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Crocodile Mummy

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

The Egyptians offered crocodile mummies to the god Sobek to request his help with life’s daily problems. Juvenile crocodiles were used in this practice because the full-grown adults were so dangerous.

The ancient Greek historian Herodotus devoted two chapters of his history of Egypt to crocodile worship. For the Greeks, this was an especially exotic element of Egyptian religion.
MEDIUM Animal remains (Nile crocodile, Crocodylus niloticus), linen
  • Reportedly From: Manfalont, Egypt
  • DATES 305-30 B.C.E.
    PERIOD Ptolemaic Period, or later
    DIMENSIONS 1 3/8 x 3/4 x 12 in. (3.5 x 1.9 x 30.5 cm)  (show scale)
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Crocodile Mummy, 305-30 B.C.E. Animal remains (Nile crocodile, Crocodylus niloticus), linen, 1 3/8 x 3/4 x 12 in. (3.5 x 1.9 x 30.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.1365E. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 37.1365E_view2_PS2.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 37.1365E_view2_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2008
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION The object is a small mummified Nile crocodile wrapped in linens. There is no coffin associated with the body. The beige, linen wrappings, which seem to be bands of linen as opposed to sheets, are disorderly. This animal is likely a Nile crocodile (crocodiles niloticus) since this is the only species of crocodile found in Egypt today. Its tiny size suggests that it is a juvenile. The fact that the crocodile was young when it was mummified suggests that it is a votive mummy. This type of mummy was given as a votive offering at shrines of specific gods, in this case Sobek. Condition: The object is in fair and moderately stable condition.
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