Rihanna’s latest tattoo of a falcon seems to be inspired by a 4th century B.C. Egyptian falcon with spread wings, seen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is not shaped like a gun intentionally so it could be a coincidence that Rihanna liked the bird and its history.
It is also possible that Rihanna found the beautiful bird inspiring while attending the Met Ball at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in May. Tattoo artist Bang Bang, who has his studio in NYC, could have helped Rihanna to make the bird more modern.
Note that it is not confirmed that Rihanna’s tattoo was inspired by the ancient Egyptian Falcon in the photo above.
Further info about the bird figure:
This figure is one of a group of finely executed polychrome hieroglyphic inlays (18.2.8-.9 and 26.7.991-.1004, .1006-.1007) in the museum’s collection; with the exception of the royal figure (26.7.1006), which is said to be from Memphis, the inlays are all said to be from a single find at Ashmunein, ancient Hermopolis.
The presence in the group of Thoth (26.7.992) and figures that could well represent the seated mummiform Hermopolite solar and creator god Shepsi offers some confirmation of this provenance.
Examination of the figures as a group suggests that they formed part of a large inscription detailing a king’s names (including the Horus of Gold name, 26.7.996) followed by epithets naming Thoth and Shepsi. The presence among the figures of Anhur, Re, and goddesses who could well be Hathor, along with larger Horus falcons, suggests elements of the name(s) of 30th Dynasty pharaohs, with Nectanebo II’s names precisely suited.
There is some variability in color and manufacture among the pieces, so repairs or additions to the inlaid inscriptions over time are possible.
The great winged falcon (26.7.991) might have presided over the larger scene, which might have occupied the side of a large wooden shrine, for example.