About this object

The ibis was a bird held sacred to Thoth, the god of scribes and writing. The long beak of the ibis reminded the Egyptians of a scribe’s pen dipped in ink. Worshippers donated bronze and faience figures or the mummified remains of an ibis as gifts to Thoth. The mummy was X-rayed and CT imaged at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital on 19th April 2016 as part of the University of Manchester’s Animal Bio Bank Project (ref. no. AEABB685). This is an extract from the report written by Lidija McKnight and Stephanie Woolham: “Complete mummy bundle containing the skeletal remains of a juvenile ibis. The spine has been arranged in the S-shaped position with the head along the breastbone. The legs appear to be folded up, and although the feet are not directly visible, it is likely that they are present, but obscured by the superimposed features. There is an egg-shaped mass visible in the centre of the bundle which appears to be granular in nature. The inner layers of wrappings are haphazard in their formation, with the outer layer appearing to be more uniform, giving the bundle a neat exterior. The bird is juvenile, indicated by the presence of epiphyses on the long bones and the short length of the beak.”

Object specifics

  • Type
    Animal Remains
  • Culture
    Late Period; Ptolemaic; Roman Period
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Africa: Northern Africa: Egypt
  • Date made
    664 BC - AD 200 about
  • Materials
    Ibis; Textile
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Gift of the Royal Institution, Liverpool
  • Collector
    Liverpool Royal Institution
  • Place collected
    Africa: Northern Africa: Egypt
  • Date collected
    1894 before
  • Measurements
    140 mm x 100 mm x 285 mm
  • Related people
    Liverpool Royal Institution ( Collector, previous owner)

Explore related


  • Gifts for the Gods: Animal Mummies Revealed

    Start date: 2015-10-08
    End date: 2015-10-08
    Description: This fascinating exhibition explores ancient Egyptian animal mummies, prepared in their millions as votive offerings to the gods. Discover the background behind this religious practice in the context of life in ancient Egypt and the environment in which the animals lived. Featuring mummified specimens such as jackals, crocodiles, cats and birds, the exhibition will also include a recreation of a subterranean animal catacomb, creating an immersive and atmospheric experience. Using animal mummies from a variety of UK collections, the exhibition will also look at the use of science, such as CT imaging, to learn more about the subject. World Museum has worked on this exhibition in partnership with Manchester Museum, Glasgow Museums and The University of Manchester. The touring exhibition will be hosted at three cities - Manchester: 8 October 2015 2016 - 17 April 2016 Glasgow: May 2016 - June 2016 Liverpool:14 October 2016 - 26 February 2017


Previous owners

Object view = Humanities
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