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The Meaning of Her Leopard Attire


Seshat is pictured as a slim female dressed in a leopard or cheetah skin dress or sheath. She almost always has a headdress, which to my eyes looks like a seven-pointed star or but it has also been described in other ways. 


Egyptologist Richard Wilkinson described her this way. "Seshat was depicted in anthropomorphic form as a woman often wearing a leopard skin over her robe and with a headdress consisting of a headband with a tall extension upon which was an obscure emblem resembling a rosette or seven-pointed star."


Leopard skin was also worn in certain ritualistic settings, especially by the sem priests who were appointed by the pharaohs to officiate funerals. Seshat is also seen as a funerary goddess in some aspects of her history, especially as a goddess who gives the deceased the correct words to say in the afterlife or who speaks well of the deceased by honoring them in death. Ancients citizens thought it an honor to have Seshat on their funerary masks or encasement. Pharaohs wanted her to write their names into the Tree of Life. She was seen as a goddess who can help give safe passage into the afterlife.


Ancient Egyptians believed that wearing the skin of one's enemy in some way imbued in the person the power of the defeated enemy. It was sometimes seen as a shamanic practice.


It is suggested that Seshat's use of the leopard skin meant that the power of the leopard was transferred to her, making her a fierce deity and protector against evil predators. 


I like to look at the leopards as protectors and her leopard fashions as chic. In an interview with CNN, Jo Weldon, author of Fierce: The History of Leopard Print, discussed the prevalence of leopard outfits and women in history and pointed out that "Seshat, the Egyptian goddess of wisdom, is often pictured wearing a leopard or cheetah hide."


Leopard motifs – and feline imagery in general – have been used to signify power, independence, and confidence for centuries, she told reporters, Marianna Cerini and Ananda Pellerin. "Leopards have long been seen as fierce, very resilient animals," she said. "I think people feel a primordial connection with them."