Egypt, Late Dynastic Period, 26th to 31st Dynasty, ca. 664 to 332 BCE. A mold-formed faience amulet depicting Sekhmet, the lioness-headed goddess of the sun, destruction, war, and healing. She is seated upon a narrow throne with an openwork base presenting abstract serpentine motifs indicative of the snake-headed god Nehebkau. She has a rigid posture, wears a knee-length gown, and holds a rattle-like instrument known as a sistrum in both hands. Sekhmet's feline countenance features petite eyes, a tapered snout, perky ears, and a radiating mane, with an integral suspension loop behind her head. Fine blue-green glaze covers the entire amulet. Size: 0.75" W x 1.8" H (1.9 cm x 4.6 cm); 2.2" H (5.6 cm) on included custom stand.
Sekhmet (also Sakhmet), among the oldest deities in the Egyptian pantheon, is typically depicted as a lion-headed woman and sometimes wearing a sun disc on her head. When shown sitting, she usually holds an ankh of life or an instrument known as a sistrum, as we see in this example; when standing, she wields a scepter formed from papyrus, the symbol of Lower Egypt, the area with which she is most often associated. Her name comes from the Egyptian word "Sekhem" which translates to "power" or "might" - indeed Sekhmet is sometimes translated as "Powerful One" or "She who is Powerful." Sekhmet is also mentioned in several spells of The Book of the Dead, discussed as both a creative and a destructive force, but above all, the guardian of Ma'at (balance or justice) who defies evil.
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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Losses to legs and lower half of throne as shown. Minor abrasions to body, head, and throne, with softening to some finer details, and fading to areas of original glaze pigment. Nice earthen deposits and great traces of original glaze pigment throughout.