Stele and statuette of Horus on the...
Stele: green faience, a not continuous drying crack across the plate, framing partly slightly bumped
Height appx. 90 mm, width appx. 60 mm, depth appx. 10 mm
Statuette: dark green faience, multiple fractures, splinters
Height appx. 80 mm, width appx. 30 mm, depth appx. 22 mm
Late period, perhaps XXVI dynasty around 600 BC or earlier
Provenance: Private collection Austria
The first piece belongs to the group of Horus steles, which, through the magical powers of their protect pictures and inscriptions against the bites and poisons of various dangerous animals to which the people of ancient Egypt in general, but especially their children, were exposed on a daily basis. Therefore, Horus is depicted on these steles as a child (Harpocrates = Horus the child), who according to mythology was rescued and healed from such a life-threatening danger by his magical mother Isis with the support of the gods Re and Thot.
Here Horus stands in childlike nudity with a curl of hair on the side and Uraeus on his forehead on two crocodiles. In his hands he holds other dangerous animals such as snakes, scorpions and the like, representative of all the others, to his right is a springbok clearly recognizable as such, to his left a kind of oar, probably against all the dangers of the water.
Below the picture there is a high pedestal with incised representations of gods and extensive magical texts, which are continued on the outside around the frame. They contain invocations of the gods and requests for protection and defense against evil forces, such as: repel from me every lion in the desert, every crocodile in the river, all snakes, etc. The immediate protection of the stele was also gained by letting water run over it, which could be collected in a container and then drunk if, for some reason, you were not in the vicinity but felt endangered.
Literature: Richard Fazzini, Images for Eternity: Egyptian Art from Berkeley and Brooklyn”, Brooklyn 1975, no. 114
Heike Sternberg-el Hotabi, Zwei Horusstelen aus einer österreichischen Privatsammlung”,
Göttinger Miszellen, Hefte 97/1987, S. 25, bzw. 194/2003, S. 65
The representation of the statuette is based on the same iconography, but it has not survived the past two and a half thousand years so well. Despite its considerable damage, it shows all the protective elements indicated on the stele in the same way.
Unlike the latter, however, it refers directly to the magical and healing mother Isis herself, who as an incised image literally covers her child’s back and is represented here with a cow’s head. In the papyrus Sallier it is described that Isis received a cow’s head from Thot after Horus had torn his mother’s head off in anger.
Expert: Dr. Helmut Satzinger, Professor of Egyptology, University of Vienna
Former Keeper of The Egyptian and Near Eastern Collection’, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
Estimate: € 15000 - 20000
7 500 €