Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Ba-bird

Period:
Ptolemaic Period
Date:
332–30 BC or later
Geography:
From Egypt
Medium:
Wood, paint, gold leaf
Dimensions:
H. 15.5 cm (6 1/8 in.); W. 5.1 cm (2 in.); L. 9.3 cm (3 11/16 in.)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1944
Accession Number:
44.4.83
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 134
The ba is an aspect of a person's non-physical being. After death, the ba was able to travel out from the tomb, but it had to periodically return to the tomb and be reunited with the mummy. The bas was usually represented as a bird with a human head, and sometimes with human arms.

Ba bird statuettes are among the wooden statues that might accompany a burial in the Late and Ptolemaic Periods. Sometimes they were prepared for attachment to a coffin or certain kinds of stelae. This small beautiful ba-bird is crowned with a sundisk, and wears a gold diadem and red fillet often seen on divine beings. It wears and large broad collar, a djed pillar marks its chest. The coloring is vivid, the wings are beautifully variegated, and gilding is applied over the face collar and disk.
.
J. Pierpont Morgan Collection, acquired by him before 1913. Acquired by the Museum from the Estate of J. P. Morgan, 1944.

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