Isis nursing Horus in the marshes depicted on a fragment from a box lid or menat counterpoise

Third Intermediate Period

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 125

The fragment depicts the goddess Isis nursing her infant son Horus concealed in the tall papyrus marshes. There she is hiding the baby from his uncle Seth who wants to kill Horus because he is Osiris's heir, just as Seth had killed Osiris.

Images of Isis nursing Horus in the marshes or of a falcon in the marshes (as 08.202.15), are newly prominent in the Third Intermediate Period, part of the exploration and elaboration of Delta mythologies at this time, especially those around goddesses and their sons. The marshes were repeatedly evoked on small objects and talismans as a magical space where mythic moments are set in an idyllic surrounding.

Isis wears a crown with a disk and horns, and both she and infant Horus, who gazes upward at his mother, have large uraei on their foreheads. Traces of blue-green glaze remain on the surface of the stone, and darker blue inlay remains in the goddess's hair. Remains of a hole may be noted at the upper break edge.The original object might be the upper part of a menat counterpoise, or possibly the lid of a small cartouche-shaped box.

Isis nursing Horus in the marshes depicted on a fragment from a box lid or menat counterpoise, Glazed steatite

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.