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Inlay Depicting "Horus of Gold"

Late Period–Ptolemaic Period
4th century B.C.
From Egypt, Middle Egypt, Hermopolis (el-Ashmunein)
Faience, polychrome
h. 15.5 cm (6 1/8 in); w. 12.7 cm (5 in); th. 1.2 cm (1/2 in)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1926
Accession Number:
  • Description

    This figure is one of a group of finely executed polychrome hieroglyphic inlays (18.2.8-.9 and 26.7.991-.1004, .1006-.1007) in the museum's collection; with the exception of the royal figure (26.7.1006), which is said to be from Memphis, the inlays are all said to be from a single find at Ashmunein, ancient Hermopolis. The presence in the group of Thoth (26.7.992) and figures that could well represent the seated mummiform Hermopolite solar and creator god Shepsi offers some confirmation of this provenance.
    Examination of the figures as a group suggests that they formed part of a large inscription detailing a king's names (including the Horus of Gold name, 26.7.996) followed by epithets naming Thoth and Shepsi. The presence among the figures of Anhur, Re, and goddesses who could well be Hathor, along with larger Horus falcons, suggests elements of the name(s) of 30th Dynasty pharaohs, with Nectanebo II's names precisely suited. There is some variability in color and manufacture, so repairs or additions over time are possible.
    The great winged falcon (26.7.991) might have presided over the larger scene, which might have been laid out on a large wooden shrine, for example.

  • Provenance

    Formerly Carnarvon Collection, purchased by the Metropolitan Museum of Art from Almina, Countess of Carnarvon, 1926. Previously purchased by Lord Carnarvon from Nicholas Tano, Cairo, 1918.

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History