Culture: Egyptian
Date: 664 – 30 B.C. (Late Period)
Medium: Faience
Condition: Intact, excellent overall condition
Provenance: Ex- Collection of David Garfield; Edward Freis; Acquired Sotheby’s New York antiquities auction, 23 June 1989, lot 60
Dimensions: H 3 3/16 in. (8.1 cm.)
Ref No.  EGF40


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

This faience piece depicts Horus seated atop a square-base column with a cavito capital. He is wearing a tripartite wig with the crown of upper and lower Egypt. The nature of his seating is similar to a bird being perched. Since Horus as a falcon was symbolic of hunting, our piece may have been symbolic of a good hunt. A beautiful glaze of varying shades garnishes the intact item. Very rare.