Sekhmet, along with her husband the creator-
god Ptah and their son Nerfertum, was part of
the powerful trio of deities that protected
Ancient Memphis. She was a sun goddess,
embodying the scorching, burning, destructive
heat of the sun. Fierce goddess of war, the
destroyer of the enemies of Ra and Osiris, she
was represented as having the head of a lioness
and the body of a female human. Like the sun,
her temper was uncontrollable. In the legend of
Ra and Hathor, Sekhmet's anger became so
great, she would have destroyed all of mankind if
Ra had not taken pity on us and made her drunk.
Sekhmet appears stern and uncompromising in
this stone representation of the mighty goddess.
The masterful carving of the lion’s head is
astounding. The features of the lioness are
remarkably naturalistic, and yet, at the same
time, we can sense the power of her divinity.
There is a human presence despite her feline
form. The smooth polished finish, the subtle
variations of the musculature, and the effect of
multiple textures is all characteristic of the finest
Egyptian artwork. The sculptor has transformed
this solid stone into soft fur and flesh. Especially
elegant are the folds and curves of the flesh in
her face, specifically around her eyes and brow.
This sculpture of the goddess Sekhmet is a
tangible link to another world and time. Ancient
Egypt continues to fascinate mankind as it has
for thousands of years. Perhaps through
studying and appreciating the beauty and
mystery of this ancient civilization we might
better understand our own culture.