Photo Essay: Ptah-Sokar-Ausir Nears Completion


The completed color on the inner panel showing the God Ptah-Sokar-Ausir rising before the Henu Ark:  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


Several months of intense labor are almost reaching their end as this week sees the final touching up on the inner icon panel or “deity house”, and the beginning of work on the outer panel.  There are noticeable “holes” still to fill on the inner panel, but these are the settings for the precious and semi-precious stones (onyx, sardonyx, obsidian, opal, and fire opal) and Austrian crystal elements that will grace the netjer’s regalia and the five-pointed gold stars within the pet, “sky” hieroglyph above the netjer’s head.

The creation of this icon is far from being the straightforward layering of paint on a panel; this is a highly intricate work of craftsmanship involving a number of materials and techniques, including the build up of detailed bas-reliefs using liquid gesso, gilding with 22 karat gold, and final installment of precious and semi-precious stones.  In total, this icon will have demanded more than eight months of dedicated work when the completed panel is ready for museum archival framing, and ritual awakening as a true cult image inhabited by the deity.

My current work on the outer panel has begun with the arrangement of the sacred texts comprising the netjer’s primary names and epithets, which are first sketched out lightly in pencil before being built up into intricate raised reliefs in gesso, and then gilded with 22 karat gold.  In the center position on both sides of the outer panel, a rearing cobra goddess encircles the space where highly polished scarab beetle cabochons of Indian sardonyx will be set in gold.  Once the gilding of the hieroglyphs has been completed, the entire outer panel will be detailed with pigment of genuine lapis lazuli.

Below is a set of (non-professional) pictures taken from varying angles and in differing light sources (both natural and artificial), showing the completed inner panel of the Ptah-Sokar-Ausir icon, and the outer panel with the beginnings of the hieroglyphs sketched lightly in pencil.

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