The god Amun ("the hidden one") first became important at the beginning of the Middle Kingdom (witness the name "Amenemhat"--"Amun is at the forefront"--of the first king of Dynasty 12). From the New Kingdom on, Amun was arguably the most important deity, both as a god of the state ("Amun, lord of the thrones of the Two Lands") and as a deity to whom common people turned in adversity. As a creator god Amun is most often identified as Amun-Re (in the typical Egyptian blending of deities, combined with the main solar deity, Re). His main sanctuary was the immense temple complex of Karnak (modern-day Luxor).
In this small figure Amun stands in the traditional pose with the left leg forward. He is identified by his characteristic flat-topped crown, which originally supported two tall gold feathers, now missing. He wears the gods' braided beard with a curled tip and carries an ankh emblem in his left hand and a scimitar across his chest. On pylons and temple walls of the New Kingdom Amun-Re is often depicted presenting a scimitar to the king, thus conferring on him military victory.
This statuette, cast in solid gold, is an extremely rare example of the statuary made of precious materials that, according to ancient descriptions, filled the sanctuaries of temples. The figure could have been mounted on top of a ceremonial scepter or standard. If traces on the back are rightly interpreted, it was fitted with a loop and could even have formed part of an elaborate necklace. For the Egyptians the color of gold and the sheen of its surface were associated with the sun, and the skin of gods was supposed to be made of that precious metal.