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Relief of a Hippopotamus

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Egypt Reborn: Art for Eternity, 19th Dynasty to Roman Period, Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Gallery, 3rd Floor

This relief fragment presents a female hippopotamus in connection with "The Feast of the White One," a feast that dates back to the Old Kingdom (Dynasties III–VI) but whose meaning is still not clearly understood. The animal seems to be a manifestation of either a deity associated with fertility or protection or possibly a deity localized in Lower Egypt. She stands on a stylized baseline, behind which 15 a papyrus column. Below are the hieroglyph for "festival" and traces of another, indecipherable hieroglyph. In the completed scene the animal would have faced a figure of a king presenting offerings.

MEDIUM Gypsum or gesso gypsum
  • Possible Place Collected: Mitrahina, Egypt
  • DATES ca. 589 B.C.E. - 570 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY XXVI Dynasty
    PERIOD Late Period
    DIMENSIONS 5 11/16 x 6 1/2 x 1 5/16 in. (14.5 x 16.5 x 3.4 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Relief of a Hippopotamus, ca. 589 B.C.E. - 570 B.C.E. Gypsum or gesso gypsum, 5 11/16 x 6 1/2 x 1 5/16 in. (14.5 x 16.5 x 3.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 67.175.2. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE installation, West Wing gallery 8 installation, CUR.67.175.2_wwg8.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2006
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