Egyptian, Late Period, 26th Dynasty, ca. 664 BCE to 525 BCE. A solid cast bronze figure of Neith (also Nit, Net, or Neit), the goddess of war, protector of hunters, and patron deity of Sais, in the Western Nile Delta. Neith, among the oldest of Egyptian deities, is depicted striding with her left leg advanced, wearing the Red Crown of Lower Egypt and a long closely fitting sheath - her right arm and fisted hand held tightly at her side, her left arm extended frontward. Assuming this striding pose with her left foot and arm advanced, she most likely once held a was-sceptre (symbolic of power and rule) and an ankh (symbol of life) in her hands. The figure stands upon an integral rectangular plinth with an integral peg beneath that fits into the wooden stand. A striking statue, replete with an impressive form as well as many layers of meaning - for further understanding of Neith's symbolism, please read the extended description below. Size: 7.75" H (19.7 cm); 9.25" H (23.5 cm) on included custom stand.
Neith was an Egyptian goddess of war and of hunting with cult centers in Sais (Delta) and Asyut (Middle Egypt). Her first appearance in Egyptian religion was rather early; scholars know that he symbol appears on stelae from the first dynasty. Her name was used for several royal names from this period as well.
As a goddess of war she assisted the pharaoh during his battles, and was said to "open the way" for him, a function she had in common with Wepwawet. This led to her becoming a goddess who gave protection, as well as one of a group of gods who helped the deceased. Together with Isis, Nephthys, and Serket she offered protection to the sarcophagus (known from Old Kingdom Pyramid Texts) and to the canopic chest containing the internal organs which had been removed during mummification. More specifically she was linked to Duamutef, one of the children of Horus, who watched over the stomach of the deceased.
Neith was also associated with weaving and was believed to be the one who wove the bandages of the mummy. This understanding as the goddess of weaving was extrapolated to protector of women as well as marriage.
The goddess was also associated with the Nile River (sometimes referred to as the mother of the crocodile god Sobek) and by extension was regarded as the personification of the primeval waters of creation. In addition, Neith was identified with the goddess Mehetweret ("The Great Flood") and also linked to Khnum as his wife and as the source of the Nile. Neith and Khnum were seen as creator gods in the temple of Esna and even visualized together as one androgynous creator god.
See a bronze figure of Neith at the British Museum - https://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=122705&partId=1&place=39821&plaA=39821-3-2&page=1
See another bronze statue of Neith at the Louvre, Paris - http://cartelen.louvre.fr/cartelen/visite?srv=car_not_frame&idNotice=19775
Provenance: private Orange County, California, USA collection; ex-Phillip Mitry collection, noted dealer in Cairo, Egypt until about 1951 when he emigrated to the United States
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Missing attributes once held in hands. Normal surface wear commensurate with age. Gorgeous green patina with areas of aqua patina as well.