New Kingdom, Dynasty XVIII reign of Amenhotep III (1388-1351 BC)
Provenance: originally Thebes, later Drovetti Collection, 1824
Inv. Nr. C. 86
Ptah, a creation deity and patron of craftsmen, was represented in mummy wrappings and the close-fitting cap and straight beard of craftsmen and smiths.
Creation was thought to occur through the word of Ptah, whose cult centre was at the city of Memphis. Ptah and his consort Sakhmet were the parents of the Nefertum, the god of scent.
Also associated with Sokar and Osiris, gods of the Underworld, Ptah was later considered to be the father of the Apis bull (who conveyed the deceased) and of the legendary architect Imhotep (who designed the pyramid of Djoser).
Stylistically, the face is related to that of the goddess Hathor also datable to King Amenhotep III. Here, the god correctly holds his two distinctive attributes: was-sceptre for power, and the djed-column, derived from the spine of the god Osiris and visually forming the word ’to endure’, but also symbolising the heavenly supports.
The inscription states that Amenhotep III venerates the god Ptah as ‘elected by Re, the lord of justice and jubilees who resides in the Hall of Annals’.