Egyptian Carnelian Lion Head Amulet


An ancient Egyptian vibrant carnelian pendant, formed into the shape of a lions head. The flattened snout and short ears are depicted, likely portraying a lioness deity, possibly Sekhmet or Bastet.

Date: Circa 1550-1070 BC
Period: New Kingdom Period
Provenance: Ex Mayfair Gallery collection, R. Symes, acquired pre 1990.
Condition: Excellent


SKU: AH-854 Category: Tags: ,

There are a few cat and lion headed female dieties within the Egyptian pantheon. The most commonly represented are the goddesses Bastet and Sekhmet. Often they are misidentified as each other however they did have different properties.

The goddess Bastet was depicted both as a tame cat but also as a ferocious lion-headed figure. She retained a lion’s head when depicted as a a woman which frequently causes confusion with identification and is often confused with the goddess Sekhmet. Bastet, like her animal counterpart, was associated with fecundity and commonly portrayed with kittens. Thus she was adored as the goddess of fertility and protector of pregnant women and young children. Small amulets such as this were intended to bestow such properties to their wearer. One popular depiction of Bastet depicts her seated, surrounded with a litter of kittens, to pronounce her fecundity. Usually made from faience this type appears after the Third Intermediate Period. Amulets of Bastet, because of her association with fertility, were often worn in life as well as in the afterlife.

Sekhmet was the fierce goddess of the Memphite area, forming a powerful trio with her husband, the creator-god Ptah, and their son, Nerfertum. Sekhmet was goddess of the sun and war: she symbolised the scorching heat of the sun, and brought plague and pestilence. She was seen as the fiercest of warriors, and was the protector of the pharaohs. It was said that the desert was caused by her breath alone, and she was rendered as a lion because this big cat was the bravest hunter known to the Egyptians

Weight 2.85 g
Dimensions L 2 cm


Egyptian Mythology



Semi-Precious Stones

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