Harpocrates flanked by Isis & Nepthys

Sister goddesses, Isis and Nepthys, stand beside and hold hands with Harpocrates, the god of silence, secrets and confidentiality in the Hellenistic religion developed in Ptolemaic Alexandria.

Harpocrates stands in the centre, his youthfulness indicated by his nudity and the sidelock of hair worn on his head. He is flanked by Isis and Nephthys. All the figures are standing with their backs against a rectangular panel. There is a suspension ring at the back.

Harpocrates flanked by Isis & Nepthys. British Museum. EA11638
Harpocrates flanked by Isis & Nepthys

Harpocrates, also known as Horus the Child, is often depicted in ancient Egyptian mythology as being flanked by Isis and Nephthys. Isis is the goddess of magic, fertility, and motherhood, while Nephthys is the goddess of mourning and protection. This imagery symbolizes the protective and nurturing aspects surrounding Harpocrates.

Related: Pectoral of Tutankhamun with Osiris, Isis and Nephthys

While Egyptian jewelry was worn in daily life, most of the examples known today came from tombs, where they adorned mummies. Amulets provided magical protection for the wearer in both life and death. Represented here are Horus the Child (Harpocrates) flanked by Isis and Nephthys.

These amulets were believed to provide protection and bring good fortune to the wearer. The imagery of Harpocrates with Isis and Nephthys symbolizes their combined powers of protection, magic, and nurturing.

The Egyptian child god Horus, known as Harpocrates in Greek, is the son of Isis and, essentially, the personification of the newborn sun. He is often pictured as a naked boy holding one finger just below the lips of his mouth, which is in fact the hieroglyphic sign for the word “child.”

This green glazed amulet was discovered in Tarsus, a historic city in south-central Turkey, an ancient centre of trade in the Mediterranean, and the place where Mark Antony and Cleopatra first met.

Late Period, 26th to 30th Dynasty, ca. 664-332 BC. Made of Egyptian faience. Dimensions: height: 5.15 centimetres width: 3.74 centimetres depth: 1.77 centimetres. It now resides at the British Museum. EA11638