A rare, magic hematite intaglio, mounted in a gold pendant at a later time. Horus-Harpocrates (front); magic inscriptions (back and border). The god, turned to the left, is stepping on two converging crocodiles, which are crossing their bodies; the god's arms are wide open, each hand holding a snake and a scorpion. Hair tied in a braid, which bends a little bit over the shoulder, as a symbol of the childhood of the god, who is not totally naked, but partially covered by a garment in the loins area. A mask of Bes is located above his head. Such effigy acquires the Harpocratic connotation of the Horus the child, which is present on the so-called Stelae of Arpocrates, coming from Egypt and widespread during the hellenistic and roman times for their thaumaturgical powers. According to the mythical tradition, the child-god had been stung by a scorpion and cured thanks to the intervention of god Thot. The amulet with the depiction of Horus-Arpocrates, standing on crocodiles while holding scorpions and snakes in his hands, became a powerful, magical-apotropaical talisman against illnesses and poisonous stings (afterwards, also an allegory of the fight of good against evil). On the back and border of the gem: magic inscriptions. Particularly rare iconography, and of a remarkable historical interest. The intaglio is characterized by the peculiar choice of the stone, whose different shades have been exploited with artistry according to the engraving. Chippings on the border. Mounted in solid gold at a later time. Wear marks. For comparisons: we mention a fine specimen of stela of Arpocrates in steatite, from the 1st century A.D., private collection, in Cleopatra. Roma e l'incantesimo dell'Egitto, a cura di Giovanni Gentili, p. 297 n. 145; cfr. British Museum database (Collection online) for the small bronzes of Horus-Arpocrates and the stealae of Harpocrates. For insights on the figure of Harpocrates, the gnostic gems and the study upon the figure of Horus the child - Harpocrates, identified as son to Isis and Osiris: A. Mastrocinque, Sylloge gemmarum gnosticarum, vol. I, pp. 148-174. II sec. d.C; A.M. El-Khachab, Some Gem-Amulets depicting Harpocrates seated on a lotus flower, in "The Journal of Egyptian Archeology" 57 (1971), pp. 132-133; S.B.A. Mercer, Horus, Royal God of Egypt, 1942, pp. 195-196.
Intaglio 12 x 17 x 4 mm; mounting 39 x 26 mm; gr. 13,11