A GREEK GARNET RINGSTONE WITH PROFILE HEAD OF A PTOLEMAIC KING
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A GREEK GARNET RINGSTONE WITH PROFILE HEAD OF A PTOLEMAIC KING

PTOLEMAIC PERIOD, CIRCA 2ND CENTURY B.C.

Details
A GREEK GARNET RINGSTONE WITH PROFILE HEAD OF A PTOLEMAIC KING
PTOLEMAIC PERIOD, CIRCA 2ND CENTURY B.C.
5/8 in. (1.6 cm.) long
Provenance
?Giorgio Sangiorgi (1886-1965), Rome, acquired and brought to Switzerland, late 1930s; thence by continuous descent to the current owner.
Literature
J. Boardman and C. Wagner, Masterpieces in Miniature: Engraved Gems from Prehistory to the Present, London, 2018, p. 123, no. 110.
Special notice

This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

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Lot Essay

Engraved on this garnet ringstone is the draped portrait bust of a corpulent Ptolemaic king, depicted wearing a Macedonaian kausia fronted by a diminutive Egyptian crown, a solar disc surmounted by upright plumes. As Boardman and Wagner note (op. cit., p. 123), this portrait is not closely matched by any of the Ptolemaic kings known either from other gems or coins, but it seems possible that Ptolemy VIII Euergetes (146-116 B.C.) is the subject, given that his nickname was “Physcon,” or “Pot Belly”. Our portrait features bloated cheeks and a hooked nose, similar to that seen on a clay seal impressions depicting Ptolemy VIII (see nos. 60 and 61 in Walker and Higgs, Cleopatra of Egypt, from History to Myth); see also a silver didrachm depicting him wearing a rayed diadem, no. 91 in Walker and Higgs, op. cit.
Three glass cameos are known that likely depict the same individual, each wearing the kausia but absent the Egyptian crown: one in the British Museum (Walters, Catalogue of Engraved Gems & Cameos, Greek, Etruscan & Roman, no. 3824), one in Naples (Pannuti, Catalogo della Collezione Glittica, vol. I, 180), and one in Munich (Brandt, et al., Antike Gemmen in Deutschen Sammlungen, Band I, Staatliche Munchen, Teil 3, no. 3525).
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