God Iah

Bronze statuette representing the god Iah, shown naked and seated. Originally, he was most probably sitting on a throne made of bronze or wood. He is wearing a disk and crescent of the new moon headdress over a tripartite wig. In other images the god is shown with a child’s sidelock over one shoulder. A Horus eye is engraved on the disk and in front of it we can see a uraeus. He has a false beard, a bare chest and is clothed in a short, pleated kilt. Both arms fall down by his sides, the legs lie together and the feet rest on a small square base.

Assimilated with the god Osiris - Iah, as well as having a human form, he was also shown as an ibis or a falcon, or as a human with the head of one of these two creatures. As a keeper of time he might be holding a palm leaf or a Horus eye in his hands. In this case in question, the eye is seen engraved on the disk.

Texts seem to indicate that Iah is the representation of the moon, as his name means “moon”. As the companion of the earth, the moon is associated also with the ibis. He is also named “the white disk”, “the lord of the heavens” and “the maker or eternity”. As “leader of the house of the gods and the stars” he is intimately linked to Thoth and Khonsu. As a result of the connection between these gods, Iah could be identified with any one of them. He was also assimilated with Osiris, god of death, perhaps because in the monthly cycle the moon appears to renew itself. In this case he was known as Osiris-Iah.

He is known to have been a popular god in the Middle Kingdom but after the New Kingdom his cult declined. In the Late Period, as in many other cases, his popularity revived.

The technique of lost wax casting is a sculptural procedure using a mould made from a prototype of the piece to be worked, and this prototype is usually made from beeswax. This is covered with a thick layer of soft material, usually clay, which then solidifies. Once this has hardened it is put in a kiln where the wax inside melts and leaks out through expressly made holes in the clay. In its place molten metal is injected and this takes on the exact form of the mould. To release the final piece the mould must be removed.


- BIANCHI, R. S. and ZIEGLER, C. Les Bronzes égyptiens - Fondation Gandur pour l’Art. Till Schaap Editions. Berne. 2014. pp. 184, 250. fig. 50, 75.
- CAUVILLE, S. Offerings to the Gods in Egyptian Temples. Louvain. 2012.
- WILKINSON, R.H. The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt. London. 2003.

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