Stele of Horus, inscribed with magical spells

Decoration in high relief.

Historical period(s)
Ptolemaic Dynasty, 305-30 BCE
H x W x D: 19.4 x 11.6 x 4 cm (7 5/8 x 4 9/16 x 1 9/16 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Freer Gallery 20: A Collector’s Eye: Freer in Egypt


Bes, crocodile, Egypt, Horus, lion, magic, Ptolemaic Dynasty (305 - 30 BCE), scorpion, snake

To 1908
Ali Arabi, Giza, Egypt, to 1908 [1]

From 1908 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Ali Arabi, in Cairo, in May, 1908 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] See Original Miscellaneous List, S.I, 64, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Ali Arabi (C.L. Freer source) ca. 1840-1932
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919


Decoration in high relief.


Has inscription.


The central figure on this stele is the child form of the god Horus. He stands on the heads of two crocodiles, which cross each other beneath his feet and face out to the sides. In his left hand he clutches two serpents and a lion by the tail; in his right, two scorpions by the stingers and an oryx by the horns. Every flat surface on the stele is covered with magical hieroglyphic texts consisting of spells which protect against snakes, scorpions, and the other evil forces the god subdues.

This type of object was often set up in private households, but examples have also been found in tombs, suggesting that their protective powers could also be extended to the deceased.

Published References
  • Ann C. Gunter. A Collector's Journey: Charles Lang Freer and Egypt. Washington and London, 2002. p. 102, fig. 4.10.
Collection Area(s)
Ancient Egyptian Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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