Sekhmet, goddess of war and protector of royalty, was initially described as the divine consort of Ptah, chief god of Memphis in Lower Egypt, later to be identified as the goddess Mut, who in turn was the consort of Amun, the chief god of Thebes in Upper Egypt. Similar statues of varying sizes adorned the great temple that Amenhotep III built in worship of Mut at Thebes. Some of these statues of the goddess still stand amongst the ruins of the complex, monumental reminders of the Theban people’s adoration of Amun and their desire to install the deity as the Egyptian chief of all gods.
Interestingly, New Kingdom Egyptians did not worship animals, but venerated them for a personified characteristic. In Sekhmet and Mut, the people saw the terrible power and might of the desert lioness, but also the beast’s protective and maternal nature.