Statue of a feline deity

Accession Number
Current Location
House of Death (ground floor), Animals case
Object Type
Sculpture, Statue
Late Period to Graeco-Roman Period
Number of Elements
Divine Name

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This glazed stone statue might be Bastet, Mut or Sekhmet. All were goddesses shown with cat or lion heads. Bastet was associated with fertility and protection. Sekhmet was destructive and was sometimes called 'she who is powerful'. Sekhmet seems to have originated in Letopolis but was soon connected to Memphis. Her name is 'She who is powerful'. She was a daughter of the sun god Re. A myth found in the royal tombs at Thebes tells of her being sent by Re to kill humankind for rebelling against him. The land was red with blood and Re urged her to stop but she continued. However she is tricked into drinking beer coloured red, thinking it was blood. She then becomes drunk and stops. Her intoxication is celebrated at Hathor's festival by the drinking of red beer. In some versions she turns into Bastet or Hathor once pacified. Sekhmet was also said to responsible for disease. Before belonging to Sir Henry Wellcome, this object was owned by the Theosophical Society, founded by the Russian lady Helena Blavatsky (1831-1891) in 1875. Her teaching synthesised many ancient and modern religious beliefs including those of ancient Egypt. It was presumably used by them as a religious artefact. It is made of glazed stone and stands 18.6cm high.


Anonymous. 1996. The face of Egypt: Swansea Festival exhibition: 5 October 1996–5 January 1997. Swansea: Glynn Vivian Art Gallery. [Cat. 64]