Skip Navigation

Hedgehog Rattle

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Old Kingdom to 18th Dynasty, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
The hollow body of this hedgehog figure contains tiny pellets that rattled when it was shaken. The rattles were used to ward off harmful forces such as snakes, scorpions, or malevolent spirits. When attacked, a hedgehog rolls into a ball, presenting a mass of pointed spines to the predator. To the Egyptians, this behavior—imitated in this figure—made the hedgehog an ideal protective symbol.
MEDIUM Faience
  • Place Made: Egypt
  • DATES ca. 1938–1700 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY Dynasty 12 to early Dynasty 13
    PERIOD Middle Kingdom
    DIMENSIONS 3 x 1 3/4 x 1 3/8 in. (7.6 x 4.4 x 3.5 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Blue-green faience rattle in the form of a hedgehog. Hollow with pellets. Spikes and details of body indicated by manganese drawing; head in raised relief on underside of object. Flat base, oval upper side. Condition: Intact. Circular piece of faience at back of body was removed and replaced before firing presumably to hollow out the body.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Old Kingdom to 18th Dynasty, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
    CAPTION Hedgehog Rattle, ca. 1938–1700 B.C.E. Faience, 3 x 1 3/4 x 1 3/8 in. (7.6 x 4.4 x 3.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 59.186. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 59.186_NegA_bw_SL4.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 59.186_NegA_bw_SL4.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
    "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.
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
    You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form (charges apply). For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact
    Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.