Statuette of the god Thoth as a baboon

In this faience statuette, Thoth, the God of Writing and Knowledge, represented as a baboon. Thoth, god of wisdom, learning, science, and medicine, was also a patron of art and scribes who recorded the judgment on the dead in the underworld. Often the god is depicted with the head of a sacred ibis and body of a man, but he also takes the form of a baboon, as seen here.

Unlike the solar disk, it is uncertain that the moon was worshipped in Egypt as a deity in ancient times, and the evidence seems to show that it was regarded rather as a symbol or manifestation of specific deities associated with the moon. The most prominent of these gods were Horus, Iah, and Thoth, though the lunar disk was also symbol of Osiris according to the mythology of that god. Additionally, 14 individual deities were sometimes associated with the days of the waxing moon and 14 were associated with the days of the waning moon.

Thoth, God of Writing and Knowledge, as a Baboon
Thoth, God of Writing and Knowledge, as a Baboon

When represented as a baboon, he symbolized those creatures who rose early with the sun, and was therefore held to be connected to the sun god Re. Baboons were a feature in early Egyptian festivals, but they later became important to the Early Dynastic Kings of Horus. The Egyptians associated Thoth with rebirth and the afterlife.

Thoth was one of the most cultured deities in the entire Egyptian pantheon: he was believed to have invented the art of writing, he also mastered medicine, mathematics and science. His infinite knowledge was matched only by his moral integrity, a peculiarity that made him the messenger and peacemaker of the gods.

Late Period, 26th Dynasty, ca. 664-525 BC. Made of Egyptian faience. 8 × 5 1/4 × 5 1/2 in. (20.3 × 13.3 × 14.0 cm). Gift of The Merrin Gallery, Inc. Now in the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas. 2001.6