SistrumBronze sistrum with Hathor head and handle terminating in a Bes figure. 17cm long. Late Dynastic-Graeco-Roman. Purchased by Wellcome at auction in 1919. Sistra were associated with Hathor. Hathor was a goddess of fertility whose festivals included music, dance and drunkenness. The sound of the sistra was said to be like the sound of Hathor as she walks through the papyrus plants. Bes seems to have been a household deity connected with fertility and the protection of women in childbirth. He is often shown as a dwarf deity, with a sticking out tongue and a leonine mane. See A. Barahona 2002 'Ancient Objects Relating to Music And Ancient Egypt In The National Archaeological Museum Of Madrid' In Eldamaty, M. and M. Trad eds. 'Egyptian Museum Collections Around The World' for further information on sistra. Also, Reynders, M. 1998 'Names and Types of Egyptian Sistra' In Willy Clarysse, Antoon Schoors and Harco Willems 'Egyptian Religion the last thousand years. Studies dedicated to the memory of Jan Quaegebeur' Part II, Leuven: Peeters, p1014-1026. This item was sold at Sotheby 18.7.1919, lot 162. This rattle was played mainly by women during religious ceremonies. It was also used to provide music at parties.

CollectionEgypt Centre
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Subject TermsMusical instrument
ProviderMIMO - Musical Instrument Museums Online