Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object
{{img.publicCaption}}

Nefertum

Period:
Late Period–Ptolemaic Period
Date:
332–30 B.C.
Geography:
From Egypt, Memphite Region, Memphis (Mit Rahina), Egyptian Antiquities Service, found July 1909
Medium:
cupreous metal, black bronze and precious metal inlay, glass
Dimensions:
H. 34.3 cm (13 1/2 in.); W. 8.9 cm (3 1/2 in.); D. 8.9 cm (3 1/2 in.)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1910
Accession Number:
10.175.131
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 134
The god Nefertum is depicted, wearing a lotus blossom on his head from which two plumes emerge. On either side are menats, symbols of great female goddesses. In his hand he holds an ostrich feather fan emerging from a palmette. Gold Inlaid wedjat eyes and now-missing vitreous inlays decorated his crow,n and wedjat eyes seem to have ornamented the bracelets on his arms.

Nefertum was the son of the lion-goddess Sakhmet, and is sometimes envisioned as the son of Bastet or certain other great female lion goddesses. In himself he is associated with the opening of the lotus at dawn and is, therefore, associated with the sun and creation.. The popularity of his statuary as donations, however, may have as much to do with pleasing his mother as with furnishing his own cult.

This large Nefertum was dedicated somewhere at Memphis. After a period, which might even be hundreds of years, it was removed with other figures – including 10.175.132-134 - for respectful burial within the temple precincts. The statue's facial features are blurred, but still visible are the upturned eyes and a small curved mouth. These recall early to mid-Saite Period style. Various factors need consideration, but it may be that this statue, like the statue of Osiris 10.175.133 that has similar features, dates to a period long before it was cached away, probably sometime in the fourth or third century.
Found in July 1909 in a cache at Mit Rahineh, purchased from the Egyptian Government in 1910.

Related Objects

Relief from the Palace of Apries in Memphis

Date: 589–570 B.C. Medium: Limestone Accession: 09.183.1a1–23 On view in:Gallery 123

Osiris inscribed for Harkhebit, son of Padikhonsu and Isetempermes

Date: 600–300 BC Medium: Bronze, silver Accession: 10.175.133 On view in:Gallery 134

Haremhab as a Scribe of the King

Date: ca. 1336–1323 B.C. Medium: Granodiorite Accession: 23.10.1 On view in:Gallery 121

Figure of a Cynocephalus Ape

Date: 664–380 B.C. Medium: Faience Accession: 26.7.874 On view in:Gallery 127

Bust of an Official

Date: 380–342 B.C. Medium: Graywacke Accession: 25.2.1 On view in:Gallery 127