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Horus Stele
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Horus Stele

Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description The Horus stele, or "cippus," was one of the most important items associated with magic in ancient Egypt. At the center of these stone slabs was the nude figure of the child Horus, or Harpocrates, associated with the newborn sun, with the head of the god Bes above him. Horus-the-Child, the son of Isis, stands on two crocodiles and holds dangerous animals (snakes, scorpion, lion, and antelopes) in his hands, demonstrating that with supernatural powers even a child can overcome dangers. Texts and magical scenes occupy most of the empty space. Larger examples of these Horus stelae were placed in temple precincts, where priests poured water over them to absorb the magical power of the spells and images. Drinking the water, it was believed, would protect against the harmful bites of dangerous creatures as well as other dangers and evils. Smaller versions were used at home, and very small ones were worn as amulets.
Date Description Narrative
  • Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Me. The Jewish Museum, New York. 1964.
  • Daily Magic in Ancient Egypt. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2006-2007.
Provenance Dikran Kelekian, New York and Paris, by purchase; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1923, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1923

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3rd century BCE (Ptolemaic)
dark grey serpentine
Accession Number
6 1/2 in. (16.5 cm)
  • Egypt (Place of Origin)


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