Torso of an Egyptian goddess
From the Temple of Amun at Karnak, Thebes (modern Luxor)
Height 35.5cm (torso); 46.5cm (head), date Late 18th Dynasty (ca 1330 BC)
Inv. R41, from the original collection of Sir Charles Nicholson
This granodiorite statue of a goddess belongs to a seated figure with the hands resting on the thighs. It was made for the Karnak Temple in modern Luxor and may represent Hathor, or more likely Mut, consort of the god Amun, and probably formed a pair of statues of those deities in the temple precincts.
The sensual carving of the belly and breast identifies it as a product of the immediate post-Amarna period, carved during the reign of Tutankhamun (ca 1330 BC) or King Horemheb. Some of the finest statuary ever made in Egypt was produced by royal and temple workshops during this period. The treatment of the eyes and mouth is very similar to another statue in the Nicholson collection, that of Horemheb.
The beautifully carved head is a cast of the original, located in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. Dr Ray Johnson, Director of Oriental Institute Epigraphic Survey, University of Chicago, discovered the join between the two pieces in 1996. The Cairo Museum also has a cast of this torso, allowing both museums to display their pieces in a more complete form. The whereabouts of the base is not known.