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Pre-dynastic kings
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kmt_sesh
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Montuhotep88 wrote:
anneke wrote:
(Bucranium standard?)


What does this look like?

Reason I ask: I was at the Detroit Institute of Arts yesterday, and I saw a Pre- or Proto-dynastic "alabaster" vessel with that appeared to have a rough Horus surmounting a fairly clear serekh containing what looked to me like the 'netjer'-flag (Gardiner RCool...


"Bucranium" implies the head or skull of an ox or bull. The nTr glyph would be different. Reading Wilkinson's book on the earliest periods I learned that the serekh is known from late prehistory but glyphs or ideograms within the serekh are very rare; those tend to pop up with regularity only in the Early Dynastic Period. You didn't get a photo of this vessel, did you, Montuhotep88? That would be interesting to see.
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anneke
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is there a connection with the benches with skulls and horns of bull found just outside some of the very early dynastic tombs in Saqqara?
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Montuhotep88
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 4:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kmt_sesh wrote:
"Bucranium" implies the head or skull of an ox or bull. The nTr glyph would be different. Reading Wilkinson's book on the earliest periods I learned that the serekh is known from late prehistory but glyphs or ideograms within the serekh are very rare; those tend to pop up with regularity only in the Early Dynastic Period. You didn't get a photo of this vessel, did you, Montuhotep88? That would be interesting to see.


I didn't have a camera with me, unfortunately. The vessel itself was roughly 36 cm high and 12-14 cm in diameter (this is from memory, so it's highly approximate), cylindrical, slightly narrower in the middle, flaring out to discs at both ends, and of calcite ("alabaster"), in the same display case as a "marriage scarab" of Amenhotep III.

(I pointed out to my wife that, although the locator map of the museum highlighted a Roman-period mummy, that these two pieces were probably of more significance historically than anything else in the collection.)

Is anyone on the board closer to Detroit or familiar with the piece? I looked for a exhibition catalog in the museum shop that might include the permanent Egyptian collection but didn't see one for sale. If all else fails, I'll be in Detroit again a couple of months from now...
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kmt_sesh
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 4:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

anneke wrote:
Is there a connection with the benches with skulls and horns of bull found just outside some of the very early dynastic tombs in Saqqara?


I don't think I'm familiar with this feature, anneke. Do you have more information on it?
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anneke
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote: "Do you have more information on it?"

There is mention of these bull's heads on this touregypt site with a picture about half way through the page
http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/firstdynastysaqqara.htm
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 5:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is something about these bull's heads in Michael Rice's book "The power of the bull" See page 126 on google books.

There's a picture on page 128 and mention of the fact that these bucrania also appeared around the tomb of Queen Her-Neith.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the link, anneke. I'd actually used that page before but for information specific to another of the tombs mentioned. I never noticed the photo of the bulls' heads. It looks like this was an extensive decoration for this tomb--300 bulls' heads on a low platform surrounding the tomb. I'd like to learn more about these clay forms so I'll have to check out Rice's book.
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Montuhotep88
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Montuhotep88 wrote:
... I was at the Detroit Institute of Arts yesterday, and I saw a Pre- or Proto-dynastic "alabaster" vessel with that appeared to have a rough Horus surmounting a fairly clear serekh containing what looked to me like the 'netjer'-flag (Gardiner R8 )...


Well, I thought that I had found something... Perhaps it was the light on the piece the first time (they've relocated it while they renovate the Egyptian gallery). I re-visited the DIA on Saturday, and realized that what I had mistaken for a nTr glyph was in fact a portion of the background of the (very) low relief carving, which as I could see this time was clearly the serekh of Hor-Aha. Still very impressive and important, but not new.
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Tez
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 01, 2010 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a group of mastaba tombs of the first dynasty aqt the northern end of the necropolis of Saqqara, going back to the reign of Hor-Aha. According to Edwards:

"some of the later mastabas in the group were surrounded by a low bench, to the upper surface of which were attached by means of wooden pegs life sized heads of cattle modeled in clay and provided with real horns. Approximately three hundred and fifty heads were placed on the terrace of a mastaba dated to the reign of Djet, the fourth king of the 1st dynasty.

Their purpose is open to conjecture, but it has been suggested that they represented cattle from the owner's herd that were slaughtered at the time of his death so that they could accompany him to the next world."


I.E.S. Edwards - The Pyramids of Egypt ISBN 0-14-022549-8 pp 21-22.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bucranium standard - does it look like Gardiner's sign F10?
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