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Figure of Nefertum

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

Very high-quality and expensive faience amulets were made in all periods. In this amulet, the dwarf god Pataikos strangles snakes while standing on two crocodiles. A scarab, a beetle associated with the sun god, rests on his head. He is flanked by Isis and Nephthys, the wife and sister of Osiris. The back of the amulet is a ba-bird, part of the soul of the deceased. This amulet, worn with a cord around the neck, protects the deceased from snakes and crocodiles in the afterlife. Pataikos has connections to the dwarf god Bes and to the god Horus the child, who also stands on crocodiles. But he seems to be a separate entity.
MEDIUM Faience
  • Place Made: Egypt
  • DATES 305–30 B.C.E.
    PERIOD Ptolemaic Period
    DIMENSIONS 3 7/16 x 1 1/4 x 9/16 in. (8.8 x 3.2 x 1.4 cm) mount (display dimensions): 3 1/2 x 1 1/4 x 3/4 in. (8.9 x 3.2 x 1.9 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION One bright greenish-blue faience striding figure of the god Nefertum atop a crouching lion. Nefertum wears a pleated shendyt kilt, a tripartite wig striated vertically and a crown formed by two feathers atop a lotus flower. Menats, one each side, hang from the lotus above the ears. He wears a long braided beard curling at the tip and a nob on his forehead, slightly to the right of center, is a uraeus. Pierced horizontally for suspension through the back pillar at chest height. The back pillar increases in width toward the bottom and is flat at the top. The lion’s mane is indicated by lozenge shapes and his tail curls up over his right haunch. Condition: Complete. Broken at neck shoulder area repaired. Discoloration to brownish in areas.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Figure of Nefertum, 305–30 B.C.E. Faience, 3 7/16 x 1 1/4 x 9/16 in. (8.8 x 3.2 x 1.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 71.142. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 71.142_front_PS2.jpg)
    IMAGE front, 71.142_front_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2006
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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