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Hedgehog Rattle

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Egypt Reborn: Art for Eternity, 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 ancient Egyptians used rattles to ward off harmful forces such as snakes, scorpions, or malevolent spirits. When attacked, a hedgehog rolls into a ball, exposing 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, painted
  • Place Made: Egypt
  • DATES ca. 1938-1700 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY XII Dynasty-early XIII Dynasty
    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
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Hedgehog Rattle, ca. 1938-1700 B.C.E. Faience, painted, 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
    IMAGE overall, CUR.59.186_erg2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 10/27/2008
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