Accession Number
Current Location
House of Death (ground floor), Domestic piety case
Object Type
Written document, Figured ostracon
New Kingdom
Egypt, Thebes/Luxor, Deir el-Medina
Height: 160mm | Width: 142mm | Depth: 30mm
Number of Elements
Divine Name

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An ostracon (a sketch on a pot or stone sherd) showing a Hathor cow and a procession of three people. At the top a cow with sun disc between her horns can be seen. The sun disc shows she is a goddess, probably Hathor. Sketches such as this were made by the villagers of Deir el-Medina in Western Thebes as exercises for their official work as draughtsmen in the nearby tombs of New-Kingdom royalty, or to record passive incidents in their daily life. The villagers maintained a small temple of their own in which Hathor was venerated, where they themselves performed the daily and seasonal rituals that in the more important state temples were the responsibility of a professional priesthood. Hathor has more temples than any other goddess in ancient Egypt. She is mentioned in a number of spells from the 'Book of the Dead' including spell 186 'Adoring Hathor, lady of the Two lands, mistress of the western desert, Osiris shall say: Hail to thee, great one, lady of the sky, mistress of all the gods, whom Re-Harakhte-Atum joins at his beautiful setting....' The piece has illegible blue pencil/crayon, on the reverse, though an earlier catalogue card states this says 'Deir el-Medina'.

Other Identity
21 (rectangular serrated label over a round auction label and round label with blue frame)
Sotheby, Wilkinson, & Hodge: 19–21 Dec 1906, Lot 75
Previous Owners
Robert de Rustafjaell (1859–1943) | Sir Henry Solomon Wellcome (1853–1936)
Assumed long-term loan, The Wellcome Trust (15 Feb 1971)
Last modified: 19 Oct 2020

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