Part of a sistrum

Late Period–Ptolemaic Period

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 130

Both sides of this piece show a triangular-shaped frontal face with cow’s ears. The faces are nicely modelled and surrounded by a curled wig that is bound at intervals with ribbons. Underneath each face is a collar composed of tube and drop beads. On either side of the faces is a uraeus with a sun disk.

These two heads are so called Hathor emblems and they form the center part of a sistrum, a musical instrument that was used in rituals. Above the heads is a sound box that was shaped like an arch. Only the bottom part of the arch is preserved. It features two additional cobras, one each in the center of the front and back side. At the very bottom of the piece, below the collar, is the onset of a circular shaft, which is the sistrum’s handle that broke off and is lost today.

Altogether the piece is rather small; this is not an actual sistrum but a miniature one that was used as a donation in a temple.

Part of a sistrum, Faience

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