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Breccia statue of the goddess Taweret

 

Height: 108.000 cm (max.)

EA 35700

Ancient Egypt and Sudan

    Breccia statue of the goddess Taweret

    From Egypt
    Late Period, after 600 BC

    A household deity

    Taweret was a fierce goddess who protected the mother and child during childbirth. Unlike most goddesses, she had no human elements, consisting instead of the head and body of a hippopotamus, the tail of a crocodile and the legs of a lioness. All these creatures were renowned for aggressively protecting their young.

    Births usually took place inside the home, so Taweret was considered a household deity. No large-scale temples were dedicated to the goddess, instead figures of her were placed on the household altar that was part of every home. These figures were amulets and guaranteed the protection of the goddess against malign forces that might threaten the household, especially its children. These statues were generally small and often made of wood or clay.

    Larger statues of Taweret are unusual as stone statues on a monumental scale were generally placed within temples. Kings, and later private individuals, sometimes dedicated statues of deities, or of themselves holding deities, to show their devotion to a god. The dedication of a figure of Taweret might have been to gain her favour in a forthcoming birth, or in thanks for her intervention in a recent one.

    A. Siliotti (ed.), Viaggiatori veneti alla scoper (Venezia, Arsenale editrice, 1985)

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