Uraeus

11008000-1990_002_001_Apa_ARC.tif

Title

Uraeus

Date

305-30 BC

Context

Ptolemaic Period
Egypt
Egyptian

Medium/Dimensions

Wood
5 11/16 x 1 7/16 in. (14.5 x 3.6 cm)

Object Number

1990.002.001

Description

In its distinctive upright position, the cobra embodied aggression and inspired fear. As such, it became the symbol most readily associated with the king, both protecting him and representing his protective capabilities. The cobra is frequently found as an architectural element as early as the Predynastic Period. The earliest extant example of a stone frieze of cobras occurs in the Third Dynasty Pyramid complex of Djoser at Saqqara. In later periods, cobras wearing solar disks appeared atop divine or funerary shrines, often arranged in friezes. Tutankhamun's canopic shrine was adorned with a frieze of composite snakes, their faience heads attached to gilded wood bodies.

Uraei fashioned from wood were also used for private burials, both in two-dimensional representations and affixed to shrines, coffins, and kiosks that were placed inside the tomb. This example is elegantly carved, with a slightly uplifted head surmounted by a solar disk. The sinuously curving body tapers below the flare of the hood, leaning backward in the menacing, prestrike posture characteristic of the cobra. The tail curves up along the serpent's back, extending to the top of the solar disk. A hole at the joint of the head and disk would provide additional support for the upper portion of the figure.

Credit Line

Gift of Edith Woodfin West

Exhibits/Publications

Napoleon in Egypt, Museum of Arts and Sciences, Macon, GA, January 13 - March 26, 2006|
Hall of Ancient Egypt, The Houston Museum of Natural Science, August 2014 - Present
Peter Lacovara and Betsy Teasley Trope, The Realm of Osiris (Atlanta: Michael C. Carlos Museum, 2001), 29.

Rights

© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Michael McKelvey.
This image is provided by the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University, who retains all rights in it. This image is made available for limited non-commercial, educational, and personal use only, or for fair use as defined by United States law. For all other uses, please contact the Michael C. Carlos Museum Office of Collections Services at +1(404) 727-4282 or mccm.collections.services@emory.edu. Users must cite the author and source of the image as they would material from any printed work, but not in any way that implies endorsement of the user or the user's use of the image. Users may not remove any copyright, trademark, or other proprietary notices, including without limitation attribution information, credits, and copyright notices that have been placed on or near the image by the Museum. The Museum assumes no responsibility for royalties or fees claimed by the artist or third parties. The User agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Emory University, its Michael C. Carlos Museum, its agents, employees, faculty members, students and trustees from and against any and all claims, losses, actions, damages, expenses, and all other liabilities, including but not limited to attorney’s fees, directly or indirectly arising out of or resulting from its use of photographic images for which permission is granted hereunder.

On View

No

Citation

“Uraeus,” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed June 24, 2018, http://carlos.digitalscholarship.emory.edu/items/show/8050.

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