Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Small Hathor Plaques

Found at Deir El-Bahri, votive object from the 18th Dynasty
Image adapted from drawing in Naville/Currelly: The XIth Dynasty Temple at Deir El-Bahari, Part III. By Edouard Naville, appendix by C. T. Currelly
Thirty-Second Memoir of the Egypt Exploration Fund, 1913

I tried to track down where this appealing little plaque has gotten to, without much luck. It could be languishing in some museum's storage archives, getting dustier every year.

(Note of November 15, 2015)
Perhaps only half of it has gone missing. The top half is at the British Museum, "not on display", and given the number EA43144. Naville has a photo of this top half, showing the museum number:

What strikes me about it is rather than cow's ears, Hathor has feline ears. Bast is called "The Northern Hathor", and perhaps the artist was hinting that Hathor is "The Southern Bast"?

The following is a piece from Deir El-Bahari that has gotten a display spot at the Metropolitan Museum:

Votive Hathor-cow plaque
Period: New Kingdom, Dynasty 18
Reign: Joint reign of Hatshepsut and Thutmose III, ca. 14791458 B.C.E.
Geography: From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Deir el-Bahri, Hatshepsut Hole, Debris from the Hathor shrine, MMA excavations, 192223
Medium: Bronze or copper alloy
Dimensions: H. 3.7 cm (1 7/16 in.); W. 6.2 cm (2 7/16 in.)
Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1923
Accession Number: MMA #23.3.103
Met museum photo (Trace to be forthcoming!)

I thought the Hathor plaque was from the same time frame, image from The Tomb of Three Foreign Wives of Tuthmosis III, by Christine Lilyquist:

Photo from Lilyquist's book
This might be:
Hathor-cow plaque with Wadjet-Eyes, MMA 26.8.111, which was a Museum purchase, not the result of an excavation
(But reading further, there might be some doubts to the true ancientness of this piece, based on analysis of gold alloys. Sigh! At least the piece above it has been deemed legit.)
Now that I look at the fake, it does look like a crude approximation of the ancient pieces. The lily looks more like a shovel, than a flower! And I've never seen wadjet eyes done quite like that. But the faker probably did see the ancient examples.

"As for the Hathor plaques 236-8, crude metal examples have been found at Deir el-Bahari, and several in the MMA were studied for quality of line and for design (MMA 23.3.106, .156, .157). A few examples are illustrated by Naville and Hall (1913: 14, pl. 24.5) and by Pinch (1993: 163-5, pl.27)." (Pages 280-281)

Naville, Hall and Currelly's book has more images of Hathor, (most likely legitimately ancient) for me to explore!

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