Statue of lion-headed goddess Sekhmet - ROM2008_10025_11


Statue of lion-headed goddess Sekhmet

Medium:Granodiorite, carved and polished
Geography: Probably Karnak, Egypt
Date: c. 1390-1352 BC
Period: Reign of Amenhotep III, 18th Dynasty, New Kingdom
184.8 x 48.6 x 88.6 cm
Object number: 2007.68.1
Credit Line: This purchase was made possible by the generous support of the Louise Hawley Stone Charitable Trust
On view
Gallery Location:Galleries of Africa: Egypt
DescriptionAnimal-headed gods are ubiquitous in Egyptian art, and this particular one - a life-sized sculpture of Sekhmet, the lioness-headed goddess - is a very fine example. Dating to the reign of King Tutankhamun’s grandfather, Amenhotep III (c. 1360 BCE), the granite statue likely comes from the Mut Temple at Karnak. Amenhotep III had such a penchant for Sekhmet that it’s estimated more than 700 statues of the warrior goddess once stood in his temples. One of the oldest known Egyptian deities, Sekhmet is mentioned numerous times in spells from the Book of the Dead as both a creative and a destructive force. Her name means “the (One Who is) Powerful.” But her other titles point to sometimes terrifying attributes: the “(One) Before Whom Evil Trembles,” the “Mistress of Dread,” and the “Lady of Slaughter.” The last refers to a legend in which she is said to have slaughtered nearly all of mankind. While there are no particular myths associated with her other terrifying titles, they are no doubt meant to signify her awesome power.
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