Painted votive cloth

From Deir el-Bahari, Thebes, Egypt
19th Dynasty, about 1250 BC

Hathor as a cow coming out of the mountain of the West

A votive object is one that is offered to a deity, often with prayers, in the hope of receiving good fortune. Many types of objects were left in temples all over Egypt for this purpose. The goddess Hathor often received votive offerings. She was a deity with wide responsibilities including joy, music and dance. She was also one of the major deities with a popular cult; ordinary people could appeal to these gods and goddesses.

Hathor's cult was very prominent on the west bank of the Nile at Thebes, in the area of the temples of Deir el-Bahari. Here there was a shrine specifically dedicated to Hathor, as well as a shrine in the temple of Queen Hatshepsut, and of Thutmose III (1479-1425 BC).

Linens were among the votive items deposited in the Hathor shrine, and many of them were discovered in excavations there. At the right of this cloth is an image of Hathor as a cow coming out of the mountain of the West, an extremely common Theban motif, associated with burial and rebirth. The five women presenting the offerings and flowers dedicated the cloth.

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More information

Bibliography

G. Pinch, Votive Offerings to Hathor (Oxford, Griffith Institute, Ashmolean Museum, 1993)

S. Quirke and A.J. Spencer, The British Museum book of anc (London, The British Museum Press, 1992)

Dimensions

Height: 18.200 cm
Length: 49.000 cm

Museum number

EA 43215

YCA16447

Gift of the Egypt Exploration Fund

Location

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