A God In All His Colors
The completed color (sans touch-ups) of the God Ptah-Sokar-Ausir on the icon panel of “Ptah-Sokar-Ausir“~ an original Kemetic icon by master iconographer Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa/ Panel 1 of The Sacred West Triptych
Our approach to the New Moon (on February 8, 2016) has coincided with the final touches of color to the body of Ptah-Sokar-Ausir (sans minor touching up), who may now be seen in all His dazzling colors. This stage for me is always one of great relief, and a certain sense of being rewarded by the netjer for remaining true to the sacred process of creation. After so many weeks of concentrated labor, the God has emerged from black and white line and monochromatic relief to appear as a holy form composed of pure gold and lustrous color.
This image of Ptah-Sokar-Ausir has been brought to life using genuine mineral pigments of lapis lazuli, jadeite, garnet, red fuchsite, bloodstone, piemontite, iron oxide, and 22 karat gold. Still incomplete at the present time are the gilded raised relief “settings” on the netjer’s atef-crown; these to be occupied by an extraordinary Mexican fire opal and Australian opal to represent both solar and lunar disks associated with this netjer’s celestial spheres of influence.
One notices that blood red/ red-orange predominate the colors selected for the God’s crown, regalia, and attire. In Kemetic iconography, all variations of red signify the dynamic action and force of the deity, and are especially associated with blood, fire, and thus with the solar manifestation of divinity.
Ptah-Sokar-Ausir has a number of qualities invoked and honored through this icon, but it is His power as a solar deity, a deity associated with the cyclical nature of solar life, that takes precedence here. He appears in this cult image as the netjer through which the sun- and by extension all life in creation- is consumed, recharged, and regenerated into a vibrant new life.
His solar attributes are seen in the twisted ram’s horns upon which His atef-crown rises, in the center of which will be mounted an orange-red fire opal as an embodiment of the sun-disk. We also see His shoulder badges in the form of falcon’s wings, the solar bird of prey, composed of raised reliefs covered in 22 karat gold. Behind the netjer’s falcon/ sparrowhawk head emerges the sun, and in the place of its rays fan out a spray of lotus buds and flowering lotuses; these also being representations of the sun’s (and all life’s) renewal, together with the original creation of life from the primeval abyss.
The netjer’s wide shoulders are draped in the elaborate wesekh or broad collar, which are traditionally composed of multiple rows of beads of lapis lazuli, turquoise, and carnelian. My depiction of the wesekh collar is painted with genuine mineral pigments of lapis lazuli, jadeite, and garnet, framed in a raised border of 22 karat gold. The armbands of the God have also been created in the same precious materials. Images of Sokar, Ausir, and Ptah-Sokar-Ausir often show these gods with mummiform bodies, with either the entire body or only the upper body clad in a form-fitting net of beads over cloth of crimson. Funerary figures of the human-headed Ptah-Sokar-Ausir make such attire a standard aspect of the God’s iconography; this is a practice I have honored in my falcon-headed image of the netjer. I have used genuine garnet pigment to achieve the crimson and orange-red color of the “fabric” behind the net of beads, which have been depicted on a minute scale according to their traditional colors and shapes.
Both Ptah and Ausir are depicted in mummiform garments overlaid with an elaborate arrangement of falcon wings and feathers, which I have honored in my icon of Ptah-Sokar-Ausir. This is strictly solar in its meaning, once again linking this powerful triune netjer with the triumphant life of the Sun-God over the phenomenon of diminishment and death. Portions of this garment have been created as slightly raised reliefs, gilded with 22 karat gold.
The next stage of painting- as we enter the New Moon phase- will see the completion of the Henu Ark and its cobra-mounted Djed Column fitted in the stern. Once again, each stage of this icon is being directed by the sacred lunar calendar and the divine resonances linked to its phases. The time of the New Moon may be tied to the erection of the Djed Column as the resurrected body of the God Ausir, whose cosmic powers are rejuvenated on New Moon Day, and whose Wedjat Eye is filled/ expanded leading up to Full Moon day.
Although the following pictures are not professional quality, and were not taken under controlled lighting circumstances with a superior camera, they will nevertheless give my readers a glimpse into the completion of a very great god emerging from the colors of His holy image.