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
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.