Object name: Figure
Date: 664-525 BC
435 x 84 mm
Medium: Sycamore wood
Object number: TN08639
DescriptionA Ptah-Sokar-Osiris. Mummiform figure, said to be Pash-rar-ken-hah son of Hapi-ajs. It is beautifully painted with facial features, black hair, and image of Isis on its chest. There is an inscription in hieroglyphs on the body. The head dress appears to be missing.

Ptah-Sokar-Osiris figures combine the gods Ptah, Sokar and Osiris into one deity. All three gods have connections with funerary beliefs and rebirth. Ptah was the god of craftsmen and creator god in one of the Egyptian creation myths. He was often depicted as a mummiform figure. Sokar was a funerary deity often depicted as a mummified hawk and also linked to craftsmen. Osiris was the god of dead, who achieved rebirth in the afterlife thanks to the magic of Isis. The combining of gods into triads was popular practice in Ancient Egypt, especially from the New Kingdom.

The figures appear in the late period and probably evolved from the earlier shabtis. They appear to be part of an emerging tradition of placing mummiform items in tombs. Ptah-Sokar-Osiris figures normally take the form of a mummiform individual wearing an atef crown and are normally mounted on a hollow wooden pedestal. The figures mounted on a pedestal sometimes contain parts of the Book of the Dead. The inscriptions on the front name the owner and the persons wish to be reborn in the afterlife like Osiris.

The Cuming manuscript associates this piece with Gionvanni D'Athanasi, who excavated Ancient Egyptian material for Henry Salt, the collector, traveller and British Consul general in Cairo from 1815. Both Salt and D'Athanasi sold their collections to museums, particularly the British Museum.

Culture: Ancient Egyptian