Sitting Statues of Osiris and Isis

Sitting Statues of Osiris and Isis

These seated ancient Egyptian statues depict the divine Isis and her husband Osiris. They were found together in the tomb of an official Psamtik from the time of the reign of king Amasis (ca. 570-526 BC). Isis wears a sheath dress and a crown in the form of the emblem of Hathor – a solar disc set between cow’s horns. In her right hand she holds the ankh, the sign of life. Osiris, carved in the same beautiful style of the 26th Dynasty, is wrapped in fine cloth, as he holds symbols of sovereignty – the flail and crook.

The inscriptions around the bases of the statues were intended to invoke ‘Isis, mother of the god, great in magic, mistress of the Two Lands’, and ‘Osiris who presides in the west, great god, lord of Ro-Setaou’. Following his judgment of the deceased, Osiris could grant wishes for a peaceful arrival in the netherworld, while Isis gives life – the carved life symbol reveals her to be a magician stronger than death. This divine couple belonged to a sumptuous burial and would have ensured perpetual protection for the person with whom they were interred.

Late Period, 26th Dynasty, ca. 664-525 BC. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. CG 38358, JE 38929. Photo: Christoph Gerigk. Franck Goddio/Hilti Foundation.

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