Collection online

relief / bowl

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Terracotta group of Isis nursing Harpocrates.
    The group shows Isis offering her breast to her son, Harpocrates, who seems uninterested. Isis wears her usual knotted costume, which has been unbuttoned to expose the breast. Her long, corkscrew locks fall on to her shoulders. Harpocrates has a full head of hair and is wrapped in a cloak.
    A hole bored into the upper part of Isis' head is perhaps for a separately made crown, now missing. The fabric is a micaceous orange-brown Nile silt. There are minute traces of a white coating on the front. The back is unworked.


  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 1stC
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 8 centimetres
    • Width: 7.2 centimetres
    • Depth: 3.5 centimetres
  • Curator's comments

    Walker & Higgs 2001

    It seems likely that the group was made to be an emblem for a terracotta bowl, rather than being broken from a larger figure in relief. This group follows a series of similar compositions popular during the Ptolemaic and Roman periods.

    Bibliography: R.P. Hinks, 'Isis suckling Horus', 'British Museum Quarterly' 12 (1937-8), 74-5, pl. XXVIIb; V. Tan Tam Tinh, 'Isis Lactans' (Leiden, 1973), pl.XXXIV, cat. no.A26, fig. 53; E.A. Arslan (ed), 'Iside, il mito, il mistero, la magica' (Milan, 1997), cat. no. 111.12; S. Walker & P. Higgs [eds.], 'Cleopatra of Egypt' (London, 2001), p. 106 [128].BM Terracotta IV

    This piece is dated by Bailey from the 3rd to the 2nd century BC.


  • Bibliography

    • Walker & Higgs 2001 128 bibliographic details
    • Terracotta 3012 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G69/Balcony/dc7/shC

  • Condition

    Intact apart from the loss of a small chip from the lower left side.

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Greek & Roman Antiquities

  • Registration number


Terracotta relief from centre of bowl (?) depicting Isis suckling Harpocrates; brown fabric with traces of mica.

Terracotta relief from centre of bowl (?) depicting Isis suckling Harpocrates; brown fabric with traces of mica.

Image description



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Object reference number: GAA60120

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