This is the only preserved three-dimensional representation that has been identified as Sahure, the second ruler of Dynasty 5. Seated on a throne, the king is accompanied by a smaller male figure personifying the local god of the Coptite nome, the fifth nome (province) of Upper Egypt. This deity offers the king an ankh (hieroglyph meaning “life”) with his left hand. The nome standard, with its double-falcon emblem, is carved above the god’s head. Sahure wears the nemes headcloth and straight false beard of a living pharaoh. The flaring hood of the uraeus, the cobra goddess who protected Egyptian kings, is visible on his brow. The nome god wears the archaic wig and curling beard of a deity. The statue may have been intended to decorate the king’s pyramid complex at Abusir, about fifteen miles south of Giza. At the end of the previous dynasty, multiple statues of this type were placed in the temple of Menkaure (Mycerinus) to symbolize the gathering of nome gods from Upper and Lower Egypt around the king. However, since no other statues of this type are preserved from Sahure’s reign, it is possible that this statue was a royal dedication in one of the temples in Coptos (modern Qift).
Painted wooden cippus showing Horus standing on crocodiles
Possibly from Memphis, Egypt Late Period, after 600 BC
A cure for bites and stings
A cippus was a type of stela that healed and protected against snake bites and scorpion stings. It was thought that water poured over the cippus gained healing properties. This example is surmounted by the head of the household god Bes, who protected the family from malign forces. Cippi typically show the infant Horus standing on crocodiles and holding dangerous animals such as snakes, scorpions and lions in his hands.
According to myth, the infant Harpokrates (Horus the child) was bitten or stung while in hiding with his mother in the marshes of the Delta. The lament of Isis stopped the celestial boat of the sun-god, who was supposed to be protecting the child. Re sent down his messenger Thoth, who cured the child by reciting a long list of spells. He promised that all that he had done for Harpokrates would be done for any human.
The spells first spoken by Thoth were inscribed on stelae to prevent and cure stings and bites, as well as many other complaints. All manner of conditions of unknown origin, such as convulsions, were attributed to poisoning of the blood. These were regarded as an intrusion of the forces of chaos into the ordered world; the spells were an attempt to combat the unknown.
From Egypt New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty (about 1550-1295 BC)
This terracotta figure of a scribe depicts him as a very fat man with huge legs, sitting on the ground with one knee drawn up and a papyrus roll spread across his lap.
The figure is a bottle, one of a group of finely made red-ware vessels, sparingly decorated with black paint, that date to the Eighteenth Dynasty. The vessel is not an ink container, as Egyptian inks were kept in dry form. Like his identity, his function, once obvious perhaps, is now a mystery.
From Egypt Perhaps Third Intermediate or Graeco-Roman Period, about 800 BC - AD 200
This model shows us what an ancient Egyptian house might have looked like in the later historical periods. It is always referred to as a ‘town house’, as the vertical storeys suggests that space was confined, in contrast to the spread-out ‘villa’-like structures found in the New Kingdom (about 1550-1070 BC) city of Tell el-Amarna. The house in this model seems to have had two storeys and an accessible roof. The windows are indicated on the first floor by two crossed bars, and on the upper storey with a criss-cross pattern, perhaps representing shutters. The roof would have been used for storage, much like houses in Egypt today.