The subject of this relief is uncertain. The image of a pregnant hippopotamus with a lion’s mane is similar to the goddess Taweret. This goddess, with the addition of a crocodile on her back and another nipping her paw, is often found in Egyptian astronomical texts in connection with the northern constellations.
However, the inscription at the left names Hapi, the god of the Nile’s inundation, who has nothing to do with the stars. Perhaps the strong denotations of fertility of both Taweret and Hapi hold a clue to the meaning of the scene.
DATES ca. 664-30 B.C.E.
PERIOD Late Period to Ptolemaic Period (possibly)
DIMENSIONS 14 5/16 x 13 1/2 x 2 3/4 in., 23 lb. (36.4 x 34.3 x 7 cm, 23 lb.)