Pharaoh's serpent

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Name used prior to 1900s for an explosive paste containing Mercuric thiocyanate in an aqueous solution of Gum (Schur 1985). When dried, then ignited, the mixture produces a large amount of ash in serpentine shapes. These dry beads of mercuric thiocyanate are called pharaoh's serpent eggs.

Synonyms and Related Terms

pharaoh's serpent eggs


  • Toxic by ingestion, inhalation and skin absorption.

Resources and Citations

  • S. Schur, "Conservation Terminology: A Review of Past & Current Nomenclature of Materials", Technology and Conservation, 1985.