codeOutsideHTMLIsLocked="false" -->
New in the Galleries Sacred Animals of Ancient Egypt

Two coffins of the sacred Ibis
Last period - Early Ptolemaic Period (7th - 4th century BCE)


  The sacred ibis, along with the baboon, was an animal manifestation of the god Thoth, a moon god and the god of wisdom and writing. The widespread popularity of the cult of Thoth in the late periods of Egyptian history is attested by millions of mummified ibises discovered in animal cemeteries associated with his cult centers throughout Egypt. Most of the mummified ibises were stored in pottery jars, but more elaborate coffins in the shape of the bird's body are also known. These coffins were usually made of wood or cartonnage, while the necks, heads, wingtips, and legs were added in bronze, to reflect the bird's characteristic contrasting coloration.
X-rays show that the large coffin contains the bones of a complete mature bird. The head and a mass of mixed bones are clearly seen. Parts of the linen bandages are also visible, as well as a few unidentified small white stains, which may indicate decorations on the bandages. The contours of the bones in the smaller coffin, however, are not very clear. This may indicate that it contains merely a few bones, or, more likely, that the coffin holds the remains of a fledgling, whose immature bones contains only a small amount of calcium and are therefore hardly visible in x-ray.

למאגר התערוכות , מוזיאון ישראל | מוזיאון ישראל, ירושלים | כל הזכויות שמורות © מוזיאון ישראל, ירושלים 1995-
To The Israel Museum Exhibition Online | The Israel Museum, Jerusalem | Copyright © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem 1995-