Art/ Collection/ Art Object

A lion headed goddess, possibly Wadjet

Late Period–Ptolemaic Period
664–30 B.C.
From Egypt
Cupreous metal
H. 18.7 cm (7 3/8 in.); W. 4.6 cm (1 13/16 in.); D. 3.9 cm (1 9/16 in.)
Credit Line:
Gift of Joseph W. Drexel, 1889
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. 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.
Several features of this particular goddess draw the gaze: her wide circular eyes and the hatching at the bottom of her ears; her collar and bracelets; the detailing at the top of her dress, with lines between and below the breasts, framing their contours; and the subtle but sensuous rendering of her waist, hips and thighs.
Donated by Joseph W. Drexel, Philadelphia, 1889.

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. 128.

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