Figure group of Pataikos
Late Period, Dynasty XXVI, 664-525 BC faience
6.9 x 5.4 x 3.0 cm
Accessioned, 1982 (D85-1982)
To ward off the danger posed by both the forces of the natural and supernatural world the Egyptians manufactured a wide variety of amulets that had the power to protect. They were worn or carried by the living and also placed in the tomb. One of the most potent was the cippus, a plaque of varying size made regularly from stone which carries images of Horus-the-Child, son of Osiris and Isis, standing upon crocodiles and the head of Bes, both of whom had the ability to protect against dangerous animals.
Associated with the cippus in function are amulets such as the one illustrated depicting a dwarf god called Pataikos, based upon a name used by the Greek historian Herodotus for similar Phoenician images. Pataikos may represent a form of the god Ptah of Memphis. He stands upon crocodilesm throttles snakes with each hand, as does Horus-the-Child, carries a scarab on his head and falcons on each shoulder. On either side is a goddess, possibly to be identified with Isis and her sister Nephthys, while at the rear is another goddess crowned with a solar disc and with outstretched wings. The goddess protect the figure of Pataikos and also stand upon the crocodiles. This position and the subduing of the snakes graphically illustrates the power of the group to overcome the threat posed by the wild animals.
This figure group is an excellent example of the ability of craftsmen to produce elaborate, small-scale sculptures from a single piece of faience (glazed composition).