Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Blue hippo

At the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Period: Middle Kingdom
Dynasty: Dynasty 12, early
Date: ca. 1981–1885 B.C.
Geography: Egypt, Middle Egypt, Meir (MIr), Tomb of Senbi, Burial 3, pit 1, Khashaba 1910

The seemingly benign appearance that this figurine presents is deceptive. To the ancient Egyptians, the hippopotamus was one of the most dangerous animals in their world. The huge creatures were a hazard for small fishing boats and other rivercraft.

This example was one of a pair found in a shaft associated with the tomb chapel of the steward Senbi II at Meir. Three of its legs have been restored because they were purposely broken to prevent the creature from harming the deceased.