Numerous Statues of Sekhmet, The Lioness Goddess of War, Unearthed in Egypt
A team of Egyptian archaeologists excavating the Mortuary Temple of King Amenhotep III in Luxor, a city in southern Egypt and the capital of Luxor Governorate, have brought to the surface an impressive number of statues of the goddess Sekhmet, daughter of the ancient Egyptian sun god Re.
The Significance of the Goddess Sekhmet in Ancient Egyptian Religion
The lion-headed goddess Sekhmet , also known as Sakhmet or Sekhet, was a member of the Memphite Triad, thought to be the wife of Ptah and mother of Nefertem. Linked with war and retribution, she was believed to use arrows to kill her enemies with fire, her breath being the hot desert wind as her body took on the glare of the midday sun. She often represented the destructive force of the sun as well. According to the Egyptian legends, she came into being when Hathor was sent to earth by Ra to take vengeance on man. She was the one who slaughtered mankind and drank their blood, only being stopped by trickery. However, being mother of Nefertem, who himself was a healing god, gave her a more protective side that manifested itself in her aspect of goddess of healing and surgery. The priests of Sekhmet were specialists in the field of medicine, arts linked to ritual and magic. They were also trained surgeons of remarkable caliber. According to many historians, this is the main reason King Amenhotep III had so many statues of Sekhmet surrounding him, as he was suffering from many health problems and he hoped the goddess may cure him; a theory that is verified by Mahmoud Afifi, head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Department at the Ministry of Antiquities, who claimed that the many statues of the goddess in the temple of Amenhotep III were possibly intended to protect the ruler from evil and disease.
The Statues Have a Great Historical and Artistic Value
German Egyptologist and the project director Hourig Sourouzian, who also discovered fourteen statues made of black granite portraying the Lionhead goddess Sekhmet back in 2013, told Ahram Online , “They are of great artistic quality”. The statues were …