TITLE: God Harpocrates
CULTURE: Ancient Egypt
PERIOD: Late Period, 664 – 323 BC
MATERIAL: Bronze and silver
DIMENSIONS: Height 10.5 cm.
PRICE: 11,000 euros
PROVENANCE: Private European collection, acquired in the 1960s.
CONDITIONS: Very good quality, intact.
A solid bronze statuette of the god Harpocrates who is represented seated and naked. Most surely he was sitting on a throne fashioned from wood or bronze. He has a plait, a distinctive mark of a prince, on the right side of his head, and a uraeus, again, a distinction for royalty, on his forehead. The left arm falls straight down at the side of the body, while the right is bent with the index finger held to the mouth. This, together with the plait, are the two elements associated with childhood, as we are dealing with a child god, Harpocrates, who, as an adult is the god Horus. The legs are together and the feet rest on a small square base on the sides of which are preserved hieroglyphic texts. The eyes have the original silver inlays.
Harpocrates, or Horus child, is a native of Heliopolis, as the son of Isis and Osiris. He was revered in many other temples, as at Edfu, Thebes, Copts, Mendes, in which he was adored taken with other forms of Horus. Harpocrates is the living symbol of the sunshine at the arrival of spring. He was born after the death of his father Osiris. He is represented as a weak child, who had to be hidden by his mother, the goddess Isis, in the marshes of the Nile Delta, to protect it from the evil Seth, his father's brother. But just as the weak morning sun becomes a powerful sun, the child becomes the strong god Horus in order to revenge the death of his father, by fighting Seth. This is how his mother, Isis, made him the great Horus to rule over men and gods.
The technique of lost wax casting is a sculptural procedure using a mould made from a prototype of the piece to be worked, and this prototype is usually made from beeswax. This is covered with a thick layer of soft material, usually clay, which then solidifies. Once this has hardened it is put in a kiln where the wax inside melts and leaks out from expressly made holes in the clay. In its place molten metal is injected and this takes on the exact form of the mould. To remove the final piece the mould must be removed.