Bronze relic-box for a mummified eel

British Museum

British Museum
London, United Kingdom

In ancient Egypt, the smaller mummified animals and birds were placed inside bronze boxes, on top of which a three-dimensional image of the creature was often mounted. The image on the top of this box represents an eel with the forepart of a uraeus-serpent, and a human head wearing the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt.The eel was associated with the god Atum of Heliopolis, one of the oldest Egyptian deities, and attributed with the creation of the world. Eels and snakes were mummified and offered to Atum in the temples, to be subsequently buried in the associated cemeteries.

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  • Title: Bronze relic-box for a mummified eel
  • Physical Dimensions: Length: 29.80cm; Height: 14.60cm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Registration number: 1867,0812.17
  • Place: Found/Acquired Egypt
  • Period/culture: Ptolemaic
  • Material: bronze
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Purchased from Blacas d'Aulps. Previous owner/ex-collection Blacas, Louis Charles Pierre Casimir