Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
The Egyptians offered crocodile mummies to the god Sobek to request his help with life’s daily problems. Juvenile crocodiles were used in this practice because the full-grown adults were so dangerous.
The ancient Greek historian Herodotus devoted two chapters of his history of Egypt to crocodile worship. For the Greeks, this was an especially exotic element of Egyptian religion.
Dynasty 26 to Dynasty 30
3 x 2 1/2 x 8 1/8 in. (7.6 x 6.4 x 20.6 cm) (show scale)
Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
The object is a wooden coffin for a crocodile. There is a crocodile carved into the top of the lid. Visible partially on the exterior below the crocodile's head, but more wholly on the interior, is a secondary insert of wood. This piece of wood appears to be held in place with a wooden dowel. Overall the surface is very mottled in appearance ranging in tone from dark to light.
Condition: The object is in fair and moderately stable condition. There front of the crocodile's snout is broken off and missing.
This item is not on view
Crocodile Coffin, 664-332 B.C.E. Wood, pigment, 3 x 2 1/2 x 8 1/8 in. (7.6 x 6.4 x 20.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.1367E. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 37.1367E_PS2.jpg)
overall, 37.1367E_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2008
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Who did the crocodile get offered to?
The god Sobek, who was associated with military power, and fertility. Most animals who live in the Nile are associated with fertility, because the river is the source of all life in Egypt.