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A magical cippus stela made from steatite, which possibly originates from Abydos. It shows the child god Horus (or Harpakhered) standing on a crocodile and holding snakes and scorpions in his hands. In this way, he displays victory over dangerous animals. The child deity is depicted naked and with the sidelock of youth. Directly above him is a very much damaged head of the deity Bes. The stela also has protective spells on the reverse and around the edge of the piece. It is usually believed that such items had magical qualities against illness; if you poured water over the cippus, the figure of Horus the Child together with the magic spell on the back would impart healing powers to the water. Larger cippi were provided with basins in which to collect the healing water. It is noticeable that these items are often very worn. This may have been because people rubbed and kissed the items in order to imbue themselves with their magical powers. It likely dates to the Late-Dynastic to Graeco-Roman Period. The object was gifted to the University of Wales, Aberystwyth by John Bancroft Willans, a subscriber of the Egypt Exploration Fund/Society, who received the object in 1903. Subsequently gifted to the Egypt Centre in 1997.


Anonymous. 1996. The face of Egypt: Swansea Festival exhibition: 5 October 1996–5 January 1997. Swansea: Glynn Vivian Art Gallery. [Cat. 59] Sternberg- El Hotabi, Heike 1999. Untersuchungen zur Überlieferungsgeschichte der Horusstelen: ein Beitrag zur Religionsgeschichte Ägyptens im 1. Jahrtausend v. Chr. Ägyptologische Abhandlungen 62. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.


Last modified: 27 Nov 2023

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