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HOME : Egyptian Antiquities : Egyptian Bronzes : Egyptian Bronze Seated Osiris
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Egyptian Bronze Seated Osiris - SK.021
Origin: Egypt
Circa: 664 BC to 300 BC
Dimensions: 6.75" (17.1cm) high
Collection: Egyptian
Medium: Bronze

Location: UAE
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Osiris, the god of death, resurrection and fertility, was one of the most important deities in the Egyptian pantheon. The legend of Osiris states that he once ruled Egypt as king until he was murdered and dismembered by his jealous brother Seth. Isis, his faithful wife, gathered the pieces and restored him to life allowing the conception of their son Horus. Osiris subsequently became god of the underworld and was appealed to by those desirous of rebirth in the afterlife. Horus avenged his father and defeated Seth, succeeding to the throne of Egypt as the rightful heir of Osiris. This narrative was used as a theological rationale for the Egyptian monarchical system and also offered the hope of the possibility of immortality through resurrection.

According to the standard iconography, Osiris is depicted in anthropomorphic form as a human mummy. Sitting erect, his hands project from his wrappings to grasp the crook and flail, his chief attributes. These items of regalia are often present in depictions of kings and are thought to represent pastoral implements. He wears the so- called Atef Crown, similar to the White Crown of Upper Egypt, but with two side feathers attached. A frontal uraeus (stylized cobra) symbolises his royalty and divinity. The bronze is hollow cast and there are tangs underneath the feet and buttocks for attachment to a base now missing. The eyes are recessed which indicates they were once inlaid, probably with silver.

The cult of Osiris lasted over two thousand years, flourishing from the end of the Fifth Dynasty (when his name appears in the Pyramid Texts) to the end the Ptolemaic era. The mythical scattering of his body led to the establishment of many cult sites across Egypt, the most important being at Abydos and Busiris. His popularity even spread outside of Egypt during the Graeco- Roman Period because of his close link with the cult of Isis. It is hard to overestimate the Egyptian preoccupation with death and rebirth; the Book of the Dead was, after all, their main religious treatise. This magnificent bronze is both an item of conspicuous consumption, symbolizing its owner’s wealth, and the expression of profound religious belief. (AM) - (SK.021)


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