Musical instrument (pl. sistra) which, when shaken, produced a rattling sound. It was mainly used by women. Sistra were usually made of bronze, although examples in stone, faience and wood are also known. It is generally assumed that the latter were not meant to be actually used, but had a symbolic or funerary function. The most important shapes for sistra are a loop through which metal crosspieces passed, and that of a naos. Many examples bear a depiction of the head of Hathor, with whose cult the objects were closely connected.