Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
1919.535.B
Title
Harpokrates
Classification
Sculpture
Work Type
sculpture, statuette
Date
mid 7th-late 1st century BCE
Places
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Africa, Egypt (Ancient)
Period
Late Period to Ptolemaic
Culture
Egyptian
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/169508
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Leaded bronze
Technique
Cast, lost-wax process
Dimensions
7 cm (2 3/4 in.)
Technical Details

Chemical Composition: ICP-MS/AAA data from sample, Leaded Bronze:
Cu, 79.37; Sn, 5.97; Pb, 14.07; Zn, 0.006; Fe, 0.09; Ni, 0.04; Ag, 0.13; Sb, 0.05; As, 0.21; Bi, 0.05; Co, 0.019; Au, less than 0.01; Cd, less than 0.001

J. Riederer

Technical Observations: The patina is green with spots of red, and there are brown burial accretions. Abrasions and a lead solder residue at the stubs of the legs are modern.

The statuette is a solid cast. Most or all of the relief detail was probably made in the wax model. There are small flecks of what appears to be gold leaf embedded in the corrosion products at the right arm and in the upper headdress.


Henry Lie

Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Museum Collection
Accession Year
1919
Object Number
1919.535.B
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Descriptions

Published Catalogue Text: Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Bronzes at the Harvard Art Museums
The striding figure of Harpokrates is missing his legs below the shins, which are partly filled with a modern metal. He wears the Double Crown and traces of a uraeus or spiral decoration remain on the front. The figure lacks definition in its modeling, but shows torsion in the back of the lower body.

Harpokrates represents the god Horus as a child, shown nude with the side-lock of youth on the right side of his head and his right index finger to his mouth. As the son of Osiris and Isis, he gained immense popularity during the Ptolemaic and Roman periods, during which time the production of bronze figurines of Harpokrates flourished. He often wears the Double Crown of Upper and Lower Egypt, a feature common in first millennium Egypt when youthful deities acquired kingly attributes. Another characteristic headdress is the nemes head cloth, although frequently the boy is depicted with either a shaven head or a tight-fitting skull cap. His nude body typically retains the roundness of flesh associated with young boys. The child-god could be represented seated, striding, or squatting. When seated, he assumes a semi-reclining position derived from that of a baby on its mother’s lap; many of the smaller examples of these figurines may originally have belonged with a seated Isis figure (1). Suspension loops for attachment as a pendant indicate an amuletic connection that may have been particularly associated with young children.

NOTES:

1. G. Roeder, Ägyptische Bronzefiguren, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin Mitteilungen aus der Ägyptischen Sammlung 6 (Berlin, 1956) 13-17, 104-105, pls. 15-22.


Marian Feldman

Subjects and Contexts

Ancient Bronzes

Related Works

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu