Mould-made large amuletic figure in glazed composition, representing the dwarf god Pataikos; naked, in crouching position with legs apart, grasping a snake in each hand and standing on two crocodiles; shaven head with protruding back to the skull typical of such representations of the hydrocephalus dwarf, topped by scarab; falcon standing on each shoulder, on both side of head; goddesses Isis wearing an hathoric crown and Nepthys framing Pataikos; at the back, winged female deity with hathoric crown and holding a large Maat feather in each hand (Isis-Maat), in low flat relief; well modelled facial features for Pataikos figure, while the rest of composition rather crude; some deep incisions for details (toes, crocodiles, feathers...); greenish turquoise glaze, now much worn, patchily preserved; white fine core; chipped in several places.
- Production date
- 630 BC - 450 BC (likely)
Height: 7.20 centimetres
- Curator's comments
Object owned and held by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. This record is included in the British Museum database as part of the Museum’s Naukratis Project, a research collaboration that aims to virtually re-unite finds from the ancient port city of Naukratis, now distributed over 80 museums worldwide.
Pataikos might be related with the god Ptah as a craftman god (Andrews 1994, 39). He is definitely linked with the other dwarf god Bes, with whom he appears often on the same amulet or in the same context (on the relationship between these two gods: Bulté 1998, 379 and 382). As an amulet, Pataikos seems to appear as early as the 6th dynasty, although amulets of the dwarf god are better identified from the New Kingdom onwards (Andrews 1994, 39). His amulets are very common during the Late and Ptolemaic periods (as illustrated in Mendes: Wilson 1982, 32, pl. XXIX n°3-4) and as popular as Bes in Naukratis (Masson forthcoming).
The large amuletic figures of Pataikos standing on crocodiles, such as this one, are particularly popular during the Third Intermediate Period (Andrews 1994, 39), though their production persist in the Late Period. They are believed to protect against dangerous animals. Several figures of this type were discovered in Naukratis: BM 1886.0401.1496 and BM 1886.0401.1497; Oxford, Ashmolean Museum AN1896-1908-E.4560; Boston, Museum of Fine Arts 86.709; London, Petrie Museum UC54640.
For various types of Pataikos amulets see: Herrmann et al. 2010, 75-79 (type 36).
Andrews, C. 1994, Amulets of Ancient Egypt, London.
Bulté, J. 1998, ‘À propos d'une tête de Patèque de Tanis Sân 93-351, OAE 3423’, in P. Brissaud and C. Zivie-Coche, Tanis : travaux récents sur le Tell Sân el-Hagar - MFFT 1987-1997, Paris, 379-389.
Herrmann, C., Staubli, T., Berger-Lober, S., Keel, O., Schönbächler, G. 2010, 1001 Amulett : altägyptischer Zauber, monotheisierte Talismane, säkulare Magie, Bibel+Orient-Museum, Liebefeld, Stuttgart.
Masson, A. forthcoming, ‘Naukratis: Egyptian offerings in context’, in M. Bergeron and A. Masson (eds.), Naukratis in Context II: Cults, Sanctuaries and Offerings. Proceedings of the Second Naukratis Project Workshop held at The British Museum, 22nd-23rd June 2013.
Wilson, K.L. 1982, Cities of the Delta, Part II: Mendes – Preliminary Report on the 1979 and 1980 Seasons (American Research Center in Egypt Report 5), Malibu.
- Not on display
- Rather fair, but chipped in places and glaze damaged
- Acquisition date
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: 86.709 (Accession Number)
Miscellaneous number: P.4921 (Pottery & Porcelain Ledger No.)