This rather haunting face with an enigmatic smile dates to the 4th Century BCE and belongs to a genre of sculptural works that was popular in the Late Period. It’s made of plaster and would once have had inlaid eyes and been painted (there are traces of paint remaining on it).
It’s not entirely clear what the function of pieces like this was. They’re pretty small (this one is big at 23cm tall), and are rarely of a full figure. Some, although not this one, have grid lines and depth guides still visible on their surface.
The Brooklyn Museum offers two hypotheses on their label for the case this was in: they might be sculptors’ trial pieces, or they might be temple offerings. From what they say about the flaws in each theory I’m more convinced by the idea that they are trial pieces.
It’s not known where it was found, but it’s now in the Brooklyn Museum (acc. no.: 82.22).
See it on my photo site: https://photos.talesfromthetwolands.org/picture.php?/45/
I’ve been posting short pieces like this on my social media accounts for a while, and I’ve decided to experiment with putting them on the main blog too!