Circa: 664 BC to 525 BC
Dimensions: 15.25" (38.7cm) high x 15.5" (39.4cm) wide
Style: Late Dynastic Period
This limestone fragment retains an inscription, and the profile head of Ptah (or Peteh), one of the most important gods of the Egyptian pantheon. He is believed to have dreamed creation and called it into being; his name literally translates as the opener, opening his mouth to call creation into existence. He is held to be the “primordial mound”, taking the physical form of a mummified man or as Apis, the bull. The markers of his office include the ankh (key to the underworld), the was (sceptre) and the djed (pillar), and he is usually represented wearing a skull cap, as in the current case.
He is intimately linked with most areas of Egyptian dynastic religion, giving rise to Atum (technically Nefertum, Atum’s younger form), becoming the specific god or protector for reincarnation, stonecutters/masons, sculptors, blacksmiths, architects, boat builders, artists, craftsmen and tomb-builders, as well as being a patron of the arts. His high priest was given the title of wr khrp hmw, "Great Leader of the Craftsmen", and his priests were probably linked to the different crafts. The opening of the mouth ceremony, designed to release spirits from their host bodies, is said to have been created by Ptah.