A trove of black granite statues depicting the lioness goddess Sekhmet have been discovered at an ancient site in Egypt.
Researchers with the Egyptian-European Archaeological Mission unearthed the 27 fragmented statues during excavation work at the temple of Pharaoh Amenhotep III in Luxor.
In a post on Facebook, Dr. Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, explained that the largest of the statues is 2 meters (6.6 feet) tall. Some of the statues depict Sekhmet sitting on a throne with an ankh, or “symbol of life,” in her left hand. Others show the goddess standing and holding a papyrus scepter in front of her chest. The statue’s head is crowned by a symbolic sun disk and there is a uraeus, or cobra symbol, adorning the goddess’ forehead.
Revered by the ancient Egyptians, Sekhmet is depicted with a woman’s body and the head of a lioness. The goddess was associated with the sun, hence the presence of a sun disk on her statues. Sekhmet was also goddess of war, destruction, plagues and healing.