Statuette of seated Khnum - ROM2018_16484_37


Statuette of seated Khnum

Medium:Bronze, cast
Geography: Excavated at Saqqara, Egypt
Date: c. 380-343 BC
Period: 30th Dynasty, Late Period
19 x 4.8 cm
Object number: 972.51.54
On view
Gallery Location:Galleries of Africa: Egypt

The god Khnum could be portrayed as a ram, or as man with a ram’s head.  In his original form, he had the undulating horizontal horns of the species Ovis longipes. By the New Kingdom, however, this species seems to have been extinct in Egypt, and he was depicted with the curved horns of Ovis platyra. He was frequently shown with both sets of horns, as here.  He wears a modified Atef crown, and a royal shendyt kilt.  The statue’s hands were pierced to hold a sceptre and a staff. 

Khnum was a god of the First Cataract, associated with the Nile flood and with all creation and birth.  It was he who, as a potter, formed the body and ka of every human being.  His dual roles in the Inundation and in birth, emphasized by his depiction as a powerful, potent ram, made Khnum a widely recognized deity.  During the Late Period he was recognized as the Creator of All, and worshipped throughout Egypt.

This particular image was excavated in the remains of a shrine at Sakkara. The statuette was found in a cache of a large number of bronze statuettes, “arranged in an orderly manner,” according to excavator W.B. Emery.  Some of statuettes, including this Khnum, were wrapped in linen, which helps to account for its excellent state of preservation.
Object History: Excavated by the Egypt Exploration Society, 1970-1972
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