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Quartzite statue of Osorkon I as the Nile-god Hapy


Height: 220.000 cm (max.)

Salt Collection

EA 8

Room 4: Egyptian sculpture

    Quartzite statue of Osorkon I as the Nile-god Hapy

    From Karnak, Egypt
    22nd Dynasty, about 920 BC

    Dedicated by Sheshonq, Osorkon's son

    Hapy, the personification of the River Nile, is frequently shown in human form with a sagging paunchy stomach and heavy breasts. This mixture of male and female characteristics is intended to signify fertility and the richness of the natural world. To reinforce this, the abundance that the Nile brings is displayed by the offering table which the god holds, with its overflowing mass of the produce of Egypt.

    Statues such as this have much in common with the 'fecundity figures' placed in rows at the bottom of temple walls; these are intended to represent the fertility and productiveness of the ground on which the temple stands.

    The texts on this statue name King Osorkon I (about 924-889 BC) and it is presumably his features that are represented. The small figures on the side and associated texts indicate that the statue was dedicated by Sheshonq, Osorkon's son. Portraits of kings of the Twenty-second Dynasty are very rare, and it would appear that this statue is made to look very like statues of the later Eighteenth Dynasty, perhaps in a conscious attempt to recapture the spirit of the reigns of Thutmose IV and Amenhotep III.

    T.G.H. James and W.V. Davies, Egyptian sculpture (London, The British Museum Press, 1983)


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