seated male baboon with its front paws on its knees and its tail wrapped along the PR side of its body; turquoise blue

Baboon (Moon God Thoth), 7th - 6th century BCE

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The Ethel Morrison Van Derlip Fundexpand_more  2017.27

Monkeys were kept as costly pets by the elite in ancient Egypt, yet their regal appearance and imposing presence also made them useful representations of gods in the Egyptian religion. The baboon was usually associated with Thoth, one of the moon gods. This animal has a hole in the crown that once held a lunar disk sitting on top of a crescent moon, an attribute of Thoth. For a 2,600-year-old artwork it is in remarkable condition, and though the animal is small in size, its posture and expression command authority.

Mia has a small but interesting collection of ancient Egyptian art, including the sarcophagus of Lady Tashat, a faience collar, a funerary false door, and a pair of elegant ivory hand clappers, but it has nothing like this brightly colored baboon from the 26th dynasty. The details are striking: from the two-layered fur to the coiffure, hands, and feet, everything is finely sculpted. It is an important addition to the existing holdings.

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seated male baboon with its front paws on its knees and its tail wrapped along the PR side of its body; turquoise blue