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Isis, the Mother of Apis

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

Associated with fertility, generation, and resurrection, the Apis bull was prominent throughout the long history of ancient Egyptian religion. Originally the bull, as all other animals, was revered as the manifestation of certain divine powers and was not itself a deity. Later, however, the Apis was in fact worshiped. Through its connotations of potency and renewal, it was associated with the gods Ptah and Osiris and with royal ritual. Isis, the wife of Osiris, is shown here in her role as mother of Apis. She is identified by her long cow's horns, distinct from the Apis's shorter set. This bronze item may have been a finial or fitting for the end of a carrying pole that bore a portable shrine of the Apis.

CULTURE Egyptian
  • Possible Place Made: Memphis, Egypt
  • DATES ca. 670-332 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY late XXV Dynasty to early XXVI Dynasty
    PERIOD Third Intermediate Period to Late Period
    DIMENSIONS 4 1/2 x 2 3/4 x 3 3/8 in. (11.5 x 7 x 8.5 cm)  (show scale)
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Egyptian. Isis, the Mother of Apis, ca. 670-332 B.C.E. Bronze, 4 1/2 x 2 3/4 x 3 3/8 in. (11.5 x 7 x 8.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 73.25. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum (Gavin Ashworth,er), 73.25_Gavin_Ashworth_photograph.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 73.25_Gavin_Ashworth_photograph.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph (Gavin Ashworth, photographer), 2012
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    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION A bronze finial with head of Apis bull wearing sun disk with uraeus surmounted by two plumes and wearing lappet wig and floral collar with falcon terminals. Single menat from back of plumes to shoulder area. Two columns of inscription on shaft. Condition: Excellent. Brown patina with green in areas. Small portion gone from lower edge of broad collar and portion gone from lower edge of finial shaft.
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