Sunday, January 27, 2013

Museum Pieces - Painted wooden figure of Osiris

From the tomb of Anhai, Akhmin, Egypt
Late New Kingdom, around 1090 BC
Standing on a plinth in which was hidden Anhai's Book of the Dead
From the Nineteenth Dynasty (about 1295-1186 BC), figures of Osiris were included in the tombs of the wealthy. The body or the plinth was often hollow, and contained the tomb owner's Book of the Dead, the series of spells which were an essential guide to reaching the Afterlife safely. When the Book of the Dead was first produced, it was placed in the coffin with the mummy of the deceased. It was later concealed within a figure of Osiris, whose protection was thereby ensured.
This statue belonging to Anhai shows Osiris in his usual mummified state, wearing the characteristic atef crown, rather like the royal white crown, but with an ostrich feather on either side. He holds the crook and flail of kingship, identifying him as ruler of the dead. Instead of being shown swathed in white bandages, his upper body is covered with a brightly patterned fabric.
C.A.R. Andrews, Egyptian mummies (London, The British Museum Press, 1984)

Museum and Photocredit: The British Museum


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