Relief of the gods Amen and Ptah-Sokar-Osiris
Hellenistic Period (Ptolemaic Dyn.), reign of Pt
Height x width x length: 82 x 90 x 13 cm (32 5/16 x 35 7/16 x 5 1/8 in.)
Medium or Technique
Egyptian Late Period Gallery (Gallery 216)
The great temple of Isis, the Iseion, at Behbeit el-Hagar in the central Nile Delta was begun by the last of Egypt’s native pharaohs, Nectanebo II, and was completed by the early Ptolemies, who copied the pharaonic style. In fact, the art of the early Ptolemies continued the traditions of the Nectanebos so closely that without an identifying inscription it is not always possible to tell one from the other. The Iseion has been reduced to a field of ruins, but enough remains to show that it was once a magnificent and luxurious structure, built entirely of granite. The hard stone is carved with virtuoso skill to create various effects. The bare-chested figure of Amen, for example, is rounded and fleshy, and shows how well the tripartite division of chest, rib cage, and abdomen seen in the sculpture of King Achoris translates into relief. The mummiform Ptah-Sokar-Osiris is a real tour de force, with subtle undulations of the surface suggesting the figure beneath the shrouded form. The cherubic facial features of both deities closely resemble Nectanebo’s, yet experts agree that they represent the second Ptolemy.
By 1951: with Dikran G. Kelekian, Inc.: 1951: purchased by the MFA from the Dikran G. Kelekian estate for $1750.
(Accession Date: January 1, 1951)
Martha A. Willcomb Fund