Em Hotep Digest vol. 01 no. 03: Hathor, Her Temples and Her Art
24
Dec

Em Hotep Digest vol. 01 no. 03: Hathor, Her Temples and Her Art

   Posted by: Shemsu Sesen   

Categories: Em Hotep Digest

000 - hathor tagThis week Em Hotep BBS, our daily Facebook presence, took up the subject of Hathor—the beautiful, the bovine, and the beastly.  Herein we explore her temples, we examine her iconography, and we appreciate her art.  There is a museum hop, suggested links and good reads, plus the wonderful photography.

 

 

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Contributors:  Géraldine Ashby, Merja Attia, Yvonne Buskens, Lyn Green, Heidi Kontkanen, Angel Kuenka, Jean-Marie Letienne, Vicky Metafora, Richie O’Neill, Keith Payne, Lily Quelquechose.

 

The Faces of Hathor the Beautiful One

 

Hathor as the Mother and House of Horus

From The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt by Richard Wilkinson

“One of Egypt’s greatest goddesses, Hathor may possibly have originated in predynastic or early dynastic times, though most of the evidence for her dates to later periods…The name Hathor was written as a composite hieroglyph showing a falcon within the hieroglyphic sign representing a walled building or courtyard and literally means ‘the house of Horus, relating to the goddesses mythological role as mother of the ancient falcon god…From the written form of her name—as the house of Horus—Hathor may also be seen as the sky in which the great falcon lived, or, alternatively, as the womb, metaphorically referred to as ‘house,’ from which he was born. “  (p 140)

Horus and Hathor at the Temple of Horus at Edfu (Photo by Ad Meskens)

Horus and Hathor at the Temple of Horus at Edfu (Photo by Ad Meskens)

 

Hieroglyph for Hathor from Deir el-Bahari, photo in the public domain

Hieroglyph for Hathor from Deir el-Bahari, photo in the public domain

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Hathor as Wife, Daughter and “Eye” of Re

From The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt by Richard Wilkinson

“Hathor was closely connected with the sun god Re whose disk she wears and whose wife, ‘Eye’ or daughter she was said to be…Thus, Hathor played an important role in the royal sun temples of the later Old Kingdom, and her mythological relationship with the sun god was firmly established.  As the ‘Golden One’ she was resplendent goddess who accompanied the sun god on his daily journey in the solar barque, and she could also be feared as the vengeful ‘Eye’ of Re as seen in the story of the narrowly averted destruction of the human race by Hathor in her rage.  In the Pyramid Texts Hathor assists the king in this role of ‘Eye’, however (PT 705)—preserving him by enabling his daily rebirth with the sun.”  (P. 140)

Hathor and Re, photo from the Yorck Project (public domain)

Hathor and Re, photo from the Yorck Project (public domain)

Yvonne Buskens summarizes Hathor’s role in the myth of the destruction of humanity:

“The myth of the destruction of humanity is inscribed near the celestial cow in the tomb of Seti I.  It tells us how (here in a nutshell) the subjects of Re were in rebellion on earth.  Re is getting older and withdraws himself to the sky as his body crystallizes into silver, gold and lapis lazuli, no longer able to rule his people, nor in control of his bodily activities.  After speaking to the other gods, Re released his Eye (his daughter Hathor) who transforms into Sekhmet and starts killing all the people.  To prevent her from killing all the people in the world, Re tricks her and orders that beer, dyed red like blood, should be poured out of the earth during the night.  At dawn the goddess sees this and drinks “the blood” and gets drunk, and forgets destroying humanity, becoming Hathor the Beautiful One again.”

The Myth of the destruction of humanity by Hathor—the Eye of Re

The Myth of the destruction of humanity by Hathor—the Eye of Re

For more about Hathor in her most fierce manifestation, Yvonne Buskens turns us to Offering to the Gods in Egyptian Temples by Silvie Cauville Peeters Leuven:

“The daughters of Re (Hathor, Sekhmet, Tefnut) are a source of life and light, but also of drought and death. Therefore the violent nature of the goddesses, who are become lionesses for the occasion, must be pacified.

“ Pacifying Hathor was done by playing the sistrum and holding a papyri form scepter. The sound dispelled demons and soothed the goddess; the green amulet formed a protective barrier, provoked joy and gave Hathor vigor. This scene, appearing only in the Graeco-Roman period, resumes a ritual recorded on papyrus long ago :

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“The king is the beautiful sistrum player, who dances in the morning without being tired at night (D. XII, 211); he has a soft voice, reciting sacred formulas (E. IV, 72). I come to you, the one whose magic powers are effective, the lady of the great sanctuary, sovereign of the Sanctuary-of-the-flame, I bring you the sistrum to satisfy your heart, as for the papyri form scepter, it makes your body healthy, you are the Powerful One who protected her son Horus (D.II.82).”

D= E. Chassinat etc Le temple de Dendara 1-XII, Institute Français d’archeologie Orientale, Cairo 1934-2007

E= M. d Rochemonteix etc Le temple d’ Edfou I-XV Institute Français d’archeologie Orientale, Cairo 1934-1985

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Hathor as Goddess of Women, Female Sexuality and Motherhood

From The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt by Richard Wilkinson

“Hathor was often described as the ‘beautiful one’ and was inextricably associated with love and female sexuality as well as with motherhood.  Not surprisingly, the Greeks associated Hathor with Aphrodite and the goddess was especially venerate by Egyptian women…Her overt sexuality is seen in the story which recounts how Hathor cheered the dejected god Re by exposing herself so that the great god laughed and rejoined the company of the gods.  One of her names was ‘mistress of the vagina’, and Hathor was associated with all aspects of motherhood and believed to assist women in conception, labor and childbirth.”  (p. 141)

Hathor from the Luxor Museum, photo in the public domain

Hathor from the Luxor Museum, photo in the public domain

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Hathor as Mother and Wife of the King

From The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt by Richard Wilkinson

“A particularly important aspect of Hathor’s maternal nature is the role she played as mother of the king…The Egyptian king was called the ‘son of Hathor’ perhaps both in this sense and also in the sense that Hathor was the mother of the falcon god Horus whose incarnation the reigning king was.  Hathor was also the ‘wife’ of the king from an early date, and already in the Fourth Dynasty we find the king’s chief wife acting as her priestess and probably being viewed as the earthly manifestation of the goddess. “ (pp.141-3)

Hathor blesses pharaoh Horemheb, from the tomb of Horemheb, photo by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra, shared via Creative Commons.

Hathor blesses pharaoh Horemheb, from the tomb of Horemheb, photo by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra, shared via Creative Commons.

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Hathor as Goddess of the Afterlife

From The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt by Richard Wilkinson

“Women desired to be assimilated with Hathor in the afterlife in the same manner that men desired to ‘become’ Osiris, but the goddess’s relationship to the deceased applied to men and women alike.  From quite early times, especially in the Memphite region, she was worshipped as a tree goddess, ‘mistress of the sycamore’, who supplied food and drink to the deceased; and from at least the Eighteenth Dynasty she served as the patron deity of the Theban Necropolis, where she protected and nurtured royalty and commoners alike…She was considered to receive the dying sun each evening and so it was a desire of the deceased to be ‘in the following of Hathor’.

Goddess Hathor emerging from a mountain side as Mistress of the Necropolis. From the Funerary papyrus of Amunemwija (P3127). 21st Dynasty, Thebes. Neues Museum, Berlin.  (Photo by Heidi Kontkanen)

Goddess Hathor emerging from a mountain side as Mistress of the Necropolis. From the Funerary papyrus of Amunemwija (P3127). 21st Dynasty, Thebes. Neues Museum, Berlin. (Photo by Heidi Kontkanen)

King Ramses III introducing his deceased son Prince Amenherkhepeshef to Hathor, Mistress of the West.  Wall Painting From: the Tomb of Amenherkhepeshef (QV 55), Thebes (Vicky Metafora, contrib.)

King Ramses III introducing his deceased son Prince Amenherkhepeshef to Hathor, Mistress of the West. Wall Painting From: the Tomb of Amenherkhepeshef (QV 55), Thebes (Vicky Metafora, contrib.)

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Hathor as Goddess of Joy, Music, and Happiness

From The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt by Richard Wilkinson

“Although closely related to Hathor’s aspect as a goddess of fertility, sexuality and love, her role as a provider of pleasure and joy was independent in itself.  In a similar manner, while Hathor’s relationship with music was clearly cultic in cases such as the ritual use of her rattle-like sistrum, it was also present in the use of music for the purposes of popular festivity and pleasure.  Hathor was also associated with alcoholic beverages which seem to have been used extensively in her festivals, and the image of the goddess is often found on vessels made to contain wine and beer.  Hathor was thus known as the mistress of drunkenness, song, and of myrrh, and it is certainly likely that these qualities increased the goddess’s popularity from Old Kingdom times and ensured her persistence throughout the rest of Egypt’s ancient history.

Faience temple-shaped sistrum. Below Hathor's protome on the handle is a hieroglyphic inscription with the cartouche of King Psamtek II, Late Period, National Archaeological Museum of Athens, 690, 693, 694. (Merja Attia, contrib.)

Faience temple-shaped sistrum. Below Hathor’s protome on the handle is a hieroglyphic inscription with the cartouche of King Psamtek II, Late Period, National Archaeological Museum of Athens, 690, 693, 694. (Merja Attia, contrib.)

Nefertari with a Hathor Sistrum, photo in the public domain

Nefertari with a Hathor Sistrum, photo in the public domain

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Hathor in Iconography

From The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt by Richard Wilkinson

Mistress of the West

Mistress of the West

Hathor was most often represented in anthropomorphic form as a woman wearing a long wig bound by a filet, or with a vulture cap with a low modius, surmounted by a sun disk between outward curving cow horns.  In this form, in late representations, she is often indistinguishable from Isis, who took over many of her attributes and can only be identified by inscription.  In her guise as mistress of the west Hathor wears a falcon perched upon a pole which served as the hieroglyphic sign for ‘west’.  Often she is depicted in a turquoise or red sheath dress or in a garment combining these colors, and at Edfu she is specifically called ‘mistress of the red cloth’…But the goddess could also be represented in bovine form as the ‘great wild cow’, as a woman with the head of a cow, or as a composite human-bovine face…When depicted in the form of a pillar, Hathor’s image was a fusion of bovine and human characteristics. “ (pp. 143-4)

 

 

 

 

Hathor in bovine form, facsimile from the Book of the Dead of Ani, image in the public domain.

Hathor in bovine form, facsimile from the Book of the Dead of Ani, image in the public domain.

Hathor as tree goddess – Lady of the Sycamore

Hathor as tree goddess – Lady of the Sycamore

Yvonne Buskens describes Hathor in her “Lady of the Sycamore” form:  “In Egypt Hathor is seen as the tree goddess par excellence (according to Jan Assmann) but the tree goddess can also be depicted as Isis or Nut or other goddesses. Here is a depiction of Hathor as a treegoddess in Papyrus Neferubenef (E. Nauville Das Aegyptisches Totenbuch der XVIII-XX Dynastie 1886 Tafel LXXX )

A Hathor capital showing the goddess in her human-faced form (Photo by Keith Payne)

A Hathor capital showing the goddess in her human-faced form (Photo by Keith Payne)

 

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Hathor and Her Temples and Shrines

 

Hathor at Dendera

From Ancient Egypt by Lorna Oakes and Lucia Gahlin (p. 170)

“A shrine to Hathor existed at Dendera from the Predynastic Period (c. 5500—c. 3100 BC) when she was worshipped as She of the Pillar, a reference to the fetish associated with her.  This shrine was rebuilt in the Pyramid Age by the Fourth Dynasty king Khufu (c. 2589—c. 2566 BC) and was dedicated to Hathor, Lady of the Pillar, and her son Ihy, the Sistrum Player…

The Temple of Hathor at Dendera (Photo by Keith Payne)

The Temple of Hathor at Dendera (Photo by Keith Payne)

“The Middle Kingdom kings also paid their respects top the goddess.  Mentuhotep III (c. 2004—c. 1992 BC) added a limestone naos, or raised shrine, to the temple, while the name of Amenemhat I (c. 1985—c. 1955 BC) has been found on a granite lintel…

Temple Dendera.  (Photo by Yvonne Buskens, January 2010)

Temple Dendera. (Photo by Yvonne Buskens, January 2010)

“The temple was extended and embellished by several of the New Kingdom kings.  Inscriptions on some of the columns indicate that Tuthmosis III (c. 1479—c. 1425 BC) rebuilt the temple at Dendera and revived the ritual…Ramesses II (c. 1279—c. 1213 BC) is shown in relief on a block recovered at the site, presenting two sistra to Hathor.”

Hathor from the crypt at Dendera Temple (Photo by Yvonne Buskens, 2010)

Hathor from the crypt at Dendera Temple (Photo by Yvonne Buskens, 2010)

From the crypt at Dendera Temple.  (Photo Yvonne Buskens, January 2010)

From the crypt at Dendera Temple. (Photo Yvonne Buskens, January 2010)

Into one of the narrow chapels at Dendera Temple (Photo by Yvonne Buskens)

Into one of the narrow chapels at Dendera Temple (Photo by Yvonne Buskens)

 

One of the small chapels at Dendera, Temple of Hathor (Photo by Heidi Kontkanen, 2011)

One of the small chapels at Dendera, Temple of Hathor (Photo by Heidi Kontkanen, 2011)

Detail of one of the small chapels at Dendera (Photo by Heidi Kontkanen, 2011)

Detail of one of the small chapels at Dendera (Photo by Heidi Kontkanen, 2011)

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Hathor at Philae

From Ancient Egypt by Lorna Oakes and Lucia Gahlin (pp. 174-5)

“Hathor was honored with a shrine at Philae, the main sanctuary of Isis, just as Isis was worshipped at Hathor’s cult center, Dendera.  In later ancient Egyptian history, the two deities were often regarded as one because they were both principally mother goddesses…Both Isis and Hathor were important in relation to the king, although in different ways.  As far as the succession was concerned, the legitimate king regarded himself as Horus, the heir of Osiris, while his other identity as Horus, son of Hathor, emphasized his divinity.  Both aspects of divine motherhood are represented at Philae…

Hathor and Horus at Philae (Photo by Keith Payne)

Hathor and Horus at Philae (Photo by Keith Payne)

“Outside the Temple of Isis, Hathor has a charming little chapel all to herself.  This, like the main temple, was built by the Ptolemies, with later additions by Augustus (27 BC—AD 14).  Here, Hathor is commemorated as a goddess of music and dance.  The columns of the vestibule are decorated with lively and humorous carved reliefs of musicians of various kinds, including flute players and harpists.  There are even some monkeys playing the lyre…Kings sometimes worshipped Hathor with music and dancing as well as with offerings of food and wine.”

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Hathor at Deir el-Medina

From Ancient Egypt by Lorna Oakes and Lucia Gahlin (p. 176)

“In the New Kingdom Period (c. 1550—c. 1069 BC) Hathor was very popular among the inhabitants of Deir el-Medina, the village occupied by the craftsmen who built the tombs in the Valley of the Kings.  Some of the village women had the title ‘Songstress of Hathor’.

Hathor’s Temple at Deir el-Medina (Photo by Troels Myrup)

Hathor’s Temple at Deir el-Medina (Photo by Troels Myrup)

“There were several chapels dedicated to Hathor in the village.  The Nineteenth Dynasty king Seti I (c. 1294—c. 1279 BC) built a chapel dedicated to her, as did his son, Ramesses II (c.1279—c. 1213 BC) who endowed it with offerings from his own mortuary temple nearby.  This was replaced in the Ptolemaic Period (332—30 BC), long after the village had been abandoned, by the rather grand temple surrounded by a massive mudbrick wall that still dominates the site today.”

The Ptolemaic Hathor temple at Deir el Medina. From the central chapel that was dedicated by Ptolemy IV to Hathor. In the photo is (from the right) Amun, Ma’at and Hathor. During the Ptolemaic period most of the goddesses were depicted with horns like Hathor has. (Photo Heidi Kontkanen, April 2011)

The Ptolemaic Hathor temple at Deir el Medina. From the central chapel that was dedicated by Ptolemy IV to Hathor. In the photo is (from the right) Amun, Ma’at and Hathor. During the Ptolemaic period most of the goddesses were depicted with horns like Hathor has. (Photo Heidi Kontkanen, April 2011)

From the Hathor Temple at Deir el Medina. Ptolemaic period. Photo by Heidi Kontkanen, 2011)

From the Hathor Temple at Deir el Medina. Ptolemaic period. Photo by Heidi Kontkanen, 2011)

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Hathor at Deir el-Bahri

From Ancient Egypt by Lorna Oakes and Lucia Gahlin (p. 182-83)

“The association of Hathor with Deir el-Bahri is evident in the number of shrines and chapels dedicated to her in the area.  The most important is the chapel to Hathor attached to the mortuary temple of Hatshepsut.  It lies on the second level and consists of a vestibule and hypostyle hall and a rock-cut sanctuary.  The columns are topped by Hathor-head capitals and the walls are decorated with offering scenes and episodes from festivals held in her honor…The most secret parts of the ceremonies took place in the rock-cut Sanctuary.  Here, Hathor is depicted as a cow who both suckles and protects Hatshepsut.  At  the very back of the Sanctuary, Hathor and Amun are shown consecrating Hatshepsut as king.”

Hathor pillars in her chapel at Hatshepsut’s temple (Photo by Richie O’Neill)

Hathor pillars in her chapel at Hatshepsut’s temple (Photo by Richie O’Neill)

Hathor pillars at the chapel at Deir el-Bahri (Photo by Keith Payne)

Hathor pillars at the chapel at Deir el-Bahri (Photo by Keith Payne)

Vicky Metafora explains the image below of Hathor in bovine form nursing Hatshepsut:

“Here the young pharaoh Hatshepsut (18th Dynasty : 1479-1458 BC) is shown drinking from the utters of an enormous cow led by the god Amun — certain proof that giant animals once roamed the Nile Valley?  No, probably not. Inscriptions are not evident in this scene and it’s not like I have all of them memorized, but based on the iconography of the cow (e.g., sun disk and diminutive king) I think I’m safe in identifying it as the common bovine manifestation of the goddess Hathor. As with other important deities Hathor had a very busy job description and performed a number of roles, and one of the most important was as the divine mother-figure to the king; she is the nurturing bovine (Wilkinson 2003: 141). Here, the Pharaoh is as a child gaining nourishment from his mother’s breast. In other such depictions the king is shown standing in front of the divine bovine, whose head extends protectively over and beyond the king.”

Relief from walls of Deir el Bahri showing the goddess Hathor in bovine form with Hatshepsut (Vicky Metafora, contrib.)

Relief from walls of Deir el Bahri showing the goddess Hathor in bovine form with Hatshepsut (Vicky Metafora, contrib.)

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Hathor in Nubia

From Ancient Egypt by Lorna Oakes and Lucia Gahlin (p. 180-81)

“Foreign lands were regarded as the personal property of Hathor, and the goods that the Egyptians obtained from these countries were said to be her ‘gifts.’  Temples were erected in her honor in such countries…

Kiosk of Qertassi at Kalabsha, Aswan (Photo by Heidi Kontkanen, 2009)

Kiosk of Qertassi at Kalabsha, Aswan (Photo by Heidi Kontkanen, 2009)

“Temples were built in honor of Hathor in Nubia.  One of the most charming is the little Kiosk of Qertassi, which today stands close to the Temple of Kalabsha.  It was one of several temples moved to higher ground to save it from the rising waters of Lake Nasser after the building of the Aswan High Dam.   Originally, the kiosk stood at the entrance to the old sandstone quarries about 40 km (25 miles) further south.  As at Serabit el-Khadim in Sinai, Hathor was regarded here as a patron goddess of miners and quarrymen, so it is not surprising that the capitals on the two columns on either side of the entrance as in the form of Hathor heads”

Hathor’s most important Nubian shrine is at Abu Simbel, where Ramesses II (c. 1279—c. 1213) built two temples.  In the larger of the two Ramesses is shown worshipping himself as one of the gods honored in the temple.  The smaller temple he dedicated to Hathor of Abshek, a local goddess of beauty, love and motherhood, and also to Nefertari, Ramesses’ principal wife, who was identified with Hathor.

The Temple of Hathor of Abshek at Abu Simbel.  Photo by Olaf Tausch, shared under the Creative Commons license.

The Temple of Hathor of Abshek at Abu Simbel. Photo by Olaf Tausch, shared under the Creative Commons license.

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Goddess of the Desert and Foreign Lands

From Ancient Egypt by Lorna Oakes and Lucia Gahlin (p. 178-9)

Hathor was the goddess most often associated with foreign countries and desert areas.  She was particularly closely linked with the Sinai region, where she was known as ‘nebet mefkat’ (‘Mistress of Turquoise’).  Turquoise was highly prized in ancient Egypt and was used in jewelry from the Predynastic Period…

Amenemhat III and Hathor, from a pillar in the left chapel, Temple of Hathor, Serabit el-Khadim (Photo by Roland Unger via Creative Commons license.

Amenemhat III and Hathor, from a pillar in the left chapel, Temple of Hathor, Serabit el-Khadim (Photo by Roland Unger via Creative Commons license.

“Sinai was the most important source of turquoise for the Egyptians throughout the Pharaonic Period…At Serabit el-Khadim a temple was built in honor of Hathor, whose blessing was sought by the leaders of the expedition.  A wealth of information on the expeditions to Sinai comes from the stelae set up by the leaders along the approach to the Temple of Hathor…

“The original shrine of Hathor was a sacred cave, and seems to have been founded by the Fourth Dynasty king Snefru (c. 2613—c. 2589 BC)…”

Yvonne Buskens ads the following about Hathor in foreign lands:

“Egyptian influence on Cyprus had been strong since the Late Bronze Age and was especially evident in the production of small objects. This capital from Larnaca (mid 6 century BC) is carved with the image of the goddess Hathor, is the oldest of a large number found in various regions of Cyprus.  Here you see a representation of Hathor which derives from an Egyptian tradition going back to the Middle Kingdom; it is found in the form of the sistrum, a musical instrument specific to the cult of the goddess, and on the facades of temples dedicated to her, as can be seen on the “naiskos” of this capital. The cow’s ears or horns characteristic of the Egyptian goddess are absent from images found in Cyprus, in which, moreover, the face is treated in the Ionian manner.”

This Hathor-headed sistrum originating from Larnaca  also shows the local influence.  (Louvre Am93, Yvonne Buskens, contrib..)

This Hathor-headed sistrum originating from Larnaca also shows the local influence. (Louvre Am93, Yvonne Buskens, contrib..)

 

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Hathor and the Sistrum

 

From Daughters of Isis:  Women of Ancient Egypt by Joyce Tyldesley

“Goddesses were generally more strongly identified with music than their male counterparts and, while the goddess Merti was recognized as the personification of music, it was Hathor, goddess of love, ‘Mistress of Music’ and attendant at royal births, who was most closely linked with music, in particular with one musical instrument:  the sistrum which was played only by women.  It was a rather large loop-shaped rattle with a long handle, often featuring the head of Hathor, which had initially represented the papyrus reeds of the Nile Delta where, mythology decreed, Hathor had been forced to hide with her young son.  Eventually the sistrum lost all trace of its original meaning and instead started to serve as a religious symbol fir life itself.  It consequently became absorbed by other deities, and was particularly identified with the cult of Isis at the end of the Dynastic period.”

Fragmentary copper alloy temple-shaped sistrum. A cat, symbol of the goddess Hathor, is depicted before the temple's entrance.  Late Period. National Archaeological Museum of Athens, 687.  (Merja Attia, contrib.)

Fragmentary copper alloy temple-shaped sistrum. A cat, symbol of the goddess Hathor, is depicted before the temple’s entrance. Late Period. National Archaeological Museum of Athens, 687. (Merja Attia, contrib.)

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Museum Hop

 

Mirror with Hathor handle (Yvonne Buskens, contrib.)

Mirror with Hathor handle (Yvonne Buskens, contrib.)

Mirror with Handle in the Form of a Hathor Emblem.  Reign of Thutmose III.  Medium:  Disk: silver; handle: wood (modern) sheathed in gold.  Metropolitan Accession Number: 26.8.97

The handle of this mirror was originally made of wood (now restored) covered with gold foil. The face with cow’s ears represents the goddess Bat and is also an emblem of the goddess Hathor. The use of gold and silver, rather than wood and bronze, identifies this as the possession of a member of the elite, in this case one of three foreign wives of Thutmose III.  (Yvonne Buskens)

 

A bronze aegis with head of Hathor (ÄM2820).  Twenty-Sixth Dynasty. Neues Museum, Berlin.  (Photo by Heidi Kontkanen)

A bronze aegis with head of Hathor (ÄM2820). Twenty-Sixth Dynasty. Neues Museum, Berlin. (Photo by Heidi Kontkanen)

 

The cow of Hathor, Deir el-Bahri, Egypt.  Eighteenth Dynasty.   (Yvonne Buskens, contrib.)

The cow of Hathor, Deir el-Bahri, Egypt. Eighteenth Dynasty. (Yvonne Buskens, contrib.)

This statue of a cow is from Hathor’s shrine, a place in the temple where people would leave special gifts for Hathor, called offerings.  It would have had golden horns and a feather head-dress, and eyes decorated with sparkling crystals and bright blue lapis lazuli.  You can still see remains of the dramatic eye make-up that the statue wore.  British Museum 42179.  (Yvonne Buskens)

 

Detail from a shabti-box of Shedesenmut (Photo by Heidi Kontkanen)

Detail from a shabti-box of Shedesenmut (Photo by Heidi Kontkanen)

The deceased is sitting in front of Hathor when she is emerging from the hills of the west (ÄM629).  I think the tomb chapel of the deceased is shown behind Hathor. It looks just like the tombs at Deir el Medina.  New kingdom.  Neues Museum, Berlin.  (Heidi Kontkanen)

 

Neck from a vessel depicting the goddess Hathor flanked by felines (Yvonne Buskens, contrib.)

Neck from a vessel depicting the goddess Hathor flanked by felines (Yvonne Buskens, contrib.)

Period:  Third Intermediate Period.   Dynasty:  Dynasty 21–22.  Date: ca. 1070–712 B.C.  Geography: Egypt, Eastern Delta, Tell Basta Bubastis, Temple of Bastet.  Medium: Silver and Gold.  Metropolitan Museum of Art Accession Number: 30.8.370 (Yvonne Buskens)

 

Gray granite figure of Roy (Photo by Heidi Kontkanen)

Gray granite figure of Roy (Photo by Heidi Kontkanen)

Roy became high priest of Amun in the last years of king Ramses II and remained in office until the reign of Seti II.  His arms rest on a sacred emblem in the form of a Hathor-headed sistrum (EA 81).  19th Dynasty, probably from Karnak – Thebes.  British Museum.  (Heidi Kontkanen)

 

Votive fragment, ball (Yvonne Buskens, contrib.)

Votive fragment, ball (Yvonne Buskens, contrib.)

Joint Votive Offerings from the Hathor Chapel.  These votive objects, made of blue faience, wood, copper, and limestone, are typical of those presented to the goddess Hathor in her chapel in Hatshepsut’s temple: menat necklaces, beads, scarabs, female figurines and model cows. After these offerings had served their purpose they were discarded in vast quantities in various dumps near the temple.  From the reign of Hatshepsut and Thutmose III Date: ca. 1473–1458 B.C. Deir el-Bahri, Hatshepsut Hole, Debris from the Hathor shrine, MMA 1923-1924.  Medium: Faience.  Metropolitan Museum of Art Accession Number: 23.3.96.  (Yvonne Buskens)

 

Ancestral bust from Deir el-Medina mentioning the goddess Hathor (ÄM20994). New kingdom, Neues Museum, Berlin (Photo by Heidi Kontkanen).

Ancestral bust from Deir el-Medina mentioning the goddess Hathor (ÄM20994). New kingdom, Neues Museum, Berlin (Photo by Heidi Kontkanen).

 

Bracelet with image of Hathor (Yvonne Buskens, contrib.)

Bracelet with image of Hathor (Yvonne Buskens, contrib.)

Meroitic Period, about 100 B.C. , Gebel Barkal, Pyramid 8 , Nubia, Sudan.  MFA 20.333  (Yvonne Buskens)

 

Detail of Hathor and her name (Photo by Heidi Kontkanen)

Detail of Hathor and her name (Photo by Heidi Kontkanen)

From the architectural sculpture from the funerary temple of Unnefer I, head priest of the god Osiris. The inscription refers to his family tree. Nineteenth Dynasty, Abydos. (106). Egyptian Collection, Athens.  (Heidi Kontkanen)

 

Beautiful Hathor in the middle, she embraces King Menkaura, who is standing to her left. Museum of fine Arts Boston Accession number: 09.200 (Yvonne Buskens, contrib.)

Beautiful Hathor in the middle, she embraces King Menkaura, who is standing to her left. Museum of fine Arts Boston Accession number: 09.200 (Yvonne Buskens, contrib.)

 

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052 - vicky00 - hymn to hathor

 

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Links

 

Yvonne Buskens provided this link to a pdf describing the Zodiac of Dendera.

The original Zodiac of Dendera, now in the Louvre.  The one on-site is a replica.  (Yvonne Buskens, contrib.)

The original Zodiac of Dendera, now in the Louvre. The one on-site is a replica. (Yvonne Buskens, contrib.)

Jean-Marie Letienne linked us to his Au pays d’Hathor, an informational page (in French) about Hathor.

Géraldine Ashby leads us to this site about the Seven Hathors and their Hymn.  While surfing she also happened upon this link to a modern interpretation of the Hathor hymns by Rafael Perez Arroyo.

Lily Quelquechose offered another translation of the Hathor hymn that is based on the actual hieroglyphic text.

A block with Hathor heads. From the magazine store at the Temple of Montu at Tod (not far from Luxor). This store has hundreds of wonderful blocks, dating from the Old Kingdom to early Christian. (Photo by Heidi Kontkanen, 2008)

A block with Hathor heads. From the magazine store at the Temple of Montu at Tod (not far from Luxor). This store has hundreds of wonderful blocks, dating from the Old Kingdom to early Christian. (Photo by Heidi Kontkanen, 2008)

Heidi Kontkanen added this link to a Ptolemaic Temple of Deir el-Medina site.  Says Heidi:   “Good information of the Ptolemaic temple of Hathor at Deir el Medina. And a fantastic website of Deir el Medina by Lenka Peacock.”

Angel Kuenka guided us to Templo de Hathor – Dendera from his blog, Todo sobre Egipto… (in Spanish)

Yvonne Buskens suggests we learn more about the painter David Roberts.

Dendera by David Roberts (Yvonne Buskens, contrib.)

Dendera by David Roberts (Yvonne Buskens, contrib.)

 

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Recommended Reads

Lyn Green reminded us that Carolyn Graves-Brown, who some of you might know from some of the Egyptology groups on Facebook, wrote a very readable and enjoyable book on women in ancient Egypt which discusses Hathor in depth:  Dancing for Hathor:  Women in Ancient Egypt.

Lyn Green suggests “Earthly Hathor and Heavenly Hathor” by Roman A. Orehov, available to read online at this link.

Yvonne Buskens enjoyed reading Hathor Rising:  The Serpent Power of Ancient Egypt by Alison Roberts, and thinks you might enjoy it as well.  From the blurb:  “Drawing together temple art, myths, rituals and poetry, Hathor Rising reveals a rich tradition of feminine divinity. It explores how the sexual polarity of Hathor and the sun god manifests in the Pharaoh’s life’ as well as Hathor’s connection with Isis and the moon cults.

Hathor-themed fringe in Senenmut’s tomb (TT71) (Photo by Merja Attia)

Hathor-themed fringe in Senenmut’s tomb (TT71) (Photo by Merja Attia)

 

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Off topic

Yvonne found a link to some useful Egyptology resources from Nigel Strudwick.

Lily Quelquechose provided a very interesting link to an essay on the symbolic meanings of different rope knots in ancient Egypt by Willeke Wendrich.

Hathor pillars at the porch of Nectanebo I at Philae, by Prisse d’Avennes

Hathor pillars at the porch of Nectanebo I at Philae, by Prisse d’Avennes

 

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shemsutag

Copyright by Keith Payne, 2012.  All rights reserved.

All copyrighted images are either used with permission of the creators or are used in accordance with the Fair Use provision of copyright law.  All other images are either in the public domain or are used under the Creative Commons license.

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This entry was posted on Monday, December 24th, 2012 at 12:21 pm and is filed under Em Hotep Digest. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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