Category: mythology

Ceremonial rattle of HathorFragment of a cerem…

Ceremonial rattle of Hathor

Fragment of a ceremonial rattle in the shape of the symbol of Hathor, celestial cow and goddess of love and music. Glazed composition, 9 x 7 cm. Late Period,

7th-5th century BC. Now in the Israel Museum, Jerusalem.

Head of the god Osiris

Head of the god Osiris

In ancient Egypt, gold, silver and electrum were the metals of choice for making jewelry. Due to its brilliance and incorruptibility, gold was associated with the Sun and the concept of immortality (hence the decision to make the bodies of gods from gold). Silver was associated with the Moon, and was used for the bones of the gods. In its natural state or when produced artificially, electrum is a composite of gold and silver. As a result, it assumed symbolic functions.

Late Period, ca. 664-332 BC. Now in the Egyptian Museum of Barcelona.

Isis suckling Horus

Isis suckling Horus

Bronze statuette depicting goddess Isis suckling the infant Horus. Late Period, ca. 664-332 BC. Now in the Freud Museum, London.

Ammon

Ammon

Illustration for A Young Macedonian in the army of Alexander the Great by Alfred J Church (Seeley, 1890).

Amenhotep I offering lettuce to Min

Amenhotep I offering lettuce to Min

Lettuce was first cultivated in ancient Egypt for the production of oil from its seeds. This plant was probably selectively bred by the Egyptians into a plant grown for its edible leaves, with evidence of its cultivation appearing as early as 2680 BC. Lettuce was considered a sacred plant of the reproduction god Min, and it was carried during his festivals and placed near his images.

Fragment of a bas relief depicting the pharaoh Amenhotep I offering lettuce to Min of Coptos, God of fertility. Temple of Amun at Karnak.

Nefertari offering linen to Ptah Nefertar…

Nefertari offering linen to Ptah

Nefertari making an offering of linen to Ptah, chief god of Memphis, patron of craftsmanship, metalworking, carpenters, shipbuilders, and sculpture, 

Detail from the west wall of the Eastern Annexe of the Tomb of Nefertari (QV66). New Kingdom, 19th Dynasty, ca. 1292-1189 BC. Valley of the Queens, West Thebes. 

Ear SteleAncient Egyptians could worship their…

Ear Stele

Ancient Egyptians could worship their gods without going to a temple. This small stela is incised with five pairs of ears that represent a direct conduit to the god, much like an ancient mobile phone with a dedicated line to the deity. Although this example does not bear an inscription, other such stelae identify the ears as belonging to the god Ptah. These objects demonstrate how accessible the gods were thought to be; they could be contacted any time, any place, and asked to intercede on any sort of problem.

Baked clay, painted. Predynastic Period,

Gerzeh (Nagada II), ca. 3600-3200 BC. Now in the Oriental Institute Museum, University of Chicago.

Image of Hathor as a cow

Image of Hathor as a cow

Relief depicting Hatshepsut seated before goddess Hathor in the form of a cow, detail of a wall carving from the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut, Deir el-Bahari.

Medallion with OlympiasThis piece is part of a…

Medallion with Olympias

This piece is part of a series of large gold medallions that was commissioned to honor Emperor Caracalla, representing him as the descendant of Alexander the Great. These medallions, found at Abu Qir in Egypt, demonstrate the artistry and technical prowess achieved by an imperial mint, perhaps that of Ephesus or Perinthus (both cities in western Asia Minor).

Olympias, mother of Alexander the Great, is depicted here in profile. The back shows a “nereid” (sea nymph), perhaps Thetis, the mother of Achilles, riding on a hippocamp, a mythical sea-creature. Thus, the medallion forms part of a double comparison: Caracalla is compared to Alexander, the conqueror of the East; Alexander is compared to Achilles, a hero of the Trojan War.

Roman

Imperial

Period, ca. 215-243 CE. Now in the Walters Art Museum.

Baubo FigurineTerracotta female figurine of Ba…

Baubo Figurine

Terracotta female figurine
of Baubo naked except for headdress, with spread legs and right hand pointing to displayed genitals. Baubo is an old woman in Greek mythology which appears particularly in the myths of the early Orphic religion.

Ptolemaic Period, ca. 305-30 BC. Now in the Freud Museum, London.