Gods, Heroes, and Monsters: Egypt

Surrounded by desert, the Nile River valley evolved largely free of the influence of other civilizations in the ancient Near East for thousands of years. This relative isolation enabled the Egyptian religion, comprised of a diverse pantheon of gods and goddesses, to evolve as not only free from influence of other cultures, but also as a complex system of worship and ritual suited for the particular ebb and flow of life in the Nile River valley. In the interpretation of ancient Egyptian Art, one quickly senses the immense importance of the Egyptian pantheon to ancient Egyptian society. In this society, the Pharaoh reigned as intercessor in negotiating with the gods a dynamic balance of chaos and its opposite maattruth, balance, and order. Therefore, in researching and presenting a selection of these formidable gods and goddesses, this exhibition seeks to elucidate the indelible role of each upon both ancient Egyptian society and Art. In lieu of traditional encyclopedic entries, this exhibition examines the character of each god and goddess through the analysis of an ancient work of art that includes his or her likeness. Thus these works, crafted long ago by unknown artists, reveal the great devotion, ritual and myth of ancient Egypt—before her capture and conversion by the West.

Introduction composed by all members of the Egypt exhibition group

Sculpture of the head of a cow goddess.

Head of a Cow Goddess: Hathor

One of the most complex goddesses in ancient Egypt was the goddess Hathor. Hathor was the mother of all gods ...
Sculpture of a man praying to Bes.

Bes: The Dwarf-god of Ancient Egypt

The pantheon of ancient Egyptian deities was central to every day mortal life. Each god and goddess had a function ...
Papyrus illustrations of human figures, animals, and hieroglyphics.

Ma’at: The Goddess and Principles of Truth and Wisdom

Ma'at: The Goddess and Principles of Truth and Wisdom       Ma'at is both a significant Ancient Egyptian goddess and ...
An image of a winged figure with hieroglyphics.

Seth: The God of Chaos

Seth: The God of Chaos Seth, also known as Set, was a God worshiped by many and despised by even ...
Photograph of the profile view of the Great Sphinx.

The Great Sphinx

The Sphinx was a mythological creature, a symbol of power and protection in Ancient Egyptian and Greek cultures, with the ...
Statuette of Isis nursing Horus.

Isis: Statuette of the Goddess Nursing her Son Horus

This figure of Isis, dating from 611 to 594 BCE, depicts the Egyptian goddess seated as she nurses her child, ...
God Horus Protecting King Nectanebo II

Horus: God of Kingship, the Sun, and the Sky

Horus is one of the most powerful of the many ancient Egyptian gods and goddesses and is often considered the ...
Stone inscribed with human figures and hieroglyphics.

Anubis: God of the Dead

Anubis Anubis is one of the most well known and iconic gods of ancient Egypt. Anubis is actually the Greek ...
Bright blue figure of Thoth walking.

Thoth: Egyptian God of Knowledge

Thoth was a popular god in the Ancient Egyptian pantheon. He was commonly known as the god of learning, writing, ...