Statue of Osiris

52.55.78

On display

Osiris was the god of the dead and king of the afterlife. Legends tell that he was murdered by his brother Seth and brought back to life by his wife and sister Isis. This statue shows Osiris wrapped in bandages as a mummy, with hands protruding holding a crook and flail, symbols of kingship. On his head Osiris wears the white crown of Upper Egypt. The eyes were once decorated with inlays, now missing. During the Third Intermediate Period and Late Period statues like this were buried in tombs, wrapped in cloth. It was thought the statues helped the dead be reborn in the next life, like Osiris. The upper part of the statue has turned darker in colour overtime. We have previously assumed this discoloration was from a resin-like substance poured over the statue, part of the funeral rites. However, it now seems more likely that textile wrappings came away from the upper part, exposing the wood to greater deterioration in the burial.