Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Lion-headed goddess

Late Period–Ptolemaic Period
664–30 B.C.
From Egypt
Cupreous metal
H. 16.2 cm (6 3/8 in.); W. 5.2 cm (2 1/16 in.); D. 8.9 cm (3 1/2 in.) H. (with tang): 17 cm (6 11/16 in.)
Credit Line:
Gift of Darius Ogden Mills, 1904
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 seated posture, the lion’s mane combined with a tripartite wig, and the long gown. A shallow break at the top of the head indicates that the goddess once wore a crown; in some cases a crown can help narrow down the possible identity of a lion-headed goddess, although without an inscription, a precise identification is still difficult. A square casting patch on her buttocks marks the location of an ancient repair.
Collection of Judge Elbert E. Farman, formed when he was U.S. consul general in Egypt 1876–84. Donated to the museum by Darius Ogden Mills, New York, in 1904.

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. 1578.

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