Ithyphallic Acrobat, 330-100 BCE
Hellenistic Period
4 ¼ × 2 5/8 × 2 1/8 in. (10.8 × 6.7 × 5.4 cm)
3-D Object/Sculpture
1972-62.41 DJ

1972 62 41 dj 20190621 002c v01 m
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This figure, contorted into an acrobatic pose with his feet at his head and his hands used to exaggerate his facial expression, most likely represents an entertainer. Such figures were popularly produced in the Early Hellenistic period (ca. 330–100 BCE) in Lower Egypt. Alongside acrobats, dancers and musicians were commonly represented, as well as theatrical figures from Comedy, a type of Greek drama that included caricatures of society members. These representations typically have exaggerated facial features and are sometimes referred to as “grotesques” or in the “grotesque style.” While the term is now generally not preferred, it remains in use in scholarship to refer to this body of caricature-like portrayals.  

This figure was acquired by the Menil Collection as part of a large group of terracottas, some of which were once part of the collection of Dr. Daniel Fouquet (1850–1914). This object, however, does not appear in any of the associated publications and cannot be confirmed as being part of the Fouquet Collection.