Thursday, February 26, 2015


Not any blog about hippos would be complete without featuring Taweret, a goddess looking (mostly) like a hippo. I was able to order the image (AN31767001) from the British Museum, (London, United Kingdom) through a wonderful service it provides. I am very proud to be able to share this amazing photograph with the museum's permission.
Next to it, I have made a copy of the description, as it can be found on the museum's website, followed by the link, connecting you directly to the home page of the British Museum.

Breccia statue of the goddess Taweret

From Egypt
Late Period, after 600 BC

A household deity

Taweret was a fierce goddess who protected the mother and child during childbirth. Unlike most goddesses, she had no human elements, consisting instead of the head and body of a hippopotamus, the tail of a crocodile and the legs of a lioness. All these creatures were renowned for aggressively protecting their young.

Births usually took place inside the home, so Taweret was considered a household deity. No large-scale temples were dedicated to the goddess, instead figures of her were placed on the household altar that was part of every home. These figures were amulets and guaranteed the protection of the goddess against malign forces that might threaten the household, especially its children. These statues were generally small and often made of wood or clay.

Larger statues of Taweret are unusual as stone statues on a monumental scale were generally placed within temples.
Kings, and later private individuals, sometimes dedicated statues of deities, or of themselves holding deities, to show their devotion to a god. The dedication of a figure of Taweret might have been to gain her favour in a forthcoming birth, or in thanks for her intervention in a recent one.

A. Siliotti (ed.), Viaggiatori veneti alla scoper (Venezia, Arsenale editrice, 1985)

With special thanks to the British Museum.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Schleich 2012

Schleich is a German company founded by Friedrich Schleich in 1935. It is producing toy figurines and accessories. For hippo collectors, Schleich hippos are not very difficult to find. I have quite a number of them in my collection. A few days ago, I added another one. A gift from a dear friend, visiting from the Netherlands, who is (bless him) always on the lookout for anything hippo for me (see posts: Marius, Inkognito and The Choir). At first glance, it looked like one I already have, a hippo made in 1996, but after looking closer, I noticed they made quite some changes, and absolutely for the better! First of all, the color changed from grey to a much more realistic brown. Also the shape of the nose (new one is wider) is much better. With nicer and more detailed upper teeth, better shaped legs and nicer eyes, it is clear the designers of the company really paid attention. It took them a few years, but they went from producing an OK hippo, to producing a wonderful hippo. Job well done!  


Thursday, February 5, 2015


Before I will copy the information as it can be found on Wikipedia, about a hippopotamus called Obaysch, I will have to thank a fellow hippo-lover: Gail Stewart Rumsey. She was so kind to share this story in the group on Facebook: Hippolotofus.
Texts and photographs: Wikipedia (direct link) with special thanks to Gail for sharing this wonderful and very interesting "Hippopotamus-History" story.

Crowds look on as Obaysch rests in the London Zoo in this 1852
photograph taken by Juan, Count of Montizón
"Obaysch (1849? - 11 March 1878) was the first hippopotamus seen in Great Britain since prehistoric times, and the first time in Europe since Ancient Rome. He was captured on an island on the White Nile when he was less than one year old. His name is derived from the name of the island.
The Ottoman Viceroy of Egypt, Abbas Pasha, agreed with the British Consul General, Sir Charles Augustus Murray (later known as "Hippopotamus Murray") to swap Obaysch and some other exotic animals for some greyhounds and deerhounds.
 Obaysch was sent by boat down the Nile to Cairo, accompanied by a herd of cows to provide him with milk. He was sent by P&O steamer to Southampton, and he arrived at London Zoo on 25 May 1850. He was an instant sensation in London, attracting up to 10,000 visitors each day, and spawning a trade in hippo memorabilia and even a Hippopotamus Polka. The number of visitors to the Zoo in 1850 was double the previous year.
Abbas Pasha sent a second hippo to London, a female named Adhela who arrived on 22 July 1854. After a wait of over 16 years, the pair finally produced offspring in 1871, but the calf died after 2 days. A second calf died the following year, but a third, born on 5 November 1872, survived. It was a female named Guy Fawkes. Adhela survived Obaysch by 4 years, dying on 16 December 1882. Guy Fawkes died on 20 March 1908.
Obaysch once escaped from captivity in London Zoo and according to legend a keeper was used as bait to lure him back into his enclosure."

Adhela and Guy Fawkes

 Hippopotamus Polka sheet-music cover