Gold Head of the Falcon God Horus
This exquisite gold head of the falcon god Horus, lord of the sun and patron deity of kingship, was found below the floor of the main chamber of his temple at Hierakonpolis, north of Edfu.
The head, which is made out of beaten gold, was fixed to a copper statue of the falcon Horus. It is topped by a twin-plumed headdress and decorated with a royal uraeus, or rearing cobra. The eyes are inlaid with rounded, polished, obsidian pieces, very similar to that of the real bird.
Horus is one of the most significant and revered deities in ancient Egyptian mythology. He was often depicted as a falcon-headed god and was associated with kingship, protection, and the sky.
Horus was believed to be the son of Osiris and Isis and played a crucial role in the Osiris myth, seeking justice for his father’s murder and becoming the rightful ruler of Egypt.
It was certainly a cult statue, which was set up on a base in its shrine, with a royal statuette placed under its protection.
The association between Horus and Nekhen highlights the significance of the city in ancient Egyptian religious beliefs and the role of Horus as a powerful and protective deity in Egyptian mythology.
Horus, one of the major Egyptian deities, whose name ‘herw’ should mean ‘the far one’. As a deity, it was quite known in Predynastic Period, during the conquest and unification of Egypt.
The focus of these actions was the city of Hierakonpolis (Nekhen), ‘the city of the falcon’ where he was the main deity, which elevated him to dynastic and national deity. It was located in Upper Egypt, near the modern-day city of Edfu.
The city was considered a cult center for Horus, and it was believed to be the place where Horus defeated his rival, Seth, in the mythological battle for kingship.
Nekhen held significant religious and political importance, being associated with the god Horus and serving as the capital of the 22nd Upper Egyptian nome (administrative division).
The city was known for its impressive temples, including the Temple of Nekhen, which was dedicated to Horus. Nekhen played a crucial role in the early development of Egyptian civilization and was a center of power and cultural influence during the Old Kingdom.
Old Kingdom, 6th Dynasty, ca. 2345-2181 BC. From Kom al-Ahmar Necropolis. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 32158