The statue represents the lioness goddess Sekhmet and constitutes a single statuary group, one of the most imposing of all the history of pharaonic Egypt. It is made up of two types of statue of the same size: the goddess seated on a throne with the solar disc and Uraeus on the head and the ankh in the left hand; the standing goddess, crowned in the same way, has the ankh in her right hand and the uadj in the left.
The statues were produced for the pharaoh Amenhotep III to adorn the precinct of his funerary temple in West Thebes. Subsequently, starting from the Ramesside Period, some of these statues were reused and transferred to other places, both in the Valley and in the Delta. One of the most significant transfers was carried out during Dynasty XXI, when the high priest of Amon and future sovereign Pinodjem I had dozens of these statues moved to the temple of the goddess Mut in Karnak. The pharaoh Sheshonq I had his cartouche inscribed on some of them.
The statues have hieroglyphic inscriptions on the base or on the throne and on the dorsal pillar, which assign numerous and different epithets to the goddess. Together these epithets, of which there are believed to be 365, one for each day of the year, would constitute a “litany in stone”, with which the pharaoh wished to pacify the goddess under her 365 different denominations.
The specimens displayed in the Gregorian Egyptian Museum were discovered by the Roman traveller Silvestro Guidi in the first decades of the nineteenth century, presumably in the same precinct of the Temple to Mut in Karnak.