Headless Statue of Queen Arsinoe II

Statue of Queen Arsinoe II identified with Isis, mother goddess and patron of magic.

It is considered one of the masterpieces of Ptolemaic sculpture, which combines Greek and Egyptian elements. The statue is in a traditional Egyptian striding pose. She stands facing forward with her arms lowered along the sides of the body and her left foot forward.

Headless Statue of Queen Arsinoe II
Headless Statue of Queen Arsinoe II

Greek influence is evident in the contrast between the covered and bare areas of the chest and the shape of the folds of her transparent garment, which shows the beauty of the smooth body. The body shape is in the Greek style, based on the details in the abdomen, chest, and legs, which are all soft and rounded. The statue is smooth and well polished. This exceptional sculpture stood in a temple at the city of Canopus.

Found in the undersea remains of the ancient Egyptian city of Heracleion is hoisted onto a boat off the coastal town of Abu Qir, 24 kms east of Alexandria, 03 June 2000. A team of divers led by French underwater archaeologist Franck Goddio discovered the treasures that date back to the Pharaohs, Greeks, Romans and early Muslims during two years of exploration and excavation.

Statue of Queen Arsinoe II
Statue of Queen Arsinoe II. Photo: Mohamad Al Sehety/AFP/Getty Images

Ptolemaic Period, ca. 305-30 BC. Black granite, from Canopus. Now in the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Antiquities Museum. 842