The waters of the ancient Nile were full of fish,
certain species of which came to be worshipped
as gods because it was believed that they could
suppress evil. In the town of Oxyrhynchus in
Upper Egypt, the curve-nosed mormyrus fish
was the center of a large cult that eventually
spread throughout the land. According to
Egyptian mythology, the sacred fish figured
prominently in the resurrection of the god Osiris.
This was one of the primary reasons for its
deification. In this splendid sculpture, the fish
god is shown crowned by the cow horns of
Hathor, the sun disc of Ra and the cobra uraeus.
The cow horns of Hathor are quite fitting
considering that the fish was sacred to this
goddess. He rests regally atop a square base
that reinforces his divine status. The attention to
detail is impressive; the eyes, gills, and fins have
all been carefully incised. We sense intuitively
his divine status, and that his kingdom is the
cosmic rather than the earthly river.