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Statuette of a Hunchback Beggar

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Mid 3rd century B.C.AlexandriabronzeH 6,7 cm

Numerous representations of dwarfish, deformed and crippled people from Alexandria in Egypt and Asia Minor have been known since the 3rd century B. C.. These representations were created to amuse the higher classes, while at the same time reminding them of their mortality. At the time physical ugliness was intrinsically linked to a bad character and the convulsed representations personified evil. The common opinion was that confronting evil was the only way of banishing it. This bronze of a contorted beggar is a masterly example of this style.