Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Harpokrates in an Egyptianizing Crown and holding the club of Herakles

Roman Period
A.D. 1st century
From Egypt
H. 18.5 cm
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1946
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 137
Harpokrates, or "Horus the child," the son of Isis and Osiris/Serapis, is here represented as a chubby toddler with a plump, crooked forefinger reaching toward his small mouth. He holds the knobby club of the Greek god Herakles and on his head wears a vestigial Egyptian double crown detailed with striations and dots. The crown is obscured in the front by a very large sun disk bearing a uraeus. A rarely noted deep blue corrosion gives the piece a rich tone.

Harpokrates, the quintessential divine son, was extremely popular and had already been assimilated to other gods during pharaonic times. During the Hellenistic and Roman eras the syncretisms multiplied. The association of Harpokrates with Herakles in these eras seems to be based on warrior characteristics that Harpokrates had acquired in earlier conflations with other dieties. Once Roman rule came to Egypt the worship of Harpokrates spread throughout the empire, so it is possible that the unusual details of the god's crown and disk denote a non-Egyptian origin.
Purchased by the Museum from Fahim Kouchakji, New York, 1946.

Hill, Marsha 2000. "Roman Egypt." In The Year One: Art of the Ancient World East and West, edited by Elizabeth J. Milleker. New Haven: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 94, fig. 74, p. 208.

Related Objects

Figure of Isis-Aphrodite

Artist: Date: 2nd century A.D.
Accession Number: 1991.76
Date: 2nd century A.D. Medium: Terracotta painted brown, black, red, and pink on white engobe Accession: 1991.76 On view in:Gallery 138

Statuette of Herakles holding apples

Artist: Date: ca. 1st–2nd century
Accession Number: 26.7.859
Date: ca. 1st–2nd century Medium: Bronze Accession: 26.7.859 On view in:Gallery 171

Isis-Aphrodite with Egyptian vulture cap

Artist: Date: ca. A.D. 161–180
Accession Number: 26.7.1475
Date: ca. A.D. 161–180 Medium: Bronze Accession: 26.7.1475 On view in:Gallery 169

Cat Statuette intended to contain a mummified cat

Artist: Date: 332–30 B.C.
Accession Number: 56.16.1
Date: 332–30 B.C. Medium: Leaded bronze Accession: 56.16.1 On view in:Gallery 134

Ritual Statuette of Thutmose III

Artist: Date: ca. 1479–1425 B.C.
Accession Number: 1995.21
Date: ca. 1479–1425 B.C. Medium: Black bronze, gold inlay Accession: 1995.21 On view in:Gallery 118