Relief of a Queen or Goddess



Relief of a Queen or Goddess




305-30 BC


Ptolemaic Period


9 1/2 x 16 x 2 in. (24.1 x 40.6 x 5.1 cm)

Object Number



This relief depicts a queen or goddess wearing a broad collar with one strap of her dress visible below the rows of beads. The echeloned curls of her tripartite wig are
surmounted by a vulture headdress, with the bird's head jutting forth from her brow. The vulture headdress became an attribute of royal women in the Old Kingdom, originally linking the queen with Nekhbet, the tutelary goddess of Upper Egypt, although it came to be associated with other goddesses. When worn by royal women, the headdress was likely intended to underscore the divinity of the queenship. Though princesses holding religious office and noblewomen were portrayed in the vulture cap during the New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period, its use was again limited to queens and goddesses in the Ptolemaic era. The lower edges of an additional crown, perhaps the Red Crown of Lower Egypt or the Double Crown, are visible atop the vulture headdress. Queen Arsinoe II (279-270 BC) was frequently depicted wearing a combination crown composed of a vulture headdress, Red Crown, ram and cow horns, and solar disk. Both queens and goddesses might appear in the Double Crown, signifying the unity of Upper and Lower Egypt. In this instance, the lack of context or inscription precludes a definitive identification of the woman as royal or divine.

Credit Line

Gift of Dr. and Mrs. L. Franklyn Elliott


From Pharaohs to Emperors: New Egyptian and Classical Antiquities at Emory, Michael C. Carlos Museum, January 14 - April 2, 2006|
MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, 2006 - Present
Sotheby's, New York, The Charles Pankow Collection of Egyptian Art (Wednesday, December 8, 2004), 91, number 84.|
MCCM Newsletter, March - May 2005.|
MCCM Newsletter, December 2005 - February 2006.|
Peter Lacovara and Jasper Gaunt, "From Pharaohs to Emperors: Egyptian, Near Eastern & Classical Antiquities at Emory," Minerva 17 (January/February 2006): 9-16.|
Michael C. Carlos Museum: Highlights of the Collections (Atlanta: Michael C. Carlos Museum, 2011), 28.


© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Bruce M. White, 2006.
This image is provided by the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University, who retains all rights in it. This image is made available for limited non-commercial, educational, and personal use only, or for fair use as defined by United States law. For all other uses, please contact the Michael C. Carlos Museum Office of Collections Services at +1(404) 727-4282 or Users must cite the author and source of the image as they would material from any printed work, but not in any way that implies endorsement of the user or the user's use of the image. Users may not remove any copyright, trademark, or other proprietary notices, including without limitation attribution information, credits, and copyright notices that have been placed on or near the image by the Museum. The Museum assumes no responsibility for royalties or fees claimed by the artist or third parties. The User agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Emory University, its Michael C. Carlos Museum, its agents, employees, faculty members, students and trustees from and against any and all claims, losses, actions, damages, expenses, and all other liabilities, including but not limited to attorney’s fees, directly or indirectly arising out of or resulting from its use of photographic images for which permission is granted hereunder.

On View



“Relief of a Queen or Goddess,” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed June 3, 2020,

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