A bright blue faience amulet of the dwarf god, Pataikos. The deity stands bipedal on a square base, with a protruding stomach and his arms by his bandy legs. Although some of the detailing is unclear, the facial features can be discerned: the god appears to have large ears either side of his face, and a large bulbous nose. The reverse is flat, and decorated with various markings.
Date: Circa 11th - 7th Century BC Period: Third Intermediate Period Condition: Very fine condition; some mild earthy encrustations.
The god Pataikos is so-called after a passage in Herodotus, which describes the protection-possessing power belonging to the image of a Phoenician dwarf. He was known as the son of Ptah, the craftsman’s god. In Old Kingdom scenes depicting daily life, dwarfs were always present among the workers in precious metal workshops. The finest images of Pataikos date to the Third Intermediate period, and later Pataikos figures often held snakes, which made them harmless to people, especially vulnerable children. Pataikos was very popular from the New Kingdom onwards, providing protection from creatures like snakes and crocodiles.
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