Apis Bull

Apis Bull

400-100 BC


Overall: 52.5 cm (20 11/16 in.)

Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1969.118



Sacred animal cults have a long history in ancient Egypt, but they became even more important in the Ptolemaic and Roman periods. Because each god could incarnate himself into any animal species, beasts of all sorts--dogs, cats, ibises, crocodiles--were protected, venerated, mummified, and collected by the thousands in specialized animal cemeteries. The sacred bull cults were different. Apis, the bull of Memphis, was a god in his own right. But he was also associated with other deities, such as Ptah, the god of Memphis, and Osiris, in the form of Osiris-Apis (or Serapis). Statues and reliefs always show him crowned with a sun disk and cobra. When an Apis bull died, he was given a burial fit for a king in an area of the Memphite cemetery known as the Serapeum.


The Apis Bull
Selecting a Successor
A Sculptor's Skill
See also

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@clevelandart.org.

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

Is something not working on this page? Please email help.website@clevelandart.org.

Request a digital file from Image Services that is not available through CC0, a detail image, or any image with a color bar. If you have questions about requesting an image, please email imageservices@clevelandart.org.