Art/ Collection/ Art Object

God Horus Protecting King Nectanebo II

Late Period
Dynasty 30
reign of Nectanebo II
360–343 B.C.
From Egypt; Said to be from Memphite Region, Heliopolis (Iunu; On), Tomb of a Mnevis bull
H. 72 cm (28 3/8 in.); W. 20 cm (7 7/8 in.); D. 46.5 cm (18 5/16 in.)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1934
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 128
The pharaoh Nectanebo II often invoked a very close connection–even a merging–between himself and the falcon god of kingship, Horus. In fact, Nectanebo II was the focus of a cult in which he was referred to as "Nectanebo-the-Falcon," which could indeed be what is represented by this striking conjunction of a powerful falcon and the monarch. This idea seems to be supported by the fact that Horus is not named on the base, only Nectanebo and the god Osiris-Mnevis, at whose sanctuary in Heliopolis the statue may have been erected.
The composition may be read as a rebus of Nectanebo's Egyptian name, Nakhthorheb: nakht, the sword held in the king's left hand; Hor, the falcon; and heb, the festival sign in the king's right hand. The last sign probably refers to the city of Hebyt, which was the site of the great temple constructed by Nectanebo II for Isis, mother of Horus.
Purchased from Eustache de Lorey, Paris, 1934; continuously exhibited and frequently published since that time; included in interational exhibition Cleopatra's Egypt, Brooklyn and Munich, 1988, and La Gloire d'Alexandrie, Paris 1998

Glubok, Shirley 1962. The Art of Ancient Egypt. New York: Atheneum, p. 24.

Aldred, Cyril 1980. Egyptian Art in the Days of the Pharaohs, 3100-320 BC, World of Art, New York: Oxford University Press, p. 237, no. 196.

Arnold, Dieter 1999. Temples of the Last Pharaohs. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 125, fig. 82.

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