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 Museum Explorer

Birds and beasts in
Ancient Egypt

Gold cobra

Length: 13.600 cm

EA 16518

Gold cobra

From: Memphis, Egypt
Date: Late Period, after 600 BC

Before it strikes, the deadly cobra raises its head and shows its poisonous fangs. This is how it is often shown in Egyptian art. The cobra became linked to the pharaoh. It was used to decorate royal furniture, containers and jewellery and even the king's crown. This beautifully made golden cobra may once have decorated a chair used by a pharaoh. It is shown wearing the crown of Lower Egypt.

The cobra used to be very common in ancient times, but over the years hunting by humans has driven this poisonous snake out of Egypt.