Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
The Apis bull was the most prominent of the sacred animals. He was a living incarnation of the god Ptah.
The ancient Greek historian Herodotus records how priests discovered each new Apis, recognizing it by its hide, which was “black with a white diamond on the forehead, a likeness of vulture wings on his back, double hairs on its tail, and a scarab-shaped mark under its tongue.” The forehead diamond and vulture wings are clear in this statuette.
The Apis bull then lived as a god in a temple. After its death, the Apis was mummified, mourned, and buried with elaborate ceremony.
Dynasty 26, or later
Late Period to Ptolemaic Period
3 3/8 x 1 1/8 x 4 7/16 in. (8.6 x 2.9 x 11.2 cm) (show scale)
This item is not on view
Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
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Apis Bull, 664-30 B.C.E. Bronze, 3 3/8 x 1 1/8 x 4 7/16 in. (8.6 x 2.9 x 11.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 05.397. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum (Gavin Ashworth,er), 05.397_Gavin_Ashworth_photograph.jpg)
side, 05.397_Gavin_Ashworth_photograph.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph (Gavin Ashworth, photographer), 2012
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