Bronze Statuette of a Veiled and Masked Dancer
Greek, Hellenistic, 3rd–2nd century B.C.
The complex motion of this dancer is conveyed exclusively through the interaction of the body with several layers of dress. Over an undergarment that falls in deep folds and trails heavily, the figure wears a lightweight mantle, drawn taut over her head and body by the pressure applied to it by her right arm, left hand, and right leg. Its substance is conveyed by the alternation of sharp pleats and flat surfaces as well as by their contrast to both the tubular folds pushing through from below and the freely curling softness of the fringe. The woman's face is covered by the sheerest of veils, discernible at its edge below her hairline and at the cutouts for the eyes. Her extended right foot shows a laced slipper. This dancer has been convincingly identified as one of the professional entertainers, a combination of mime and dancer, for which the cosmopolitan city of Alexandria was famous in antiquity.