Statue of a sleeping child


Marble statue portraying a sleeping child sitting on a rock. He is wearing a Roman tunic with a conical head cover. His sandals are finely carved. Comparing this statue with another similar one displayed in the National Roman Museum where the boy is holding a lantern in his right hand, however the lantern here is missing. The statue was found in 1997 by a fisherman in El-Borlos Lake in Kafr el-Sheikh.

Marble statues were indeed present in Roman Egypt, reflecting the influence of Roman artistic traditions in the region. During the Roman period, marble became a popular material for creating statues due to its durability and aesthetic appeal.

Statue of a sleeping child
Statue of a sleeping child. Photo: C. Gerigk

Marble statues in Roman Egypt encompassed a wide range of subjects, including gods, goddesses, emperors, important figures, and mythological scenes. These statues were often commissioned by wealthy individuals, temples, or the Roman government to showcase power, prestige, and religious devotion.

The statues varied in size, from small-scale busts to life-size or larger-than-life sculptures. They were meticulously carved by skilled artisans, capturing intricate details and conveying a sense of realism. Marble statues were typically displayed in public spaces, such as temples, forums, and theaters, as well as in private residences.

The subjects depicted in these statues reflected the syncretism of Roman and Egyptian cultures. For example, statues of Egyptian deities like Isis and Serapis were created in a Roman artistic style, blending elements of both cultures.

Marble statues in Roman Egypt served as artistic expressions, political propaganda, and religious symbols. They played a significant role in shaping the visual landscape of the region and are valuable archaeological artifacts that provide insights into the artistic and cultural exchanges between Rome and Egypt during this period.

Roman Period, ca. 30 BC-395 CE. Now in the Bibliotica Alexandrina Antiquities Museum, Alexandria.

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