- The Society for Near Eastern Studies in Japan
- オリエント (ISSN:00305219)
- vol.52, no.1, pp.63-83, 2009
It is difficult to track down the Levantine origins of the six Syro-Palestinian deities found in New Kingdom Egypt (Baal, Reshef, Hauron, Anat, Astarte, and Qedeshet). Part of the problems is that the images of these deities, venerated both by the royal family and by the ordinary people, were much Egyptianised. It has been pointed out that Syro-Palestinian art was greatly influenced by Egypt, Anatolia and Mesopotamia, which plausibly results in the assumption that Egyptian styles, once exported to Syria-palestine, may have come back to Egypt in the form of 're-imported' images of these deities. This paper will discuss, as a case study, the means by which the representation of the goddess Qedeshet was established.<br> The investigation leads us to the following conslustions: 1) the motif of a naked female <i>en face</i> might have been imported from Egypt to Syria-Palestine before the New Kingdom, but then part of this iconography was possibly brought back to Egypt with the concept of Qedeshet, 2) the idea of the goddess standing on the back of an animal was not Egyptian originally, and as for Qedeshet, the influence of the goddess Ishtar in Mesopotamia would be very important, 3) the snakes in the hands of Qedeshet probably reflect the Egyptian view in which the serpent is the symbol of magical protection, resurrection and vitality in the afterlife.<br> Under the circumstances, it can be deduced that the motif of the goddess Qedeshet in the New Kingdom has not been dominated primarily either by Egypt or by Syria-Palestine but is in fact composed of elements of iconography and concepts from both regions. Some could be originally Egyptian components, introduced into Syria-Palestine earlier and re-imported into Egypt with Syro-Palestinian factors, while others were newly brought into Egypt, and assimilated to some extent with Egyptian ideas on particular aspects.