Lion-headed goddess

Late Period–Ptolemaic Period

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 134

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 goddess has deep-set eyes and a slender profile.

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.

Lion-headed goddess, Cupreous metal

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