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Young Lady with the Standard of the Goddess Hathor

Date: 13th century B.C.
Medium: sandstone
Dimensions: height: 35 cm
Classification: sculpture
Acquisition Credit: Transferred from the Hungarian National Museum, 1934
Inventory Number: 51.2048
Department: Egyptian Art

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+Description

Young Lady with the Standard of the Goddess Hathor

The statue fragment depicts a young woman. Her head is covered with a braided wig, the top of which is ornamented with a bunch of lotus flowers. She wears a decorative necklace and a gently pleated dress. She holds a divine attribute fastened upon a handle or a pole at her right shoulder, supported by her left hand. The attribute shows the human head of Hathor en-face with the ears of a cow. Her head is surmounted by a chapel façade, with the figure of a cobra rearing up (another representation of Hathor) in its entrance.
Hathor was one of the most important divinities of the Egyptian pantheon. Among her manifold appearances the most frequently represented is the cow, referring to her as universal divine mother who gives birth to the sun god and the pharaoh. When represented in human form, she is most frequently attributed with horns or ears of a cow, alluding to her divine maternal and regenerative power.
The design of the divine emblem recalls those of votive sistra, ritual rattle instruments, which were one of the Hathoric symbols used by her priestesses during religious celebrations held in the temples of the goddess. In these rituals music and dance with erotic associations played an important role, and were believed to have regenerating power. During the New Kingdom female members of the royal family and court were closely linked with Hathoric rituals. It is thus highly probable that the owner of the statue was of noble origin and served as a priestess of Hathor during her life.

Éva Liptay