Friday, December 28, 2012

Sekhmet, Intriguing Egyptian Goddess

Sculptures and statues can define an era, they can reflect the beliefs of a people in another age, and provide insight into their historical significance.

Sekhmet, Egyptian Antiquities, Louvre, Paris by DGH

The statue in the photo above is the Goddess Sekhmet. Sometimes referred to as the daughter of the Sun god Ra, she is known as a warrior goddess, as well as goddess of healing. There are variations on her background, which lead some experts to think she may be older than the Solar royalty. Her leonine profile shows a goddess known for her strong convictions. Her posture is erect, yet she sits at ease.

Sekhmet's face is that of a lionness, the fierce hunter who protects and leads the pharoahs into battle. She is a member of the Solar (Sun) royalty in Egyptian mythology, the dominant cult in Egypt at the time of the pharoahs. Where the pharoahs settled, the cult of the Sun Royalty followed. In the photograph below, the exhibit as seen in the Louvre Museum, Egyptian Antiquities. Sekhmet is at the far right.

Egyptian Antiquities, Louvre, Paris, by DG Hudson

Sekhmet is the protector of justice and order, but she also has a reputation as the Mistress of Dread, and has been called the Lady of Slaughter. Other variations on her name are: Sachmis, Sakhmet, Sekhet or Sakhet.  Sekhmet's name derives from the Ancient Egyptian word "sekhem" which means "powerful one". Mentioned a number of times in the spells of The Book of the Dead, Sekhmet is seen as both a creative and destructive force. 

Sekhmet's image is used as my avatar, as you may have noticed. Out of all the statues we saw in Egyptian Antiquities in the Louvre, I chose this one.  I was certain it looked familiar. At the time I took the photograph, I didn't know the identity of the statue. The line of Sekhmet's profile caught my attention, it reminded me of something I was drawing earlier in the day. A similar profile with a lion's face graced the sides of a window on the building opposite our rented apartment in Paris. So, when I turned the corner and saw the statue of Sekhmet in profile at the Louvre Museum, I had to photograph the image. 

That ends this brief history of Sekhmet, another legend from Antiquity, and reveals how I came to use this image as an avatar.


Do you like learning the history of legendary characters?  Any favorites? Are these figures from history any different from our comic book heroes?  Please share your ideas in the comments.

Best Wishes for the New Year!  Thanks to the readers and followers of this blog for visiting throughout the year and saying hello when you can.  Thanks for the gift of your time.


References: Sekhmet, goddess  More on Sekhmet