Height: 19.500 cm
Width: 13.000 cm
Depth: 6.100 cm
Black steatite cippus
Late Period, 6th to 3rd centuries BC
Black steatite cippus with incised detail filled with white pigment
(a type of stelae) were popular from the sixth century BC onwards,
although they appear as early as the New Kingdom (1550-1070 BC),
when they were made of wood rather than stone. They were intended
to prevent as well as cure snake bites and scorpion stings.
According to myth,
Horus and his mother,
Snakes and scorpions were not a great danger to the average person. Snakes lived in fields and marshes, and only attacked when provoked. Records show that tomb workers were often stung by desert dwelling scorpions but they were not off work for long. These animals were, however, regarded as representatives of the forces of chaos, which constantly threatened the ordered world.
G. Pinch, Magic in Ancient Egypt (London, The British Museum Press, 1994)
S. Quirke and A.J. Spencer, The British Museum book of anc (London, The British Museum Press, 1992)