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Snake Coffin

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

A cobra with a man’s head represented the creator god Atum. This deity swam in the primeval waters that existed before the earth came into being. He was therefore associated with the creation of the world, which in Egyptian thought reoccurred every day.
MEDIUM Bronze
  • Place Made: Egypt
  • DATES 664-30 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY Dynasty 26, or later
    PERIOD Late Period to Ptolemaic Period
    DIMENSIONS 5 3/4 x 1 7/8 x 22 in. (14.6 x 4.8 x 55.9 cm)  (show scale)
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 36.624
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Snake Coffin, 664-30 B.C.E. Bronze, 5 3/4 x 1 7/8 x 22 in. (14.6 x 4.8 x 55.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 36.624. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum (Gavin Ashworth,er), 36.624_Gavin_Ashworth_photograph.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 36.624_Gavin_Ashworth_photograph.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph (Gavin Ashworth, photographer), 2012
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    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Oblong bronze receptacle, probably for mummified reptile, surmounted by long uraeus serpent with human head. Uraeus and double crown on head, incised details. No inscription but snake is undoubtedly a representation of Atum. Condition: Good. Apparently it has been assembled from two pieces for there is a repair at about the center, ancient (?). The end of the base is missing.
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