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LOT 0002

GBP (£) 12,000 - 17,000
EUR (€) 14,210 - 20,130
USD ($) 15,320 - 21,700

3 1/2" (82 grams, 87mm).

A steatite cippus depicting Horus as a child with sidelock, carved in high relief, standing facing on two overlapping crocodiles, holding snakes and scorpions aloft, with a lion hanging from his right hand and an antelope from his left; wedjat eyes above; the reverse and sides with five rows of protective figures and three rows of hieroglyphs below.

Property of a Connecticut, USA, collector; acquired from a German private collection, the Ruhr; formerly in the C. Tautenhahn Collection, Houston, Texas, USA; previously in the Beckmans collection, USA; before 1980.

The cippus of Horus range in date from the thirteenth century BC to the second century AD and were mostly set up in temples, though some are known from domestic contexts. They are normally inscribed with anti-venom spells and had the dual purpose of repelling actual poisonous reptiles or dangerous animals, and to cure those who had been bitten. They also functioned in a more general way against supernatural beings envisaged in animal or reptile form. The power of Horus is demonstrated by his dominion over the evil animals as he is generally depicted standing on the back of crocodiles and holding serpents, scorpions, lions and oryx in his hands.
The standard spell inscribed on these stele call upon deities to protect against evil and begins, "Oh old one who rejuvenates himself in his time, oh old one who makes youth. May you cause Thoth to come at my voice." the text is a reference to the myth that Horus, who died from the stings of scorpions, was revived by the power of Thoth. After his revivification, he became the protectors of others from such a fate. Water poured over the inscribed surfaces of the cippus was thought to absorb the potency of the prayer and the protective powers of the deities. The water was drunk by the afflicted to effect magical protection.