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Isis Nursing Horus

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Morris A. and Meyer Schapiro Gallery, 4th Floor

Isis helped restore Osiris to life and raised their son Horus to avenge his murder. She was thus seen as a deity with great magical power and came to typify the faithful wife and devoted mother. She is shown here nursing the infant Horus. Her throne sits in the embrace of a vulture, a deity that spreads its wings about mother and child in a gesture of protection.

CULTURE Egyptian
MEDIUM Egyptian alabaster (calcite), bronze
  • Place Made: Saqqara, Egypt
  • DATES ca. 712-525 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY second half of XXV Dynasty to XXVI Dynasty
    PERIOD Third Intermediate Period to Late Period
    DIMENSIONS 7 3/8 x 2 1/4 x 5 5/16 in. (18.7 x 5.7 x 13.5 cm)
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Morris A. and Meyer Schapiro Gallery, 4th Floor
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Green calcite figure of Isis seated and nursing the infant Horus. The sides of the deity's throne are decorated with texts. The stone sculpture is connected to a bronze base by means of flanges on bronze base. The figure is "protected" in the rear and on both sides by a vulture body with wings which curve around towards the front. The wings were once inlaid with red and blue glass. The bird itself was made of two castings: wings and body, legs and tail. They were attached to the body by means of a tang fitting into a slot on the bronze base. Two more slots in the bronze base, located before the goddess, may have been for the attachment of a worshiping figure. The goddess is crowned, in bronze, with a circular frieze of uraei from which rise a cow's horns with solar disk. The sides of the bronze base bear inscriptions.
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