Artist: Egyptian
Title: (as seen left to right)

Osiris Figurine
Third Intermediate Period-Late Period, Dynasty 25-26, ca. 747-525 B.C.
Gift of Mrs. Louise D. Brown

Falcon (Horus)
Late Period, Dynasty 26, ca. 664-525 B.C.
Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.

Ibis Statuette
Late Period-Ptolemaic Period, 664-30 B.C.
Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.

Looking Questions

Look at the statues and compare them.  What similarities are there?  Differences?

What do you think these were used for? 

Have you seen something like this before?  Where?

About the Art

These three figurines are considered votive statues. Often placed in Egyptian temples to gain favor with the gods, the three figurines here portray important aspects of the gods they represent. On the far left is Osiris, god of the dead. Depicted as a mummified king, the figure is complete with ceremonial braided beard, scepters and crown. Osiris once lived on earth and cared for the well-being of his kingdom. Betrayed by his brother Seth, Osiris was killed and sent into the afterworld. There he reigns and presides over the judgment of the dead. The figurine in the center symbolizes the falcon god Horus. Son of Osiris, Horus is able to transform into the hunting bird to rule the sky. The left eye of Horus represented the moon, so too does the curved beak of the ibis bird. The ibis is believed to be the god of knowledge and writing, Thoth. It was not uncommon for gods to share similar qualities, titles or tasks. Placed at burial sites, these votive figurines served as vessels for the gods to inhabit and protect the deceased from evil.

Religion in Ancient Egypt

The ancient Egyptians had numerous gods that controlled elements in nature, aspects of daily life, as well as acting as spiritual guides. In order to explain the origin and development of humanity, the ancient Egyptians shared myths of creation, life and the afterlife. These myths also offered explanations of the complex relationships of the gods, many of whom were related. Some gods were worshipped by all, while others were celebrated locally. Temples were built as dwelling places for the gods, and a place where priests could communicate with the gods. Depictions of the gods were not meant as actual portraits. The ancient Egyptian represented their god in so many different forms, like animals, to make them easy to recognize.