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: Amulet of a goddess, perhaps Sakhmet

Amulet of a goddess, perhaps Sakhmet

Historical period(s)
Possibly Saite Dynasty 26, Third Intermediate Period, ca. 1075-656 BCE or later
Faience (glazed composition)
H x W x D: 10.3 x 2 x 3.2 cm (4 1/16 x 13/16 x 1 1/4 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
Striding figure of either the Memphite goddess Sakhmet or the goddess Bastet. This anthropomorphic deity combines the body of a woman and the head of a lioness. The figure strides upon a rectangular base with her left foot forward. She wears an ankle-length sheath gown and tripartite wig; on her head is a sun disc with uraeus. Her arms hang straight at her sides; her hands are flat. A back plinth extends the full height of the figure and is perforated horizontally near the ribcage level, to enable the amulet to be supended on a cord.

This is an amulet in the form of a striding female deity whose image combines the body of a woman with the head of a lioness. She wears an ankle-length sheath gown and tripartite wig; on her head is a sun disk with uraeus, the cobra-like serpent representing the radiance of the sun god.

The amulet depicts either the goddess Sakhmet or the goddess Bastet. Sakmet, a lion-headed goddess, was a symbol of power and protection for the Egyptian king. Bastet was the feline-headed, benevolent counterpart of Sakhmet. If no accompanying inscription identifies the figure, as in the case of this amulet, it can be difficult to tell which goddess is represented.

To 1906-1907
Unidentified owner, Egypt, to 1906-1907 [1]

From 1906-1907 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased in Egypt in from an unidentified owner the winter of 1906-1907 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] See Original Pottery List, L. 1850, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Former owner
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919)
On View Location
Currently not on view
Egypt, protection, Saite Dynasty 26 (664 - 525 BCE), Sakhmet, Third Intermediate Period (ca. 1075 - 656 BCE)
Collection(s) Area
Ancient Egyptian Art
Web Resource(s)
Google Cultural Institute

Rights Statement
Copyright with museum

The Freer|Sackler is closed for renovation and reinstallation. The popular exhibition Turquoise Mountain: Artists Transforming Afghanistan is still on view in the International Gallery. (Enter through the Ripley Center.) Join us for our reopening celebration on October 14–15, 2017.