Ptah – ancient Egyptian God
Ptah is the ancient Egyptian God of creation and creative arts, also called Netjer of Mennefer (better known as Memphis, the capital of the dual Kemetic state for most of its history). Stonemasons and architects showed Ptah as a bald man or with a skullcap crown, often wrapped up like a mummy but with his hands free to bear the symbols of life, power and stability. Sometimes Ptah is also depicted as a hawk or a scarab beetle.
Ptah's importance may be illustrated best by explaining that Egypt is
a Greek corruption of the phrase Het-Ka-Ptah, meaning House of the Spirit of Ptah.
The principal deity of Memphis was the husband of lion goddess Sekhmet, but sometimes the husband of Bast. By the New Kingdom Bast no longer was associated with any one husband, instead being the perpetual virgin sexual partner of every God and Goddess. Ptah’s children were Nefertem, Mahes, and Imhotep. A celebrated triad in Egyptian mythology is that of Ptah, Sekhmet and Nefertem (sometimes Imhotep).
Contrary to the other Egyptian Gods, Ptah was not created. He simply was. It was Ptah who created the universe with his own hands, as if sculpting a piece of art. Myths tell us that the creation by Ptah occurred when the Cosmic Lotus rose from the Chaos of Nun. On this Cosmic Lotus was the Cosmic Egg (Ra-Sekhmet-Bast), which opened to reveal Ptah. In some myths Ptah created the Elder deities: Ra (the supreme God), Atum, Amon, and Mwt. As a creator, Ptah was more directly involved with the physical art of creating than his more spiritual associates Ra and Tem.
For the common Egyptians, Ptah was connected with architecture and stonemasonry, being patron of sculptors, painters, builders and carpenters, as well as anyone who created with his or her hands. His oracles came to the Egyptian people through the sacred bull Apis in his temple in Memphis. The remains of the temple are still worth a visit, located near the Egyptian village of Mitrahine.
The God of creation was also incorporated in the composite funerary God called Ptah-Seker-Osiris, worshipped during the Middle Kingdom period. In this form Ptah represented the three aspects of the universe: creation, stability, and death.