Snake and Serpent
Snakes and serpents are symbols of the devil. They are thought to be crafty and deceitful. Saints and angels, particularly the Archangel Michael, are often shown trampling snakes to show the triumph of good over evil.
Snakes can also symbolise wisdom and the power to heal. This staff belonged to an Armenian bishop or priest. The snake head is a sign of his wisdom. It also recalls the story in the Old Testament in which God transformed Moses' staff into a snake and back again to convince non-believers.
- Head from a pastoral staff in the form of a snake
- Armenia, 1700-1800
- Museum no. 246-1896
When Moses and Aaron came to Pharaoh, they did as the Lord had told them. Aaron threw down his staff in front of Pharaoh and his courtiers, and it turned into a serpent.