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Leonine Goddess

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

The lion head, uraeus, and remains of a now missing sun disk of this goddess identify her as one of the daughters of the sun god. The shape of the base resembles the papyrus scepter held by a standing lion-headed goddess displayed nearby in this gallery. However, her unusual crouching pose, with both knees drawn up, and mummiform legs also connect her with Netherworld entities and guardian demons.

The statuette originally contained a cat mummy, the two together likely serving as a votive offering to a feline goddess.
MEDIUM Wood, gold leaf, plaster, linen, bronze
  • Place Made: Egypt
  • DATES 770-412 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY Dynasty 22 to Dynasty 27
    PERIOD Third Intermediate Period to Late Period
    DIMENSIONS 16 3/4 x 5 1/8 x 6 1/2 in. (42.5 x 13 x 16.5 cm)  (show scale)
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 37.1379E
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Leonine Goddess, 770-412 B.C.E. Wood, gold leaf, plaster, linen, bronze, 16 3/4 x 5 1/8 x 6 1/2 in. (42.5 x 13 x 16.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.1379E. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE 3/4, 37.1379E_threequarter_PS6.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2013
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Statuette of Sekhmet (or Bast?) containing the mummy of a cat (?) wood. The goddess is seated on a lotus flower or papyrus. Her knees are drawn up and both feet rest on the ground. Her arms are held close to her body, are bent at the elbow, and the hands are placed beside the knees. The right clenches the left with fingers extended and palm down. She has the head of a lioness, wears a wig-cover, a uraeus on her forehead and had some sort of head dress. A garment envelops her body but it is impossible to distinguish its cut. The greater part, if not all, of the figure, was covered with gold leaf. Certainly the hands, her arms, breast, and back of wig-cover, were so covered and we must suppose that the figure simulated one of solid gold if any color was introduced it was about the lioness head, eyes or headdress. The head is now much discolored. The plant on which the goddess sits is now a dark brown to black, without details to determine whether a papyrus or lotus flower was intended. The small amount of stem which was represented was undoubtedly inserted in some kind of a wooden pedestal so that the figure might be placed in an upright position.
    RECORD COMPLETENESS Best (86%)
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