Egypt

Statuette depicting the dog associated with the goddess Isis-Sothis - Red terracotta

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Statuette depicting the dog associated with the goddess Isis-Sothis - Red terracottaStatuette depicting the dog associated with the goddess Isis-Sothis - Red terracotta

Fragment of a statuette depicting the dog associated with the goddess Isis-Sothis.
Red terracotta. Height 10,9 cm.
This "Maltese" dog is represented by oblique stripes, its tail wrapped in a spiral, its snout and ears pointed, a mane around its neck.
Greco-Roman period, 2nd-1st century B.C. Alexandria, Egypt.
Visible gaps.

From the French private collection J. L. G. (Paris).

Sothis is the Greek name of the Egyptian goddess Sopdet (or Sôpdit). Divine personification of the star Sirius (the star of the dog in Greek), it symbolizes the arrival of the annual flood of the Nile, which once coincided with the appearance of the star at the beginning of July.

"Greco-Roman terracottas represent almost exclusively another breed of canidae. It is a small, relatively short dog on legs, with a long coat and a tail wrapped around the hindquarters. The snout and ears are pointed, the head is surrounded by a small mane. Representations of this animal in Egypt are not very frequent except for terracottas and Hellenistic funerary stelae exhumed in the necropolises of Alexandria. This breed seems to have appeared at the end of the Pharaonic period or at the beginning of the Ptolemaic period. Modern literature often refers to it as a "Maltese dog". (...)
This "Maltese dog" appears in Egyptian iconographic documentation only from the Hellenistic period and may have been introduced in Egypt by the Greeks for whom it was familiar. There is a close parallel between the representations of this canine on the funerary stelae of the Greek world and those exhumed in Alexandria. However, it must be questioned whether the importance of this animal in Egyptian coroplasthood is a reflection of a reality or a copy of a Greek motif associating the dog with Sirius. Indeed, to our knowledge, no skeletons of this canine could be observed in animal mummies. (...) It seems obvious that it is an example of Greek iconography adapted to the Egyptian world and therefore does not reflect a strict reality." Céline Boutantin, Terres cuites et culte domestique : Bestiaire de l’Egypte gréco-romaine. Edition Brill, 2013.

#P1370734

€ 400 ,-