Statue of a hippopotamus
This statue of a hippopotamus, made of white-spotted black granite, is one of the collection's most impressive early works. The animal is lying down, in a strictly frontal position. Its massive body is almost cubic and heavily stylized, in contrast to the detailed facial characteristics, which are rendered naturalisticaly and express fully the animal's power. The eyes and mouth are accentuated with engraved lines. Large or, more frequently, small similar stone hippopotamus statues were found both in sacred deposits in early sanctuaries at Abydos, Elephantine and Ierakopolis, and in tombs where they were placed as grave gifts. In the latter case, they were either pendants with apotropa?c powers or game pawns. It is believed that they represent either an early deity or a symbol of power. The statue was donated by Ioannis Dimitriou.