The use of stucco to complete the details of this portrait is typical of sculpture associated with the Ptolemaic court of Egypt. Much of the hair was finished in stucco, unusually well preserved here, and the area of the beard was smoothly cut and then worked with a point to aid in the bonding of an adhesive. For another portrait with preserved stucco adjuncts, see the colossal head from Memphis, probably of Ptolemy IX Soter II, now in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, no. 141 in Stewart, Faces of Power. Also unusual on this portrait is the extent of preservation of the painted details, especially for the individual lashes of the eyes. For a later portrait of the Emperor Caligula, now in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, similarly preserving the painted details see no. 371 in Brinkmann and Wünsche, Bunte Götter, Die Farbigkeit Antiker Skulptur.
The present head can be tentatively identified as the Seleucid King Demetrios III Eucaerus (well-timed), on the basis of comparison to his coin portraits (see no. pl. 77.4 in Smith, Hellenistic Royal Portraits.). Both portraits share the prominent hooked nose and a beard. Many late Seleucid portraits are indebted in style to contemporary Ptolemaic imagery, since they were able to maintain their hold over their territories only through Ptolemaic support. Demetrios III was the son of Antiochos VIII Grypos (Hook-nose). He was able to recover part of his father's territories in 95 B.C. with the help of Ptolemy IX Lathyrus. He was eventually defeated by the Parthian king Mithridates II, who kept him in confinement until his death in 88 B.C.