Terracotta Harpocrates Pair Statuette


Greco-Roman Period, Circa 3rd-1st Century BC

Description:  Hollow-molded terracotta pair statuette featuring two guises of Harpocrates, the child deity, reflecting an interesting fusion of Greek, Roman and Egyptian cultures that occurred in the centuries following the Alexander the Great’s conquest of Egypt in 332 BC.  On the left, Harpocrates has a finger to his lips signifying his role as the god of silence but also in fact representing the hieroglyphic sign meaning “child.”  He wears a short cloak and on his head he has the double-crown with two lotus buds, symbolic of his status as the son of Isis and Osiris.  He is seated next to another guise of himself — as a young boy naked except for bracelets around his wrists and ankles, necklace with solar disk, and large solar disk atop his head.  He holds a large pot with his right hand against his left leg. While each of these types is well know as individual statues, it is less common to have them together as a pair statue with one embracing the other with his left arm as seen from behind. 

The pairing could also be an allusion to allusion to the synthesis of Greek beliefs during this period of Egyptian history.  In Greek mythology, Eros, the son of Aphrodite (Aphrodite becomes closely associated with Isis) falls intensely and inseparably in love with Psyche, a beautiful maiden, after accidentally scratching himself with the potion-tipped arrows that he uses to bring amorous love to mortals. The image of Psyche and Eros widely appears not only in Greek art but is a frequently represented theme in art throughout the ages.  

Height:  4.5 in. (11.1cm)

Condition:  Intact with traces of original white pigment visible. Minor chip to the solar disk, but attractive and very nice display presence.  

Provenance:  Formerly in a British collection assembled in the 1970-80s. 

Price: $ 1,250

Currently Available

SKU: 205.0047 Category: Tags: , , , ,