Ptolemy II with Ritual Rattle (Sistrum)
Unknown artist, Egyptian
Ptolemy II with Ritual Rattle (Sistrum), 285-246 BCE
68.6 x 71.1 cm (27 x 28 inches)
Museum Appropriation Fund 18.740
Red granite is a very hard stone that Egyptians quarried at Aswan, to the south in Upper Egypt far from the Nile Delta, the site of origin for this carved fragment. They typically used the stone for royal statuary, shrines, and temple reliefs. This sculpture shows Ptolemy II shaking a ritual rattle and offering food delicacies to a goddess, probably Isis, who once appeared at right. All of the male rulers of this dynasty took the name of Ptolemy. They were descended from the Macedonians who, under Alexander the Great, overtook Egypt in 332 BCE but in doing so did not disrupt the Egyptian artistic heritage.