Statue of Wadjet inscribed for Minirdis, son of Panehsy and of Aarwt(?) whose parents are Horwedja and Nitocris

Late Period

Not on view

The goddess Wadjet and her very ancient city of Buto (known as the cities of Pe and Dep) are from earliest times mythic reference points for the emergence of a unified Egyptian kingship. Wadjet might take cobra form, the form she wears as the uraeus on the king’s brow. But she was also an Eye of Re goddess, a female relative of the sun god who acted as his emissary/enforcer, and, like other Eye of Re goddesses, she generally adopted the form of a lioness as she does in this statue. And, perhaps influenced by the proximity of Buto to the marshes where Isis hid her young vulnerable son Horus after the death of his father Osiris, Wadjet was regarded as another protectress of Horus, who, of course, grew up to ascend the throne.

In the Late Period, impressively large metal statues of Wedjat as a lion-headed goddess, such as this one, and of Horus, the latter in either lion-headed or falcon-headed form, constitute a special group that evoke the legends of early kingship and the original primacy of Buto through symbols and vignettes on the sides of their thrones. The latter are unfortunately very damaged on this statue.

A recent study has illuminated the origin of this group and its meaning. Examples with a known provenance actually originate in Sais, and for a number of reasons it seems likely that all originate in Sais rather than Buto. In fact, Buto was quite near Sais, the dynastic seat of the 26th Dynasty. Apparently, the Buto gods had an important role and cult at Sais: it seems the Buto legends were understood as mythic precursors for the struggles and then ascendancy of the Saite dynasty in the Delta after the Third Intermediate Period.

The statue is inscribed with a request that Wadjet give life and health to the donor Minirdis, son of Pahnesy and Aarwt, whose (Aarwt's) parents were Horwedja and Nitocris.

Statue of Wadjet inscribed for Minirdis, son of Panehsy and of Aarwt(?) whose parents are Horwedja and Nitocris, Leaded bronze

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