Ancient Egyptian Lapis Lazuli Harpokrates Amulet Earrings
A fine pair of Ancient Egyptian lapis lazuli amulets mounted on modern gold studs. The amulets depict Harpokrates in his typical representation: a seated child raising his right hand to the mouth. The crudely rendered figure is seen wearing the side-lock of youth, the typical attribute of Horus-the-child, identifying its wearer as a legitimate heir of Osiris. The amulets had been pierced transversally in antiquity, though the suspension holes are now blocked with encrustations.
Date: Circa 760-30 BC Period: Late Period - Ptolemaic Period Provenance: From the late Alison Barker collection, a retired London barrister; from her collection formed early 1960s-1990s. Condition: Fine condition, the amulets have been mounted on modern gold studs; some earthy encrustations remain on the surface.
The name Harpokrates (Ἁρποκράτης) was the Ancient Greek adaptation of the Egyptian Har-pa-khered or Heru-pa-khered, which translates to ‘Horus the Child’. Child-gods were the child member of a divine triad composed of a father, a mother and a child, and functioned as guarantors of fertility, eternal renewal and continuity of royal succession. Their cult grew in popularity during the Third Intermediate Period and became prominent in the Ptolemaic and Roman Periods. Harpokrates is widely accepted as the son of Isis and Osiris/Serapis. His most common representation sees him as a naked child, holding his finger to his mouth. While the Egyptian interpreted such gesture as symbolising childhood, the Greek understood it as a reference to silence, introducing Harpokrates as the god of silence and confidentiality in the Hellenistic religion.
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