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Statuette of Harpocrates

Statuette of Harpocrates

c. 50 BC

Bronze, hollow cast, with silver inlays

Overall: 27 x 10.2 x 8.6 cm (10 5/8 x 4 x 3 3/8 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1972.6

Description

This bronze takes its name from the Greek adaptation of the Egyptian phrase Hor-pa-khred, Horus, the sun god, as a child. This is confirmed by typical Horus traits: the forelock, finger raised to his mouth, and the hole behind the forelock, which once held a double crown. The panther skin over his left arm was priestly Egyptian garb. Centuries before Alexander the Great conquered Egypt, the Greeks had traveled and traded there. Fascinated by Egyptian deities they equated many with their own. Horus, the sun god and son of Osiris and Isis, for instance, became Apollo, the god of light to the Greeks. The Egyptians made thousands of images of Hor-pa-khred as votive gifts in shrines and temples. The Greeks rendered their own Harpocrates as a much softer and voluptuous figure.

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