Mirror of King Shabaka

Nubian
Napatan Period, reign of Shabaka
712–698 B.C.


Findspot: Sudan, Nubia, el-Kurru, Pyramid 15

Dimensions

Overall: 34 x 21.5 x 3.4 cm (13 3/8 x 8 7/16 x 1 5/16 in.)

Accession Number

21.318

Medium or Technique

Bronze and gilded silver

Not On View

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Cosmetic and medical

The mirror consists of a bronze disk set into a gilt silver handle in the form of a column with a palm leaf capital. Standing figures of the great goddesses surround the column: Hathor, wearing a sun disk and horns; lioness-headed Tefnut; and Mut, wearing the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt. A fourth figure, whose crown features two plumes, a sun disk, and horns, probably represents the king’s sister Amenirdis, a priestess who assumed the rank of goddess by accepting the highest priestly role of “God’s Wife.” She was “married” to Amun and resided, celibate, at Karnak.

Provenance

From Nubia (Sudan) el-Kurru: pyramid 15 (tomb of Shabaka). 1919: excavated by the Harvard University–Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition; assigned to the MFA in the division of finds by the government of Sudan.
(Accession date: March 1, 1921)

Credit Line

Harvard University—Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition