Figurine of a hippopotamus. Middle Kingdom, Dynasty 12/13, ca. 1970–1640 B. C.

In Ancient Egypt hippos were considered very dangerous. They destroyed the crops of the farmers, and
therefore most of them were hunted down in the age of the pharaohs. Being dangerous animals, they at
the same time played an apotropaic (protective) role. Hippo figurines were often found in the tombs dated
back to the Middle Kingdom. In many case the legs of the statues were deliberately broken to protect the
deceased from the animal in the afterworld.