In 2010 a remarkable little idol was added to the Egyptian collection of the National Museum of Antiquities. The little magical figure represents a hybrid creature with the body of a dwarf, and is two thousand years old. It has the head of a ram, and its back sports wings and feathers. Its jaw is open, revealing teeth bared in a menacing grimace. This acquisition is a valuable addition to the museum’s Egyptian collection of magical idols and attributes.

Warding off evil spirits and powers

The small limestone figurine is 16 cm high. It was made around the beginning of the Christian era, in the twilight of Ancient Egyptian culture. Idols frequently had a hybrid appearance in this period, combining features of different creatures and beings. The Ancient Egyptians called on these ‘pantheistic gods’ to ward off evil spirits and powers. That explains why these figures were often armed with knives and swords. Their huge animal heads were intended to strike fear into adversaries. Some idols of this kind are made of bronze or faience, but limestone figurines such as this one are rare.

The museum was able to purchase the figurine thanks to a financial donation from the Foundation of Business Associates of the National Museum of Antiquities.