Egyptian painted limestone figure of Thoth
Late Dynastic Period, 26th-31st Dynasty, 664 - 332 BC
Height: 20.5 cm; Width: 13 cm
Provenance: Christie's London, 24 February 1970, lot 91; Private collection, Brussels (Uccle); Private collection of L. Carlier, Brussels, acquired 5 November 1986
Condition: Much original polychrome remaining. Small area of restoration to the muzzle.
Represented as a squatting baboon seated on an integral base. The forepaws emerge from the fur cape to rest on the bent knees of the hind legs, with genitalia showing between the hind paws, his tail curling to the right.
Thoth was worshipped throughout Egypt particularly at the cult centre in Hermopolis. He was linked with maths and writing and became the patron god of scribes. The deity was also associated with the moon and had important connections with funerary rites.
Literature: A large quartzite version from the collection of the British Museum is included A. Kozloff et al, 'Egypt's Dazzling Sun, Amenhotep III and his World' (Cleveland, 1992), p.227, no.36.