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W1326 Ostracon showing woman shaking a sistrum before Thoth


W1326Stela showing a woman with sistrum in adoration before Thoth in the form of a baboon. The item measures 12×4.5×19.3cm and consists of a limestone block which is smoothed on one side and covered with a thin layer of gypsum. The picture is drawn in red paint. To the right stands a woman holding up both her hands and holding a sistra (a type of rattle) in her right hand. Sistra were said to placate the gods. On the left sits Thoth with a moon in crescent on his head. Between them is an offering table on which is placed a lotus blossom which opens before the face of Thoth.

The style of the stela suggests that this is from New Kingdom Deir el-Medina. Thoth was an important deity at this site. He was a god of wisdom and writing and associated with the moon. Deir el-Medina is on the west bank of the Nile opposite Karnak and is the village in which lived the workmen who constructed the tombs in the Valley of the Kings. Purchased by Wellcome at auction in 1907 as part of the Rustafjaell collection. This has been published by Kate Bosse-Griffiths and appears in J.G. Griffiths, ed. 2001, Amarna Studies.


Bosse-Griffiths, K. 2001. Baboon and Maid in Egypt and Israel. In Griffiths, J.G. Amarna Studies and Other Selected Papers. Fribourg: University Press Fribourg, 165-171.

More information on sistra

A baboon amulet

Other items from Deir el-Medina in the Egypt Centre