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Ancient Egypt, Late Period Wood figure of Ptah-Sokar-Osiris, 26th Dynasty, circa 664-525 B.C

Conservation:  Restored
Material:  Wood, stucco, gold leaf and polychrome.
Dimensions:  63,5 cm
Provenance:  American private collection, Southern California, acquired before 1983/ Acquired at Bonhams, London, Auction, 2014
Exhibited:  “Descifrando el Antiguo Egipto Tutankhamon”, Casa de la Ciencia (Sevilla, September 15th, 2019-July 15th, 2020)
Published:  Antiquities, London, Bonhams, October 2nd, 2014.


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The mummiform figure with the body polychrome painted in maroon, the gilded face with black details, wearing a broad collar and the tripartite wig surmounted by the ram’s horns and solar disc with plumes, inscribed with one column of text down and front and one at the back, with standard offering formula to Osiris from ‘Irirwdj’.

This item is a compendium of the Egyptian religious mentality. In it, three gods focused on the funerary sphere are unified. Ptah was a creator god, while the deities Sokar and Osiris were destined for the funerary sphere, darkness, fertility and resurrection.

This unified deity emerged in the Middle Kingdom, although it was not until later times that it became normalised and enjoyed a special devotion, perhaps associated with the return to the worship of the first Memphite gods.

These sculptures usually had a kind of case or compartment on a base, in which a papyrus with a prayer from the Book of the Dead or a mummified part of the deceased could be placed.

Similar items

Other examples of painted wooden figures of Ptah-Sokar-Osiris can be found in different museums around the world::

Fig. 1 Ptah-Sokar-Osiris Figure, Ptolemaic Period, 306–30 B.C. The Met Museum, (USA), Inv. 21.9.1a–c

Fig. 2 Egyptian Ptah-Sokar-Osiris, Ptolemaic Period, 332–30 B.C. Risd Museum, (USA), Inv. 80.262.1

Fig. 3 Egyptian Ptah-Sokar-Osiris, Ptolemaic Period, 664–305 B.C. British Museum, (UK), Inv. EA47577


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