Stone mould for a benu bird

Accession Number
Current Location
House of Death (ground floor), Animals case
Object Type
Implements and utensils, Mould
Late Period
Stone/minerals (Limestone)
Height: 89mm | Width: 127mm | | Depth: 25mm
Number of Elements

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A Stone mould for a bird with plumed head, likely a benu (heron) bird. A very similar object appears as a benu bird in Aufrere S., 1987 'Collections Egyptiennes. Collections des Musees department aux Seine-Maritime', Number 196. Some have suggested that such moulds were used to make faience or glass figures. It has also been suggested that these moulds which mainly take the form of resurrection related figures such as benu birds, eggs and Osiris figures could symbolise rebirth. An intact mould containing mummy material was found in the Late Period grave of the Chief Steward of the God's Wife of Amun, Nitokris II (Bietak, M and Reiser-Hauslauer, E. 1982 'Das Grab des 'Anch-hor Obermeister der Gottesgemahlin Nitokris II' p 189, pl. 123). See also EC660, EC2026 and EC2027.


For information on the benu bird see: Tolmatcheva, E.G., 2003. A reconsideration of the Benu-bird in Egyptian Cosmogony. In Hawass, Z. and Brock, P.L. 2003., 'Egyptology at the Dawn of the Twenty-First Century' Vol. 2, 522-526. George Steindorf 1946 'Egyptian Sculpture In the Walters Art Gallery' published by the Trustees, Baltimore. Speaks of 360, a Heron mould. 'Similar moulds were put into tombs of the later period at the necropolis of Memphis; purpose and religious significance unknown'. There were also a number of such moulds found at Abydos, belonging to the Late Period (Peet, 1914, 'The Cemeteries of Abydos' II, 96, fig. 58, pl. XXL).

Other Identity
1165 (written on rectangular label with blue frame | 77 (round white sticker) | EC758 (cast only)
Sotheby, Wilkinson, & Hodge: 09–10 Dec 1907, Lot 57
Previous Owners
Robert de Rustafjaell (1859–1943) | Sir Henry Solomon Wellcome (1853–1936)
Long-term loan, The Wellcome Trust (15 Feb 1971)
Last modified: 21 Oct 2020

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