A Scarce & Early Folk Magic Specimen of a Mummified Dog in Case c.1700-1800

Origin: English
Period: Probably Early 18thC
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1700-1800
Height: 17”
Width: 23”
Depth: 6.5”

The well preserved mummified or dried specimen of a small breed of dog with fully intact and with teeth, having been discovered in the roof of a Tudor house in Suffolk, and now presented in a good contemporary glazed box frame with dark blue paper backing and held with invisible twine, the whole surviving from the early eighteenth century onwards.

Condition is good, given age and fragility, the whole remains in good stable order. The case is contemporary.

According to mediaeval superstition, old shoes, bottles, and less commonly cats and dogs, were placed into walls, roofs, floorboards or fireplaces to ward off evil spirits. It was quite a widespread practice across the European continent and in some cases the animals had been positioned, indicating that they were already dead at the time of concealment. These naturally mummified specimens can date back to the 16th century and cats are more commonly found, making this a particularly rare and unusual specimen.

The ancient Egyptians are best known for their shrines to deities filled with preserved animal offerings. In a labyrinth of chambers and passages underneath the ancient royal burial ground of Saqqara, between the 6th and 1st centuries B.C.E., they deposited millions of mummified puppies as offerings to Anubis, their jackal-headed god of the dead.

A rather extraordinary, macabre and fascinating piece of rare folk magic archaeology.