Limestone figure-mould, square shaped and incised with a representation of a bennu-bird, a sacred bird associated with regeneration and the cults of the sun-gods Atum and Ra. The mould was probably used in the manufacture of Egyptian faience decorative inlays. Round sticker on one corner, "HP 507" (i.e., Wellcome's inventory number of objects purchased at the Hilton Price sale).
Purchased at Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge, 12-20 July 1911 lot 252 (1 of 8): “A stone mould, with figure of the ‘Bennu’ bird of Heliopolis; and a pair of stone Moulds, with similar designs; from Bubastis; (3548, 4015)”. Described by Frederick Hilton Price (a previous owner) as a “Mould, for casting figures of the Bennu bird, whose presence at Heliopolis symbolized the return of Osiris to the light of day. This bird was employed to represent the Phoenix; of the Graeco-Egyptian fable, of which Wilkinson gives a full account. The form of the bird is like that of a plover. It has been supposed by some that the reappearance of the bird after the lapse of hundreds of years was the cause of its being adopted to represent comets. Calcareous stone. Bubastis” (1897, p.425, no. 3548).