The Freud Museum

Falcon-headed figure

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3124, Falcon-headed figure, 19th century

Artist: Photographer: Ardon Bar Hama
Material: Gessoed and painted wood
Dimensions: h. 8 in / 22 cm

This falcon-headed figure is a nineteenth century forgery, probably meant to be Horus, god of the sky and protector of the pharaoh. In The Interpretation of Dreams, Freud analyzes a dream from his childhood involving falcon-headed men. Freud would have come across depictions of Egyptian deities in his father’s first-edition copy of the Philippson’s Bible, which contained German and Hebrew texts along with over 600 images, several of which had Egyptian subjects.

Forgeries of this type are still manufactured today in Egypt, and make use of traditional methods and sometimes ancient materials. Forgeries of ancient Egyptian artefacts go back to the seventeenth century, but a great number of them appear in the nineteenth century after Napoleon’s expedition to Egypt in 1798, and the deciphering of Egyptian hieroglyphs by J.F. Champollion in 1822. Tourism to Egypt became increasingly popular during this period, bringing many false artefacts back to Europe.

See this object on our Collections site here 

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