About this object

Magic wand (also known as a ‘birth wand’) shaped like a boomerang, made from hippopotamus ivory and incised on one side with seven images of deities associated with birth. The procession goes as usual, compared to other wands, with the lion’s mask to the jackal’s head, both here very clearly shown, and begins with the figure of a cat, holding a knife in its forepaw. Behind the cat comes the hippopotamus goddess (Taweret), leaning upon a sa hieroglyphic sign, and armed with a knife; and then a lion (Aha?) with a knife. The middle of the wand is occupied by a long-necked panther (?), also armed with a knife, with the hieroglyph for fire displayed above his back, and followed by a turtle. The procession is closed with a winged creature followed by another cat, this time rampant, and armed with a knife. The figures are carefully executed, and the wand was in five pieces mended together with only a small piece near the tip being missing, and having been replaced by plaster. Said to be from Thebes. Destroyed in World War Two.

Object specifics

  • Type
  • Culture
    Middle Kingdom
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Africa: Northern Africa: Egypt: Thebes
  • Date made
    2025 BC - 1700 BC
  • Materials
    Hippopotamus Tooth Ivory
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Gift of Joseph Mayer
  • Collector
    Joseph Sams
  • Place collected
    Africa: Northern Africa: Egypt: Thebes
  • Date collected
    1850 before
  • Measurements
    58 mm x 317 mm
  • Note
  • Related people
    Joseph Mayer ( Previous owner); Joseph Sams ( Collector, previous owner)

Explore related


  • Catalogue of the Mayer Collection Part 1. The Egyptian, Babylonian and Assyrian Antiquities. Second and Revised Edition

    Gatty, Charles

    Author: Gatty, Charles
    Publisher: The Committee of the Liverpool Free Public Library, Museum and Gallery of Art
    Date: 1879
    Description: 83 page illustrated catalogue of Joseph Mayer's Egyptian and Near Eastern collection that was on display. It also includes a small number of other collections, such as those given by Mr William Crosfield in 1861, some by Mr Charles Stoess in 1869, and others by Mr J. A. Tinne in 1870. Occasionally reference will be made to the provenance of objects, in particular if they are from the Joseph Sams or Lord Valentia collections. The woodcut illustrations were produced by the noted Victorian illustrator and engraver, Llewellynn Frederick William Jewitt FSA. Compared to Mayer's 1852 catalogue there are more detailed descriptions for inscribed objects such as stelae, giving names and titles and the character of the text. Much of this information was provided by Samuel Birch of the British Museum who visited the collections in March 1877.

  • Magic Ivories of the Middle Empire in Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology volume 28 (1906)


    Author: Legge
    Publisher: Society of Biblical Archaeology
    Date: 1906


Previous owners

  • Joseph Mayer

    Owned from: 1850
    How acquired: Purchased
    Owned until: 1867
    Disposal method: Donation
  • Joseph Sams

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Purchased
    Owned until: 1850
    Disposal method: Sold
Object view = Humanities
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