Cippus



Accession Number
AB110
Current Location
House of Death (ground floor), Domestic piety case
Object Type
Architecture, Architectural element, Stela
Periods
Late Period to Graeco-Roman Period
Material
Stone/minerals (Steatite)
Provenance
Egypt, Abydos
Measurements
Height: 113.8mm | Width: 72.2mm | Depth: 26.8mm
Number of Elements
1
Animals
Crocodile | Snake
Divine Name
Bes | Horus

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Description

This object is made from steatite and probably originates from Abydos. It shows the child god Horus standing on a crocodile and holding snakes in his hands. In this way, he displays victory over dangerous animals. You can see he is a child as he wears 'the sidelock of youth'. Above is a very much damaged head of the deity Bes. The stela also has protective spells on the reverse and around the edge of the piece. It is usually believed that such items had magical qualities against illness; if you poured water over the cippus, the figure of Horus the Child together with the magic spell on the back would impart healing powers to the water. Larger cippi were provided with basins in which to collect the healing water. It is noticeable that these items are often very worn. This may have been because people rubbed and kissed the items in order to imbue themselves with their magical powers. It likely dates to the Late-Dynastic to Graeco-Roman Period. The object was gifted to the University of Wales, Aberystwyth by John Bancroft Willans, a subscriber of the Egypt Exploration Fund/Society, who received the object in 1903. Subsequently gifted to the Egypt Centre in 1997.

Bibliography

Anonymous. 1996. The face of Egypt: Swansea Festival exhibition: 5 October 1996–5 January 1997. Swansea: Glynn Vivian Art Gallery. [Cat. 59]

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