Wall Painting: Woman Holding a Sistrum

Egyptianca. 1250-1200 BC (New Kingdom)

The Walters Art Museum

The Walters Art Museum
Baltimore, United States

The woman in this fragmentary painting from a tomb wall has a wig of long, full hair, held in place by a flowered headband and topped with an ointment cone, a perfumed substance placed on wigs that gave off a fragrant aroma as it melted. A lotus blossom adorns the front of the headband. She holds a rattle called a sistrum, which women often played during temple ceremonies. What remains of the inscription suggests that she may have served with the temple staff of the god Amen.


  • Title: Wall Painting: Woman Holding a Sistrum
  • Date Created: ca. 1250-1200 BC (New Kingdom)
  • Physical Dimensions: w17 x h24 x d4.2 cm
  • Type: wall paintings
  • Rights: Acquired by Henry Walters, 1909, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
  • External Link: The Walters Art Museum
  • Medium: neutral gray, red, black, white, blue and yellow paint on plaster over mud
  • Provenance: Dikran Kelekian, New York and Paris [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1909, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
  • Place of Origin: Deir el-Medina (present-day Western Thebes, Egypt) (?)
  • Inscriptions: [Inscription] In black paint on yellow: remains of 4 vertical lines of inscription; [Translation] ...(his) sister...the lady...of Amun
  • ExhibitionHistory: Musical Instruments and Their Portrayal in Art. Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore. 1946
  • Artist: Egyptian

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