Winged Set with Spear (Bull of Ombos)


Photo ©NCG: Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek ÆIN 726, Acquired 1890
Type of work: Stela, Limestone, H. 22 cm.
Period: New Kingdom, 18th-20th Dynasty (1550-1080 B.C.) most likely range 1305 BC.-1196 BC.

A Griffith Institute pdf gives a description:
"Upper right part of round-topped stela, bull-headed winged Seth ‘bull of Ombos’
in barque spearing [Apophis], Dyn. XIX, in Copenhagen, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Æ.I.N. 726."

Here are photos of the 'Bull of Ombos' in situ at the museum:


Photo © Bo Christiansen


Photo © Heidi Kontkanen


Photo © Heidi Kontkanen


Line drawing created by tracing Bo Christiansen's photo


In the stela, Set is wearing a Canaanite tasseled kilt, as in the scarab from Tell el-Far'ah, which shows a similar pose, as he spears an Apophis snake,
via _Gods, goddesses, and images of God in ancient Israel_, by Othmar Keel, Christoph Uehlinger, pg 77

"A winged, barefooted figure stands at the prow of a boat, thrusting downwards with a long spear", wearing an Egyptian nemes headdress. "The figure is identified as Seth by the inscription. He is attacking the serpent Apophis from the barque of Amun-Re. However, the kilt and horns are un-Egyptian and the god can best be described as Ba'al-Seth, ie Ba'al with the head of a bull, but with Seth-like wings." The front part of the barque has "a bird" resting on it. (From _The iconography of the Canaanite gods Reshef and Ba'al_, by Izak Cornelius, pages 163 - 164)

Just under the Set animal hieroglyph (center, top), we see a bull. The tasseled kilt is Canaanite in origin. Seti I's tomb has an example, among other ethnic groups, "They include, left to right: Mizraim, ruddy-skinned Egyptians; Canaan, bearded Canaanites; and", [via Lepsius]", Cush, swarthy Nubians; and Put, richly-robed Libyans." (_Genesis: World of Myths and Patriarchs_, by Feyerick, Gordon and Sarna, page 76)

Lepsius' original color illustration, which I adapted to B/W, shows the Canaanite with red hair and a brightly colored striped and tasseled kilt. The Egyptian kilt is plain in comparison. The other illustration shows a winged deity in the same pose as in the Glyptotek stela fragment.

"The incised depiction of a god who holds a great lance over his head with both hands, ... should be interpreted as a figure that combines the Canaanite Baal (who defeats the sea serpent litanu/Leviathan) and the Egyptian Seth (who conquers the Apophis serpent". "The same Baal-Seth, this time furnished with wings (in the Egyptian style) and armed with a lance, overpowers the horned snake on a Ramesside level scarab from Tell el-Far'ah (south)(illus. 87b). By means of the combination of Baal and Seth as serpent conquerors, the serpent, an Egyptian symbol of the danger in the dark of night and a Canaanite symbol of the stormy sea, became a symbol of danger in general. The god who could defeat such a creature is treated as a savior, pure and simple". (_Gods, Goddesses, and Images of God in Ancient Israel_, by Othmar Keel and Christoph Uehlinger, pages 76-78)

Set is winged, as he is in the temple of Amun at Hibis:


"Relief from the temple of Amon at Hibis in the Khargas oasis. According to
the text, the falcon-god attacking the snake is Seth")TeVelde, _Seth, God of Confusion_

Here are some more recent photos. Repairs have been done since TeVelde's old image:


© Alain Guilleux , Une promenade en Egypte


A picture by "risotto al caviale" shows it in better repair, but it is still hard to read.