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Statue of the lioness goddess Sekhmet

New Kingdom, Dynasty 18, 1570-1320 B.C.

Granite, from Thebes

One of the most powerful goddesses in the entire ancient Eqyptian pantheon was Sekhmet, who could unleash her redoubtable powers for the destruction of mankind. So potentially destructive might Sekhmet become that an elaborate ritual was developed whereby she could be appeased. This ritual revolved around more than 700 statues of the goddess, this statue being one of them. The ancient Egyptian priests were required to perform a ritual before a different one of these statues each morning and each afternoon of every single day of every single year. Only by the strictest adherence to this never-ending ritual could the ancient Egyptians be assured of their ability to placate this most formidable of deities.

Photo courtesy of Roemer und Pelizaeus Museum

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