Amulet of a goddess, perhaps Sakhmet

Striding figure of either the Memphite goddess Sakhmet or the goddess Bastet. This anthropomorphic deity combines the body of a woman and the head of a lioness. The figure strides upon a rectangular base with her left foot forward. She wears an ankle-length sheath gown and tripartite wig; on her head is a sun disc with uraeus. Her arms hang straight at her sides; her hands are flat. A back plinth extends the full height of the figure and is perforated horizontally near the ribcage level, to enable the amulet to be supended on a cord.

Historical period(s)
Possibly Saite Dynasty 26, Third Intermediate Period, ca. 1075-656 BCE or later
Medium
Faience (glazed composition)
Dimensions
H x W x D: 10.3 x 2 x 3.2 cm (4 1/16 x 13/16 x 1 1/4 in)
Geography
Egypt
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Accession Number
F1907.30
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Faience
Type

Amulet

Keywords
Egypt, protection, Saite Dynasty 26 (664 - 525 BCE), Sakhmet, Third Intermediate Period (ca. 1075 - 656 BCE)
Provenance

To 1906-1907
Unidentified owner, Egypt, to 1906-1907 [1]

From 1906-1907 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased in Egypt in from an unidentified owner the winter of 1906-1907 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]

Notes:

[1] See Original Pottery List, L. 1850, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s)

Charles Lang Freer 1854 - 1919

Description

Striding figure of either the Memphite goddess Sakhmet or the goddess Bastet. This anthropomorphic deity combines the body of a woman and the head of a lioness. The figure strides upon a rectangular base with her left foot forward. She wears an ankle-length sheath gown and tripartite wig; on her head is a sun disc with uraeus. Her arms hang straight at her sides; her hands are flat. A back plinth extends the full height of the figure and is perforated horizontally near the ribcage level, to enable the amulet to be supended on a cord.

Label

This is an amulet in the form of a striding female deity whose image combines the body of a woman with the head of a lioness. She wears an ankle-length sheath gown and tripartite wig; on her head is a sun disk with uraeus, the cobra-like serpent representing the radiance of the sun god.
The amulet depicts either the goddess Sakhmet or the goddess Bastet. Sakmet, a lion-headed goddess, was a symbol of power and protection for the Egyptian king. Bastet was the feline-headed, benevolent counterpart of Sakhmet. If no accompanying inscription identifies the figure, as in the case of this amulet, it can be difficult to tell which goddess is represented.

Published References
  • George Andrew Reisner. Amulets. Catalogue general des antiquities egyptiennes du Musee du Caire 2 vols., Cairo. .
  • W. M. Flinders Petrie Sir University College, London. Amulets. London. .
  • Ann C. Gunter. A Collector's Journey: Charles Lang Freer and Egypt. Washington and London, 2002. p. 130, fig. 5.5.
Collection Area(s)
Ancient Egyptian Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum