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Currently shown

Hippopotamus

Location

EGYPT

Era

Middle Kingdom (1980-1760 B.C.E.)

Title

Hippopotamus

Materials

Blue faience

Dimensions

19.5 x 6.6 cm

Credits

Gift of Miss Mabel Molson, inv. 1931.B.2

Collection

Archeology and World Cultures

The hippopotamus was supposed to represent the god Seth in one of his incarnations, but also enemies in general, since the animal was a metaphor for evil. This faience object dates from a time when themes of harpooning hippopotami or of animals embodying foes were very pervasive. The damage around the ears, face and feet are not due to being worn away by time, but by ritual actions. In fact, rituals of desecration and destruction were performed on this type of object in order to symbolically control the incarnation of enemies in such images of them through magic – magic being ubiquitous in their use.

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