Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
On View: Old Kingdom to 18th Dynasty, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
The human face with cow’s ears and horns on the sistrum’s handle represents the goddess Hathor, who personifies heaven and motherhood. The pairs of holes originally held rods with metal disks or squares that produced sound when shaken. Egyptian myths suggest that enraged gods and goddesses became pacified at hearing the sounds of the sistrum. As a symbol of Hathor appeased, the sistrum came to be used in rituals and ceremonies for Hathor, Bastet, and other deities.
10 3/16 x 2 11/16 x 1 5/16 in. (25.9 x 6.9 x 3.4 cm) (show scale)
Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
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Sistrum (Rattle), 332–30 B.C.E. Bronze, 10 3/16 x 2 11/16 x 1 5/16 in. (25.9 x 6.9 x 3.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.583E. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.37.583E_NegID_37.583E_GRPA_print_cropped_bw.jpg)
. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2014
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
Bronze sistrum. The terminal of the handle s in the form of a double Hathor head (human-face, cow's ears but no wig). The loop has three pairs of holes for insertion of the elements which actually rattle but only one of these elements is actually preserved (in the central pair of holes).
Condition: Once broken in half at bottom of Hathor head but since rejoined. Holes and cracks in shaft; dark patina in spots. Surface on top of head corroded.
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