Nov 12, 2009
Nov 12, 2009

Statuette of Harpocrates

Statuette of Harpocrates

c. 50 BCE

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


The Greek deity Harpocrates’s name is an adaptation of Hor-pa-khred, the Egyptian word for Horus, the ancient Egyptian sun god. The statuette’s features may seem to align with Greek artistic values for representing naturalism in art rather than echo ancient Egyptian style. Yet, the statuette references ancient Egyptian religion, specifically Horus’s origin story, including the index finger over the mouth, a gesture commonly associated with his childhood. Additionally, the hole in the top front of the statue’s head is where a double crown of Egypt would have been, known as a pschent, conveying Horus’ ascension as pharaoh.

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