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Engage your students with the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to illustrate themes and concepts in any discipline.

Ba bird statuette

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Brightly painted, soft wood figurine of a ba-bird, originally attached to a piece of furniture, stele, shrine or coffin. Portrayed as a human-headed bird, the ba was a person's mobile alter-ego, that lived on after death and was free to leave and re-enter the tomb.


By 1836: Robert Hay Collection, Linplum, Scotland; 1863: to his son, Robert James Alexander Hay; 1868-1872: Way Collection, Boston (purchased by Samuel A. Way through London dealers Rollin and Feuardent, 27 Haymarket); 1872: given to the MFA by Samuel's son, C. Granville Way.

Credit Line

Hay Collection—Gift of C. Granville Way

Egyptian, Hellenistic Period (Ptolemaic Dynasty), 305–30 B.C.


Height x width x depth: 10.2 x 4 x 9.5 cm (4 x 1 9/16 x 3 3/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Polychrome wood


The Ancient World


Tomb equipment, Coffins, Sarcophagi