Ancient Egypt, New Kingdom, 19th to 20th Dynasty, ca. 1292 to 1070 BCE. A cast-copper figure of the baboon-headed version of Thoth, the god of writing, accounting, and other intellectual pursuits. Typically depicted as an ibis-headed man, this example of Thoth presents sitting atop an integral rectangular plinth with hands resting atop both knees drawn up to the chest. Petite incisions create a hairy effect across the primate body as well as the elegant mane surmounting the head. Almond-shaped eyes behind a broad snout, a narrow nose, and a thin mouth constitute the baboon's characteristic features, and the entire figure is enveloped in matte brown and green patina. Size: 1.125" W x 2.125" H (2.9 cm x 5.4 cm)
According to Egyptologists Erik Hornung and Betsy M. Bryan, "As primeval animals, baboons and green monkeys were prominent parts of the Egyptian cosmogony. The earliest gods are sometimes depicted with baboon heads. The baboon became an aspect of the sun god, Re . . . And of the moon god, Thoth-Khonsu. Thoth (Djehuty in ancient Egyptian) was the god of writing and knowledge, who was depicted in the form of two animals: the baboon (Papio cynocephalus) and the sacred Ibis (Threskiornis aethiopicus). In his baboon form Thoth was closely associated with the baboon god, Hedj-wer (the great white one) of the Early Dynastic period. By the end of the Old Kingdom (2686 - 2181 BCE) he was usually portrayed as an ibis-headed man, holding a scribal palette and pen or a notched palm leaf, performing some kind of act of recording or calculation." (Hornung, Erik and Betsy M. Bryan, eds. "The Quest for Immortality: Treasures of Ancient Egypt." National Gallery of Art, Washington, 2002, p. 200)
See an example in faience from the Late Dynastic Period, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, accession number 26.7.874
Another bronze example surmounted by a moon disc hammered for EUR 6,250 ($7,365.72) at Christie's, Paris "Collection Jean-Philippe Mariaud de Serres" auction (sale 1054, February 16-17, 2011, lot 204).
Provenance: ex-estate of Eldert Bontekoe, Pegasi Numismatics, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA, acquired before 2000
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Softening to some finer details on face and body, with minor pitting particularly on chest and between legs, and light encrustations, otherwise intact and excellent. Great green and brown patina throughout with areas of russet patina.