Egyptian Sekhmet Pendant

Egyptian carving of a warrior goddess

This is a Yorkshire World Collections object, one of 100 chosen by young people aged 16-24, as part of the London Cultural Olympiad programme Stories of the World.


This pendant of carved faience is in the form of a female figure with a lioness head - probably Sekhmet, the warrior goddess of ancient Egypt. It was made in Egypt during the 26th Dynasty (664 BC - 525 BC). The pendant has clenched fists, with a hole in each. We think that these holes once held a pair of snakes!

The carving is of a very high quality, which suggests this pendant was worn by a very important person. Possibly it was worn by a priest or magician, to increase their magical powers during rituals.

Faience is a glazed non-clay ceramic material, made from crushed quartz or sand, with small amounts of lime and plant ash. The colour is often a bright blue-green colour due the presence of copper. Because they are not made from clay these carvings are not described as pottery.

Discussion Ideas:

  • What other Ancient Egyptian gods or goddesses had animal-like heads?
    (clue: the links at the bottom of this page should help)
  • We think that the holes in the hands of this pendant could have once held a pair of snakes. What evidence might we have for this? Do some research into the role of snakes to goddesses in Ancient Egypt.
  • We think this pendant is meant to be Sekhmet, the warrior goddess, but we canít be sure. Using the links below, carry out some research into Sekhmet. What were her particular features? What clues are there in the pendantís design that it is meant to be Sekhmet?
  • What other small decorative objects did the Ancient Egyptians make?
    (clue: see our resources on
    Mummification and Ancient Egyptians' Daily Life)
  • What types of ornament can you think of today that show 'people of high standing'?

Young person's response to this object:

A beautiful artefact representing the Ancient Egyptian belief of the power of the Gods, in which there was a God for nearly all aspects of life. It was probably worn by those going in to battle, who needed her power the most. Jordan Keighley




 
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