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Identification and Creation

Object Number
Work Type
mid 7th-late 1st century BCE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Africa, Egypt (Ancient)
Late Period to Ptolemaic
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Leaded copper-tin-antimony alloy
Cast, lost-wax process
1.5 x 1.4 x 1.6 cm (9/16 x 9/16 x 5/8 in.)
Technical Details

Chemical Composition: ICP-MS/AAA data from sample, Leaded Copper-Tin-Antimony Alloy:
Cu, 81.34; Sn, 3.37; Pb, 9.37; Zn, 0.028; Fe, 0.23; Ni, 0.07; Ag, 0.05; Sb, 5.38; As, less than 0.10; Bi, less than 0.025; Co, 0.158; Au, less than 0.01; Cd, less than 0.001

J. Riederer

Chemical Composition: XRF data from Tracer
Alloy: Leaded copper-tin-antimony alloy
Alloying Elements: copper, tin, lead, antimony
Other Elements: iron, nickel, silver

K. Eremin, January 2014

Technical Observations: The frog was modeled directly in wax and cast solid. It is in very good condition. The surface is well preserved with some black-colored wax present. There is some evidence of deep corrosion and long-term burial. The patina is dark greenish brown.

Nancy Lloyd (submitted 2001)


Recorded Ownership History
Miss Elizabeth Gaskell Norton, Boston, MA and Miss Margaret Norton, Cambridge, MA (by 1920), gift; to the Fogg Art Museum, 1920.

Note: The Misses Norton were daughters of Charles Elliot Norton (1827-1908).

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of the Misses Norton
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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Published Catalogue Text: Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Bronzes at the Harvard Art Museums
This small, simple bronze frog has bulging eyes and crouches in a pose as if about to jump. Although quite small, the piece exhibits some modeling of the hind legs, and the area between the front legs and the belly is open. While it may have stood on its own, it could also have been part of a larger votive tray comprising several different animals.

In Egypt, the frog symbolized fertility, reproductive success, and regeneration, making it a popular amulet form (1). Each year with the subsiding of the Nile flood, thousands of frogs reappeared, seemingly by magic, leading to the belief that they were self-generating (2). The vast numbers of tadpoles strengthened the frogs’ association with abundant procreation. It has been suggested that frog amulets may represent Heqet, a birth goddess, and that they served to protect women during childbirth (3).


1. Examples of Egyptian frogs in this stance also appear in faience; see Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, inv. no. 74.51.4506; and Brooklyn Museum, inv. no. 58.28.8.

2. A. K. Capel and G. E. Markoe, Mistress of the House, Mistress of Heaven: Women in Ancient Egypt, exh. cat., Cincinnati Art Museum; Brooklyn Museum (New York, 1996) 71.

3. Ibid., 72.

Marian Feldman

Subjects and Contexts

  • Ancient Bronzes

Verification Level

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