- Museum number
Painted sycomore fig wood figure of a Ba-bird: in this small figurine, the 'Ba' wears a beard, a wig and a collar— appropriate elements of the appearance of the blessed dead. It is carved in rudimentary fashion and simply painted in red, blue and black. A wooden peg projecting from the base indicates that it was once fixed to some larger object.
Height: 10.20 centimetres
Length: 7.30 centimetres
Width: 4 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- The 'Ba' was one of a person's non-physical aspects, or modes of existence. It symbolized the individual's ability to move freely, and was supposed to leave the tomb and fly to join the sun god in the sky. On account of this role, the 'Ba' was regularly depicted in the form of a bird with a human head (and often also with human arms). However, in order to ensure eternal life, the 'Ba' had to return to the burial chamber periodically to be reunited with the mummy. Small wooden figures of the 'Ba' such as this were sometimes placed on coffins or mounted on the top of wooden funerary stelae.
'Art and Afterlife in Ancient Egypt, Japan 1999-2000' [exhibition catalogue] (Japan, 1999), No 62;
J.H. Taylor and N.C. Strudwick, Mummies: Death and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt. Treasures from The British Museum, Santa Ana and London 2005, pp. 40-1, pl. on p. 40.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2001 26 Jun-23 Sep, Birmingham Gas Hall, Egypt Revealed
2005-2008, California, The Bowers Museum, Death and Afterlife in Ancient Egypt
19th Nov 2011- 11 Mar 2012. Richmond , VA, Virginia museum of Fine Art. Mummy. The inside story.
Mar - Oct 2012. Brisbane, Queensland Museum South Bank. Mummy: The Inside Story
2012/3, Nov-Apr, Mumbai, CSMVS, Mummy: The Inside Story
2013, Apr-Nov, Singapore, ArtScience Museum, Mummy: The Inside Story
- fair (incomplete)
- Acquisition date
- Egypt and Sudan
- BM/Big number
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: BS.1884 (Birch Slip Number)