This hedgehog (<em>Paraechinus aethiopicus) </em>stands in the round on an oval base, with openwork defining the legs. The carving is delicate and spirited. The face features large, round eyes; widely spaced, short ears; bulging cheeks; and a protruding snout. A tiny tail hangs at the rear. Crosshatching on the back represents the animal's spines. The design on the base begins at the head with a winged sun disk with pendant uraei. Below is a cluster of hieroglyphic signs, including an ankh-sign, a falcon with a sun disk, a hoe, and a <em>maat-</em>feather. A <em>neb-</em>sign fills the balance below.

The significance of the hedgehog has multiple theories. As a hibernating animal, it may have associated with the powers of self-renewal and resurrection. Another lies in the animal's defensive strategy of inflating itself into a ball and projecting its spines, a posture of obvious apotropaic significance. Lastly, Egyptian folklore maintained that hedgehog amulets provided protection against snake bites, a belief grounded in the animal's natural resistance to poison.

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  • Title: Hedgehog
  • Date Created: c. 1391–1353 BCE
  • Physical Dimensions: Overall: 1.7 x 1.8 cm (11/16 x 11/16 in.)
  • Provenance: The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
  • Type: Scarabs
  • Rights: CC0
  • External Link: https://clevelandart.org/art/1975.24
  • Medium: steatite, originally glazed
  • Fun Fact: Hedgehogs were common on amulets in the New Kingdom (1500s–1000s BC) and can also be seen on the backs of seals and scaraboids.
  • Department: Egyptian and Ancient Near Eastern Art
  • Culture: Egypt, New Kingdom (1540–1069 BCE), Dynasty 18, reign of Amenhotep III (1390–1352 BCE)
  • Credit Line: Guerdon S. Holden Memorial Fund
  • Collection: Egypt - New Kingdom
  • Accession Number: 1975.24

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