Ancient Egyptian hippopotamus figurine, made of faience. Artist unknown; ca. 1650-1550 BCE (17th Dynasty, Second Intermediate Period). Found at the necropolis of Dra Abu el-Naga, Thebes; now in the Louvre. Photo credit: Carole Raddato.
Egyptian Bronze Triad (Osiris, Isis, Horus) c. Late Period, 664-30 BC
This triad represents the Osiris myth which is the most elaborate and influential story in ancient Egyptian mythology. It concerns the murder of the god Osiris, a primeval king of Egypt, and its consequences. Osiris’ murderer, his brother Set, usurps his throne. Meanwhile, Osiris’ wife Isis restores her husband’s body, allowing him to posthumously conceive a son with her. The remainder of the story focuses on Horus, the product of Isis and Osiris’ union, who is first a vulnerable child protected by his mother and then becomes Set’s rival for the throne. Their often violent conflict ends with Horus’ triumph, which restores order to Egypt after Set’s unrighteous reign and completes the process of Osiris’ resurrection. The myth, with its complex symbolism, is integral to the Egyptian conceptions of kingship and succession, conflict between order and disorder and, especially, death and the afterlife. It also expresses the essential character of each of the four deities at its center, and many elements of their worship in ancient Egyptian religion were derived from the myth.
The figure depicts Osiris, wearing the atef crown flanked by Horus the child, wearing the double crown with a sidelock and on the other side, Isis, surmounted by the sun disc with horns, shown standing on a hollow plinth, the front cast in relief with the child god squatting, flanked by Isis and Thoth in adoration, a panel on either side with falcon headed soul of Pe and jackal headed soul of Nekhen, the reverse of the plinth has panels with a lotus on stand and a human male figure, probably the deceased in jubilation posture, next to the square opening, an inscription giving the donor’s identity: ‘May Isis give life to Wedja-hor son of Pa-di-hor’, the short sides of the plinth with further souls of Pe and Nekhen.
“Sit, Bob. Good dog. You are the only one who knows the truth, mon petit. You know how your mistress died. You also know, I think, who killed her. He or she passed you by as they laid the trip wire, saying to themselves, "Oh, this is only Bob, a fox terrier. He cannot speak. I am safe.” Such foolishness, n'est-ce pas? But you and I, we know, Bob, that one does not have to speak in order to tell. And you will tell me all, in your own good time.“
Egyptian Terracotta “Hyksos” Concubine Figure, Second Intermediate Period, 15th-17th Dynasty, 1650-1550 BC
The nude figure, standing with her incised hands resting on her thighs, modeled with long tapering legs, wearing an applied triple strand collar framing her small breasts, the broad face modeled with incised linear eyes and a short ridged nose, with pierced disc earrings, her coiffure pierced with three holes, 17cm
Figurine (made from wood and plaster, with polychrome decoration) of the falcon-god Horus. Artist unknown; tentatively dated to ca. 1293-1185 BCE (19th Dynasty, New Kingdom). Now in the Fitchburg Art Museum, Fitchburg, Massachusetts.
Egyptian Silver Horus Figurine, Late Period, 26th Dynasty, C. 712-525 BC
The falcon Horus is the symbol par excellence of the divine Kingship of Egypt. The ancient Egyptians believed that portrayals of the Horus falcon represented their Pharaoh. When the Pharaoh died, he turned into Osiris, Lord of the Underworld, while his son became the new Horus in this world.
Egyptian Steatite Figure of the Lady Iset, Chantress of Sobek, 19th Dynasty, Reign of Ramesses I to early in the Reign of Ramesses II, c. 1292-1250 BC
Wife of the scribe Imen-heru, seated on a cushioned seat, the back pillar and back of the seat finely engraved in sunk relief with three columns of inscription starting with the hetep-di-nesut offering formula (“an offering given by the King”) and naming “Isis of the sovereign isle of the gods,” the sides of the seat engraved at a later stage with representations of Itset’s children, on the right with two columns of inscriptions and the figures of two striding priests, one called Nakht(?), “prophet of Paibib,” the other “wab-priest of Paibib”, his name unspecified, and on the left side of the throne with two striding women each introduced as a “chantress of Ptah” in the accompanying inscriptions, raising her left hand in a gesture of adoration, and holding a lotus flower in her right hand.
The mention of “Isis of the sovereign isle of the gods” on the back pillar probably refers to the deity worshiped in the temple precinct within which the present statue was originally placed and dedicated, perhaps in the Fayum where Sobek had his major cult center and Iset was serving as member of his clergy.
The figures, names, and titles of Iset’s children, all of them priests and priestesses of various other deities, were engraved on the side of the seat in a rougher manner than the carefully carved inscription on the back pillar, suggesting they were added as an afterthought and by a different hand.
Isolated representations of women in the round are uncommon in the New Kingdom, when they are usually represented as consorts in pair statues.
Naukratis: ancient Egypt’s version of Hong Kong unearthed by British team
A major excavation led by the British Museum has unearthed a wealth of revealing detail about a Greek trading city in ancient Egypt. Wood from Greek ships and Egyptian figurines dedicated to a “festival of drunkenness” are among more than 10,000 ancient artefacts discovered on the site of the city of Naukratis, which was on the Nile delta. The ancient port is mentioned in the accounts of Herodotus, the Greek historian writing in the fifth century BC.
The finds reveal a vast trading network befitting an international city with a history spanning 1,000 years from the seventh century BC. Dr Ross Thomas, the British Museum curator who leads the project, told the Observer that Naukratis should now be viewed as “the Hong Kong of its era”.
“This is clear from the wide variety of objects found,” he said. It had been thought by many scholars that Naukratis was a relatively small town. Read more.