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Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

Placing an image of a hippo in the tomb was believed to provide powerful protection for the spirit of the deceased. At the same time, hippos evoke chaotic forces because of the danger they pose to humans as wild animals in this world. For this reason, Egyptians often snapped off the legs of hippopotamus statuettes before placing them in tombs. The broken stumps of the statuette’s legs demonstrate how bright blue glaze adhered to the white faience.
MEDIUM Faience
  • Place Made: Egypt
  • DATES ca. 1938–1539 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY Dynasty 12 to Dynasty 17
    PERIOD Middle Kingdom to Second Intermediate Period
    DIMENSIONS 3 × 2 1/4 × 4 1/2 in. (7.6 × 5.7 × 11.4 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    PROVENANCE Archaeological provenance not yet documented; before 1924, acquired by Friedrich Wilhelm von Bissing; by circa 1924, acquired by the Scheurleer Museum, the Hague, the Netherlands; 1935, purchased from the Scheurleer Museum by the Fondation Egyptologique Reine Elisabeth; 1935, purchased from the Fondation Egyptologique Reine Elisabeth by the Brooklyn Museum.
    Provenance FAQ
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Hippo, ca. 1938–1539 B.C.E. Faience, 3 × 2 1/4 × 4 1/2 in. (7.6 × 5.7 × 11.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 35.1276. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 35.1276_threequarter_PS22.jpg)
    IMAGE threequarter, 35.1276_threequarter_PS22.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2024
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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