Egyptian Bronze Standing Figure of Osiris

SKU LO.1037
Circa

1000 BC to 650 BC

Dimensions

16″ (40.6cm) high

Medium

Bronze

Origin

Egypt

Gallery Location

UK


 

Although not inscribed, this remarkably large figure can be identified as a depiction of Osiris, god of the Hereafter, on the basis of his costume and attributes. That costume is designed as a tightly-fitting garment, doubtless intended to represent the fine linen bandages in which his mummy was enveloped. A slit in the bandages permits the god’s left hand to protrude so that he can hold the flail, one of his traditional attributes. The flail, used by ancient farmers for the threshing of grain, associates Osiris with the agricultural cycles of the land and reinforces his authority as the lord of resurrection. Just as wheat grows anew after a winter of dormancy, so, too, will the deceased be resurrected in the Hereafter.

The face of Osiris is characterized by idealizing features consistent with the principle that he will be physically fit and free of all physical defects forever. A false beard, originally associated with goats, is attached to his chin. By means of the principles of sympathetic magic, the sexually charged associations of the goat are metaphorically transferred to Osiris. The White Crown of Upper Egypt, his traditional headdress, completes his costume and this is fronted by a uraeus, or sacred cobra.

The scale and technique of our image of Osiris suggests that it was created during the Third Intermediate Period (Dynasty XXI-XXV), roughly 1000-650 B.C. The missing left arm was apparently accidentally destroyed and not restored in modern times.

Dr. Robert Steven Bianchi

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