Ba figure - ROM2011_11859_2


Ba figure

Geography: Excavated at Gebel Adda, Egypt (ancient Nubia)
Date: 2nd-3rd Century
Period: Meroitic Period
19.2 x 19.2 x 40.5 cm
Object number: 973.24.987
Credit Line: Gift of the National Geographic Society
On view
Gallery Location:Galleries of Africa: Nubia

This sandstone statue from Sudan is of a woman's ba, a part of her soul, which can leave her body after her death.  She stands stiffly, long falcon wings folded behind her; these wings show that she will have the power of mobility after death.

Originally, the statue would have had a head, and been painted.  On some surviving ba statues, there is a slot in the top of the head for the insertion of a sun-disk, presumably to show that the deceased as become of the other followers of the Sun God, and, like him, able to rise and set eternally.

Her pendulous breasts and broad hips show that the woman was not shown as a girlish figure, but as a mature woman.  Both in this life and in the next, power and prestige increased with age and experience in Merotic society.

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