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HOME : Egyptian Antiquities : Masterpieces of Egyptian Art : Bronze statuette of a seated Osiris
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Bronze statuette of a seated Osiris - FF.025
Origin: Egypt
Circa: 1085 BC to 332 BC
Dimensions: 11.8" (30.0cm) high x 5.5" (14.0cm) wide
Collection: Egyptian Antiquities
Medium: Bronze

Location: Great Britain
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Small bronze figurines representing Osiris show the god wrapped in a form-fitting garment, perhaps denoting a mummified shroud, and carrying the symbols of power in each hand. The crook (neka) and flail (nekhakha) are are two of the most prominent items in the royal regalia of ancient Egypt, the characteristic insignia of kingship and of authority per se. Many pharaohs had their coffins decorated with these symbols of power. The crook is similar to a sceptre. The flail or flabellum was built of a rod, which had hanging stripes or pearl strings on the upper end, symbolising a herder’s whip. Enveloped in his shroud, Osiris’ arms are bound close to his body and his feet and legs stand together. The god is usually depicted wearing the Atef crown which combines the Hedjet the White Crown of Upper Egypt, ornamented with an Uraeus (the stylized form of the Egyptian cobra) on the front and flanked by two curly red ostrich feathers. In addition, the Atef crown can rest on a set of spiraling ram’s horns that project to either side. In this occasion Osiris wears the Atef crown without the ram’s horns. The sharply modeled facial features contrast with the simplified attention to the rather flat body. The characteristic beard of the god is attached to his chin. The face is cast in detailed manner, the mouth small with full lips. The hands are positioned side-by-side. The feet stand on a flat base that forms an obtuse angle with the legs. Osiris was one of the most popular gods of the Egyptian pantheon. Early in Egyptian history he represented a chthonic fertility god that later acquired the royal insignia of the crook and flail. He came to be identified as the ruler of the underworld. The Egyptian ruler, perceived during his lifetime as the incarnation of Horus, became Osiris after death. Over time, Osiris was equated with all deceased individuals and became a symbol of resurrection. The major cult shrine of Osiris was at Abydos in Middle Egypt, where Seti I (c. 1294-1279 BCE) built a magnificent temple during the 19th Dynasty. - (FF.025)


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