Egyptian, ‘Bronze Sculpture of Osiris’, 664 BC to 525 BC, Barakat Gallery
Egyptian, ‘Bronze Sculpture of Osiris’, 664 BC to 525 BC, Barakat Gallery

This magnificent bronze votive sculpture represents Osiris, god of fertility, king of the dead, and ruler of eternity. Many centuries ago, it might have been found inside a temple, placed as an offering to the mighty deity. He is depicted wrapped as a mummy, holding a crook and flail. These two attributes act as scepters symbolic of his divine authority over the forces of nature. He wears the double plume headdress and a false braided beard with a curved tip. This type of beard is a symbol of divinity while the headdress associates the god with the ruling pharaohs. The legend of Osiris states that his brother Seth, overcome by jealousy, murdered him and tore his body into fourteen parts, scattering them across Egypt. Isis, the faithful wife of Osiris, traversed the land and gathered all the parts of his body. She then cast a spell that resurrected her deceased husband for one night, during which their child, Horus, was conceived. Thus, Osiris was the central figure of Egyptian religion, the god who had triumphed over death and therefore offered the hope of rebirth and resurrection to all men. This striking image of the god in his royal mummiform speaks of a universal mystery, the unanswered questions for which no living man has a sure answer.

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