Iconographic similarities between Permian “goddess plaques” (Ural region, 7–8th centuries CE) and Horus cippi (Egypt, 8th century BCE – 2nd century CE)

Lloyd D. Graham


The iconography of the Horus cippus, an amulet popular in Egypt from the late Third Intermediate Period to Roman times (8th century BCE – 2nd century CE), is unexpectedly recapitulated in bronze “goddess plaques” of the 7–8th centuries CE made by Permian peoples – Finno-Ugric groups from the Ural region of northern Eurasia. The likely explanation is that both templates are descendants of the widely-diffused “Master of Animals” motif, which originated in Mesopotamia during the Ubaid period (6–5th millennium BCE). Transfer of the Master/Mistress of Animals motif  from the Near East to the Ural region probably occurred via the Scythians of the 1st millennium BCE.


Permian animal style, Perm bronzes, Horus cippus, Master of Animals, Mistress of Animals


Ackerman, Susan. “Goddesses”. In Near Eastern Archaeology: A Reader, edited by Susan Richard, 391-97. Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2003.

Agai, Jock M. “Did the Ancient Egyptians Migrate to Ancient Nigeria?” Verbum et Ecclesia 35, no.1 (2014): e832. Accessed April 14, 2020.

https://verbumetecclesia.org.za/index.php/VE/article/view/832 and


Allen, James P. The Art of Medicine in Ancient Egypt. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2005.

Altenmüller, Hartwig. “Ein Zaubermesser des Mittleren Reiches.” Studien zur altägyptischen Kultur 13 (1986): 1-27.

Andreeva, Petya. “Fantastic Beasts Of The Eurasian Steppes: Toward A Revisionist Approach To Animal-Style Art”. PhD, University of Pennsylvania, 2018. Accessed April 14, 2020. https://repository.upenn.edu/edissertations/2963/.

Arnold, Bettina and Derek B. Counts. “Prolegomenon: The Many Masks of the Master of Animals”. In The Master of Animals in Old World Iconography, edited by Derek B. Counts and Bettina Arnold, 9-24. Budapest: Archaeolingua Foundation, 2010.

Artamonov, M.I. “Proizhozhdeniya Skifskogo Iskusstva”. Sovetskaya Arhologiya 4 (1968): 27-45. Accessed April 14, 2020. http://kronk.spb.ru/library/artamonov-mi-1968.htm.

Aruz, Joan. “Cylindrical Vessel with Heroes and Animals”. In Art of the First Cities: The Third Millennium B.C. from the Mediterranean to the Indus, edited by Joan Aruz and Ronald Wallenfels, 330-32. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2003.

Autio, Eero. Kotkat, Hirvet, Karhut: Permiläistä Pronssitaidetta. Jyväskylä: Atena, 2000.

Autio, Eero. “The Permian Animal Style”. Folklore [Tartu] 18-19 (2001): 162-86. Accessed April 14, 2020. http://www.folklore.ee/folklore/vol18/permian.pdf and


Beaujard, Philippe. The Worlds of the Indian Ocean: A Global History, vol. 1: From the Fourth Millennium BCE to the Sixth Century CE. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019.

Belavin, A.M. “Ob Etnicheskoy Prinadlezhnosti Permskogo Srednevekovogo Zverinogo Stilya”. Proceedings of the Kama Archaeological and Ethnographic Expedition [Perm State Pedagogical University], no. 1-2 (2001): 14-24. Accessed April 14, 2020.


Betz, H. Dieter. The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation, Including the Demotic Spells, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992.

Billing, Nils. “The Secret One: An Analysis of a Core Motif in the Books of the Netherworld”. Studien zur Altägyptischen Kultur 34 (2006): 51-71.

British Museum. “Benin Plaques”, Af 1898,0115.30. Accessed April 14, 2020.


British Museum. “Pendant”, 1892,0520.8. Accessed April 14, 2020.


British Museum. “Purse”, 1939,1010.3. Accessed April 14, 2020.


British Museum Dictionary of Ancient Egypt, s.v. “Horus” by Ian Shaw and Paul Nicholson. London: British Museum Press, 2008.

Brooklyn Museum. “Cippus of Horus on the Crocodiles”, 60.73. Accessed April 14, 2020.


Budge, E.A. Wallis. Amulets and Superstitions. New York: Dover, 1978.

Calmettes, Marie-Astrid. “La Imagen de Horus sobre los Cocodrilos y el Simbolismo de la Serpiente”. Nilus – Butlletí de la Societat Catalana d’Egiptologia 3 (1994): 7-13.

Cannuyer, Christian. “Saint Mina aux Chameaux: Autour des Origines d’un Iconotype copte”. Le Monde copte 27-28 (1997): 139-154.

Castor, Marie-José. “Plaque for Protection Against the Female Demon Lamashtu”. Louvre AO 22205. Accessed April 14, 2020. https://www.louvre.fr/en/oeuvre-notices/plaque-protection-against-female-demon-lamashtu.

Charvát, Petr. Mesopotamia Before History. London and New York: Routledge, 2002.

Chausidis, Nikos. “Mythical Representations of ‘Mother Earth’ in Pictorial Media”. In Archaeology of Mother Earth Sites and Sanctuaries through the Ages: Rethinking Symbols and Images, Art and Artefacts from History and Prehistory, BAR International Series 2389, edited by G. Terence Meaden, 5-19. Oxford: Archaeopress, 2012.

Dasen, Veronique. Dwarfs in Ancient Egypt and Greece. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993.

De Montfaucon, Bernard. L’Antiquité expliquée et représentée en Figures. Paris: F. Delaulne, 1722.

Encyclopædia Iranica, s.v. “Bronzes of Luristan” by Oscar W. Muscarella. Published December 1989. Accessed April 14, 2020.


Encyclopædia Iranica, s.v. “Scythians” by Askold Ivantchik. Published April 2018. Accessed April 14, 2020. http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/scythians.

Ernits, Enn. “Book Reviews – Eero Autio, Kotkat, Hirvet, Karhut – Permiläistä Pronssitaidetta”. Folklore 18-19 (2001): 238-39. Accessed April 14, 2020.


Escolano-Poveda, Marina. “Ancient Egyptian Amulets: Cippus”. Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum. Accessed April 14, 2020.


Étienne, Marc. “Dagger from Gebel el-Arak”. Louvre E 11517. Accessed April 14, 2020.


First, Grzegorz. “The Horus Cippus from National Museum in Poznań”. Folia Orientalia 50 (2013): 323-34.

Föll, H. “Luristan”. Accessed April 18, 2020.


Föll, H. “Master of Animals”. Accessed April 14, 2020.


Gasse, Annie. Stèles d’Horus sur les Crocodiles. Paris: Louvre, 2004.

Götting, Eva. “Exportschlager Dämon? Zur Verbreitung altorientalischer Lamaštu-Amulette”. In Exportschlager-Kultureller Austausch, wirtschaftliche Beziehungen und transnationale Entwicklungen in der antiken Welt, Humboldts Studentische Konferenz der Altertumswissenschaften 2009, edited by Janina Göbel and Tanja Zech, 437-56. Munich: Herbert Utz Verlag, 2011.

Götting, Eva. “Arcane Art: Some Thoughts on the Perception of the Magico-Religious Imagery of Lamaštu-Amulets”. In: Proceedings of the 10th International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East, edited by Barbara Horejs, Christoph Schwall, Vera Müller, Marta Luciani, Markus Ritter, Mattia Guidetti, Roderick B. Salisbury, Felix Höflmayer and Teresa Bürge, 1: 455-66. 2 vols. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2018.

Haarmann, Harald and Joan Marler. “The Goddess and the Bear”. Journal of Archaeomythology 3 (2007): 48-79.

Haarmann, Harald and Joan Marler. Introducing the Mythological Crescent: Ancient Beliefs and Imagery Connecting Eurasia with Anatolia. Wiesbaden: Harrassovitz, 2008.

Haarmann, Harald and Joan Marler. “The Unfolding of Old European Ritual Life: A Mesolithic Heritage”. Journal of Archaeomythology 7 (2011): 73-88.

Hanks, Bryan. “Agency, Hybridity, and Transmutation: Human-Animal Symbolism and Mastery among Early Eurasian Steppe Societies”. In The Master of Animals in Old World Iconography, edited by Derek B. Counts and Bettina Arnold, 175-91. Budapest: Archaeolingua Foundation, 2010.

Hjaltland Collection. “Cylinder Seal, Achaemenid, Modern Impression”. Wikimedia Commons. Published March 22, 2014. Accessed April 14, 2020.


Hoskisson, Paul Y. “Aaron’s Golden Calf”. FARMS Review [Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies] 18, no.1 (2006): 375-387.

Ivanova, Vera. “Perm Animal Style”. Russia-InfoCentre. Published June 23, 2006. Accessed April 14, 2020.


Jacobson-Tepfer, Esther. The Hunter, the Stag, and the Mother of Animals: Image, Monument, and Landscape in Ancient North Asia. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press (Kindle Edition), 2015.

Kaelin, Oskar. “Pazuzu, Lamaschtu-Reliefs und Horus-Stelen: Ägypten als Modell im 1. Jt. v. Chr”. In Images as Sources: Studies on Ancient Near Eastern Artefacts and the Bible Inspired by the Work of Othmar Keel, edited by Susanne Bickel, Silvia Schroer, René Schurte and Christoph Uehlinger, 365-78. Fribourg and Göttingen: Academic Press and Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2007.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art. “Standard Finial”. Wikimedia Commons. Published July 12, 2013. Accessed April 18, 2020.


Louvre. “Ampoule à Eulogie: Saint Ménas”, MN 1469. Accessed April 14, 2020.


Louvre. “Cachet plat: Représentation du Maître des Animaux”, AO 15388. Accessed April 14, 2020.


Lyon-Caen, Christiane. “Pilgrim flasks”. Louvre E 233345. Accessed April 14, 2020.


Marinatos, Nannó. The Goddess and the Warrior: The Naked Goddess and Mistress of Animals in Early Greek Religion. London and New York: Routledge (Kindle Edition), 2000.

Metropolitan Museum of Art. “Cylinder Seal and Modern Impression: Master of Animals between Lions, Griffins, Minoan Genius”, 1999.325.223. Accessed April 14, 2020.


Metropolitan Museum of Art. “Magical Stela (Cippus of Horus)”, 50.85. Accessed April 14, 2020.


Metropolitan Museum of Art. “Miniature Cippus (Magical Stela) with Horus in Profile Wearing Gazelle Head on the Forehead”, 57.143. Accessed April 14, 2020.


Moshtagh Khorasani, Manouchehr. “Bronze and Iron Weapons from Luristan”. Antiguo Oriente 7 (2009): 185-217. Accessed April 18, 2020.


Müller, Felix and Geneviève Lüschcer. Die Kelten in der Schweiz. Stuttgart: Theiss Verlag, 2004.

National Museum of Denmark. “The Gundestrup Cauldron”. Accessed April 14, 2020.


Noegel, Scott B. “From Ape to Zebra: On Wild Animals and Taxonomy in Ancient Israel”. In Animals and their Relation to Gods, Humans and Things in the Ancient World, edited by Raija Mattila, Sanae Ito and Sebastian Fink, 95-136. Wiesbaden: Springer VS, 2019.

Obenga, Théophile, “Le ‘Maître des Animaux:’ Du Mythe à l’Histoire – Paradigme culturel africain de l’Égypte des Pharaons à nos Jours”. Ankh 18-20 (2009-2011): 50-69. Accessed April 14, 2020.


Orosz, Adrienn. “Scenes with Two Bes Figures from Nimrud and the Second Step of Bes Toward Globalisation”. In Esoteric Knowledge in Antiquity, TOPOI – Dahlem Seminar for the History of Ancient Sciences, vol. 2, Reprint 454, edited by Klaus Geus and Mark Geller, 21-36. Berlin: Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, 2014. https://www.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/Preprints/P454.PDF.

Papazoglou-Manioudaki, Lena. “Ring with Master of Animals”. In Beyond Babylon: Art, Trade, and Diplomacy in the Second Millennium B.C., edited by Joan Aruz, Kim Benzel and Jean M. Evans, 277-78. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2008.

Ritner, Robert K. The Mechanics of Ancient Egyptian Magical Practice. Chicago: Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, 2008.

Roberson, Joshua A. The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Earth. Wilbour Studies in Egypt and Ancient Western Asia 1. Atlanta: Lockwood Press, 2012.

Ross, Jennifer C. “Art’s Role in the Origins of Writing: The Seal-Carver, the Scribe, and the Earliest Lexical Texts”. In Critical Approaches to Ancient Near Eastern Art, edited by Brian A. Brown and Marian H. Feldman, 295-318. Boston and Berlin: De Gruyter, 2014.

Routledge Dictionary of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses, s.v. “Horus – 1. Horus the Child”, by George Hart. London and New York: Routledge, 2005.

Routledge Dictionary of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses, s.v. “Shed”, by George Hart. London and New York: Routledge, 2005.

Senator Publishing. “Permskiy Zverinyy Stil'“. Published 2018. Accessed April 14, 2020. https://www.perm-animal-style.ru/.

Senator Publishing. “Permskiy Zverinyy Stil' – Bogini”. Published 2018. Accessed April 14, 2020.


Senator Publishing. “Permskiy Zverinyy Stil' – Fotogalereya Permskogo Zverinogo Stilya”. Published 2018. Accessed April 14, 2020. https://www.perm-animal-style.ru/photo/.

Sinclair, Samantha C. “The Lament of Lamaštu: Biography of a Near Eastern Dark Goddess”. Published May 19, 2011. Accessed April 14, 2020.


Spitsyn, A. Shamanskie Izobrazhenia. Zapiski Otdelenia Russkoi Slavianskoi Arkheologii Russkogo Arkheologichestkogo Obshchestva 7, no. 1. Saint Petersburg: Russian Archaeological Society, 1906.

St. Mina Monastery. “St. Menas Pilgrim-Flasks or Ampullae”. Published October 16, 2003. Accessed April 14, 2020. http://www.stmina-monastery.org/ampullae.htm.

Sternberg-el Hotabi, Heike. Untersuchungen zur Überlieferungsgeschichte der Horus-stelen: Ein Beitrag zur Religionsgeschichte Ägyptens im 1. Jahrtausend v. Chr. Ägyptologische Abhandlungen 62. 2 vols. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1999.

Strandberg, Åsa. The Gazelle in Ancient Egyptian Art: Image and Meaning. Uppsala Studies in Egyptology 6. Uppsala: Uppsala University, 2009. Accessed April 14, 2020. http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:232265/FULLTEXT01.pdf.

University College London. “Horus Stelae”. Published 2003. Accessed April 14, 2020.


Van De Mieroop, Marc. A History of the Ancient Near East, ca. 3000-323 BC. Chichester: Wiley Blackwell, 2016.

Vanha Uskonto ja Uusi Ajatellu. “Pohjoinen Matriarkaatti? Mitä Permin Jumalattaret Kertovat?” Published November 27, 2009. Accessed April 14, 2020.


Wescott, R.W. “Ancient Egypt and Modern Africa” [Review of The Religion of the Yoruba in Relation to the Religion of Ancient Egypt, by Olumide Lucas]. Journal of African History 2, no. 2 (1961): 311-21.

West, Nick. “Gods on Small Things: Egyptian Monumental Iconography on Late Antique Magical Gems and the Greek and Demotic Magical Papyri”. Pallas 86 (2011): 135-166.

Wilson, Veronica. “The Iconography of Bes with Particular Reference to the Cypriot Evidence”. Levant 7, no. 1 (1975): 77-103.

Full Text: PDF


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.