Pectoral with bovine head crowned with disk, horns and feathers

Late Period–Ptolemaic Period

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 127

Beneath a frieze of uraei held up by Hathor columns, a bovine face peers out. The head is mounted on a collar to form an aegis, and the animal wears a disk and long straight horns with two curling plumes. Also mounted on the aegis collar are two uraei that turn inward toward the bovine. Two other large uraei crowned with disk and horns flank the central unit. On the back are four large rings that would permit mounting.

The pectoral belongs to a group that seems to be associated with the sacred Apis bull and the Mother of Apis cow; some of the bovines, although not this one, actually bear the triangular forehead marking of the Apis, although the crown worn is usually associated with a female goddess. A scholar has noted that the association of the frontal image and the structure suggest an event in the life of the Apis or the Mother of Apis. The canopy formed by the uraeus frieze and the Hathor columns resembles the rolling shrine in which the mummy of a deceased Apis is escorted to burial. Alternatively, the structure might represent the appearance of an Apis, led out and displayed for the first time after a new holy animal has been recognized by the priests. Similarly the appearance of the head as part of an aegis - more common among but not restricted to goddesses - might suggest a new Mother of Apis, assimilated to Isis, appearing for veneration at the time a new steer was installed.

Pectoral with bovine head crowned with disk, horns and feathers, Cupreous metal, carnelian

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.