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Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Standing Hippopotamus

Period:
Middle Kingdom
Dynasty:
Dynasty 12–13
Date:
ca. 1810–1700 B.C.
Geography:
From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Asasif, Birabi, pit tomb CC 25, burial of Reniseneb, back of mummy, Carnarvon/Carter excavations, 1910
Medium:
Faience
Dimensions:
L. 11.7 cm (4 5/8 in.); H. 5.7 (2 1/4 in.); W. 5 cm (1 15/16 in.)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1926
Accession Number:
26.7.898
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 111
Among the faience animals found in Middle Kingdom tombs, the best known is undoubtedly the hippopotamus, rendered in a variety of poses that represent this fearsome animal in its natural state, and decorated with images of the plants and animals found in its marshy habitat. This small faience hippopotamus was found in the wrappings of Renisnenb's mummy at the small of the back. Also in the wrappings were a mirror (26.7.1351), a necklace (26.7.1349), and a shen amulet (26.7.1347).
Excavated by Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter, 1910; acquired by Carnarvon in the division of finds. Carnarvon Collection purchased by the Museum from Lady Carnarvon, 1926.

Carnarvon, 5th Earl of and Howard Carter 1912. Five Years' Explorations at Thebes. p. 55, pl. LI.

Hayes, William C. 1953. Scepter of Egypt I: A Background for the Study of the Egyptian Antiquities in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Part I: From the Earliest Times to the End of the Middle Kingdom. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 226.

Patch, Diana Craig 2015. "Standing Hippopotamus." In Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom, edited by Adela Oppenheim, Dorothea Arnold, Dieter Arnold, and Kei Yamamoto. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, pp. 216–17, no. 157.

Yamamoto, Kei 2015. "Comprehending Life: Community, Environment, and the Supernatural." In Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom, edited by Adela Oppenheim, Dorothea Arnold, Dieter Arnold, and Kei Yamamoto. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 190.

Kamrin, Janice 2015. "The Decoration of Elite Tombs: Connecting the Living and the Dead." In Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom, edited by Adela Oppenheim, Dorothea Arnold, Dieter Arnold, and Kei Yamamoto. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 31.

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