Exhibitions: Egypt Reborn: Art for Eternity

Bust of the Goddess Sakhmet

This bust from a life-size statue of the goddess Sakhmet shows her in her usual form, with the head, ears, and ruff of a lioness and the body of a woman. She wears a female wig and necklace and a dress with rosettes on the straps. Sakhmet's name meant "the Powerful One"; the sun disk (now damaged) and the cobra on her head invoke her manifestation as the Eye of Re, the sun god. Sakhmet was a protector of Egypt and its king, but if not placated she could become dangerous. Amunhotep III commissioned many Sakhmet statues at Thebes to elicit the goddess's beneficence. This bust comes from one of these statues.