Hairpin with a Figure of a Hippopotamus

Middle Kingdom

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 111

The figure of an erect hippopotamus represents a goddess invoked as the protector of women in pregnancy and childbirth. Known as Ipi or Taweret ("The Great One"), she is often depicted with a crocodile stretched over her head and along her back. In the form of a hairpin, the goddess was intended to guard its wearer from harm. For an illustration of how the hairpin was used, see 26.3.353ww.

Hairpin with a Figure of a Hippopotamus, Bone

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