Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Head of a Goddess

New Kingdom
Dynasty 18
reign of Ahmose I–Amenhotep I
ca. 1550–1504 B.C.
From Egypt
Limestone, paint
H. 22.5 cm (8 7/8 in); w. 22.8 cm (9 in)
estimated weight 1.4 kg (3 lbs)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1908
Accession Number:
Not on view
This goddess, whose features are remarkably reminiscent of images of Amenhotep I, second king of Dynasty 18, is probably Seshat, a deity in charge of writing and record keeping. In temples, the goddess is frequently depicted documenting a king's official names or recording the amount of booty he has brought home from a military campaign. Most importantly, she invariably joins the king in the ceremony of "stretching the cord," a ritual performed at the foundation of temples and other important buildings. This latter occupation made Seshat a protector of builders and architects. We do not know in which of these functions the goddess was depicted in this relief.
Purchased by the Museum from M. Casira, Cairo.

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