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Updated: 14 April 2015
Gold-plated silver figure of Amun-Ra: this figure was cast in silver and decorated with gold overlays on the headdress, collar necklace, and kilt. His divine beard shows that he is a god, and his headdress identifies him as Amun. Though he was sometimes depicted as a ram, with short curling horns (or, in his Nubian temples, as a ram-headed god), Amun was primarily an anthropoid god. His crown, similar in shape to the red crown, is topped by two tall feathers and a sun disk, symbolic of his assimilation with the sun god, Ra, as Amun-Ra.
- Excavated/Findspot: Temple of Amun
- (Africa,Egypt,Upper Egypt,Karnak (Thebes),Temple of Amun)
- Height: 24 centimetres (with base)
- Weight: 0.7 kilograms
- Width: 5 centimetres
- Depth: 10 centimetres
The use of silver and gold for this figure suggests that it was made as a cult statue. Temple records describe such figures as made of precious materials and quite small. Among the very few surviving statues of this type is another Amun, a solid gold figure made early in the Third Intermediate Period, and a richly gilded and inlaid silver figure of a seated falcon-headed god. Until quite recently, metal statues of high quality were routinely dated to the Third Intermediate Period or later. Although a few New Kingdom bronze statuettes were known, it was generally assumed that almost all early metal sculpture had been melted down in order to recycle the bronze, silver, or gold. During the past few decades however, fine Middle Kingdom statues of copper alloy, made during the late Twelfth Dynasty, have become known, and increasing numbers of New Kingdom bronze statuettes are coming to light.
S. Quirke and J. Spencer, 'British Museum Book of Ancient Egypt', (London, 1992), p. 76, fig. 55;
B. Porter & R. Moss, 'Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Reliefs and Paintings' II (2) (Oxford, 1972), p.289;
N. Strudwick, Masterpieces of Ancient Egypt, London 2006, pp. 200-1.Email from Ann Russman to NCS, Feb 2006, indicates that Marcel has made a suggestion that the statuette could be 26th dyn. AR says "... I can't see that either the face or the anatomy indicate so late a date. However, Richard Fazzini has pointed out that certain iconographical features, most notably the sun disk on the crown, are common on TIP figures of Amun but almost unknown earlier." She suggests c. 1295-750 BC to be safe.
2010 1 May-31 Oct, Shanghai Expo 2010
2011 Jul–Sept, Newcastle, Great North Museum, Pharaoh: King of Egypt
2012 Oct–Jan, Dorchester, Dorset County Museum, Pharaoh: King of Egypt
2012 Feb–June, Leeds City Museum, Pharaoh: King of Egypt
2012 Jul-Oct, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Pharaoh: King of Egypt
2012 Nov– Feb 2013, Glasgow, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Pharaoh: King of Egypt
2013 Mar–Aug, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery , Pharaoh: King of Egypt
2015 onwards, International touring exhibition TBC, Pharaoh: King of Egypt, PROMISED
Ancient Egypt & Sudan
- BS.6 (Birch Slip Number)
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Object reference number: YCA23607
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