Sistrum

Sistrum with face of Hathor
Egypt (possibly Karnak), Late Period, Dynasties 21-26, 1075-525 B.C.E.
Bronze, Height x width x length: 44.5 x 14.5 x 10 cm (17 1/2 x 5 11/16 x 3 15/16 in
Edward J. and Mary S. Holmes Fund 1970, MFA #1970.572
(Another pieces in photo: Bell with the face of the god Bes and Cippus of Horus on the crocodiles)
Photo ©Joan Ann Lansberry, 2014

"A sistrum is a musical rattle, associated with the goddess Hathor, whose head (a woman with cow's ears) appears on the handle, surrounding by rearing cobras. Metal disks strung on wires along the arched upper end produced a rustling sound that was supposed to have a soothing effect on the gods. Appropriately, this elaborate example has on the sides a scene of the goddess Mut shaking two sistrums before her husband, the god Amun-Ra, who appears above her in the form of a ram." (From the info card)

"The loop is fitted with three copper rods supporting tiny metal disks (now restored). Details of the wig and broad collar are incised. Hathor's shoulders are surmounted by cobras wearing the crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt. Within the loop is another rearing cobra wearing a winged sun disk. On the sides of the loop are images of the goddess Mut, Mistress of Ishru shaking sistra before Amen-Re, who is portrayed as a recumbent ram. On the handle is an offering formula." (From museum website).

My close-up photo too blurry, I share instead the museum photo with its fine details:

Photo © Boston Museum of Fine Arts


Bronze sistrum at MMA

Two sistra at OIM