Origin and symbolism
Ptah is an Egyptian deity and considered the demiurge who existed before all other things and, by his will, thought the world into existence. It was first conceived by Thought, and realized by the Word: Ptah conceives the world by the thought of his heart and gives life through the magic of his Word. That which Ptah commanded was created, with which the constituents of nature, fauna, and flora, are contained. He also plays a role in the preservation of the world and the permanence of the royal function.
In the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty, the Nubian pharaoh Shabaka would transcribe on a stela known as the Shabaka Stone, an old theological document found in the archives of the library of the temple of the god at Memphis. This document has been known as the Memphite Theology, and shows the god Ptah, the deity responsible for the creation of the universe by thought and by the word.
Ptah is the patron of craftsmanship, metalworking, carpenters, shipbuilders, and sculpture.
From the Middle Kingdom onwards, he was one of five major Egyptian deities with Ra, Isis, Osiris and Amun.
He bears many epithets that describe his role in ancient Egyptian religion and its importance in society at the time:
- Ptah the beautiful face
- Ptah lord of truth
- Ptah master of justice
- Ptah who listens to prayers
- Ptah master of ceremonies
- Ptah lord of eternity