Egyptian Glazed Faience Amulet of Sekhmet


An Egyptian amulet of a sitting, lion-headed goddess, made from turquoise faience. The lion-headed goddess, most likely the deity Sekhmet, is seated on a throne with her left arm in her lap, while her right arm reaches down towards her knee. She wears the royal wig, which has a plume between her feline ears, acting as a suspension loop. Between her hands she holds a papyrus sceptre, a typical feature depicted with the goddess. The facial features are typically feline; with a broad forehead and a flat, elongated snout.

Date: Circa 664-30 BC
Period: Late Period-Ptolemaic Period
Provenance: From an English collection (A.B), 1930s-1940s
Condition: Good condition. Some earthly encrustation, minor air bubbles and scratches to the surface.


SKU: XJ-40 Category: Tags: , ,

In Egyptian mythology, the goddess Sekhmet takes the form of a lioness-headed woman. Her name translates into “She who is powerful”. She was the goddess of the hot desert sun, plague, chaos, war, and healing. She was the fierce goddess of the Memphite area, forming a powerful trio with her husband, the creator-god Ptah, and their son, Nerfertum.

The myth most intricately associated with Sekhmet was her role in the “Destruction of Mankind” myth, as told in The Book of the Heavenly Cow. Text from this book was inscribed in the tombs of Sety I, Ramesses II and Ramesses III. In this particular myth, Ra saw mankind plotting against him. In rage, he sends the goddess Hathor, in her form as Sekhmet, to execute divine retribution, as the ‘Eye of Ra’. This was usually a female entity, seen as an extension of Ra’s power and retribution. Sekhmet rampaged the earth and became so full of blood-lust that she almost destroys all of humanity. Ra, feeling remorse for mankind, haults the destruction. To appease the goddess’ bloodlust, Ra order 7000 jars of beer be dyed red, and poured over the fields of Egypt. Sekhmet, drinking the beer, become so intoxicated that her bloodlust was finally calmed. She then returned to Ra after arising from her stupor. Sekhmet’s ferocious nature and belligerent origin story made her a protector of the pharaohs, leading them in warfare. Whilst ordinary Egypt believed she could avert plague and cure disease, making her a patron of physicians and healers.

To find out more about Ancient Egyptian amulets please see our relevant blog post: Egyptian Amulets and their Meanings: Ancient Egyptian Gods.

Weight 8.97 g
Dimensions L 2.2 x W 1.1 x H 4.4 cm




Egyptian Mythology

Reference: For a similar item, Bonhams, London, auction 8 December 2022, lot 227.

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