Aegis of Sakhmet or Bastet

Period: Late Period–Ptolemaic Period

Dynasty: Dynasty 21–30

Date: 664–30 B.C.

Geography: From Egypt

Medium: Faience

Dimensions: H. 3.7 cm (1 7/16 in); w. 3 cm (1 3/16 in)

Credit Line: Gift of Helen Miller Gould, 1910

Accession Number: 10.130.2055


An aegis is a collarlike necklace (often called a broad-collar) bearing a divine head as symbol of protection and fertility. It is most commonly found on the prow of a sacred boat, or barque, of a god, but small ones could be used with a mummy. Lions or cats were generally the subjects for an aegis, although it is often difficult to identify the species. The lioness was savage and violent in her role as the destructive eye of the sun, while the cat, the lioness' alter ego, was benevolent and friendly, and acted as the eye of the moon.