Master of Arts
Egyptian Art and Archaeology
Lorelei H. Corcoran
Fred C. Albertson
Suzanne L. Onstine
This thesis examines the religious and political implications of changes to the iconography of the sistrum, a musical instrument associated with the goddess Hathor, during the Amarna Period (c. 1391-1323 BCE). In the reign of Amenhotep III and in the early years of Akhenaten, sistra bore the traditional image of Hathor's face and were used by royal women in rituals. In the latter part of Akhenaten's reign, however, Hathor's face was replaced by a papyrus umbel, and the queen no longer used the instrument in religious ceremonies. The reign of Tutankhamun saw a return to religious orthodoxy and in the use of the Hathor-headed sistrum by the queen. This evolution in iconography and usage demonstrates two major shifts in power and influence: it documents the exclusion of deities like Hathor during the Amarna era and it implies an elevation to divine status of Akhenaten's queen, Nefertiti.
Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.
Vosburg, Lindsay M., "The Sistrum as a Marker of the Divine Nature of Queenship in the Amarna Period" (2011). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 313.