Egyptian Bronze Isis and Horus

SKU: MS.0047

Origin: Egypt
Circa: Late Period, c. 664 - 343 BC
Dimensions: 6.4" Height x 1.5" Width x 2.9" Length, Including wooden chair stand 7.5" Height x 2" Width x 4.3" Length (16.25cms x 3.8cms x 7.3cms)
Medium: Bronze

In this finely cast bronze statue, the goddess is seated in her most iconic pose nursing the child god Horus with her feet on an integral plinth.  She wears a tightly-fitted sheath and broad-collar, her tripartite wig surmounted by a vulture headdress crowned with a modius of uraei. Above her head we see the characteristic cow horns framing a solar disc.  She offers her left breast to her divine son Horus who is seated upon her lap, while her left hand supports his head.  Horus wears a broad collar, the side lock of youth with incised details, and a cap-crown fronted by a uraeus.

Private collection, France, acquired 1970s

Tips of cows horns and lower legs and feet of Horus missing. Pitting a loss to the front right corner of integral base. A mottled dark green-brown surface patination overall with minor surface wear. With wood mount in the shape of a throne.

Isis’ name is first attested in the fifth dynasty in the Pyramid texts. She was the wife of Osiris and the mother of Horus, and thus was symbolically mother to the pharaoh. In the Late Period, the popularity of this important goddess dramatically increased. She is nearly always depicted in anthropomorphic form, standing or seated on a throne. Our statuette shows the goddess in her most beloved pose, nursing her son Horus (known also as the lactans pose).

The large number of Isis statuettes in this particular pose demonstrate some of the qualities for which Isis was most valued in the first millennium BC: her role as a life-giver and protector. These types of statuettes were very common, dedicated not just to Isis cults, but seemingly to many temples and shrines, usually in association with Osiris and the child god Horus.

For a similar statue dated to the 26th Dynasty, see Aubert, Bronzes et or Egyptiens, 2001, pl. 17-18. Compare also Berlin 2362 and 2374, in G. Roeder, ‘Ägyptische Bronzefiguren’ (1956), pp. 251-2, pls. 35d-e.

Walker & Higgs 2001, Cleopatra of Egypt: from History to Myth.

Hill, Marsha 2007. "Casting About: The Late Period (664–332 B.C.) and the Macedonian-Ptolemaic Period (332–30 B.C.)."


Late Dynastic

Egyptian Bronze Isis and Horus

Late Dynastic

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