Bronze bowl


British Museum

British Museum

This bowl was made from a metal sheet, beaten into shape over a mould or rod-anvil. Bronze and copper become very brittle when beaten. To keep the metal supple it was heated it in a furnace while it was worked. The cobra and ankh decorations were added once the vessel had been shaped, using a chisel and hammer-stone.Amulets were often used for decoration. The rearing cobra represented the eye of Re, a force that the god sent to destroy his enemies. As the uraeus it was placed on the brow of the king to protect him and show his divine status. It was also placed on the head-dresses of the gods to indicate their divinity. The motif was used on furniture and other objects as both a decorative and a protective feature.The ankh, representing 'life', is possibly a schematic drawing of a sandal strap. The ankh is often presented to the king by the gods in temple scenes. It was used as a motif in friezes and on furniture and vessels. The ankh amulet was also placed among the bandages of mummies, but was rarely worn by the living.

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  • Title: Bronze bowl
  • Date Created: 1/299
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 9.50cm; Diameter: 14.90cm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: incised; tinned
  • Registration number: 1912,1109.315
  • Place: Excavated/Findspot Meroitic Cemetery
  • Period/culture: Meroitic
  • Material: bronze; tin
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Donated by University of Oxford