625 BC to 550 BC
1.75″ (4.4cm) high x 2.75″ (7.0cm) wide
Khnum, the creator god, represented as a ram headed man, is one of the oldest deities in the Ancient Egyptian pantheon. His name means: “to create.” He was the creator of all things that are and all things that shall be. He created the gods and he fashioned mankind on a potter’s wheel. A water god, he was closely associated with the annual flooding of the Nile, and thus intimately interlinked with the life-nourishing harvest that made the desert terrain habitable.
This sculpture of Khnum represents the god in his animal form. Here he is not a human with the head of a ram, but an entire ram. The modeling of the head is especially impressive. The sculptor carefully crafted the forms of the pointed ears that protrude from the semicircular projecting horns. The facial structure of the ram, including the flat, hooked nose so characteristic of the creature, is extremely naturalistic. So how do we know this is Khnum and not just an ordinary, albeit noticeably beautiful, ram? There is the fragment of the crown of Upper Egypt on the top of his head. This symbol, in its original state, would have been clearly recognizable to Ancient Egyptians and would have revealed the divine nature of this creature. Today, this piece remains a striking work of art as gorgeous as the day it was cast. – (PF.5777)