Wooden and ivory fan handle with face of Hathor
An Ancient Egyptian wooden and ivory fan handle with the face of Hathor engraved. Modern ostrich feathers added to show how the fan would appear in its former New Kingdom glory.
Hathor was a multifaceted deity. Her name, literally ‘the abode of Horus’, immediately emphasised the close connection with the falcon-headed god, whose mother or wife the goddess was. In this role, Hathor was considered a solar deity and could represent the sky, the home where Horus was free to fly.
Hathor was also goddess of love, female sexuality and motherhood. She was called ‘the beautiful to behold’ and was believed to assist women during childbirth. In the Theban area, Hathor was also the protector of the necropolis and was likened to the sycamore tree, whose task was to nourish the deceased.
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’.
Found in Thebes, Egypt. Now at the British museum. EA20767