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Reading Objects 2019: Student Edition

The relief sculpture of a Child-god is a particularly fine example of a ‘sculptor’s model’ or ‘votive object,’ a piece appearing to be a fragment but actually a fully realized object in itself. It is probably Harpokrates, Horus the Child, often found in ‘birthing’ temples, or in artisans workshops associated with the temples, of the Ptolemaic period. Harpokrates is often portrayed sucking his finger, possibly seen here in unfinished form to the right of his mouth. Also common to Harpokrates is the child’s side-lock which curls elegantly down the side of his head. The curling lock is echoed in the smaller curl of the uraeus (upright cobra) on his skullcap, which signifies divine sovereignty. The full cheeks and neck creases suggest a very young child, also common to portrayals of Harpokrates. The carving demonstrates assurance in the delicate quality of the beautifully shaped eyes and mouth, the lovely fullness of the eyebrow and the slight, beneficent smile.<br /><br />
Image of item
Kathe Kollwitz
printing ink
etching (print)
21.59 x 29.21 cm (8 1/2 x 11 1/2 inches)

Emma Murphy

Undergraduate- Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Class of 2021

Mother’s Revolt

From the goddess herself,
Behold the Child God.
He who was too young
To know the harm to come.

Is Ancient Egypt truly so
Far away– mothers separated
From their children here, everyday.
How come this plaster speaks none
Of the truth concealed in heat–

With a vacant eye, a soft ear to hold
Isis + Osiris birthed the Child God
Horus, yet he is no more.

The web continues while we forget–
To know the life that brought ours back.
Woven in gold, binded by grey,
Gritty revelations of hearts that lack.

Have we come so far as to disregard
Belief that our path is somehow apart–
A Child God sent to war on his
Mother’s back. Is that not enough
For those in search of upper hands
To give up the fight and return
That which we’ve longed and yearned.

Or is the Child God sent to remedy
The anguish and pain of a century
Old prophecy since the ache of time
Began it’s merge with human eyes?

Spin the chains to now– We’ve lost.
Isis + Osiris lay with their Child God
Above. He who was too young
To know the harm to come.