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Crocodile Coffin

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 Wood, pigment
  • Place Made: Egypt
  • DATES 664-332 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY Dynasty 26 to Dynasty 30
    PERIOD Late Period
    DIMENSIONS 3 x 2 1/2 x 8 1/8 in. (7.6 x 6.4 x 20.6 cm)  (show scale)
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 37.1367E
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Crocodile Coffin, 664-332 B.C.E. Wood, pigment, 3 x 2 1/2 x 8 1/8 in. (7.6 x 6.4 x 20.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.1367E. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 37.1367E_PS2.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 37.1367E_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 wooden coffin for a crocodile. There is a crocodile carved into the top of the lid. Visible partially on the exterior below the crocodile's head, but more wholly on the interior, is a secondary insert of wood. This piece of wood appears to be held in place with a wooden dowel. Overall the surface is very mottled in appearance ranging in tone from dark to light. Condition: The object is in fair and moderately stable condition. There front of the crocodile's snout is broken off and missing.
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