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 WingsArchaeology
New in the Galleries Sacred Animals of Ancient Egypt


Coffin of an Ichneumon in the form of the goddess Wadjet
Last peroid (7th-5th century BCE)

 

  The ichneumon (mongoose) was revered for its ability to kill snakes and crush crocodile eggs. Together with the shrew-mouse, it was regarded as the animal manifestation of the sun god Horus at Letopolis in the Delta, whose name, "the Blind and the Seeing", reflects the complete daily cycle of day and night. The ichneumon, active during the day, represented daytime sunlight, while the shrew-mouse, a nocturnal animal, symbolized the darkness of night.
The ichneumon became a sacred animal of the lion-headed goddess Wadjet as a result of religious developments of the Late Period, when local traditions were frequently linked, and new mythic associations were established. The deities of the Delta cities of Letopolis and Buto became associated through myth, and the ichneumon - a sacred animal of Horus of Letopolis - became a sacred animal of the goddess Wadjet of Buto.
Unlike other sacred animals, which were usually placed in coffins made in their form or in boxes surmounted by figurines depicting their image, mummified ichneumons were occasionally placed in statuettes of the lion-headed goddess Wadjet. The most common type depicts the goddess seated on a throne, usually crowned by the uraeus - the rearing fire-spewing cobra at the king's brow, with which Wadjet was identified. The throne, or a base attached to it, which was usually hollow, contained the mummified ichneumon.



 
 
 
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