Collection online

model / figure

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    A fired clay model of four cows standing in a row and all facing in the same direction. The head of one is missing, two others lack one horn and most of one horn is also missing from a third figure. The legs of the animals have been simplified into single supports at front and back, with no attempt to distinguish right and left legs. The model was made from low-fired clay, which has remained dull grey in colour and is friable. Traces of linen textile adhere to the surface as well as faint traces of black and white paint. Repaired from several pieces, with a small collection of loose fragments not incorporated.


  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 3500 BC (circa)
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 10.7 centimetres
    • Width: 29.7 centimetres
    • Depth: 20.5 centimetres
    • Weight: 2.04 kilograms
  • Curator's comments

    The placement of model cattle within graves was not uncommon although their purpose remains uncertain. It is likely they were connected with the provision of food for the deceased in the afterlife.

    D. Randall-MacIver, A. C. Mace and F. Ll Griffith. 1902. El Amrah and Abydos, 1899-1901. Memoirs Egypt Exploration Fund 23. London.


  • Bibliography

    • MacGregor 2010, pp.43-48 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G64/dc5

  • Exhibition history


    2010-2011, London, BM/BBC, 'A History of the World in 100 Objects'

  • Condition


  • Subjects

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Ancient Egypt & Sudan

  • BM/Big number


  • Registration number


COMPASS Image Caption: Completed repair with horns re-positioned


COMPASS Image Caption: Completed repair with horns re-positioned

Image description



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Object reference number: YCA54676

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