Egyptian Middle Kingdom faience hippopotamus




A very rare glazed faience figure of a couchant hippopotamus with its head resting between its front legs.

The figure retains parches of bright blue glaze around the head and rear-end.

Egyptian hippopotamus figures remain one of the most engaging and charming subjects of ancient Egyptian sculpture to the modern eye. They were originally regarded as malevolent creatures and these figures were intended to act as protective talismans.

Egypt, Middle Kingdom to Second Intermediate Period, Dynasty XII-XVII, c. 1938-1539 BC

7 x 3.5 cms

Surface wear and chipping as seen in the photographs, no repairs or restoration

Ex. collection: Stanley J. Seeger (1930-2011), Sutton Place, Surrey, UK. Probably purchased at Christies during the mid 1980’s though the surface patina is indicative of an early 20th Century collection history.

Seeger was an art collector on an extraordinary scale, filling his house (once the home of John Paul Getty I) with no less than 88 Picasso paintings among many other exceptional works.

For an example of a hippopotamus in a very similar pose, please see Manchester Museum, object ID 6142: