Statuette of Isis suckling Horus
In this statuette of Isis suckling Horus, the goddess is seated on a throne whose hieroglyphic sign is used to write her name. She wears a lovely three-part “raven black” wig with tubular locks covering her shoulders with the remains of a vulture; it is surmounted by a mortar ringed with uraei. In its center are stuck cow horns in the shape of a lyre enclosing a golden solar disk.
Compared to the precise work of the hairstyle, her face seems more summarily treated. The large, inlaid eyes are expressive; the nose is fine, the mouth discreet. Dressed in a long dress, which goes down to the ankles, her silhouette is graceful. Her pose is classic. With her right hand, she holds her round breast, which she holds out to the child seated on her lap, whose head she supports with her left hand.
Little Horus, naked and sated, appear slender. His anatomy – which is no longer really that of an infant – is well rendered, particularly the well-marked chest and navel and a few folds on the abdomen. Confident, his eyes half-closed, he does not wear the wisp of childhood that usually makes him so easily identifiable. He is wearing a curious helmet adorned with a frontal uraeus that seems too big for him.
If its more distant origins remain obscure, the first mention relating to the goddess Isis – Aset or Eset – is found, in the 5th Dynasty, in the “Pyramid Texts”. Daughter of Geb and Nut, sister of Nephthys, and wife of her brother Osiris, the “role” in which she is perhaps the most represented are that of mother of Horus.
Late Period, ca. 664-332 BC. Bronze and gold leaf. From Saqqara or Abusir. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 91327