Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Apis figure inscribed for Padishernefer son of Khonsuirdis

Late Period–Ptolemaic Period
664–200 B.C.
From Egypt
Cupreous metal
H. 6.2 cm (2 7/16 in.); W. 2.1 cm (13/16 in.); L. 6.7 cm (2 5/8 in.)
H. (with tang): 7.2 cm (2 13/16 in.)
Credit Line:
Gift of Joseph W. Drexel, 1889
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 134
The worship of the Apis bull is attested as early as Dynasty I. A single living representative was stabled near the Ptah temple in Memphis. The bull selected for this important role had certain colorful markings, such as a white triangle on the forehead, and black patches resembling winged birds or scarabs on the body. The bull is often shown, as here, wearing a large sun disc, a banded collar, and a decorated rectangular cloth on its back. Similar markings are easily visible on Apis acc. no. 17.190.62. An inscription on the base provides the name of the donor and his parents.

The Apis bull participated in ceremonies of fertility and regeneration. When it died, it was embalmed and buried with all honors; at that time, a new bull bearing the requisite markings was selected. Beginning with the reign of Amenhotep III (1390–1352 B.C.) in Dynasty 18, the place of Apis burials gradually became a huge and growing underground system of chambers called the Serapeum in the Memphite necropolis, Saqqara. The bull was so revered that even the mothers of Apis bulls had their own cult and burial place.
The front of the base is bare of inscription, but all of its three other sides are inscribed with hieroglyphs, which read:

Hp Di(.w) anx wDA s[n]b aHa qA jAw nfr (n) pA-Di-Sr-nfr zA xnsw-jr-D-s(j)

Apis who gives life, prosperity, and health, long life and old good age (to) Padishernefer son of Khonsuirdis

Niv Allon 2016
Given to the Museum by Joseph W. Drexel, 1889.

Related Objects

Statue of a goddess, probably Nehemetaui or Nebethetepet

Artist: Date: 550–300 B.C.
Accession Number: 26.7.845
Date: 550–300 B.C. Medium: cupreous metal Accession: 26.7.845 On view in:Gallery 134

Statuette of Amun

Artist: Date: ca. 945–712 B.C.
Accession Number: 26.7.1412
Date: ca. 945–712 B.C. Medium: Gold Accession: 26.7.1412 On view in:Gallery 125

Statuette of a Royal (?) Woman with the Cartouches of Necho II on her Arms

Artist: Date: 610–595 B.C.
Accession Number: 30.8.93
Date: 610–595 B.C. Medium: Silver Accession: 30.8.93 On view in:Gallery 127

Cat Statuette intended to contain a mummified cat

Artist: Date: 332–30 B.C.
Accession Number: 56.16.1
Date: 332–30 B.C. Medium: Leaded bronze Accession: 56.16.1 On view in:Gallery 134

Ritual Figure

Artist: Date: 380–246 B.C.
Accession Number: 2003.154
Date: 380–246 B.C. Medium: Wood, formerly clad with lead sheet Accession: 2003.154 On view in:Gallery 128