Although unsigned, the present figure may possibly be a cast from a model by the celebrated Orientalist sculptor, Charles Cordier. The treatment of this figure's hair relates closely to that Cordier's Vénus africaine, exhibited in 1851 (see Christie's London, 15 May 1997, lot 397 for an example of the latter). In addition, at the 1869 Salon, Cordier is known to have exhibited a plaster model of a fontaine egyptienne (whereabouts now unknown), in which the three tributaries of the Nile were personified by female figures of a Nubian, Abyssinian and Fellah. The present figure appears to have originally supported a vessel on her head, whilst pipework to the back of the base indicates that she was almost certainly intended for use as part of a fountain. See lot 309 for an additional note on Charles Cordier.