Ancient Egypt, late Predynastic to Early Dynastic Period, late Naqada III to 2nd Dynasty, ca. 3100 to 2686 BCE. An incredibly rare depiction of Heqet (also Heqat, Heket, Hekat), the frog/frog-headed goddess of childbirth, fertility, and one of the oldest Egyptian deities associated with creation. This zoomorphic example is carved from serpentinized limestone of deep cream and emerald-green hues and displays Heqet as a small frog seated upon an integral rectangular plinth. Her attenuated front legs hold her upper body aloft while her hind legs are tucked beneath, and her upturned head displays bulging hemispherical eyes and a thin incised mouth. Depictions of Heqet are fairly uncommon on painted panels or sarcophagi, and three-dimensional frog-form depictions of the goddess are exceedingly scarce. Size: 1.7" L x 1.75" W x 1.875" H (4.3 cm x 4.4 cm x 4.8 cm).
Heqet is one of the oldest and most important deities in Egyptian mythos as she is most-closely associated with the child-bearing process, birth, and reproduction. According to author and Egyptologist Garry J. Shaw, "The goddess Heket, shown as a frog or frog-headed, was regarded as a female counterpart to Khnum, and is sometimes referred to as his wife, though she is also cited as the wife of Horus the Elder, as well as of the god Heh. Connected with childbirth, her image was carved into apotropaic wands (also called birth tusks) of the Middle Kingdom, and amulets in her shape were worn in the New Kingdom." (Shaw, Garry J. "The Egyptian Myths: A Guide to the Ancient Gods and Legends." Thames & Hudson Inc., New York, 2014, p. 156)
For a stylistically-similar example carved from travertine, please see The Cleveland Museum of Art, accession number 1976.5: http://www.clevelandart.org/art/1976.5
A CIRAM scientific report accompanies this item, reference number 0717-OA-52N-4.
Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection; ex-Richard Wagner collection, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA, acquired in the 1960s; a CIRAM scientific report accompanies this item, reference number 0717-OA-52N-4
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Minor abrasions to body and base, otherwise intact and choice. Light earthen deposits throughout. Old inventory label beneath base.