Egyptian funeral stele representing the god “Osiris”, New Kingdom, 1400 B.C.

This piece is a funerary stele made for a deceased person whose name, r-y-maat, appears in an inscription on the top. In it, the god Osiris appears seated and accompanied by his three most characteristic symbols: the Atef crown, symbol of the pharaohs; the rod, as an allusion to his function as a shepherd; and the scepter, as a symbol of power and authority. In front of it, it appears representing an offering stand with lotus flowers, which in Egypt was linked to the evolution of the spirit since it was a flower that emerged every morning after having disappeared during the night. It was also used as a symbol of protection and healing, accompanying some gods like, for example, Isis. It was represented in many occasions in temples and Egyptian tombs. Osiris, son of the god of the earth Geb and the goddess of the sky Nut, is the god of the dead, resurrection and agriculture, symbolizing the fertility and regeneration of the river Nile. This god was the one who taught the people to work the land and respect the laws. Osiris was killed by his brother Seth, who cut the body into fourteen pieces and scattered them throughout Egypt. But Osiris' wife, Isis, recovered the limbs, embalmed them and gave life to Osiris' body in order to conceive their son, Horus. The representation of the god Osiris in this stele has a clear funerary sense since Osiris is the god of the dead and of the resurrection, being also the one in charge of presiding the Judgment of the Dead and deciding if the deceased could obtain the eternal life or would be devoured by a monster. In addition, Osiris is linked to the belief of immortality since he was resurrected with the promise of eternal life in the Duat, so when an Egyptian died was performed a ritual embalming as had happened to Osiris, with the aim of ensuring the resurrection in eternal life. From the technical point of view, it is a bas-relief made of limestone. Typical Egyptian features have been retained, such as the representation of the upper half of the body in front while the lower half is in profile. It is a simplified carving, where the artist is concerned with the representation of the symbols especially with the aim of transmitting the main idea of the work: to ensure eternal life.


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