Thoth with Ibis Head, 664-525 BCE
Late Period, XXVI Dynasty
Egypt, Tūnat al Jabal
4 ¼ × 1 1/8 × 1 5/8 in. (10.8 × 2.9 × 4.1 cm)
3-D Object/Sculpture
1965-54 DJ

Photo: Paul Hester
Image 2: Photo: Paul Hester Image 3: Photo: Paul Hester Image 4: Photo: Paul Hester Image 5: Photo: Paul Hester Image 6: Photo: Paul Hester
1965 54 dj v06 m
1965 54 dj v05 m
1965 54 dj v04 m
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1965 54 dj v02 m
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This hybrid bird-man figure represents the Egyptian god Thoth, who was in charge of writing, science, and the moon, among other responsibilities. As scribe of the gods, Thoth recorded the judgment of the deceased in the afterlife. Representations of Thoth from funerary contexts often take the form of small amulets, such as this piece, possibly relating to his role in documenting the journey of the soul.  

Stylistically the amulet dates to the 26th dynasty (664-525 BCE), which was the last native dynasty to rule prior to the Achaemenid conquest of Egypt. It was purchased in 1965 by the University of St. Thomas from Michel E. Abemayor, a New York dealer originally from Cairo, then transferred to the Menil Foundation in 1969. The bill of sale lists it as from Tūnat al Jabal, a necropolis associated with the ancient town of Hermopolis Magna, which was a nome (district) capital in Middle Egypt at the border between Upper and Lower Egypt. Thoth was the patron god of Hermopolis Magna, and countless amulets have been found in the region. The beak of this piece was previously restored.