Statuette of Isis and Horus

For the ancient Egyptians the image of the goddess Isis suckling her son Horus was a powerful symbol of rebirth that was carried into the Ptolemaic period and later transferred to Rome, where the cult of the goddess was established. This piece of faience sculpture joins the tradition of pharaonic Egypt with the artistic style of the Ptolemaic period. On the goddess's head is the throne hieroglyph that represents her name. She also wears a vulture head-covering reserved for queens and goddesses. Following ancient conventions for indicating childhood, Horus is naked and wears a single lock of hair on the right side of his head.

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 134


Public Domain


Object Details

Period: Ptolemaic Period

Date: 332–30 B.C.

Geography: From Egypt

Medium: Faience

Dimensions: H. 17 cm (6 11/16 in); W. 5.1 cm (2 in.); D. 7.7 cm (3 1/16 in.)

Credit Line: Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest Fund, 1955

Accession Number: 55.121.5

Purchased from The Kevorkian Foundation, New York, 1955.

Scott, Nora E. 1956. "Recent Additions to the Egyptian Collection." In The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, new ser., vol. 15, no. 3 (November), pp. 87–88, fig. 18.

Allen, James P. 2005. "Isis Nursing Horus." In The Art of Medicine in Ancient Egypt, edited by James P. Allen and David T. Mininberg. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, pp. 34–35, no. 29.