Silver gelatin on
23.5 x 29.5 cm
Epigraphic Survey, Oriental Institute,
University of Chicago
The tomb of Sety I lies in the Valley of the Kings. In this
sculpted detail, the king offers wine to the goddess Hathor. Often called
a goddess of love, Hathor can also represent seductive danger. This scene
suggests the worship of the eye-lioness-uraeus forms of the "distant
goddess," whose myth is perhaps best attested by the "Story of the
Departure of Hathor-Tefnut out of Nubia." Known since the New Kingdom (c.
1560-1085 B.C.), the story tells of the angered eye of the sun, described
as the daughter of Ra, a violent goddess in lion form (Tefnut). Retreating
into Nubia, she is recalled by Ra, and after she is enticed back to Egypt,
she becomes once more the benevolent and happy Hathor. Nonetheless, she
requires constant attention, in the form of wine, music, dance, and
offerings of desert game, lest she become angry and leave Egypt again.