Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
On View: Amarna Period, Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Gallery, 3rd Floor
In Egyptian art, one symbol could represent both a trait and its opposite. The hippopotamus could represent great danger and chaos or, alternatively, fertility and protection in childbirth. The statuette of a male hippopotamus could represent the god Seth, who embodied danger, chaos, and disorder in the world. Yet the rare limestone statuette of hippopotami mating perhaps served as a symbol that preserved the fertility of the earth. And a necklace consisting of images of the female hippopotamus goddess Taweret could protect a woman in labor.
ca. 1352-1332 B.C.E.
New Kingdom, Amarna Period
1 3/4 x 2 1/16 x 2 7/16 in. (4.5 x 5.2 x 6.2 cm) (show scale)
Gift of the Ernest Erickson Foundation, Inc.
Archaeological provenance not yet documented, possibly from Tell el Amarna, Egypt; by 1967, reportedly acquired in Europe by an unidentified dealer; 1967, purchased in New York from an unidentified dealer by Ernest Erickson of New York, NY; 1967, loaned by Ernest Erickson to the Brooklyn Museum; 1986, gift of the Ernest Erickson Foundation, Inc. to the Brooklyn Museum.
Fragment of lower part of royal head in white, now somewhat discolored limestone. Preserved are the right cheek, part of the right ear, the right eye, root of the nose, mouth and chin, a small part of the left eye and ear, the left cheek, part of the neck, and the lower right rear edge of the crown. Some traces of red and, in the corners of the eyes, black paint are still adhering.
Condition: Fragmentary; slight pitting on left cheek; discoloration on right cheek.
Royal Head, ca. 1352-1332 B.C.E. Limestone, pigment, 1 3/4 x 2 1/16 x 2 7/16 in. (4.5 x 5.2 x 6.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Ernest Erickson Foundation, Inc., 86.226.20. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.86.226.20_wwg7.jpg)
installation, West Wing gallery 7 installation, CUR.86.226.20_wwg7.jpg
. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2005
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