Coffin for a serpent mummy

Egyptian
Late Period–Hellenistic Period, Dynasty 25–Ptolemaic
760–30 B.C.


Dimensions

Height x width x length: 14 x 3.8 x 55 cm (5 1/2 x 1 1/2 x 21 5/8 in.)

Accession Number

1986.239

Medium or Technique

Bronze

On View

Egyptian Funerary Arts Gallery (Mummies) (Gallery 109)

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Religious and cult objects

Bronze sarcophagus for a serpent or eel. The eel was sacred to the creator god Atum of Heliopolis, and numbers of eels and snakes must have been offered in the god’s sanctuaries. This container for such an offering combines the body of an eel with the hood and head of a cobra. The cobra wears the false beard of a deity and a double crown with uraeus. Its head is supported by a prop hidden by the hood.

Provenance

By 1980: John Lennon and Yoko Ono collection; 1981: sold to Walter Stein (Sotheby Parke-Bernet sale, December 9. 1981, no. 121); 1986: purchased by the MFA at Sotheby's (New York Sale No. 5464 May 30, 1986, no. 77).

Credit Line

William Stevenson Smith Fund