Erich Lessing

Snakes and birds (probably doves) frequently appear on cult objects from the tenth-century B.C.E. southern temple at Beth-Shean, an Israelite sanctuary of the United Monarchy. Serpents coil around this cylindrical pottery stand; one seems poised to strike at the bird in the window. Additional birds perch on the two handles and in other windows not visible. A kind of cultic flower pot for agricultural fertility rituals, stands like this received water libations that caused seeds planted within them to sprout. This kind of stand may also have been used in other types of rituals.