Figure of a Frog
Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
On View: Pre-Dynastic, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
Almost all of the small figures in this case originally were placed in temples.
We do not know the significance of many of these early objects. The lion probably embodied divine or royal power, and frogs may have provided protection during childbirth, as in later times.
The figure of a squatting little boy in this case may have been offered to a god as the expression of a wish to bear children. The destructive powers of animals such as pigs, hippos, and scorpions could apparently be neutralized and even made useful through their images, as in the hippo-headed top of a mace (war club).
The ivory lioness was part of a common board game, of which partial sets have survived. The opposing side’s pieces were carved ivory figures of crouching lions or dogs.
ca. 3000-2675 B.C.E.
Dynasty 1 to Dynasty 2 (probably)
Early Dynastic Period
Terracotta statuette of a frog. Surface polished and orange-red in color. Heavy, rather massive modeling suggestive of one of the larger mammals. Eyes indicated by small applied pellets.
Condition: Surface worn. Otherwise intact.
Figure of a Frog, ca. 3000-2675 B.C.E. Terracotta, 2 1/16 x 3 13/16 in. (5.2 x 9.7 cm). Anonymous loan, L58.2.5. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: , CUR.L58.2.3_L58.2.5_erg3.jpg)
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Why did Egyptians make figures of frogs?
Frogs inhabited marshlands and in later eras frogs were associated with fertility and protected in childbirth. They have have served a similar purpose in the far past as well.These frogs are from prehistoric Ancient Egypt, and predate writing and much of what we know about Egyptian spirituality and iconography. As such we really have to make educated guesses.
Can you tell me anything more about the significance of the frog to the Egyptians?
Frogs would appear after the flooding of the Nile, so they became associated with the life-bringing quality of water, and it's role in fertilizing the land.
The frog was also one of the hieroglyphic symbols of the goddess Heqet, who was associated with fertility, childbirth, the flooding of the Nile and resurrection.