Mummiform Figure of Osiris
Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
The inscription identifies this figure as Osiris. He wears the crown of ostrich feathers, a sun-disk, and the ram’s horns that identify him as a king. Yet he is also in the form of a mummy with the curled beard worn by the dead.
The figure stands on a hollow base. Originally, a papyrus with a spell written on it was stored in the base. When this figure and papyrus were placed in the tomb, the deceased enjoyed the protection of Osiris and of the spell.
25 3/4 x 7 x 11 in. (65.4 x 17.8 x 27.9 cm) (show scale)
"A recitation by Osiris, presides over the Westerners, good god (lord of Ro)-setan, may he grant..."
Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
Archaeological provenance not yet documented, reportedly from Saqqara, Egypt; by 1852, collected in Egypt by Henry Abbott of Cairo, Egypt and New York, NY; 1859, purchased from Henry Abbott by the New-York Historical Society, New York, NY; 1937, loaned by the New-York Historical Society to the Brooklyn Museum; September 1948, purchased from the New-York Historical Society by the Brooklyn Museum.
Base and figure are of a hard wood; pedestal is of a softer wood.
This item is not on view
Mummiform Figure of Osiris, 664-332 B.C.E. Wood, pigment, 25 3/4 x 7 x 11 in. (65.4 x 17.8 x 27.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.1481E. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 37.1481E_front_PS2.jpg)
front, 37.1481E_front_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2006
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What is this?
This sculpture shows a Mummiform Figure of Osiris. Osiris was a legendary king of Egypt.
According to Egyptian myth, he was murdered by his brother Seth and magically restored to life by his sister-wife Isis, assisted by their sister Nephthys. Because he had died he could no longer rule on earth, and so became the Lord of the Dead, ruling in the netherworld. All kings were believed to become Osiris after they died and he was a popular figure to be included in tombs in the hope of a successful journey to his land of the dead. He was often depicted wrapped in mummy bandages, holding a flail—based on a fly-whisk—and a crook, which was the hieroglyphic sign for heka, meaning ruler or scepter.
Tell me more.
This mummiform statue of Osiris is a great example of how colorful Egyptian statues were! The god Osiris was the king of the afterlife which is why he's often shown as a mummy.
I am Foster. I am five years old. What is this thing?
It's a sculpture of the god Osiris. Osiris is King of the Dead. He has a crown on his head made of ostrich feathers, a circle called a sun disk, and ram's horns.
According to Ancient Egyptian religion, Osiris was the first person to be mummified.
Wow! That's cool!
It is! You'll see Osiris (sometimes with different crowns on) all over our Mummy Chamber. He's a pretty important Egyptian god. He's usually bundled up in cloth like a mummy, and sometimes has green skin!