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Human Foot and Leg

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

Many deities in the official Egyptian pantheon can be recognized by their headdresses. The Double Crown of the beneficent goddess Mut, whose name means “mother,” characterizes her as a conveyor of kingship and the divine mother of pharaoh. Amun, whose name means “hidden,” is portrayed as a man wearing a tall, plumed crown. When he appears with a solar disk at the base of the crown, he is known as Amun-Re, who possesses both hidden and solar creative powers. When shown in tightly enveloping garb and with an erection, he may be called Amun-Re-Kamutef, associated with fertility and regeneration. An amulet in this virile attitude would have held the promise of eternal rebirth after death. Monthly rebirth is also invoked by the full and crescent moons of Khonsu, the divine heir of Amun and Mut.

In popular religion the protection of pregnancy and birth was entrusted to such deities as Taweret and Bes. The appearance of Taweret, “The Great One,” as a pregnant hippopotamus with lion and crocodile features is a dramatic symbol of protective motherhood. The dwarf with a lion’s face and legs likely represents Bes, who was worshipped in the home as a protector of motherhood, birth, and rebirth.
MEDIUM Bronze
  • Place Made: Egypt
  • PERIOD Roman Period
    DIMENSIONS 2 1/2 x 1 11/16 in., 0.3 lb. (6.4 x 4.3 cm, 121.35 g)  (show scale)
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 16.246
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Evangeline Wilbour Blashfield, Theodora Wilbour, and Victor Wilbour honoring the wishes of their mother, Charlotte Beebe Wilbour, as a memorial to their father, Charles Edwin Wilbour
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Possibly Egypto-Roman. Human Foot and Leg. Bronze, 2 1/2 x 1 11/16 in., 0.3 lb. (6.4 x 4.3 cm, 121.35 g). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Evangeline Wilbour Blashfield, Theodora Wilbour, and Victor Wilbour honoring the wishes of their mother, Charlotte Beebe Wilbour, as a memorial to their father, Charles Edwin Wilbour, 16.246. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE overall, CUR.16.246_print_negL_977_37_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2010
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Human foot and lower leg in bronze; heavy suspension loop on top. Possibly a votive amulet, but more probably a weight to be used on a steelyard arm. Cast solid. Condition: Excellent. Bronze brown in color. No encrustation. Must have been cleaned at some time in the past. Small hole (modern) bored in base of foot.
    RECORD COMPLETENESS Best (81%)
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    Human Foot and Leg

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