About this object

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).

Object specifics

  • Type
  • Culture
    Late Period
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Africa: Northern Africa: Egypt: Bubastis
  • Date made
    664 BC - 332 BC about
  • Materials
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Gift of the Trustees of the Wellcome Collection
  • Collector
    Frederick George Hilton Price
  • Place collected
    Africa: Northern Africa: Egypt: Bubastis
  • Date collected
    1897 before
  • Measurements
    45 mm x 160 mm x 150 mm
  • Related people
    Frederick George Hilton Price ( Collector, previous owner); Wellcome Historical Medical Museum ( Previous owner); Henry Solomon Wellcome ( Previous owner)

Explore related



  • Sotheby's Auction House Sale 12 - 21 July 1911

    Start date: 1911-07-12
    End date: 1911-07-12
    Description: Sale of a large collection of Egyptian antiquities sold by Frederick George Hilton Price, an English banker and antiquary who formed a large collection of Egyptian antiquities.


Previous owners

Object view = Humanities
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