Ryan DuKate: The Gods of egypt

This virtual exhibit is focused on some of the many gods of ancient Egypt. Each exhibit is focused on one of the gods or goddesses and how they were commonly portrayed in the ancient Egyptian culture. The exhibit is also intended to educate the viewer on the different gods and goddesses and the mythology behind them. In this exhibit the viewer will explore images of the goddess Isis and the gods Osiris, Horus, Amun-Re, and Thoth.

The viewer will not only be able to see how these gods and goddess were commonly portrayed but they will also learn their mythology. For example the mythology behind Isis, Osiris and Horus is a story of love, jealousy, murder and revenge. In Chapter 10 of Ancient Egypt Dr. Robert K. Ritner explains that Osiris and Isis were born from the Gods Nut and Geb. Osiris was originally made the king of the earth before being killed by his brother Seth. Seth killed Osiris because he was jealous of his kingship and marriage; he tricked Osiris into getting into a coffin, which he then threw into the Nile drowning Osiris. Seth later who his body across the earth to keep it from Isis. Osiris’s wife and sister Isis collected his parts and brought him back to life before having a child with him named Horus who would avenge his father by defeating Seth. Osiris then became the king of the underworld. Because of his mummification by his wife Osiris is commonly represented as a mummy because the God of mummification, Anubis, helped Isis in the process (Ritner, 134-135).

There is also Amun-Re who is a manifestation of the sun. Amun-Re is a mix between two gods, Amun and the sun god Re. According to Dr. James P. Allen in chapter 9 of Ancient Egypt Amun-Re is “usually depicted as a man with two tall plumes” (Allen, 119). In this exhibit Amun-Re is depicted in this way with a crown of two plumes.

Finally there is Thoth, the god of wisdom and writing. He is also the god of the scribes and he records the events of each person’s judgment after they die and try to get into the afterlife (Ismail, 660). In her article Thoth, Shaza Gamal Ismail notes that Thoth “was depicted in either one of two forms, an ibis or a baboon. The most popular representation was a human form with the head of one of those animals” (Ismail, 660). In this exhibit Thoth is represented simply by the Ibis and not half man and half animal as he commonly was portrayed.

Each of the gods or goddesses in ancient Egyptian mythology had a specific purpose or task that they are responsible for Such as Osiris who is the king of the underworld or Thoth who is the god of scribes. Additionally each god is represented in his or her own unique way. For example Thoth is represented by an Ibis (Ismail, 660). Osiris, the God of the underworld is represented as a man who is mummified most likely because his wife Isis had to mummify him after his brother Seth killed him.  Works Cited Allen, James P. and Robert K. Ritner. David P. Silverman, ed. Ancient Egypt. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997. Print. Ismail, Shaza Gamal. "Thoth." Encyclopedia of African Religion. Ed. Molefi Kete Asante and Ama Mazama. Vol. 2. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 2009. 660-662. Print.

   

Unknow, Painted Wooden Figure of Osiris, 661-332 BC, United Kingdom, Height: 63.50 cm. Osiris Is the Egyptian god of the dead and is represented as a mummified man. In Egyptian Mythology he was originally the Son of Geb and Nut and was the ruler of the earth but his jelous brother Seth killed him by drowning him in a coffin. Osiris’s wife Isis then attempted to retrieve his body but Seth took the body and scattered his remains across Egypt. Isis then retrieved the parts and mummified the body with the help of the god Anubis. After mummifying him she was able to bring him back to life and had a child with him named Horus who would later avenge his father. Osiris then became the King of the Underworld and would welcome those that successfully made it through judgment into the afterlife (Ritner 134-135). This figure of Osiris is from the 19th Dynasty approximately 1295-1186 BC. According to the British Museum figurines such as this would have been found in tombs of wealthy individuals and contain the “Book of the Dead” inside (Google Cultural Institute). According to Dr. Robert K. Ritner in Chapter 10 of Ancient Egypt the “Book of the Dead” was known to Egyptians as the “Book of Going Forth by Day.” They contained almost 200 spells that would help the deceased get to the afterlife (Ritner, 136). In this representation Osiris is shown as a ruler by the atef crown that he wears and in his hands he is holding the “crook and flail of kingship, identifying him as ruler of the dead” (Google Cultural Institute). The bandages he wears are not the typical white bandages of mummification but instead patterned fabric (Google Cultural Institute). Perhaps his decoration speaks to the wealth of the individual whose tomb he is contained in. This peace would have been very important to whoever it was buried with not only because it was a representation of the god of the Underworld but because it contained the book of the dead that would help the deceased get to the afterlife. Image Credit Painted Wooden Figure of Osiris. 1295-1186 BC. Painted. British Museum, London. Google Cultural Institute. Web. 10 April 2016. Works Cited “Painted Wooden Figure of Osiris.” Google Cultural Institute Art Project. Google. 2016. Web. 20 April 2016. Ritner, Robert K. “Chapter 10: The Cult of the Dead.” David P. Silverman, ed. Ancient Egypt. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997. Print.
Unknown, Bronze Figure of Isis and Horus, United Kingdom, Height: 23 cm, Depth: 14.8 cm, Width: 6.1 cm. Isis was very important to the Ancient Egyptians because of what she represented. According to Joyce Tyldesley in her article Isis she notes “as mourner, she was a principle deity in rites connected with the dead; as a magical healer, she cured the sick and brought the deceased to life; and as a mother, she was a role model for all women” (Tyldesley). All three of these aspects can be seen in her mythology. The Egyptians believed that Isis was the daughter of Geb and Nut and married her brother Osiris who was then killed by his jealous brother Seth who then spread his body parts across Egypt. Isis then gathered his parts and mummified him with the help of the god Anubis before she used her healing powers to bring him back to life so she could conceive and have their son Horus. Horus would go on to avenge his father and defeat his uncle Seth (Ritner, 134-135). Tyldesley describes Isis as a “typical Egyptian wife and mother – content to stay in the background while things went well, but able to use her wits to guard her husband and son should the need arise” (Tyldesley).It is also interesting to note that depictions of Isis with Horus may have had influence on early Christian artists who depicted Mary with Jesus (Tyldesley). This depiction of Isis made in the late period around 661-332 BC is made of bronze, gold and wood and is only about 9 inches tall. She is depicted as she commonly was with a headdress of cow’s horns and a sun disk (Tyldesley). She is also holding her son Horus. According to the British Museum family groups of gods and goddesses such as this one with Isis and Horus would be “placed in temples by wealthy individuals” (Google Cultural Institute). Isis played a key role in Egyptian Mythology as wife of Osiris and mother of Horus and may even have served as an influence in depictions of Mary with Jesus. Image Credit Bronze Figure of Isis and Horus. 661-332 BC. Bronze, gold and wood. British Museum, London. Google Cultural Institute. Web. 10 April 2016. Works Cited “Bronze Figure of Isis and Horus.” Google Cultural Institute Art Project. Google. 2016. Web. 20 April 2016. Ritner, Robert K. “Chapter 10: The Cult of the Dead.” David P. Silverman, ed. Ancient Egypt. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997. Print. Tyldesley, Joyce. “Isis.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica. Web. 19 April 2016.
Unknown, Figurine of God Horus, 700-332 BC, Netherlands, 29.5 cm. The god Horus was very important in Egyptian mythology. He was the son of Osiris and Isis and according to Dr. Ritner he avenged his father Osiris by defeating his uncle Seth in a series of contests (Ritner, 134-135). It was also believed by the ancient Egyptians that Pharaoh was the earthy embodiment of Horus and many times a figure of Horus would be seen over a representation of a Pharaoh (Horus). Even the eyes of Horus had meaning, his right eye represented “the sun or morning star” and his left eye represented “the moon or evening star” (Horus). Here Horus is depicted with the body of a man and they head of a falcon. The Figurine is small only 29.5 cm tall and is made of Bronze and would have been made later in Egyptian history, around 700-332 BC (Google Cultural Institute). He is symbolized as being royal by the crown that he wears. The crown is known as the double crown, the crown represents the unification of Lower and Upper Egypt under one ruler. Upper Egypt is represented by the cone shaped piece on top of the crown while Lower Egypt is represented by the bottom half. Additionally you can see a serpent on the front of the crown, this is known as the uraeus serpent and was another sign of royalty (Crowns of Egypt). His Right hand seems to have a hole in the middle of it, which could indicate that at one time something was held in this hand. Perhaps he once help the crook in one hand and flail in the other, other common signs of royalty. Horus is an extremely important god to the Ancient Egyptians, not only was he the avenger of his father Osiris but he was also believed to come to the earth in an earthly form as the Pharaoh. Image Credit Figurine of God Horus. 700-332 BC. Bronze. Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Leiden. Google Cultural Institute. Web. 10 April 2016. Works Cited "Crowns of Egypt." Encyclopaedia Britannica. Britannica Academic. Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc., 2016. Web. 20 Apr. 2016. “Figurine of God Horus.” Google Cultural Institute Art Project. Google. 2016. Web. 20 April 2016. “Horus.” Encyclopaedia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica. Web. 20 April 2016. Ritner, Robert K. “Chapter 10: The Cult of the Dead.” David P. Silverman, ed. Ancient Egypt. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997. Print.
Unknown, Gilded Silver Statuette of Amun-Re, 26th Dynasty, United Kingdom, Height: 24 cm, Width: 5 cm, Depth: 10 cm. The god Amun-Re was originally introduced to Egypt at the beginning of the 18th Dynasty and was a mixture of the god Amun and the god Re. According to the British Museum “Amun-Re was a combination of the local god (local to Thebes) Amun, and the sun-god Re who was closely associated with kingship” (Google Cultural Institute). According to Dr. Allen in Chapter 8 of Ancient Egypt Amun-Re wasn’t simple a mix between the two gods but was Re’s manifestation of Amun and Amun was usually depicted wearing a crown with two plums (Allen, 119). In this depiction of Amun-Re the God is identified as Amun-Re because he is wearing the typical “double plumed crown” but a sun disk is also present in the crown representing Re. Because the Statue has both the plumed crown and the sun disk it is recognized as Amun-Re. This particular figure is a silver statue with gold plating and just 24 cm tall and was probably created around the 26th Dynasty. Silver was the most precious metal to the Egyptians so the fact that this statue is largely silver indicates that it would have been highly valued (Google Cultural Institute). According to the British Museum a statue like this would have been placed in a temple were “the statue was treated as a living being, whose every need was provided for by the daily ritual preformed by the priests… the god was believed to occupy the statue” (Google Cultural Institute). This statue was found in the Temple of Amun so it most likely would have been treated in this way and would have been apart of daily religious customs in Ancient Egypt (Google Cultural Institute). The fine workmanship and the materials used in this statue indicate that this statue was a very valuable piece to the temple that it resided in and perhaps it was a focal point of the temple. Image Credit Gilded Silver Statuette of Amun-Re. 26th Dynasty. Gold-Plated. British Museum, London. Google Cultural Institute. Web. 10 April 2016. Works Cited Allen, James P. “Chapter 9: The Celestial Realm.” David P. Silverman, ed. Ancient Egypt. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997. Print. “Gilded Silver Statuette of Amun-Re.” Google Cultural Institute Art Project. Google. 2016. Web. 20 April 2016.
Unknown, Statuette of Thot as Ibis, 600-500 BC, Austria, Height: 322, Width: 222, Depth: 69. In Ancient Egyptian mythology Thoth is the god of wisdom and plays an important role in the after life. In her article Thoth Shaza Gamal Ismail notes that Thoth is responsible for announcing when a king had died and when a new one took the throne and he also would write the results of the final judgment of those that had died. She also noted “His role with the Dead is not limited to the final judgment… He unites his head after his body has fallen apart, he gives him a heart, he gives him the Horus eye, he opens his mouth using his magical power so he will be able to speak and defend himself in the afterlife” (Ismail, 660). Thoth is also the god of scribes and the messanger of the gods. He also played a role in the myth of Isis, Osiris, Horus and Seth; when Horus and Seth fought Thoth healed the wounds of both the gods (Google Cultural Institute). Thoth is normally depicted as a man with the head of an ibis or sometimes a baboon (Ismail, 660). However in this depiction he is simply portrayed as an Ibis. The body of the statue is made of wood while the rest is made of silver and has eyes made of glass. The statue is rather tall standing at about 322 cm, which is about 10 feet and was probably made around 600-500BC. He is also wearing the atef-crown, which “consist of two entwined horns of a ram, three bound sheaves of reed with sun-disks, tow ostrich feathers and two Uraeus” (Google Cultural Institute). After death and Egyptian would expect to see Thoth at their judgment and writing down what happens at that event and they would also expect him to allow their bodies to function in the afterlife. Overall Thoth is extremely important to Ancient Egyptians after they die. Image Credit Statuette of Thot as Ibis. 600-500 BC. Wood, Silver, Stucco and Glass. Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Vienna. Google Cultural Institute. Web. 10 April 2016. Works Cited Ismail, Shaza Gamal. "Thoth." Encyclopedia of African Religion. Ed. Molefi Kete Asante and Ama Mazama. Vol. 2. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 2009. 660-662. Print. “Statuette of Thot as Ibis.” Google Cultural Institute Art Project. Google. 2016. Web. 20 April 2016.
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