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Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

The standing hippopotamus represented Seth, the brother of Osiris who murdered him and then claimed his throne. It was thus a symbol of chaos. Egyptians controlled negative forces in the tomb by including a hippopotamus with the legs purposely broken. The lotus flowers drawn on its flanks reflect the animal as it would be seen standing in the Nile among the natural vegetation.
MEDIUM Faience, painted
  • Place Made: Egypt
  • DATES ca. 1938-1539 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY XII Dynasty to XVII Dynasty
    PERIOD Middle Kingdom to Second Intermediate Period
    DIMENSIONS 4 5/16 x 2 15/16 x 7 3/16 in. (11 x 7.5 x 18.3 cm)  (show scale)
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CREDIT LINE Gift of the Ernest Erickson Foundation, Inc.
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Hippopotamus, ca. 1938-1539 B.C.E. Faience, painted, 4 5/16 x 2 15/16 x 7 3/16 in. (11 x 7.5 x 18.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Ernest Erickson Foundation, Inc., 86.226.2. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE overall, 86.226.2_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
    "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.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Faience statuette of standing hippopotamus. Head frontal and slightly lowered, feet parallel, tail in high relief. Glazed blue, now largely turned green. Decorations on manganese of lotus flowers and buds arranged in conventional pattern. Rosette (lotus in top view) on each buttock. Lotus leaf on each side of head. Glaze on left side of body badly worn. Right ear chipped. Chips on jaw (each side). Minor chips on body.
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