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Goddess Sekhmet18th Dynasty, reign of Amenhotep III (app. 1390-1352 BC)

Sekhmet was a lion goddess whose name means ‘the mighty one’, and she personified the aggressive aspects of other goddesses. Sekhmet was a daughter of the sun-god Ra and she usually wears a sun-disc on her head. 

Myth recounts how she almost obliterated humankind for conspiring against her father’s rule. She was associated with destruction and plague, but her powers could also be invoked for healing. Like other goddesses, she often holds a looped cross and papyrus stalk; emblems of life (ankh) and flourishing (wadj).

  

 
‘The Sleep of Sorrow and the Dream of Joy’, carved marble sculpture by Raffaelle Monti (1861), reflected in a mirror at the V&A. 

This was one of the three most admired sculptures in the 1862 International Exhibition held in London, which included the largest contemporary sculpture display of the century. Monti was an Italian sculptor who established his reputation in Britain. This work is an allegory of the resurgence of Italy as a nation in the mid-19th century.

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