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Lot 0002A


Ancient Egypt, Late to Ptolemaic Periods, ca. 712 to 30 BCE. An incredibly rare, well preserved wooden figure of the goddess Isis, Egyptian mother goddess, wife of Osiris and mother of Horus. Here, she is depicted seated on a throne, with her right hand holding her breast and her left arm extended - the figure would have once had a sculpture of the infant Horus held in her arms as she fed him. She also would have once had a Hathor crown of bronze placed atop her black wig, and the openings on the top of her head and forehead would have held it in place. White gesso on the exterior and traces of gilt that remain hint that the statue was once entirely painted gold. One of her eyes remains - with a delicate bronze outline and white and black stone creating the classic Egyptian-style look. Size: 3" W x 8.55" H (7.6 cm x 21.7 cm)

This style of statue, known as the "lactans pose" of Isis, was the most popular way to depict the goddess during the later centuries of pharaonic Egypt, indicating that during this time, she was valued as a mother and protector. Statues in this form were dedicated to cults in the goddess's name and placed in temples and shrines, including those associated with Osiris and Horus.

See a very similar wooden example retaining its crown at the Harvard Art Museum (1960.464) and a complete bronze example at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (45.4.4).

Provenance: private J.H. collection, Beaverton, Oregon, USA, acquired in the 1990s; ex-Tom Cederlind collection, Portland, Oregon, USA

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Her crown is lost - see the Harvard Art Museum example referenced above for what she would have looked like with the crown. There was probably also once a sculpture of the infant Horus in her lap based on the placement of her hands. One eye is also lost. The wood is extensively weathered, but much of the original surface and pigment remains. Old collection number written in pencil on the back. Both arms have been repaired, but this is well done and difficult to see.

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Rare Egyptian Wood Isis w/ Bronze & Stone Eye

Estimate $4,000 - $6,000Dec 05, 2019