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Egyptian Statue of Horus vs Mesopotamia Plaque of Protection

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Egyptian Statue of Horus vs Mesopotamia Plaque of Protection

This document will compare two works of art from ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. The first piece from ancient Egypt is a Statuette of Horus from the Third Intermediate Period. The second piece is a plaque for protection from the Neo-Assyrian period. Both pieces of art are made by using the lost-wax bronze castings technique which this paper will examine.

Statuette of Horus
Horus was a falcon-headed man the son of Aset (Isis) and Osiris (McLeish, 1996). The falcon head is represented by a beak and bird like eyes. The statuette of Horus depicts a sun disk over his head and a cobra wrapped around the disk. The sun disk represents the sun god Ra, while the cobra goddess represents the nurse or protector of Horus. The statuette of Horus was produced using the lost-wax bronze casting technique and made in several parts. The lost-wax bronze casting was commonly used during the Third Intermediate Period (Edith Whitney Watts, 1998). His eyes represented the sun and the moon and are inlaid with gold and inlays of glass probably filled the eye sockets at one time. Horus’s body has a long bust with the pectorals placed high and a narrow waist. The body is smooth to represent his god like indestructibility. His left leg is striding forward and he is looking directly forward. His Egyptian loincloth has ribbed vertical lines. The statue is mainly smooth with some detail preciously carved for the features of the hair, eyes, beak and loincloth.
Plaque of Protection
The plaque of protection also known as the “Hell Plaque” (Castor) against the female demon Lamashtu is from the Neo-Assyrian Period (Castor). The demon Lamashtu appears on the front and was believed to cause many illnesses. Pazuzu her husband is pictured on the back of the plaque and is to persuade her to go away. This was to speed the patient’s recovery. The front of the plaque is divided into four registers. The first register represents the gods to heal the sick; the sun of Shamash, lighting bolt of Adad, and the disk of Ashur. The second register reflects seven spirts each with animal heads which seem to be guarding the sick person’s door. In the third register the patient is lying on a bed surrounded by the spirits associated with Ea. They are dressed in fish skins and are probably the exorcists conducting the ritual (Castor). The bottom register depicts Lamashtu sitting on a donkey boat and is the cause of the illness. She has a hairy body, lions head and talons (Castor). Her husband Pazuzu is standing behind her with his hand raised. He is there to protect the patient. The plaque was created by using the lost-wax bronze casting technique.
Lost-Wax Bronze Casting
Even though Horus is a three-dimensional statue and the Plaque for protection is a flat plaque they were both created using the lost-wax bronze casting technique. Casting solid figures using this method the statue or plaque was made entirely of wax then covered with clay and fired. During the firing process the wax melted leaving the hardened terracotta. The metal is then poured into the terracotta and once the metal becomes hardened the terracotta is broken to release the art work. After the metal is completely cooled the metal can then be detailed using pointed chasing tools (Edith Whitney Watts, 1998). This method was used in both the Third Intermediate period and the Neo-Assyrian Period.
In conclusion, even though each piece is a different type of art work one being a statue, the other a plaque they use the same medium and they both feature gods and goddesses of protection of Egyptian and Mesopotamian belief. The statue of Horus used the cobra as a protector while the Plaque of protection used people dressed in fish skins and other animals to protect the sick. Both of these artifacts use animals as protectors. Animals as protectors are used throughout Egyptian and Mesopotamian history.
The Plaque of protection pictures and depicts many gods and goddesses while the statue of Horus depicts Horus, the cobra goddess and the sun god Ra. The cobra protects Horus and Pazuzu protects patients from Lamashtu. Both the statue of Horus and the Plaque of protection give great insights into the culture, art and religion of their times. In contrast the statue of Horus is an Egyptian artifact as the Plaque of protection is a Mesopotamian artifact.


Castor, M.-J. (n.d.). Department of Near Eastern Antiquities:Mesopotamia. Retrieved September 2014, from Louvre France:

Edith Whitney Watts, B. G. (1998). In E. W. Watts, B. Girsh, & M. M. Art, The Art of Ancient Egypt (p. 56). New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art.

McLeish, K. (1996). bloomsbury dictionary of myth. Retrieved September 2014, from Horus:

Wadjet. (2012). Retrieved September 2014, from Britannica concise encyclopedia:…...

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