Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Ptah, inscription obliterated except for the god's name

Period:
Late Period–Ptolemaic Period
Date:
664–30 B.C.
Geography:
From Egypt
Medium:
Cupreous metal
Dimensions:
H. 14 cm (5 1/2 in.); W. 4.2 cm (1 5/8 in.); D. 4.2 cm (1 5/8 in.) H. (with tang): 16.1 cm (6 5/16 in.)
Credit Line:
Gift of Darius Ogden Mills, 1904
Accession Number:
04.2.407
Not on view
This statuette depicts Ptah, the chief god of Egypt's capital city Memphis and master craftsman of the gods. He is easy to identify by his tight-fitting cap, straight beard (different from the usual curved divine beard on other gods), and enveloping mummiform garment. The garment has a stiff upper edge along the back of the neck, a feature that occurs with some regularity also on Osiris statuettes, but its meaning is unclear. His hands emerge from long vertical slits in the cloak, which are visible on the chest. He also wears a broad collar with a faintly inscribed counterpoise and he carries a scepter. Commonly Ptah holds a scepter that combines the symbols for life (ankh), dominion (was), and stability (djed), but here he holds only the was scepter, hearkening back to earlier representations of the god. The inscription on the base is worn and damaged, although it does preserve the god's name as well as some other signs. Ptah was a benevolent and approachable god, characteristics that may have inspired his devotees to dedicate numerous representations of him in the Late and Ptolemaic Periods.
Collection of Judge Elbert E. Farman, formed when he was U.S. consul general in Egypt 1876–84. Donated to the museum by Darius Ogden Mills, New York, in 1904.

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