Triad of King Osorkon II

This extremely precious solid gold and lapis lazuli item of jewelry belongs to king Osorkon II – a true masterpiece of antique goldsmith – represents the holy triad of the Osiris family. Despite the presence of the god of death, this piece was more a temple treasure than a funerary jewel.

The three solid gold figures represent Osiris, surrounded by his son, Horus, and his wife, Isis. Horus and Isis extend their hands toward their father and husband’s shoulder in a protective gesture. These gods are recognizable by their attributes: the feathered tiara and shroud for Osiris; the falcon head and double royal crown for Horus; and the horned disk for Isis, in imitation of the goddess Hathor.

Triad of King Osorkon II
Triad of King Osorkon II

“The divine trio of Isis, Osiris, and Horus had weighty political significance… The living Pharaoh was assimilated to Horus, while the one immediately deceased was identified with Osiris, ruler of the dead; the new Pharaoh’s task, like Horus,’ was always to re-establish cosmic order; order which had been thrown into disarray and confusion by the death of his predecessor. As for Isis, whose name refers to the royal throne, she was literally the seat of political power.”

― The Power of Excess: Royal Incest and the Ptolemaic Dynasty, by Sheila L. Ager, 2006

Pendant with the Name of King Osorkon II. The Louvre. E 6204

Osiris is crouching on a pillar of a deep blue lapis lazuli that places him at the same level as his family. The palm leaves on the cornice and the base are fashioned in gold cloisonné inlaid with lapis and red glass. The inlays of Horus and Isis’s wigs are missing. Some of the details have been chased; others were added by barely visible welds.

Pendant with the Name of King Osorkon II. Third Intermediate Period, 22nd Dynasty, reign of Osorkon II, ca. 872-837 BC. Now in the Louvre. E 6204