Measurements: 8.2 cm – height


Description: A Romano-Egyptian terracotta fragmentary head of the Greek god Harpocrates, here depicted as a youth, wearing a very sumptuous headpiece and with his finger to his mouth.  The deity’s headpiece comprises two feathers of the Egyptian goddess Maat, the personification of the concepts of truth, harmony and justice, and between them the sun disk, which connect the deity with the sun god Ra, along with Sokar, Ptah and Osiris. Facial features of the statuette are rendered in a naturalistic manner, some white chalk traces are still visible. The back is unmodelled and it features a loop for suspension.

In Ancient Egyptian culture and mythology Harpocrates, Harpa-Khruti (Horus the Child), was the son of the goddess Isis and her husband Osiris. The deity was often depicted as a small boy, with a finger held to the lips, a typical Egyptian gesture symbolising childhood and also the Ancient Egyptian hieroglyph for “child”. The deity was later adopted by the Greeks and the misinterpretation of the gesture of the finger to the lips led to the association of Harpocrates with silence, hence making him the god of silence, secrets and confidentiality in Ancient Greek mythology.


Period: 1st Century BC- 1st Century AD


Provenance: From the Frowd private collection, Hertfordshire, UK. 


Condition: Fine, with some white encrustations, possibly of chalk.

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