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Lot 0020


**Originally Listed At $1200**

Egypt, Romano-Egyptian Period, ca. 1st century BCE to 1st century CE. A gorgeous fragmentary statue depicting the child god Harpokrates (from the Egyptian "Her-pa-khered," literally "Horus the child"). Carved from yellow-brown alabaster with natural bands of beige and chocolate hues, the boy stands nude with delineated genitalia beneath a pudgy belly, his left arm held tightly against his side, and his right bent and pointing a finger to his smiling mouth. Almond-shaped eyes, a broad nose, perky ears, and rounded cheeks constitute his pre-pubescent countenance, and a drooping sidelock of youth cascades down the side of his bald pate. An integral back pillar tapers to a point above the neck, and a drilled cavity atop his head perhaps at one time held slender candles or small offerings. Size: 1.5" W x 3.4" H (3.8 cm x 8.6 cm); 5.7" H (14.5 cm) on included custom stand.

Harpokrates (also Harpocrates) was, in many ways, one of the most popular deities in the Egyptian pantheon for centuries on end. The offspring of Osiris and Isis, Harpokrates was originally thought to be a protective deity, warding dangerous magic and creatures away from the wielder of his effigy. His depiction as a child was a common sight in ancient Egypt as infantile gods were favored to their adult characterizations from roughly the Third Intermediate Period on into Greco-Roman times. Created mostly as temple votives, child gods were thought to have a higher concentration of power and influence, thus making for a stronger prayer request when left as an offering.

References to Harpokrates appeared in classical literature, including Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 277 (Roman mythographer c. 2nd century CE) and of course Ovid's Metamorphoses as we see in the following passage, "She saw before her bed, or seemed to see as in a dream, great (Egyptian goddess) Isis with her train of holy deities. Upon her brow there stood the crescent moon-horns, garlanded with glittering heads of golden grain, and grace of royal dignity: and at her side . . . (Harpocrates) the god who holds his finger to his lips for silence's sake." (Ovid, Metamorphoses 9.688 ff - trans. Melville - Roman epic ca. 1st century BCE to 1st century CE).

Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection; ex-collection of a Mayor of Boston, Massachusetts, USA; ex-private Boston, Massachusetts, USA collection, acquired in the 1960s and 1970s

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This is a fragment of a larger alabaster figure. Original lower body and legs missing. Small losses to parts of thighs, one bicep, and one hand, minor nicks and abrasions to head, arms, and body, with softening to finer details around face, light encrustations, and darkening to natural stone color. Nice earthen deposits throughout. Drilled through base for display.

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Romano-Egyptian Alabaster Statue - Harpokrates

Estimate $1,800 - $2,500Oct 17