Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Baboon with a wedjat eye

Late Period, Saite
Dynasty 26
664–525 B.C.
From Egypt
H. 4 cm (1 9/16 in)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1944
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 127
From the beginning of Egyptian history, the baboon had a role in Egyptian religion. Initially, he was known as a deity called the "Great White One" (that is, the moon), but soon this god was conflated with Thoth, the better known ibis-headed god of writing and recording. Thoth's responsibilities included the calendar, which in ancient Egypt was lunar based, facilitating the integration of the two deities. Baboon amulets probably were offerings to shrines honoring Thoth, but could also have been placed with the deceased as a representative of the deity who recorded Osiris' judgment. This baboon holds a wedjat eye, the eye stolen from Horus and healed by Thoth.
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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