Sekhmet Statue



Statue of the goddess Sekhmet represented with a lion’s head and seated on a throne. Sekhmet has a sun disc on her head as she was the daughter of the sun god, Ra. Her name means “the powerful one”. She was the goddess of destruction and healing, and protected the King from illness and enemies; she had a fiery temper too. On the left hand side of the statue the name BELZONI is clearly carved. Giovanni Battista Belzoni (1778--1823) was an agent employed by Henry Salt (1780--1827) a British Consul-General in Egypt and former owner of the statue. In about 1910 whilst cataloguing the collection Professor Percy Newberry described the condition of the statue as “slightly chipped in places”. A photograph of the Main Hall of the Museum from 1932 shows that the statue was complete. During the Second World War the statue shattered when the Museum was destroyed by a firebomb in May 1941. A condition report from June 1995 reads, “Vertical fractures through the lower section of both figures. The figures are broken across their waists and across their ankles. The crown on the larger Sekhmet is broken, the crack running onto the top of the lioness ears. These breaks probably occurred when the figure crashed through the Museum floor”. The surviving fragments were put back together using polyester resin in the breaks. Evostick resin mixed W with putty was used to fill the fracture between the feet and body of each statue. Both arms below the elbow are missing, including the left hand that clasped an ankh hieroglyph meaning ‘life’. Presented to the Museum by Joseph Mayer in 1867. Mayer had purchased it from the collection formed by George Annesley, 9th Viscount Valentia, 2nd Earl of Mountnorris, (1770-1844) at the sale held at Arley Castle in December 1852. Lot 428 in the Sotheby's 1852 sale catalogue. Mayer gave £85 for it and the other Sekhmet statue (no. M11810) according to a priced catalogue. Viscount Valentia purchased the object from Henry Salt who acquired it between 1824-7. It is likely that this statue originated at the mortuary temple of the 18th Dynasty pharaoh Amenhotep III (1390-1352 BC) in Western Thebes.