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An Egyptian Red Jasper Amulet of Pataikos, 18th Dynasty ca 1550-1295 BC

EA1728

carved from red jasper, considered by the Egyptians to be the par excellence of red stones, the protector god is shown standing nude, hands on hips and wearing a cap headdress and drilled for suspension at the neck.

The bandy-legged dwarf Pataikos was a phylactic (protective) deity, worshipped in ancient Egypt from the time of the Old Kingdom (ca. 2686-2160 BCE). Amulets of the god are well-attested from the time of the New Kingdom (ca. 1550-1069 BCE). Phylactic amulets depicting protective deities like Pataikos, Horus-the-Child, and Bes were worn to ward off evils that could cause illness, injury, or misfortune. 

It has been suggested Pataikos is a manifestation or son of Ptah, the god of craftsmen. Writings by the Greek historian Herodotus state that Ptah was depicted in the form of a dwarf, and the name “Pataikos” that he coined literally means “little Ptah.” Dwarves often worked in workshops as craftsmen, as attested in tomb scenes from Egypt.

Bibliography: 

Andrews, Carol, 1994. Amulets of Ancient Egypt. Texas: University of Texas Press. 39.

Györy, Hedvig, 2002. “Changes in Styles of Ordinary Pataikos Amulets.” In Egyptian Museum Collections Around the World, edited by Zahi Hawass, Mamdouh Mohamed Eldamaty, and May Trays. Cairo: Supreme Council of Antiquities. 491-502.

Minas-Nerpel, Martina, 2013. “Ptah-Pataikos, Harpokrates, and Khepri.” In Decorum and Experience: Essays in ancient culture for John Baines, edited by Elizabeth Frood and Angela McDonald. Oxford: Griffith Institute. 147-50.

Ritner, Robert K., 1989. “Horus on the Crocodiles: a Juncture of Religion and Magic in Late Dynastic Egypt.” In Religion and Philosophy in Ancient Egypt, edited by William Kelly Simpson. New Haven: Yale University Press. 103-16.

Condition: Intact and in excellent condition overall with no chips, cracks or breaks. Presented in our Sands of Time custom display box from which it can be easily removed.

Dimensions: Height: 1.9 cm (.74 inch)

Exhibited: Metropolitan Museum NY 1920-40, Boston Fine Art 1945-60, Museum of Man CA 1968 #M459.30.

Provenance:  Acquired in Egypt by Goddard Du Bois (b. 1869 – d. 1925) and Josephine Cook Du Bois (b. 1864 – d. 1961), New York between 1900 and 1907 and then by descent.


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