This is an imitation antique, a bust that is a copy of a portrait of Perikles the Ancient Greek ruler. Perikles led the democracy of Athens some 2500 years ago, at that time Ancient Greece was at the height of the city's power and Perikles surrounded himself with poets, architects, artists and the like.

So why, if this is a phony antique, is it in the British Museum? Probably because the imitation was made for the Villa of Roman Emperor Hadrian close to 2000 years ago! Just goes to show, if you keep a phony antique long enough, it too will become an antique!

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