In 664 B.C., after a period of foreign rulers, an indigenous dynasty from the city of Sais, situated in the Nile delta, seized power again in the Egyptian kingdom. In this so-called ‘Late Period’ religious experience was characterized by the people’s showing a greater personal involvement. This gave rise to a great demand for votive figures, statuettes offered to gods in temples. It is impossible, however, that this votive statue was donated by a common citizen, considering its extraordinary size and execution.
It is a product characteristic of the bronze casters from those days: its slim proportions and perfect handling of detail bear witness to that. Osiris was the king of the Egyptian netherworld. He is represented in his mummy shape, with a crown and royal sceptres. The legs have subtly modelled anatomical details. The arms are crossed over the chest, the fists holding the sceptres: crook and ‘flail’ (or fly whisk).
The statue was decorated with inlaid stones in various colours. A few remnants of these are still found in the eyes and eyebrows. Osiris is wearing the Upper Egyptian crown flanked by two ostrich feathers (the atef-crown). Over the forehead we see the uraeus serpent. During restoration work in 1990 the original plaster layer was restored, which served as the base for a final layer done in gold leaf.With its stone inlay-work and radiant surface it must have been a spectacular statue.


  • Title: Votive statue of Osiris
  • Location: Thebes, Egypt
  • Datering: 664 - 525 B.C.
  • Afmetingen: 105 x 24.5 x 25.5 cm
  • External Link: Rijksmuseum van Oudheden
  • Medium: bronze

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