Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object
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Osiris

Period:
Late Period–Ptolemaic Period
Date:
664–30 B.C.
Geography:
From Egypt
Medium:
Cupreous metal
Dimensions:
H. 9.7 cm (3 13/16 in.); W. 2.3 cm (7/8 in.); D. 1.8 cm (11/16 in.) H. (with tang): 11 cm (4 5/16 in.)
Credit Line:
Gift of Joseph W. Drexel, 1889
Accession Number:
89.2.565
Not on view
Osiris, foremost of the Egyptian funerary gods and ruler of the underworld, stands upright in a close-fitting mummiform garment. The garment hugs the contours of his arms and shoulders. A suspension loop is positioned at the base of the neck. He holds the royal crook and flail with his arms crossed on his chest. Copper alloy statuettes of Osiris generally exhibit one of three arm positions: asymmetrical with the right fist over the left, symmetrical with the fists touching, and arms crossed. The latter position, seen here, is the least common of the three but still frequently utilized. Why these arm positions are so consistently represented and how they relate to workshop practices, chronological changes, or conceptions of cult is unknown.
Osiris statuettes such as this one were some of the most abundant temple offerings in Egypt by the first millennium B.C., reflecting both the god’s importance and changing cult practices that spurred the wide-scale dedication of deity statuettes. Many statues of Osiris were offered in temples and shrines belonging to him, but they have also been found in other contexts, for example near temples and shrines honoring other prominent deities or in animal necropoleis.
Donated by Joseph W. Drexel, Philadelphia, 1889.

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