Pendant with the Name of King Osorkon II

Pendant with the Name of King Osorkon II

This extremely precious solid gold and lapis lazuli item of jewelry – a true masterpiece of antique goldsmith – represents the holy triad of the Osiris family. Despite the presence of the god of death, this piece was more a temple treasure than a funerary jewel.

The three solid gold figures represent Osiris, surrounded by his son, Horus, and his wife, Isis. Horus and Isis extend their hands toward their father and husband’s shoulder in a protective gesture. These gods are recognizable by their attributes: the feathered tiara and shroud for Osiris; the falcon head and double royal crown for Horus; and the horned disk for Isis, in imitation of the goddess Hathor.

Osiris is crouching on a pillar of a deep blue lapis lazuli that places him at the same level as his family. The palm leaves on the cornice and the base are fashioned in gold cloisonné inlaid with lapis and red glass. The inlays of Horus and Isis’s wigs are missing. Some of the details have been chased; others were added by barely visible welds.

Third Intermediate Period, 22nd Dynasty, reign of Osorkon II, ca. 872-837 BC. Now in the Louvre. E 6204

Pendant with the Name of King Osorkon II

Pendant with the Name of King Osorkon II

This extremely precious solid gold and lapis lazuli item of jewelry – a true masterpiece of antique goldsmith – represents the holy triad of the Osiris family. Despite the presence of the god of death, this piece was more a temple treasure than a funerary jewel.

The three solid gold figures represent Osiris, surrounded by his son, Horus, and his wife, Isis. Horus and Isis extend their hands toward their father and husband’s shoulder in a protective gesture. These gods are recognizable by their attributes: the feathered tiara and shroud for Osiris; the falcon head and double royal crown for Horus; and the horned disk for Isis, in imitation of the goddess Hathor.

Osiris is crouching on a pillar of a deep blue lapis lazuli that places him at the same level as his family. The palm leaves on the cornice and the base are fashioned in gold cloisonné inlaid with lapis and red glass. The inlays of Horus and Isis’s wigs are missing. Some of the details have been chased; others were added by barely visible welds.

Third Intermediate Period, 22nd Dynasty, reign of Osorkon II, ca. 872-837 BC. Now in the Louvre. E 6204

Gold Mask of Tutankhamun

Gold Mask of Tutankhamun

This gold death mask of Tutankhamun is an example of the highest artistic and technical achievements of the ancient Egyptians in the New Kingdom.

Covering the head of the wrapped mummy in its coffin and activated by a magical spell, no.151b from the Book of the Dead, the mask ensured more protection for the king’s body. The exact portrayal of the king’s facial features achieved here made it possible for his soul to recognize him and return to his mummified body, thus ensuring his resurrection.

The head is covered by the royal headdress and the forehead bears the emblems of kingship and protection: the vulture and uraeus, or cobra. The gold sheets used in this wonderful mask are joined together by heating and hammering. The eyes are of obsidian and quartz and the eyebrows and eyelids are inlaid with lapis lazuli. The broad inlaid collar of semiprecious stones and colored glass ends in falcon heads.

From the Tomb of Tutankhamun (KV62), Valley of the Kings, West Thebes. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 60672

Head of the Falcon God Horus

Head of the Falcon God Horus

This exquisite head of the falcon god Horus, lord of the sun and patron deity of kingship, was found below the floor of the main chamber of his temple at Hierakonpolis, north of Edfu.

The head, which is made out of beaten gold, was fixed to a copper statue of the falcon Horus. It is topped by a twin-plumed headdress and decorated with a royal uraeus, or rearing cobra.

The eyes are inlaid with rounded, polished, obsidian pieces, very similar to that of the real bird. It was certainly a cult statue, which was set up on a base in its shrine, with a royal statuette placed under its protection.

Old Kingdom, 6th Dynasty, ca. 2345-2181 BC. From Kom al-Ahmar Necropolis. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 32158

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