This statuette depicts Ptah, the chief god of Egypt’s capital city Memphis, who is easy to identify by his tight-fitting cap and enveloping shroud. Other iconographic details, such as the royal beard, the large and detailed broad collar, the scepter of merged “was” and “djed” signs, and a platform representing the hieroglyph for universal order, as well as the brilliant blue stone, communicate four important epithets: Lord of Lower Egypt, Master Craftsman, Lord of Truth, and Lord of the Sky.
The superior carving of the god’s face, scepter, and jewelry is astonishing for a piece of such diminutive size and hard stone. Its style and quality suggests the sculpture was made in a royal workshop and most likely intended for use as a votive piece in Ptah’s large temple at Memphis or in a small shrine dedicated to the god elsewhere in Egypt.
Third Intermediate Period – early 26th Dynasty, ca. 945-600 BC. Medium: Lapis lazuli. Now in the Metropolitan Museum. 2007.24