- Museum number
Hollow-cast, copper alloy votive box, also known as relic-box or animal coffin; rectangular case surmounted by a solid-cast figure of a snake with head erect (raised cobra/uraeus) and tail coiled forming a small ring, like a loop for suspension; second ‘eyelet’ formed behind head; quite corroded; case complete with small back still sealed, should contain a mummified snake (or parts of).
- Production date
- 500 BC - 300 BC (late 5th - early 4th century?)
Height: 2.70 centimetres (case and snake)
Height: 1.40 centimetres (case)
Length: 2.50 centimetres (case)
Length: 2.70 centimetres
Width: 1.75 centimetres (whole)
- Curator's comments
- Many votive boxes for cobras, or representing a serpent with head erect, were discovered in Naukratis. According to Petrie, the cache of bronzes found in a building located in the southern part of the city provided nine 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 peculiar type were particularly associated to the solar god and demiurge Atum (Weiss 2012, 276-277). They belong to the type T 13 in the typology of animal bronzes by K. Weiss (Weiss 2012, 725-727, Taf. 42c, 75a/g, 77l, Typ T 13, esp. Nr. 741-743, 745-746 from Naukratis).
Kessler, D. 1989, Die Heiligen Tiere und der König, Ägypten und Altes Testament 16, 41, Anm. 21.
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 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, 276-277, 725-727, Typ T 13 (Nr. 746 for this specimen).
- Not on display
- fair (worn)
- Acquisition date
- Egypt and Sudan
- BM/Big number
- Registration number