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God Tutu as a Sphinx

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

A latecomer to the Egyptian pantheon, the god Tutu was responsible for human fate and fortune. Tutu’s might was supplemented by the demons under his control. The lion’s head on his chest and the crocodile between his paws represent two of the demons he commands. The cobra tail and serpents under each paw similarly obeyed Tutu and served as his powers of protection.
MEDIUM Limestone, pigment
  • Reportedly From: Saqqara, Egypt
  • DATES 1st century C.E. or later
    PERIOD Roman Period
    DIMENSIONS 14 1/4 x 5 1/16 x 16 11/16 in. (36.2 x 12.8 x 42.4 cm) mount (display dimensions): 14 1/2 x 5 1/2 x 17 in. (36.8 x 14 x 43.2 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    PROVENANCE Saqqara, Egypt; by 1852, acquired in Egypt by Henry Abbott; 1859, purchased from Henry Abbott by the New-York Historical Society, New York, NY; September 1948, purchased from the New-York Historical Society by the Brooklyn Museum.
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    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION One limestone statue of the god Tutu. It strides forward with right front leg advanced. Both forepaws rest upon snakes which curl up to rear back upon the calves of the forelegs. The figure bears a short tail. The god is human headed and is shown wearing an Aegis. The bottom edge of which sports a much abbreviated gorgon head. The head of the main figure is enclosed in a Nemes headdress with very narrow lappets, the pleats being painted on. On the brow a single cobra is placed. The face is broadly modelled; the eyes are extremely shallow and heavily outlined by non-naturalistic cosmetic lines. The nose, though lost, was fairly narrow, and shallow naso-labial furrows are noted. The orbital ridges are shown as straight hard lines. The mouth is small and deeply set with a sharp philtrum. The chin is weak and an unconvincing beard extends as a rectangle beneath it. The ears are placed too high on the head and are too small. Atop the nemes a circular projection with a hole served to receive some kind of support rod. Beneath the figure a stabilizing block of limestone has been left to support the figure on its plinth. Condition: The nose is wanting and the right cheek and nemes lappet are slightly chipped. Chisel marks are evident down the back of the nemes and along the axis of the body. The plinth is roughly finished. The aegis bears almost all of its black paint, while the body, support and plinth are devoid to a great extent of the red paint which once covered them. The pleats of the lappets are partially evident as is the black paint on the brow band. Overall chipping.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION God Tutu as a Sphinx, 1st century C.E. or later. Limestone, pigment, 14 1/4 x 5 1/16 x 16 11/16 in. (36.2 x 12.8 x 42.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.1509E. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 37.1509E_threequarterleft_PS1.jpg)
    IMAGE 37.1509E_threequarterleft_PS1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2006
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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