Male torso with magic spells engraved

The basalt torso of Pa-Maj is entirely covered in engravings of magical spells and images of gods. Such items became highly collectable in Europe by the 1700s.

This splendid statue in mutilated basalt, represents a standing man usually with his arms along the body and the palms of his hands turned inside and is leaning against a full-bodied dorsal pillar that ends in a cusp.

Basalt male torso with magical spells carved
Basalt male torso with magical spells carved
Late Period, Ptolemaic, 30th Dynasty, c. 350-300 B.C.
National Archaeology Museum, Naples. inv. 1065

The entire figure is covered with hieroglyphic texts and figures representing various anthropomorphic and Magical zoomorphic deities who carry out a protective action against dangerous animals. The images are arranged on the sides of the dorsal pillar and on the parts of the back adjacent to the pillar itself, on the shoulders and chest, while the inscriptions occupy the rest of the statue, so as to cover it entirely.

Chapters V and X of a famous stele, the Stele of Metternich, kept at the Metropolitan Museum of Arts in New York, a reference point for this type of finds have been engraved on the skirt: the so-called Cippi di Horus or Stele di Horus sui crocodiles, closely linked with magical statues like the one in question.

A text has been engraved on the torso of the statue, containing the name of the owner, which serves to protect and strengthen the heart against the effect of the poisons of scorpions and snakes.

Both the Cippi di Horus and the Statues were intended to heal and protect, but, while the steles were mostly used in a private setting, the statues were placed in a public place and gave the owner the possibility to replace Horus in the act of healing, granting protection to those who turned to him and obtaining in return that one’s name was pronounced and remembered for a long time.