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  • Place of origin:

    Egypt (made)
    Deir el-Bahari (found)

  • Date:

    c. 1550 BC - c. 1292 BC (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Glazed composition, painted

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

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.

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.

Place of Origin

Egypt (made)
Deir el-Bahari (found)


c. 1550 BC - c. 1292 BC (made)



Materials and Techniques

Glazed composition, painted


Width: 4 cm, Height: 4.5 cm, Depth: 1.6 cm

Object history note

Found at Deir el-Bahari, 1904-5 excavation season.

Descriptive line

Fragment of a votive sistrum, blue glazed composition, Deir el-Bahari, Egypt, New Kingdom

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

G. Pinch, Votive Offerings to Hathor (Oxford: Griffith Institute, 1993): 144


Ceramics Collection

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