Statue of Horus Falcon Wearing Pschent Crown with Uraeus

Lord of the sky, solar god, and god of kingship — Horus is among Egypt’s oldest deities. The falcon soaring in the sky embodied the god’s qualities, and Horus was represented as a falcon or falcon-headed man.

As heir to the divine kingship of Egypt, he appears here with the royal uraeus (cobra) and the Pschent or the double crown of Egypt. The statue illustrates the high standard of bronzeworking and the rising popularity of animal cults in Late Period Egypt (664-332 BC).

Statue of Horus Falcon Wearing Pschent Crown with Uraeus
Statue of Horus Falcon Wearing Pschent Crown with Uraeus

The bird’s gilt eyes stand out from the dazzling feather coat, bringing to mind the celestial falcon, whose eyes were the sun and the moon. X-radiography has revealed a bird skeleton encased in the bronze.

Mummified animals were dedicated by the thousands to the relevant deities. This bronze falcon, then, is not just an image of Horus but the tangible remains of a prayer to the god more than 2,500 years ago.

The falcon is a lost-wax cast. The base and legs were cast as a unit and inserted 2 cm into the upper legs. There is no evidence of solder, and the lower legs may simply be tightly fitted into the upper legs.

The x-radiographs of the falcon indicate it was cast using a direct lost-wax technique, in which the wax would have been modeled over a prepared core, resulting in walls that are thick but not uniformly so. Further evidence of this is the lack of wax manipulation marks at any interior surfaces.

Statue of Horus Falcon Wearing Pschent Crown with Uraeus
Statue of Horus Falcon Wearing Pschent Crown with Uraeus

X-radiographs also show that a number of bones are stored in the interior. These were introduced after removal of core material through a rectangular opening (3.8 x 5.6 cm) at the bottom of the tail, which is now covered with a bronze patch (5.1 x 6.7 cm).

Remains of what appears to be light buff-colored core material are visible in a hole (7 x 7 mm) at the front of the headdress. A rectangular patch (12 x 5 mm) on the left side of the headdress is slightly recessed.

In the x-radiographs, the patch appears to be about 4 mm thick. Core pin holes or intact core pins appear to be present.

A dark area (1 x 4 mm) visible in the x-radiograph on the right side of the lower headdress corresponds to an area of red corrosion products on the surface of the bronze.

A 2-mm black spot in the x-radiograph at the wings also appears to be related to a core pin, although no evidence is visible on the surface.

The x-radiographs also reveal excess metal inside the head where a flash line (2 to 3 mm wide) caused by a crack in the core runs down the back of the head and from the head down the chest to the legs.

Late Period, 26th Dynasty, ca. 664-525 BC. Leaded bronze, gold-alloy inlay around eye. Dimensions: 37.5 x 9.5 x 24.1 cm (14 3/4 x 3 3/4 x 9 1/2 in.). Now in Harvard Art Museums. 1943.1118

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