Resources for Ancient History enthusiasts, teachers, and students

Bronze Ibis Figurine

The African sacred ibis (Threskiornis aethiopicus) was revered by the Ancient Egyptian as a manifestation of the deity Thoth – The Egyptian deity of wisdom, writing, and magic. This type of bronze figurine is often found at the cult centres of Thoth (such as Hermopolis) and they are often identified as being from the Late Period of Egypt.

Some of these figurines are attached to a lid of an ibis mummy coffin, such as the one in Brooklyn Museum (Accession Number 37.417E). Others are found as a standalone object with a base, such as “Ibis on a wooden base” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (Accession Number 04.2.462); or “Solid-cast copper alloy figure of an ibis” at the British Museum (Accession Number EA11619). Another example from Australia is the bronze ibis figurine at the South Australian Museum, Adelaide (Accession Number A40053).

This bronze ibis figurine of unknown provenance is currently located at the Museum of Ancient Cultures in Macquarie University (Accession Number MU 4810) .

Further reading

A research paper on a bronze ibis statue at the Egypt Centre, Swansea (Accession Number W96). Note the detailed analysis on: the dating of object based on its material and ancient trend; its usage based on our understanding of Egyptian religion and circumstances; and, the suggested scientific methods for analysing the object, together with the potential issues.

A short article written by Charlotte Clark in the Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (Vol. 13, No. 5, Jan., 1955).

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Resources for Ancient History enthusiasts, teachers, and students. We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land on which our sharing of knowledge takes place, and recognise their continuing connection to country, community and culture. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present, and extend that respect to the First Nations peoples today.

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