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Lapis lazuli cult image of the God Ptah. Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art / Public Domain.

This Egyptian Statue Was Created to Hold the Spirit of a God (Video)


In ancient Egypt, amid the grandeur of pyramids, obelisks, and temples, there exists a small yet captivating marvel—an exquisite lapis lazuli statue designed not for burial but for divine veneration. Crafted to embody the essence of Ptah, the god of creation, this diminutive masterpiece once rested in a temple shrine but is now a popular exhibit at the New York Met. Ptah, the celestial architect, gave form to the primordial void, a dark expanse shrouded in water before the world's birth. The choice of lapis lazuli, a rarity imported from distant Afghanistan, is symbolic. Its deep azure mirrors the initial waters, a profound representation of the artist's deliberate precision.

The sculpture reveals Ptah's multifaceted role. Tiny flecks of pyrite, resembling stars, adorn the radiant lapis lazuli, signifying his dominion as Lord of the Sky. A collar of beads symbolizes his mastery as a craftsman, while regal attire, royal beard, and scepters proclaim his sovereignty over Upper and Lower Egypt. Observe closely, and you'll discover the hieroglyph for "maat" on the base, signifying "truth." Ptah, also the Lord of Truth, resides in this meticulously carved sanctuary. Standing at a mere two inches, this statue transcends language, speaking to us across three millennia.

Top image: Lapis lazuli cult image of the God Ptah. Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art / Public Domain.

By Robbie Mitchell

Robbie Mitchell's picture


I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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