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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Nephthys

Mythic, worshipped in ancient Egypt, circa 3150–30 B.C.E.

Nephthys was originally the Egyptian personification of air, daughter of Nut and Geb and wife of Set, the barren desert. Worshipped as a “Friend of the Dead,” she was thought to ride the boat to the underworld, ushering in the souls of the recently deceased. Nephthys’ hair is compared to the cloth that shrouds the deceased and she is also sometimes represented as a bird, particularly a hawk or vulture—birds that feed on dead flesh—strengthening her association with death.

Judy Chicago (American, b. 1939). <em>The Dinner Party</em> (Heritage Floor; detail), 1974–79. Porcelain with rainbow and gold luster, 48 x 48 x 48 ft. (14.6 x 14.6 x 14.6 m). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation, 2002.10. © Judy Chicago. Photograph by Jook Leung Photography
Judy Chicago (American, b. 1939). The Dinner Party (Heritage Floor; detail), 1974–79. Porcelain with rainbow and gold luster, 48 x 48 x 48 ft. (14.6 x 14.6 x 14.6 m). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation, 2002.10. © Judy Chicago. Photograph by Jook Leung Photography

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