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Gilded silver statuette of Amun-Re

 

Height: 21.300 cm

Acquired in 1835, formerly Salt Collection

EA 60006

Ancient Egypt and Sudan

    Gilded silver statuette of Amun-Re

    From the Temple of Amun at Karnak, Thebes, Egypt
    18th Dynasty, around 1300 BC

    Patron god of Thebes

    The Theban god Amun became nationally important when the local prince, Ahmose, finally defeated and expelled the occupying Hyksos kings. Ahmose restored Egypt to native rule and founded the Eighteenth Dynasty. It was at this time that the god Amun-Re first appeared. Amun-Re was a combination of the local god Amun, and the sun-god Re who was closely associated with kingship. The addition of the sun disc to the traditional double-plumed crown of Amun indicates that it is Amun-Re who is represented by this statuette.

    Cult statues were placed in temple shrines and each temple was dedicated to a particular god. The statue was treated as a living being, whose every need was provided for by the daily ritual performed by the priests. However, the statue was not thought to be the god, instead the god was believed to occupy the statue. Cult statues were often made of precious metals, such as gold, silver and electrum, the shiny qualities of which represented the radiance of the gods. The gods were thought to have skin of gold, and bones of silver. Because it does not tarnish, gold symbolized eternity, and its yellow colour was associated with the sun. Silver was much rarer in Egypt than gold, and so was considered more valuable.

    E.R. Russmann, Eternal Egypt: masterworks of (University of California Press, 2001)

    S. Quirke and A.J. Spencer, The British Museum book of anc (London, The British Museum Press, 1992)