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Priest with Divine Standards

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

To the right of the central figure of a priest is the standard of a human-headed god wearing a crown with horns and double plumes, perhaps Ptah-Sokar-Osiris. To the left is the standard of the lion-headed goddess Sakhmet, who sports a solar disk.

These standards are indications of privilege representing the king's essential life force, known as his ka. They enabled the bearer to hear prayers and to forward them to the gods. Such standard-bearing sculptures were popular in Dynasty XIX, and this fragment can be dated to that time by the type of wig the priest wears and by his downward-slanting, almond-shaped eyes. Most comparable sculptures, however, bear only one standard, usually the ram-headed god Amun.

  • Possible Place Made: Memphis, Egypt
  • DATES ca. 1295–1185 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY Dynasty 19
    PERIOD New Kingdom
    DIMENSIONS 5 1/2 x 7 5/16 x 4 1/8 in. (14 x 18.5 x 10.5 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Upper portion of a statue of a priest holding two divine standards. Hard dark greenish-brown stone. Preserved are the two heads of the standards, the priest's head and part of the inscribed back pillar. The priest wears a double-wig. The head on the standard to the right is that of Sakhmet, and the column of inscription on the back pillar behind her reads "A boon which the King gives (to Sakhmet (beloved of) Ptah." The central column of inscription, behind the head of the priest reads, "A boon which the King gives (to) Ptah, South of his Wall..." The column of text behind the other standard is missing, but the head which is human and wearing a horned and feathered crown is perhaps that of Ptah-Sokar (Osiris). On the right side of the back pillar is partially preserved a column of text in which a relative of the priest is mentioned but not named. On the priest's chest are the partial remains of two cartouches which seem to contain the name of Ramesses. Condition: Front of the priest's wig damaged; top of god's feathered crown missing; Sakhmet's sun-disk chipped. Priest's nose chipped; other chips and scratches.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Priest with Divine Standards, ca. 1295–1185 B.C.E. Stone, 5 1/2 x 7 5/16 x 4 1/8 in. (14 x 18.5 x 10.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 71.37.1. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 71.37.1_PS9.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 71.37.1_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2015
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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