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Statuette of Neith

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Egypt Reborn: Art for Eternity, Old Kingdom to 18th Dynasty, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
The complex nature of Egyptian deities is often indicated by their attributes. Osiris’s tightly wrapped mummy shroud and his crook and flail (symbolizing kingship) point to the legend of Osiris’s murder, mummification, and subsequent resurrection as the ruler of the underworld. The cobra held by his wife, Isis, represents the magic that revived her husband and guarded their son, Horus. As the rightful heir to Osiris’s throne and the embodiment of kingship, the falcon-god Horus wears the Double Crown.

Animals can also reveal divine qualities. The cow or cow-human forms of Hathor refer to her role as provider of milk to Horus and to young kings of Egypt. Bastet, another benevolent female deity, appears as a cat or cat-headed woman, carrying a basket and sistrum.

Certain deities, including Neith, Ptah, Nefertem, and Imhotep, were portrayed in human form. The ancient protectress Neith, associated with war and hunting, wears the flat-topped Red Crown of Lower Egypt. The Memphite creator-god Ptah holds a staff with hieroglyphs for life and permanence. Ptah’s son, Nefertem, a lotus on his head (symbolizing rebirth), defends Maat with his scimitar. Imhotep, the deified architect of Djoser’s pyramid, shares Ptah’s close-fitting cap, and the papyrus on his lap emphasizes wisdom and creativity.
MEDIUM Bronze, electrum
  • Place Made: Memphis, Egypt
  • DATES ca. 380-30 B.C.E. or later
    PERIOD Late Period to Ptolemaic Period
    DIMENSIONS 12 3/8 x 4 3/4 x 2 5/8 in. (31.4 x 12.1 x 6.7 cm)  (show scale)
    ACCESSION NUMBER 37.357E
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Statuette of Neith, ca. 380-30 B.C.E. or later. Bronze, electrum, 12 3/8 x 4 3/4 x 2 5/8 in. (31.4 x 12.1 x 6.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.357E. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE overall, 37.357E_NegA_glass_bw_SL4.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
    "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 Bronze figure of Neith striding upon a rectangular base. The goddess has her left arm extended to hold (the hand is pierced) a now missing staff (or bow). The eyes are gilded. On the base is an incised inscription giving a genealogy. Condition: Most of black/green patina has been cleaned off. Remains of stave and scepter in hands.
    RECORD COMPLETENESS Best (85%)
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