Culture: Egyptian
Date: 525 – 30 B.C.
Medium: Wood
Condition: Intact, with its original polychromy.
Provenance: Ex- English collection; Royal Athena Galleries.
Dimensions: H. 4 1/2 in. (11 cm.)
Ref No.  EGWS123


Horus stood as the national patron god for the majority of ancient Egyptian history. He was illustrated as a man with head of a falcon, wearing the red and white crown known as the pschent, symbolizing his kingship over all Egypt. The famous eye known as wedjat is symbolic of Horus.

Horus notably served the ancient Egyptian religious function of being the god of the sun, war, hunting, and protection. Some religious traditions believed him to be the son of Osiris (deification of the afterlife), and Isis (deification of magic, motherhood, and fertility), whereas others held that he was born of Geb (deification of earth), and Nut (deification of the sky). Regardless, his physical role in Egyptian life always remained consistent. In life, the pharaoh was believed to be the incarnation of Horus, becoming the incarnation of Osiris in death.

As the physical manifestation of Horus, the pharaoh was expected to display the god’s characteristics in every action. The ancient Egyptian ruler would illustrate the power of the sun in his boldness, decisive finality, and significant religious involvement. When waging war, a pharaoh was expected to (and in the majority of cases did) bravely lead his men into battle. While not physically expected to hunt for his subjects, a pharaoh was expected to provide his people with a time of prosperity. These three Horus-based characteristics comprise the general final characteristic of a ruler being a good protector of his subjects.
A small wooden falcon would have symbolized Horus as a hunter and thus would have acted as a charm to bless its owner with a fruitful hunt. This brightly painted bird wears a collar composed of multiple blue lotus petals. A counterpoise is suspended from the back and a large loop pendant hangs at the front. The finely carved falcon rests on an integral rectangular base.