The cross-legged position and arm bent up to chin in the "plotting" pose marks this subject out as a runaway slave - a character from the world of New Comedy. The humour of such characters lay in their unabashed scheming against their masters; perhaps this is most memorably displayed by the eponymous Pseudolus (Plautus, Pseudolus, 191 BC).
ProvenanceGustave Mustaki, Alexandria, Egypt; exported from Egypt to the UK c.1950
Elsa MacLellan, UK; by descent from the above
Private collection, London, UK; by descent from the above
Private collection, Rome, Italy
LiteratureFor pose of this figure, see J. Paul Getty Museum, A Passion for Antiquities: Ancient Art from the Collection of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman (Malibu, 1994), p.233-235, no.117 and 118
For face of this figure, see Musée National du Louvre, Figurines et Reliefs en Terre-Cuite Grecs Étrusques et Romains III (Paris, 1971), pl.325 k E/D 1988