Fragment

c. 1550 BC - c. 1292 BC (made)
Fragment thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This piece was one of many items deposited during the New Kingdom at the mortuary temple of Deir el-Bahari, as a votive offering in the Hathor shrine within the temple complex. The turquoise colour typical of glazed composition was considered appropriate for this goddess, one of whose Epithets was 'Lady of Turquoise'.

In ancient Egypt, the sistrum was both a musical instrument and ritual item, used especially in connection with the cults of the goddesses Hathor and Isis. The rattling sound made by the instrument was meant to evoke that of rustling papyrus marshes, recalling the myth whereby the young god Horus, son of Isis, was hidden from his uncle Seth in the marshes of the delta as a child. Sistra were also produced in glazed composition and deposited as votive items in the temples dedicated to these goddesses.


object details
Category
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Glazed composition, painted
Brief Description
Fragment of a votive sistrum, blue glazed composition, Deir el-Bahari, Egypt, New Kingdom
Physical Description
Fragment of a blue glazed composition sistrum, depicting the face of the goddess Hathor, with a wig topped with the remains of a podium naos headdress. Details such as the eyes and wig have been painted in black. There is a hole beneat the chin, for the insertion of a handle. This mask would have formed the top of the handle, with the arc extending from above this.
Dimensions
  • Width: 4cm
  • Height: 4.5cm
  • Depth: 1.6cm
Styles
Marks and Inscriptions
Object history
Found at Deir el-Bahari, 1904-5 excavation season.
Summary
This piece was one of many items deposited during the New Kingdom at the mortuary temple of Deir el-Bahari, as a votive offering in the Hathor shrine within the temple complex. The turquoise colour typical of glazed composition was considered appropriate for this goddess, one of whose Epithets was 'Lady of Turquoise'.



In ancient Egypt, the sistrum was both a musical instrument and ritual item, used especially in connection with the cults of the goddesses Hathor and Isis. The rattling sound made by the instrument was meant to evoke that of rustling papyrus marshes, recalling the myth whereby the young god Horus, son of Isis, was hidden from his uncle Seth in the marshes of the delta as a child. Sistra were also produced in glazed composition and deposited as votive items in the temples dedicated to these goddesses.
Bibliographic Reference
G. Pinch, Votive Offerings to Hathor (Oxford: Griffith Institute, 1993): 144
Collection
Accession Number
683-1905

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record createdJune 24, 2009
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