The God Osiris
Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
On View: Old Kingdom to 18th Dynasty, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
The complex nature of Egyptian deities is often indicated by their attributes. Osiris’s tightly wrapped mummy shroud and his crook and flail (symbolizing kingship) point to the legend of Osiris’s murder, mummification, and subsequent resurrection as the ruler of the underworld. The cobra held by his wife, Isis, represents the magic that revived her husband and guarded their son, Horus. As the rightful heir to Osiris’s throne and the embodiment of kingship, the falcon-god Horus wears the Double Crown.
Animals can also reveal divine qualities. The cow or cow-human forms of Hathor refer to her role as provider of milk to Horus and to young kings of Egypt. Bastet, another benevolent female deity, appears as a cat or cat-headed woman, carrying a basket and sistrum.
Certain deities, including Neith, Ptah, Nefertem, and Imhotep, were portrayed in human form. The ancient protectress Neith, associated with war and hunting, wears the flat-topped Red Crown of Lower Egypt. The Memphite creator-god Ptah holds a staff with hieroglyphs for life and permanence. Ptah’s son, Nefertem, a lotus on his head (symbolizing rebirth), defends Maat with his scimitar. Imhotep, the deified architect of Djoser’s pyramid, shares Ptah’s close-fitting cap, and the papyrus on his lap emphasizes wisdom and creativity.
ca. 1075-656 B.C.E.
Dynasty 21 to Dynasty 25
Third Intermediate Period
5 11/16 x 1 7/16 x 1 3/16 in. (14.4 x 3.6 x 3 cm) (show scale)
Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license
. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply.
Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress
, Cornell University
, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums
, and Copyright Watch
For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The God Osiris, ca. 1075-656 B.C.E. Bronze, 5 11/16 x 1 7/16 x 1 3/16 in. (14.4 x 3.6 x 3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.565E. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 37.565E_NegA_SL4.jpg)
front, unedited master file, 37.565E_NegA_SL4.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"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.
One hollow cast bronze figure of Osiris. The god is shown mummiform, standing and holding the crook and flail. He wears a crown composed of a white crown, topped by a sun disk, flanked by two ostrich feathers, and fronted by a uraeus. A tang descends from the rear of the feet and a diagonal cross bar runs from the bottom of the tang to the front of the feet (from the side it resembles a standard).
Condition: Brown/black patina overall. Eyes inlaid with yellow substance (right only extant). On buttocks curious circular area where disease has been excavated and covered with shellac. Left elbow much pitted and chipped. Several small casting flaws left front foot of figure as well as several chips. Core revealed.
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.