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Ptah

Period:
Late Period–Ptolemaic Period
Date:
664–30 B.C.
Geography:
From Egypt
Medium:
Cupreous metal
Dimensions:
H. 8.5 cm (3 3/8 in.); W. 2.9 cm (1 1/8 in.); D. 2.8 cm (1 1/8 in.)
Credit Line:
Gift of Darius Ogden Mills, 1904
Accession Number:
04.2.409
Not on view
This statuette depicts Ptah, the chief god of Egypt's capital city Memphis and master craftsman of the gods. The facial features are somewhat unbalanced, particularly the wide-set and unevenly carved eyes; nonetheless Ptah is easy to identify by his tight-fitting cap, here with a streamer attached at the back, his straight beard (different from the usual curved divine beard on other gods), and enveloping mummiform garment. The garment has a shallow 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. 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. 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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