Egyptian serpentine cippus depicting Horus and crocodiles




A serpentine cippus (magical stela) depicting the god Horus standing on a serpent and two crocodiles. He holds a snake in each hand and is surmounted by a mask of Bes above his head. The back is inscribed with registers of magical symbols.

Cippi such as this were created to protect an individual or area from the perils of wild animals. The god Horus is shown subduing these animals by trampling or holding them (the iconography is also seen in designs on Mesopotamian seals and sculpture). As the design nearly always incorporates the god standing upon two counter-facing crocodiles, these sculptures are also known as “Horus on the Crocodiles” stela.

Egypt, Ptolemaic to Roman period, 3rd Century BC to c. 1st Century AD

11.2 x 4.5 cms, 15.6 cms with stand

Loss to upper left corner and minor chipping elsewhere

Ex. private collection, Rheine, Westphalia, Germany; inherited with a large collection of ethnographic art, acquired 1930’s-1950’s.

Mounted on a fine custom-made c. 1940’s polished wood display stand.