Young Woman with the Standard of the Goddess Hathor

A wonderful piece of art in the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest is this statue fragment of a young woman. Made of crystal sandstone - the photos do no justice to the actual sparkling beauty of this - from the Ramesside period of the New Kingdom. The hight is 35 centimetres (13.8 inches), the width is 22 centimetres (8.7 inches). Provenance is unknown. It as been transferred from the Hungarian National Museum in 1936.

Her head is covered with a heavy wig, reaching below her shoulders. The tresses of the wig are plaited and bound at the tips. The top of the wig is decorated with a composition made of lotus flowers. We also see her wearing a decorative neckband and a pleated gown that shows her graceful figure.

In her right hand she holds a standard, supporting it with her left. The standard shows a female head. The head wears a wig and on top of the wig a chapel-like structure is seen.

A reference to Hathor are the cow ears of the female head on the standard. Hathor was the goddess of love, childbirth, song and dance. As the cosmic cow, she gave birth to the gods and nourished them. A further reference is the uraeus (cobra) wearing a sun-disk and rising in the doorway of the chapel on top of the figure's head. In the form of the serpent Hathor was the protecter of the sun-go Re, and she destroyed his enemies.

The statue most likely is that of a young noble woman in the service of Hathor. The composition is quite unique, as the one other example we have where a woman is depicted bearing a standard is also of the Ramesside era, that of Queen Nefertari of the 19th dynasty of the New Kingdom. As that masterpiece unfortunately is in a private collection, makes this wonderful fragment even more precious if possible.

#Hathor #Ramesside #NewKingdom #Sandstone

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