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Mating Hippopotami

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Morris A. and Meyer Schapiro Gallery, 4th Floor

Apparently a unique object, this temple offering features the heads of two animals emerging from a bell-shaped form. The type of animal is not clear. Although the heads and ears suggest that they are hippopotami, the scaly skin resembles that of a crocodile. Perhaps the animals are composites. The meticulous modeling and detail of the heads indicate the date.

MEDIUM Limestone
  • Place Made: Africa
  • DATES 664-30 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY Dynasty 26 or later
    PERIOD Late Period to Ptolemaic Period
    DIMENSIONS 5 1/2 x 3 3/4 x 11 1/2 in. (14 x 9.5 x 29.2 cm)  (show scale)
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Morris A. and Meyer Schapiro Gallery, 4th Floor
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Mating Hippopotami, 664-30 B.C.E. Limestone, 5 1/2 x 3 3/4 x 11 1/2 in. (14 x 9.5 x 29.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 36.262. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum (Gavin Ashworth,er), 36.262_Gavin_Ashworth_photograph.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 36.262_Gavin_Ashworth_photograph.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph (Gavin Ashworth, photographer), 2012
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    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Compact limestone (?) sculpture of two crocodiles enclosed in one body (?). Heads worked on great detail, body undecorated. Meaning unknown. Possible representation of the goddess Tanent. Condition: Good; one side of body has extensive black stains. Other side of body is considerably weathered, apparently by vegetal growth during burial. Minor chips on various parts of head. Very fine workmanship.
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