Statue of Thoth as an Ibis

This statue represents the god Thoth in the form of a sitting ibis. The artist’s careful choice of materials, the bronze of the head and the white limestone of the body, give the statue the appearance of a real bird. The feathers of the body are in light relief while the tail, which is separate from the rest of the body, is beautifully made with the feathers in relief.

“… Thoth was said to have invented the art of writing. He was thus the scribe of the Ennead [, a group of nine deities worshipped at Heliopolis,] who recorded ‘the divine words’ and was responsible for all kinds of accounts and records. As ‘lord of time’ and ‘reckoner of years’ he recorded the passing of time and assigned long reigns to kings. He was the patron of all areas of knowledge, and written treatises of all kinds fell under his care as lord of the ‘houses of life’ which functioned as scriptoria and libraries which were attached to the temples.

Statue of Thoth as an Ibis
Statue of Thoth as an Ibis

Not surprisingly then, Thoth commanded magic and secrets unknown to even the other gods, and his select followers were regarded as possessing special knowledge… Thoth’s record keeping also has afterlife associations, and in vignettes of the Book of the Dead he stands before the scales which weigh the heart of the deceased and records the verdict. This role gave Thoth a reputation for truth and integrity and is seen in the common assertion that a person had conducted his life in a manner ‘straight and true like Thoth'”

The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt, Richard H. Wilkinson, Thames & Hudson Inc., New York, USA, 2017

Thoth was the god of wisdom and knowledge, of the scribal profession, and of the moon. He was represented in the form of an ibis or depicted as a baboon with a headdress bearing a lunar disc and a crescent. He was also often manifested as a man with the head of an ibis, frequently recording important proceedings, such as at the ‘weighing of the heart’ that judged the dead and that is usually illustrated in the ‘Book of the Dead’

Late Period, ca. 664-332 BC. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 54850