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adroitness which Mrs. Lee had acquired in unrolling these manuscripts with the assistance of steam. The sheets of some of those thus unfolded by that lady, being laid between two thin panes of glass, with a paper guard cemented round the edges, may now be consulted with perfect ease to the consulter, and safety to the manuscripts. But alas ! too many of these supposed precious rolls, proved to be “ dummies” indeed. For, as the very delicate operation of unrolment advanced, they were found to consist-of course not ab originemostly of fragments written in various-sized characters, and on different subjects. These pieces were, however, tenderly treated; yet, in the further process, the roll was discovered to be made up of still smaller fragments, till, reaching the middle, a squeezed-up mass, without an attempt at smoothness, was revealed. At what period this deception was perpetrated, is unknown; but we must regret the circumstance, as the cause of a disappointment equally severe, whether considered under the alternative of assigning the fraud to the ancient priesthood, or the succeeding kalojeri, the usual fabricators and venders of such-like relics.
Near these Coptic vestigia are several mummified cats, dogs, birds, and other animals; and various idols made of Sycamore wood, among which is one that I brought from Egypt and presented to Dr. Lee, as having been noticed by Mr. Salt for its rarity. Two funereal statuettes of the priest Harket (?), son of Skoutsot, are curious from their fabric, and the consistence of the terra-cotta of which they are made. In this division is also the lady's hand with the gilt nails, ut supra alluded to, and various ornaments for females, as rings, and necklaces composed of different coloured substances, such as cornelian, jasper, blue porcelain, lapis-lazuli, basalt, and glass. Here also will be found many fine scarabæi of pietra-dura; a fine bronze ichneumon or Pharaoh's rat; the Egyptian triad-Osiris, Isis, and Horus—in rich blue porcelain; some fine brass arrow-heads; clay stamps for hieroglyphics; Isis suckling Horus, in brass; cats in bronze and in terra-cotta; covers of Canopic jars; and various sacrificial stones of the greatest antiquity. Yet still more remarkable, there are specimens of corn, pomegranates, figs, and dates, perhaps equally old; and such is the inherent principle of vitality in the wheat, that some of it has actually been re-germinated after having been hermetically sealed, as it were, for many ages in the tombs.
Looking at these mummified creatures, the unpractised spectator will perhaps deem the preservation of such numbers of young crocodiles among the strangest of those vain and fanciful superstitions, deliramenta doctrine, ascribed to the Egyptians. And it is a knotty point in theory. As the crocodile feeds only on putrid substances, he was held to be a sort of scavenger for the banks of the Nile; and, being therefore useful, and deserving of protection, the priesthood declared it a sacred animal. As usual in such cases, the worship which followed became split and gave rise to sects: so that, while numbers rejoiced when the monstrous reptile condescended to make a breakfast upon their children, and piously embalmed them when dead, others worried it and ate of it; and some even execrated it as the emblem of the wicked Typhon ; and treading on a crocodile was the symbol of subjugating an evil power. The ancient name was kampsa; for that which is in current use has but a sort of modern antiquity. The Greeks, struck with the timidity of the saffroncoloured lizard of their own country, gave it the name of KPOKO-AEIAOE: and on their arrival in Egypt, finding a huge aquatic creature of similar shape and hue, they applied to it the same designation. In like manner, in more recent times the lizard of the Portuguese, al ligarto, became alligator.
Among the porcelain rarities of this department, those curious ornaments usually termed Nilometers, but now recognised as the emblem of stability and knowledge, must not be forgotten, since there are here some remarkably bright specimens, with cross-bars and angles as sharp and colours as fine as when just from the manufacturer's furnace. Though the actual meaning of this graduated symbol may have been mistaken, still the rising of the Nile, and its extraordinary effects, were matters of first-rate consideration among the Mizraimites. Indeed the inundation of this river is used as a figure, in the sacred language, to express the sudden and overwhelming force of armies and other great calamities. Amos the prophet employs it in prefiguring the impending calamity of his nation: “It shall rise up wholly as a flood; and it shall be cast out, and drowned, as by the flood of Egypt.” It is still of prime concern, and the annual overflowing is esteemed the greatest of blessings. After the subsidence of the inundation, the face of the country over which the water has flowed is found to be covered with a pure black mould, in which seed is expeditiously sown. A Turkish writer describes the soil of Egypt as being “ for three months white and sparkling, like pearl—for three months black, like musk—for three more green, like emeralds—and for the other three, yellow as amber."
There are numerous wooden idols, some of which may be of the earliest date, since historians inform us that carving in stone was a later introduction. One of these, No. 1327 of the House Catalogue, is an image of the goddess Neith in sycamore, seated, as usual, with her hands along her thighs; it is of good workmanship, and probably of the age of Rameses the Great, the son of Osirei, the Sesostris of the Greeks. Next to it is a wooden figure standing, and before him a hawk, the emblem of Horus; this seems to be of very high antiquity, wherefore I- procured it by exchange from M. Drovetti, in Alexandria. There is also an Egyptian idol in the resemblance of a negro, which is remarkable, inasmuch as it is the only one of the kind yet found; it was brought from Cairo by Mr. Charles Fiott Barker, and presented to Dr. Lee in 1844. No. 1602 is a fine figure of Cynocephalus, only three inches and a half high, totally covered with hair, and therefore differing from the others, which have only a tippet on them: this was brought from Egypt by the Rev. Henry Tattam, Archdeacon of Bedford, and author of the Coptic Dictionary. No. 1603 is a wooden figure on which is engraven the prenomen of Amenoph, the Memnon of the classics. It was taken from the tomb which poor Belzoni discovered in the valley Biban al Moluk; in which was a chamber containing some thousands of these objects, to which visitors helped themselves as they listed. Still several bushels were left in 1826, when they were destroyed by an artist who was occupied in drawing the antiquities of the valley, and wanted wood for cooking his chops.