It's Academy Awards time again, with an elite band of actors and movie-makers walking away with a coveted little golden statuette.
The 'Oscar' statuette was designed in 1928 by Cedric Gibbons, the chief art director at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. He intended it to resemble a knight standing on a reel of film, gripping a crusader's sword.
However, it hasn't escaped our notice that 'Oscar' bears a strong resemblance to Ptah, the ancient Egyptian creator god and patron deity of craftsmen. He stands holding a staff topped with symbols granting life, authority and stability.
Do you think that the traditional image of Ptah may have helped inspire the design for the original 'Oscar'?
Ptah is easy recognisable in reliefs, wrapped as a mummy and wearing a smooth skull-cap, his hand emerging from his wrappings to hold his distinctive staff. The staff combines the ‘was’ sceptre of power and authority, the ‘ankh’ sign for life and the ‘djed’ column representing stability – everything a pharaoh could wish to be blessed with!
This wonderful little bronze statue of Ptah is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. (Acc. No. 2009.175). It comes from Egyptian Third Intermediate Period (ca. 1069 - 747 B.C.) and would have been housed in a temple shrine, pampered with daily ritual offerings of food, incense, sacred chants and music.
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