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Fragmentary Amulet of Pataikos

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

The ancient Egyptians regarded short stature as a mark of divinity. They associated the physical characteristics of achondroplasia (a type of dwarfism) with the sun god Re. In Egyptian mythology, Re died in the evening and was reborn every morning as a wise, experienced, yet youthful god. The symbol of the morning sun, the scarab, evoked the silhouette of a large torso with short, curved limbs.

This fragmentary amulet is an example of religion and magic practiced by regular Egyptians. As timeless symbols of rebirth, images of Pataikos and other gods of short stature protected women and children during dangerous times of transition, especially pregnancy and birth, repelling evil and aiding regeneration.
MEDIUM Faience
  • Place Made: Egypt
  • DATES 1539-30 B.C.
    PERIOD New Kingdom or later
    DIMENSIONS 1 15/16 x 1 1/2 in. (5 x 3.8 cm)  (show scale)
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER X1182.2
    CREDIT LINE Brooklyn Museum Collection
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Fragmentary Amulet of Pataikos, 1539-30 B.C. Faience, 1 15/16 x 1 1/2 in. (5 x 3.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Museum Collection, X1182.2. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE front, X1182.2_front_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2009
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    RECORD COMPLETENESS Good (70%)
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    Fragmentary Amulet of Pataikos