Chapel with the Hathor Cow

As we continue to explore some of the displays in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, we look at the shrine dedicated by Tutmosis III to the goddess Hathor at Deir-el-Bahari.

Shrine dedicated to Hathor. Egyptian Museum. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

The goddess Hathor appears here in the form of a cow. This was excavated between the temples of Mentuhotep and Hatshepsut by E. Naville, of the Egypt Exploration Fund, 1906, and dates to the 18th dynasty (New Kingdom), at the end of the reign of Tutmosis III (c. 1504-1450) and the beginning of the reign of Amenophis II (c. 1453-1409).

The painting in the back shows Tutmosis III (left) pouring a libation and burning incense to Amon-Re, seated (at right). The dark blue vaulted ceiling depicts the stars of heaven.

The cult of the Sacred Cow was long associated with Hathor, the goddess of the Theban necropolis. Hatshepsut dedicated her sanctuary to the goddess. Prior to its excavation, earthquakes had buried the entrance to the chapel of the Sacred Cow.

The statue of the sacred cow in our photo bears the name of Tutmosis’s successor, Amenophis II. He is here depicted as crouching beneath the head of the sculpture. Hathor is surrounded by papyrus stems. She wears the Hathoric horns with the sun disk and a uraeus serpent on her forehead.

Click image for larger view.

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