Goddess Isis

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A solid bronze representation of the goddess Isis seated, and with one notable feature: her left arm is stretched to the side, bent at the elbow and with the hand open. This is a gesture of protecting or embracing a second figure which would have been at her left side. This figure would most probably have been Osiris, her husband. Images of Isis and Osiris are common; sometimes with Neftis or Horus on the other side, who are protecting or watching over Osiris, as described in myth. We conclude, therefore, that this is one figure from a sculptural group made up of three figures.

The goddess Isis, according to myth, is the daughter of Geb and Nut, and sister of Osiris, to whom she was also considered to be wed. As a deity she was referred to as: “Great mother goddess”, “Great Sorceress”, “Queen of the Gods”, “Fecundating Force of Nature” and “Goddess of Maternity and Birth”.

Osiris reigned in Ancient Egypt in peace, harmony and with wisdom. The Nile fertilized the earth and the crops were abundant. One day, Osiris set off to discover other civilizations and left his kingdom under the control of his wife, Isis. Set, his jealous brother, felt humiliated as he thought that he should rule rather than Isis. When Osiris returned, he was murdered by his brother. The goddess Isis, with the aid of other divinities like Nephthys and Anubis, sought out and found the cut-up pieces of her husband and put them together through special rites. After physical union with the god she conceived a child. The posthumous son of Osiris was to be the Horus-child, Harpocrates, who later, would wreak revenge on Set for his father´s murder.

As one of the main deities, Isis was worshipped in all periods in the history of Egypt, and it was in the final epoch that the largest temple was built to her on the island of Philae. The Greco-Roman world adopted her characteristics and associated them with Aphrodite and Venus. Another of her principal characteristics, that of being “Mother of God”, would also be relevant in the cults influencing Catholicism and Orthodox Christianity.

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.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

- Egyptian Art. Walters Art Gallery. Baltimore. 2009.
- Fastueuse Égypte. Musée Calvet. Ouvrage publié sous la direction d’Odile Cavalier. Avignon (25/06/2011 au 14/11/2011). 2011.
- WILKINSON H. R. The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt. London. 2003.

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