Hedgehog Statuette

The statuette is a faithful model of a hedgehog with a long nose, small eyes, and pointed ears, but the body is completely covered with spines in a rather representational manner. The figure is made from blue faience and stands on an oval faience base.

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.

Hedgehog Statuette
Hedgehog Statuette. Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 30742

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.

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.

Middle Kingdom, ca. 2055-1650 BC. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 30742