Incorrect Username, Email, or Password
This object does not yet have a description.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Work Type
statuette, sculpture
2nd century CE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World
Roman Imperial period, Middle
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Leaded bronze
Cast, lost-wax process
7.1 x 3.4 x 1.6 cm (2 13/16 x 1 5/16 x 5/8 in.)
Technical Details

Chemical Composition: XRF data from Tracer
Alloy: Leaded Bronze
Alloying Elements: copper, tin, lead
Other Elements: iron
K. Eremin, January 2014

Technical Observations: The patina is black and dark brown with areas of bright metal showing; there is no green, but several spots of red may be evidence of some deep corrosion. Spots of black sulfide are present. The statuette is structurally sound. There is white label residue on the right leg and what might be burial accretions in the crevices. There are gouges on the buttocks and one arm; the tip of the Upper Egyptian crown is broken off, but all break areas are patinated.

The figure is a solid cast, probably made using the lost-wax process. Smaller details are not crisp and were probably cast rather than cold worked.

Henry Lie (submitted 2008)


Recorded Ownership History
[Renzi Faliero, Rome] (by 1951), sold; to the Alice Corinne McDaniel Collection, Department of the Classics, Harvard University (1951-2012) transfer; to the Harvard Art Museums, 2012.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Transfer from the Alice Corinne McDaniel Collection, Department of the Classics, Harvard University
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

The Harvard Art Museums encourage the use of images found on this website for personal, noncommercial use, including educational and scholarly purposes. To request a higher resolution file of this image, please submit an online request.


Published Catalogue Text: Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Bronzes at the Harvard Art Museums
The Romans depicted the Egyptian god Harpokrates (Lat. Harpocrates) in the form of a nude child with a putto-like physique (1). He has long hair, his head is tilted down and to the right, and the features of his face are lightly indicated. He stands with his left foot slightly forward; both feet are turned to the left. He holds his right forefinger to his mouth, which is an ancient Egyptian convention to indicate children in art (2). In his right arm, Harpocrates holds a cornucopia (horn of plenty). He wears the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt; unusually, the crown of Lower Egypt (the red crown) is more prominent than the crown of Upper Egypt (the white crown).


1. Compare H. C. van Gulik, Catalogue of the Bronzes in the Allard Pierson Museum at Amsterdam 1 (Amsterdam, 1940) 48, no. 61, pl. 7; and Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae Eros/Amor, Cupido no. 572, a bronze statuette from Herculaneum in the guise of Harpocrates; and LIMC Harpokrates nos. 9, 10a, 11b, 113a, and 118c. Roman Harpocrates sometimes appears with wings, due to syncratism with Cupid (Eros).

2. Compare statuettes from the Egyptian Late Period, such as 1920.44.303 and 1956.203.

Lisa M. Anderson

Publication History

  • John Crawford, Sidney Goldstein, George M. A. Hanfmann, John Kroll, Judith Lerner, Miranda Marvin, Charlotte Moore, and Duane Roller, Objects of Ancient Daily Life. A Catalogue of the Alice Corinne McDaniel Collection Belonging to the Department of the Classics, Harvard University, ed. Jane Waldbaum, Department of the Classics (unpublished manuscript, 1970), M171, p. 204-205 [J. S. Crawford]

Subjects and Contexts

  • Roman Domestic Art
  • Ancient Bronzes

Related Works

Verification Level

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