An Egyptian Wood Ptah-Sokar-Osiris, Late - Ptolemaic Period, ca 664 - 30 BCE


Standing at the back of a rectangular integral base painted with gesso, the figure of the god is shown mummiform wearing a black, blue and red over gesso tripartite wig and elaborately detailed broad collar.  The face, of yellow pigment representing the gold skin of the god, is naturalistically carved and highlighted with black cosmetic lines around the eyes.  An inscription runs down the center of the body and continues on the back.   At the back of the head is a square opening that shows the partially hollow inside which probably originally held a roll of papyrus. The lid that originally covered the opening is now missing.

Background:  A feature of ancient Egyptian religion is the process of syncretism in which originally distinct gods with similar powers were brought together to create a composite deity. In Ptah-Sokar-Osiris three gods associated with resurrection are united. Ptah is one of the oldest Egyptian deities; he was known as a god of craftsmanship and creation. Sokar was an ancient falcon god who became associated with the afterlife. Lastly, Osiris as king of the underworld, represented the power of regeneration and resurrection.

Condition: Some wear and cracking to the wood, with some expected loss of pigment and gesso throughout, small hole in top part of wig and loss around right side of face, otherwise intact.

Dimensions:  Height: 21 1/2 inches (54.6 cm), Length: 12 1/4 (31 cm)

Provenance: From a private San Francisco collection, California acquired in the 1990's, thereafter the estate of Peter Borromeo, Jr Esq., acquired in 2011.

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