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Standing tall

The image of the bird Goddess appeared in Egypt in early predynastic times (4000 B.C.) as funerary figures with strongly beaked faces and wing-like arms and hands. The painted terracota figures, less than a foot high and much alike, were found in graves in Mohamerian, near Edfu. They serve as superb blend of bird, woman and deity. From the deepest recesses of time, women were recognized as the life-givers and sustainers.


The hook-shaped hands of this goddess from early Egypt (a people who called themselves the Kemi) symbolize regeneration, an evocative image of the life-death-life principle of reincarnation. The Mother Goddess in late Neolithic times was equated with bird and animal life; her birdlike head is suggestive of later death-bringing vulture goddesses such as Neith and Mut. (The Kemian word mother, in fact, was depicted by the vulture hieroglyph.) Here in one evocative image of life-death-life is shown the core of Kemian wisdom, the principle of reincarnation.

[Brooklyn Museum, predynastic era]

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Taken on April 7, 2007