Romano-Egyptian Terracotta Head of the God Harpocrates

£ 265.00

A fine Romano-Egyptian terracotta fragment portraying the head of the Hellenic-Egyptian child god of silence and secrecy Harpocrates. Likely made for votive purposes, the fragment features the god enigmatically placing his finger upon his lips as if swearing the viewer to secrecy. He wears long locks of hair, complimented with a Greek diadem on his head. As a deity with origins in Hellenistic Egypt, he portrays physical attributes associated with both cultures.

Date: Circa 1st Century BC-2nd Century AD
Provenance: North London gentleman, in storage from the 1970’s. Property of a West London gentleman.
Condition: Fine, with natural wear due to ageing. Hole on top of head. Mounted on a custom-made stand. Please note that the measurements provided are including the stand.


Product Code: RES-180
Categories: , Tags: ,

Greeks and Romans typically made votive offerings to mark important life transitions. Votive offerings often fulfilled obligations that individuals had made while praying. Unlike sacrifices, in which a gift to the gods was destroyed, offerings were typically deposited intact in the temples. One of the primary functions of Greek and Roman temples was as a storage place for these offerings. The temples themselves were a votive offering, dedicated by the community as a whole to a particular god or goddess. This votive fragment features Harpocrates in a mysterious manner with his finger in front of his mouth. It was not uncommon to see artistic portrayals of the god expressing himself in such a way, for he was the god of secrecy.

To discover more about how terracotta statuettes were made, please visit our relevant post: The Making of Terracotta Statuettes in Antiquity.

Dimensions W 3.5 x H 5.5 cm

North Africa



Greek Mythology


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