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Figure of a Pig

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Pre-Dynastic, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
Early Sculpture

Almost all of the small figures in this case originally were placed in temples.

We do not know the significance of many of these early objects. The lion probably embodied divine or royal power, and frogs may have provided protection during childbirth, as in later times.

The figure of a squatting little boy in this case may have been offered to a god as the expression of a wish to bear children. The destructive powers of animals such as pigs, hippos, and scorpions could apparently be neutralized and even made useful through their images, as in the hippo-headed top of a mace (war club).

The ivory lioness was part of a common board game, of which partial sets have survived. The opposing side’s pieces were carved ivory figures of crouching lions or dogs.
MEDIUM Faience
DATES ca. 3000–2675 B.C.E.
DYNASTY Dynasty 1 to Dynasty 2
PERIOD Early Dynastic Period
DIMENSIONS 1 1/2 × 2 3/8 × 1 in. (3.8 × 6 × 2.5 cm)  (show scale)
CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Statuette of a standing animal. Probably a pig or boar, in blue-green fayence. Frontal. Head lowered almost touching the ground with wide snout. Knife-edge back, feet indicated only by grooved cut across body, short tail. Condition: Rear right leg chipped. Glaze worn in spots.
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Pre-Dynastic, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
CAPTION Figure of a Pig, ca. 3000–2675 B.C.E. Faience, 1 1/2 × 2 3/8 × 1 in. (3.8 × 6 × 2.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 57.165.5. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.57.165.5_NegID_57.165.2_GRPA_print_cropped_bw.jpg)
IMAGE detail, CUR.57.165.5_NegID_57.165.2_GRPA_print_cropped_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2014
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