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August 07 2014


December 24 2012

0785 8e3b

This is a fragment of an Early Dynastic stone vessel in the private Smith collection (USA) inscribed with the name of the goddess Bastet (Wbastit). The object is made of two sherds joined together; the inscription is incised, with no sign of pigments in the lines; the goddess name is complete but it cannot be said if the inscription is too. The fragment max size is 2.5 x 1.75 inches (6,35 x 4,45cm) and it seems that it was originally a small roughly conical vessel of a grey stone; its lip is carefully rounded.

The name of the lion (later cat-) goddess Bastet is rather common in the Second Dynasty (cf. image below, especially from Hotepsekhemwy and Ninetjer reigns): the w is always graphically elided because initial atone vowel which usually doesn’t appear in the writing (except in the Greek rendering i.e. the name of king Petubastit = Petubastis; Lacau, in: PD V, 35). The s precedes the Ba bird owing to a common graphical metathesis recurring in most of the variants of this name. The horizontal ointment vessel bas is very stylized, unusually long and without inner lines but only the indication of the lid. The two t of the radical and feminine ending are often elided in the archaic writing, but they are retained in the present one. The determinative of the sitting goddess is attested in Early Dynastic inscriptions as the name also is. The goddess has a feline head and she holds the was scepter (common attribute of gods in this period inscriptions as with Seth/Ash, Neith, Bastet). She seats on a throne known also in the relief and sculpture of the Second-Third Dynasty (it has the form of the Hwt hieroglyph and a low back) even if not as common as the true throne with pedestal (as that of the Cairo Museum statue of Netjerykhet/Djoser and the one in the inscription on a vessel from Menkaura’s complex, cf. image below), or as the Khendw throne (with lateral bent arcs) or the seats with lion/bull feet. Except for the Giza bowl inscription, the determinative is generally that of the standing goddess. [For parallels of the goddess and its hieroglyphic name during the Thinite period (early Second Dynasty) see HERE (Hotepsekhemwy and Njnetjer). Cf. Wilkinson, Early Dynastic Egypt, 1999, 282; Lacau-Lauer, PD IV, nr. 57-58, 63-67 (Djefaw-Bastt); PD V, p. 35, fig. 55; Reisner, Mycerinus, 1931, p. 102, pl. 70; name: WB I, 423, 4-8; seat: Kaplony, IAF I, 237-238; Bas vase: ibid., 274; id., IAF II, n. 1527, 105, 992 (grgt Bastt), 1603; Helck, Thinitenzeit, 1987, 71-72; Kahl, Das System, 1994, 790ff. (bas jar); for mainly later evidence concerning Bastet cf. E. Otto, in: LÄ I, 628-630]. …

(via An Unpublished Early Dynastic inscription of the Goddess Bastet (Wbastit))

November 18 2012

5025 cb26

Looks a lot like the British Museum’s Gayer-Anderson Cat

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