Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Falcon surmounting box for an animal mummy

Late Period–Ptolemaic Period
664–30 B.C.
From Egypt
Cupreous metal
H. 12.2 cm (4 13/16 in.); W. 4.5 cm (1 3/4 in.); L. 12.4 cm (4 7/8 in.)
Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. Frederick F. Thompson, 1915
Accession Number:
Not on view
The falcon god Horus stands with his wings swept back. He wears the double crown of Egypt, a royal crown that symbolizes the union of Lower and Upper Egypt, and highlights Horus’ role as the legitimate ruler of the entire land. The crown’s elements are distinct and well made: the red crown of Lower Egypt, lacking only its curling spiral at the front, and the white crown of Upper Egypt. The falcon wears the double crown because Horus and the concept of kingship were closely tied, as early as the Predynastic Period.

The falcon stands on a rectangular, shrine-shaped box that would have held an animal mummy. The falcon and box were fashioned separately. The falcon stands on a thin trapezoidal base, now joined with the top of the box. Such falcon mummy boxes, or sarcophagi, would have been offered for deposition in animal necropoleis, not just in relation to the cult of Horus, but also more broadly in association with solar cult. Unlike many such boxes, which are open at the back end where the mummy has been removed, this example is sealed at both ends.
Given to the Museum by Mrs. Frederick F. Thompson, 1915.

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