Hollow-cast copper alloy votive box, also known as relic-box or animal coffin; rectangular case surmounted by a solid-cast figure of a coiled snake, looped over itself to form a figure of eight; one eyelet for suspension still preserved at one corner of top of case; badly corroded; small end at the back open and part of top of case broken; such case previously contained a mummified snake (or parts of), now empty.
- Production date
- 500 BC - 300 BC (late 5th - early 4th century?)
Height: 3.10 centimetres
Length: 5.90 centimetres
Width: 2.30 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Many votive boxes for snakes were discovered in Naukratis. According to Petrie, the cache of bronzes found in a building located in the southern part of the city provided fifteen of this category of votive boxes (Petrie 1886, 41-42). This specimen could originate from this cache that can be dated around the end of the 5th-beginning of the 4th century BC (Masson 2015). However, Griffith signalled in his notes from January 1885, several bronze reptile cases in a trench located outside the Great Temenos (Masson forthcoming b).
Votive boxes of this type were particularly associated with the solar god and demiurge Atum (Weiss 2012, 278). This specific type of snake votive box, with a coiled snake figure, belongs to the type T 14 in the typology of animal bronzes by K. Weiss (Weiss 2012, 727-731, Pl. 42d-e, Typ T 14, esp. Nr. 750-754, 758-762, 764-767 from Naukratis).
Petrie, W. M. F. 1886, Naukratis. Part I, 1884-5 (Third Memoir of the Egypt Exploration Fund), London, 41-42.
Masson, A. 2015, ‘Cult and Trade. A reflexion on Egyptian metal offerings from Naukratis’, in D. Robinson and F. Goddio (eds), Thonis Heracleion in Context, Oxford Centre for Maritime Archaeology Monograph 8, Oxford, 71-88.
Masson, A. forthcoming b, ‘Naukratis: Egyptian offerings in context’, in M. Bergeron and A. Masson (eds), Naukratis in Context: Cults, Sanctuaries and Offerings, Proceedings of the Second Naukratis Project Workshop, held at the British Museum 22nd – 23rd June 2013.
Weiss, K. 2012, Ägyptische Tier- und Götterbronzen aus Unterägypten : Untersuchungen zu Typus, Ikonographie und Funktion sowie der Bedeutung innerhalb der Kulturkontakte zu Griechenland, Ägypten und Altes Testament 81, 278, 727-731, Pl. 42d-e and 75 f, Typ T 14.
- Not on display
- Relatively poor, badly corroded and incomplete
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: 1886.31.69.a (Accession Number)