Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Lion-Headed Goddess

Late Period–Ptolemaic Period
664–30 B.C.
From Egypt
Cupreous metal
H. 14 cm (5 1/2 in.); W. 2.8 cm (1 1/8 in.); D. 3 cm (1 3/16 in.) H. (with tang): 15.4 cm (6 1/16 in.)
Credit Line:
Gift of Darius Ogden Mills, 1904
Accession Number:
Not on view
Lion-headed goddesses in Egypt encompassed numerous deities including Sakhmet, Wadjet, and Bastet, among others. In this guise, the goddesses were fierce protective deities, but ones that could also bring about destruction on behalf of the gods, both through violence and through plague and pestilence. This figure utilizes several iconographic elements common to many lion-headed goddesses including the upright standing posture, the lion’s mane combined with a tripartite wig, the long gown, and the sun disk. This figure’s arms, long in proportion to the body, emphasize her tall, slender frame.
The sun disk, when worn by a lion-headed goddess, is sometimes linked with Wadjet, and alludes to her role as the daughter and eye of the sun god Re, but many goddesses shared this aspect and similar inscribed statuettes name several different deities; without an inscription or context, it is difficult to assign a precise identity to this figure.
Collection of Judge Elbert E. Farman, formed when he was U.S. consul general in Egypt 1876–84. Donated to the museum by Darius Ogden Mills, New York, in 1904.

Gillett, Charles R. Rev. 1898. Catalogue of the Egyptian Antiquities in Halls 3 and 4, Metropolitan Museum of Art Handbook, 4. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, no. 1580.

Scott, Nora E. and Christine Lilyquist 1971. "Origin and Influence: Cultural Contacts: Egypt, the Ancient Near East, and the Classical World." In The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, new ser., vol. 29, no. 7 (March), p. 323.

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