Shrine of the Goddess Hathor

The shrine of Hathor and the cow’s statue were retrieved from under heaps of debris south of the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahari. The shrine is from the reign of Thutmose III. Its roof is painted blue with yellow stars to imitate the Vault of Heaven.

The statue of Hathor as the divine cow, in the middle of the shrine. It is inscribed for Amenhotep II, Thutmose III’s son and successor. Hathor’s head is surmounted by a uraeus, a solar-disc, and two short plumes. Amenhotep can be seen twice in the statue. Once at the front beneath the cow’s head. The second time depicted as a young boy nursing beneath the cow’s right side.

Shrine of the Goddess Hathor
Shrine of the Goddess Hathor
The statue of Hathor as the divine cow, in the middle of the shrine, is inscribed for Amenhotep II, Thutmose III’s son and successor.
The statue of Hathor as the divine cow, in the middle of the shrine, is inscribed for Amenhotep II, Thutmose III’s son and successor.
Hathor chapel at the temple of Thutmose III in Deir el-Bahari, photo from excavation by Henry Edouard Naville (1907)
Hathor chapel at the temple of Thutmose III in Deir el-Bahari, photo from excavation by Henry Edouard Naville (1907)

This small Hathoric chapel originally was resided between the temple of Mentuhotep II and the temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahari. It was possibly intended as a replacement for the sanctuary dedicated to the Hathor located in the complex of the queen.

In the Theban area, Hathor was the protector of necropolises and was likened to the sycamore tree, whose task was to nourish the deceased. As patroness of foreign lands and their products, the goddess was also considered to be the lady of music, joy and happiness, as evidenced by numerous sistrums bearing her effigy or the epithet ‘Lady of intoxication’.

New Kingdom, mid 18th Dynasty, reign of Thutmose III, ca. 1479-1425 BC. Painted limestone. Height 225 cm, width: 157 cm, depth: 404 cm. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 38575