiction is simple and almost playfully childlike in its appearance. Whatever its originally intended function or role in the larger work, it conveys the charm of an item used in everyday life in ancient Egypt during the Ptolemaic period, something that would have added to the beauty and comfort of the home or daily surroundings. - (SP.328)