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Sakhmet

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

The lion goddess Sakhmet represented the eye of the sun god Re, which alerted him to all potential enemies. Her aggressive protection of him could be so fierce that in one myth she threatened all human existence through her raging attacks. Only beer—dyed red to resemble human blood—could placate Sakhmet; the beer returned her to a quieter, housecat-like disposition. Her story incorporating bloodlike red recalled for the Egyptians the annual Nile flood, also colored red, because of the silt it carried, and thus tied Sakhmet to a powerful force of nature.
MEDIUM Bronze
GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATIONS
DATES 664–332 B.C.E.
DYNASTY Dynasty 26 to Dynasty 30
PERIOD Late Period, or later
DIMENSIONS 3 7/8 x 1 3/8 x 1 1/8 in. (9.8 x 3.5 x 2.9 cm)
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
ACCESSION NUMBER 37.405E
CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Figure of either Bastet or Sakhmet. She is seated with hands at her lap. The right hand is a fist thumb up; the left hand a fist knuckles up. She wears a long dress and an armlet on each upper arm. She sports a lappet wig. Tail of uraeus appears in relief on the rear of the wig. The head was meant to be inlaid in setting atop the goddess' head. She sits on a throne. On the left side the design if destroyed. On the rear a vulture with outstretched wings flanked by wd3. On the right side a crocodile headed god holding w3s scepter and shen. A tang descends from feet. Condition: Brown/red patina overall. Inlay from top of head lost. Some superficial pitting. Partially hollow cast. Tang broken off part way down.
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