God of the Dead


By Oriental Institute Museum

Statuette of Osiris Statuette of Osiris (664–332 B.C.)The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Who is Osiris?

Osiris was arguably the most important god in ancient Egyptian funerary religion.  

Page from the Book of the Dead of HuneferBritish Museum

He was the god of the dead who presided over the divine tribunal during which the righteousness of the deceased was judged.   

First page of the Book of the Dead of Panedjem IIBritish Museum

The deceased sought intimate fellowship with him after death, wishing to join his retinue, become a part of his following, and even unite with the god himself.  

This union was symbolized by the dead taking on “Osiris” as part of their name. It would be akin to calling ourselves “Osiris Joe” or “Osiris Jane.”

Statue of Osiris (Late Period, Dynasty 26, ca. 664-525 BC) by UnknownOriental Institute Museum

Considering that each person sought such a close postmortem association with Osiris, it is not surprising to find many objects in the form of Osiris buried among the tomb items.  

This statue derives from a stone burial chamber that belonged to an unidentified individual buried at Medinet Habu.  

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