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Head of the God Osiris

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Egypt Reborn: Art for Eternity, 19th Dynasty to Roman Period, Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Gallery, 3rd Floor

Most sculptures of deities, including the countless images of Osiris made during the Late and Ptolemaic Periods, were smaller than the statue represented by this head, a dramatic example of a composite sculpture in mixed media. The smiling mouth is a stylistic element that helps date the head to the fourth century B.C. or later. For more information on Osiris, see the installations in Temples, Tombs, and the Egyptian Universe.

MEDIUM Wood, bronze, glass, gilding
  • Place Made: Egypt
  • DATES 305-30 B.C.E.
    PERIOD Ptolemaic Period
    DIMENSIONS Height: 14 1/4 in. (36.2 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Head of the God Osiris, 305-30 B.C.E. Wood, bronze, glass, gilding, Height: 14 1/4 in. (36.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 58.94. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE installation, West Wing gallery 8 installation, CUR.58.94_wwg8.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2006
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Wooden head of Osiris wearing the White Crown originally with bronze (?) feathers attached to sides. Angle of the neck shows that head most be from prone representation of the god, a rare type. Bronze uraeus, bronze beard with remains of gilding eyes outlined in purple-blue glass and inlaid with opaque white and black glass. Short full mouth. From a statuette representing the god prone. Entire surface originally gessoed and gilded. Condition: Most of left eye lost. Bronze uraeus has been reset but appears to belong. The two holes on both sides of crown where Atef feathers were attached, have been filled in and covered over with gesso and gilding. Most of the gesso layer is lost save on right side of neck. Only traces of gilding survive.
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