Author(s): C. Zarnoch, E. Sullivan
Description: The small size and precious metals used for this statuette suggest it originally functioned as a cult statue of the god Amun-Ra at Karnak. The god is portrayed wearing his double plumed crown (accented with a solar disc in the center, emphasizing his solar associations), a curled “false beard,” a decorative collar necklace, and a short kilt. In his left hand he holds the was-scepter, a symbol for “authority” and also a hieroglyphic sign used to write the name “Thebes.” The cult statue would have been housed in a naos within in the inner most parts of the temple. For Egyptians, the rare and costly metals silver and gold evoked the color of the sun and moon.
Provenance: Temple of Amun at Karnak
Person: Amun-Ra, in the reign of Horemheb or Ramesses II
Date: Dynasty 18 or Dynasty 19, New Kingdom
(1323-1295 BCE or 1279-1213 BCE)
Material: Silver cast with gold gilding
Functional Comments: Egyptian temple service, the “daily ritual,” focused on the clothing, feeding, and censing of the cult statue of the god housed within the temple. This statue may have been the focus of such rituals intended to satisfy and curry favor with the god.
Dimensions: H: 21.3cm
Current Location: British Museum
Porter, B. and R. Moss (1929). Topographical bibliography of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic texts, reliefs, and paintings: The Theban temples. Oxford, Clarendon Press. pp. 47.
Russmann, E. (2001). Eternal Egypt: masterworks of ancient art from the British Museum. Los Angeles, University of California Press. pp. 172-173.
The British Museum. (2008). “Explore/Highlights.” http://www.britishmuseum.org.