Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object
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Child god in nemes and hemhem

Period:
Late Period–Ptolemaic Period
Date:
664–30 B.C.
Geography:
From Egypt
Medium:
Cupreous metal
Dimensions:
H. 11.8 cm (4 5/8 in.); W. 3.5 cm (1 3/8 in.); D. 5.4 cm (2 1/8 in.)
Credit Line:
Theodore M. Davis Collection, Bequest of Theodore M. Davis, 1915
Accession Number:
30.8.96
Not on view
The figure represents a child god in a seated/reclining position, wearing the hemhem crown with the nemes. The child god is usually distinguished from adult gods by a range of iconographic clues: his nudity, the finger raised to the mouth (a child-like gesture), and the thick sidelock attached on the right side of his nemes. Here the figure’s hands are both held at the sides, but his nudity and sidelock suffice to identify him as a child god. Child gods are commonly linked with royalty and this god’s hemhem is an elaborate royal crown with solar associations, here emphasized not just by the sun disks at the top of the crown, but also by incised sun disks at the base of each hem element. Meanwhile, the child god’s plump, well-fed belly showcases his ability to bring about prosperity and abundance. A suspension loop rests at the base of the crown.

Child gods grew in popularity and cult from the Third Intermediate Period onwards, rivaling even the most powerful and ancient gods, especially as temple offerings. The best known is Horus the Child (Harpokrates), who was the son of Isis and Osiris, but many others existed, including Khonsu the Child, Ihy, and Harsiese, among others. Thus it is difficult to assign a precise identity to this statuette without an associated inscription.
Formerly Theodore M. Davis Collection. Bequeathed to the Museum by Davis, 1915; accessioned, 1930.

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