Egyptian. Cast of the original. Colored relief.


In art, Nekhbet is depicted as the white vulture, representing purification, or sometimes as a woman wearing a vulture headdress, as she is in this relief. This relief also incorporates a suggestion of pigmentation. Egyptian sculpture was typically painted. Although surviving pigmentation in Egyptian sculpture exists in only trace amounts, it is still obvious that colors in Egyptian art were more expressive than natural. red skin implied vigorous tanned youth, whereas yellow skin was used for women or middle-aged men who worked indoors. Blue or gold indicated divinity because of its unnatural appearance and association with precious materials, and the use of black for royal figures expressed the fertility of the Nile from which Egypt was born.


In Egyptian mythology, Nekhebet was an early pre-dynastic local goddess who was the patron of the city of Nekheb. She ultimately became the patron of Upper Egypt, while her sister Wadjet, the cobra goddess, became the patron of the pharaohs and the protector of Lower Egypt. These two primal goddesses became the protecting deities for all of Egypt, and were also known as the “two ladies.”
Nekhbet is often depicted as a hovering vulture, with her wings spread above the royal image, frequently clutching a shen symbol, representing eternity, in both of her claws. She was sometimes considered the mother of the divine aspect of the pharaoh, and it was in this capacity that she was Mother of Mothers, and the Great White Cow of Nekheb.

  • ancient egypt
  • egypt
  • Egyptian
  • relief