Head of a goddess, probably Mut, for attachment to a processional barque (?)

Third Intermediate Period–Kushite Period
Dynasty 25
ca. 700 B.C.
From Egypt
cupreous alloy, gold leaf, formerly inlaid
H. 17.5 cm (6 7/8 in); H. of face (forehead to chin) 5.2 cm (2 in); H. of modius 3.5 cm (1 3/8 in); depth 14 cm total (5 1/2 in) including 2.5 cm (1 in) of perpendicular attachment element extending beyond headdress
Credit Line:
Purchase, Liana Weindling Gift, in memory of her mother, 2008
Accession Number:
  • Description

    Images of gods were carried out of temples on festival days on processional bark-shrines. Most often the image itself was concealed in a shrine, but sculpted heads at the prow and stern identified the god to the populace, royal statuary surrounded and protected the god hidden in the shrine, and other protective gods rode at the prow. This large female head was gilded and inlaid and originally wore the double crown of Amun's consort, Mut, as well as the double uraeus that was a hallmark of queenlike goddesses. Judging from the arrangement of the long front locks of her wig, this sculpture would have appeared at the prow of Mut's barque-shrine; if it had been intended for the stern, the hair would have projected forward, allowing it to fit along the horizontal surface of the barque in front of the goddess' head.

  • Provenance

    Collection of Gustav Posno, Cairo and Paris before 1874 and in 1883 sale catalog; collection of Jean Henri Hoffmann, Paris, by 1894; sold by Marianne Maspero, Paris, to Ben Harer, San Bernadino, 1992; sold by Harer Family Trust at Christie's, New York, December 2005. Purchased by the Museum from Dr. Robert Bigler, Zurich, Switzerland.

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History