Sistrum with Image of Hathor on Handle



Sistrum with Image of Hathor on Handle


musical instrument


722-332 BC


Late Period


14 x 3 3/4 x 1/2 in. (35.6 x 9.5 x 1.3 cm)

Object Number



A sistrum is rattle that would have been used during ritual events in ancient Egypt. Made from a variety of materials, a sistrum would be shaken to create a jingling noise. Many sistrums incorporate decorative elements in their handles, with the face of Hathor being one of the most popular. This bronze sistrum is embellished with the head of the composite bovine and human form of the goddess Hathor. This sistrum may have been used in processions or other rituals honoring the goddess or alternatively, the image may have been meant to refer to the goddess who was considered to be the special patron of music. The sistrum reminds us of the now lost performative elements of Egyptian ritual. With this object we may begin to think about the sounds, smells, and movements associated with Egyptian festivals and daily ritual, a thought that can enliven our understanding of the ancient past.

Credit Line

Gift of Katrina Griessman and Jeffrey Dinkle


MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, 2006 - Present
Pierre Berge & associes, Paris, Archeologie, miniatures orientales, art de la Chine (October 15-16, 2005), 99, lot 387.


© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Bruce M. White, 2007.
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On View



“Sistrum with Image of Hathor on Handle,” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed October 23, 2018,

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