Egyptian Bronze Figure of Osiris, Late Dynastic Period

Circa

1000 BC to 650 BC

Dimensions

10.825″ (27.5cm) high

Medium

Bronze

Origin

Egypt

Gallery Location

UK


 

“The White Crown is set on your head. You seized the crook and the flail when you were (still) in the womb and had not (yet) emerged onto the earth” The Book of the Dead THIS EXCEPTIONAL PIECE OF EGYPTIAN METALWORK, A VOTIVE OFFERING, SURVIVES TO US FROM THE LATE DYNASTIC PERIOD. OSIRIS, GOD OF THE UNDERWORLD, IS TRULY RESPLENDENT IN TYPICAL REGALIA; DEPICTED IN-THE-ROUND IN MUMMIFORM WITH BOTH ARMS CROOKED AT THE ELBOW WITH HANDS DRILLED AND POSITIONED FOR CROOK AND FLAIL (NOW LOST). The crook, representing the shepherd and the flail, symbolizing the punishments deemed necessary to retain authority were Osiris’s essential attributes and became the insignia of Pharaonic authority. No two objects were more closely associated with the rulers’ dominion over Egypt and would have been bestowed upon the Pharaoh upon accession. THE WHITE ATEF CROWN WITH MOULDED SERPENT IS WORN SOLELY BY OSIRIS AND SOBEK AND IS EMBLEMATIC FOR THE CULT OF OSIRIS. IT COMBINES THE HEDJET – CROWN OF UPPER EGYPT – WITH FRONTAL URAEUS SERPENT, RAM HORNS AND OSTRICH FEATHERS, REPRESENTING TRUTH, JUSTICE, MORALITY AND BALANCE AT THE SIDES. APERTURES AT THE FRONT AND SIDES INDICATE THESE WOULD HAVE BEEN ATTACHED IN ANTIQUITY. THE FACIAL FEATURES AND COSMETIC LINES, DEMARCATED BY BLUE ENAMEL, RETAIN AN EXCEPTIONAL LEVEL OF DETAILING. THE ORIGINAL INLAY FOR THE EYES AND RATHER PLAYFUL EXPRESSION SERVE TO ENHANCE THE HUMANISTIC APPEAL OF THIS PIECE. THE SLIGHTLY CURVING ROYAL BEARD WITH CLEAR STRIATIONS REPRESENTS … AND IS JOINED TO THE CHEST BY A STRUT. INCISED COLLAR AROUND THE NECK CAN BE SEEN ON THE REVERSE. THE TANG BENEATH THE FEET INDICATES THE STATUE WOULD ORIGINALLY HAVE BEEN MOUNTED AND HAS BEEN USED, FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE TO SET THE STATUE UPON A CUSTOM-MADE WOODEN BASE. IN EXCEPTIONAL CONDITION WITH AN ATTRACTIVE VARIEGATED BLUE AND GREEN PATINA OVER WHOLE. EXCITEMENT WAS CAUSED RECENTLY IN JANUARY 2015 BY THE DISCOVERY OF OSIRIS’S TOMB IN THEBES. THE ENORMOUS ANCIENT REPRODUCTION OF THE MYTHICAL TOMB AS DESCRIBED BY EGYPTIAN LEGEND DATES BACK TO 25TH OR 26TH DYNASTY. FOR COMPARABLE EXAMPLES, CF. CHRISTIES, NEW YORK, DEC. 2008, LOT NO. 22.

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