Egyptian Faience Hedgehog Figurine

Faience hedgehog with a white core and turquoise and black coating. Hedgehog-shaped objects of the most diverse types have been present in Egypt since the Predynastic Period. We find it in jewelry, as an amulet, as a decorative element on the bow of boats, but also in containers for cosmetics.

Images of hedgehogs were painted in tombs of the Old Kingdom as decoration on the bows of boats. It was also used in the production of small, animal-shaped perfume containers until the Roman Period (30 BC-313 AD). It is probable that hedgehogs were connected with the god of childbirth, Mut or Bes.

Egyptian Faience Hedgehog Figurine
Egyptian Faience Hedgehog Figurine

The Egyptians were impressed by this small mammal since the Predynastic Period because of its ability to live in extreme environmental conditions. The hedgehog is mainly active at night, and is endowed with particularly acute eyesight; protected by its quills, the animal lives in semi-desert areas, bordering on inhospitable lands, considered to be places of death; it also hunts snakes and scorpions, whose poison it is able to resist. Its nocturnal activity meant that it was associated with the nocturnal race of the sun before its rebirth, and it was therefore seen as triumphant over dangers and death and therefore a symbol of rebirth.

Middle Kingdom, 12th Dynasty, ca. 1976-1793 BC. height: 4 cm, length: 6.5 cm, width: 4.2 cm. From Beni Hasan, Tomb 655. Now in the Fitzwilliam Museum. E.345.1954