A large statuette of the god Osiris, depicted in the traditional mummiform pose, his arms protruding from the enveloping shroud. He is holding a crook and flail and wears the white crown of Upper Egypt, which is fronted by a uraeus (a protecting cobra). The false beard has incised details and chin straps are also depicted. The god is adorned with a broad collar, with a pendant at the back. Details of the cobra, the regalia and the eyes and eyebrows are also incised.
This statuette was probably made in Lower Egypt: the right hand, holding the flail, is placed above the left hand which bears the crook; this is the position ascribed by Roeder to Lower Egypt. The way the crook is shown, extending below the left hand, also belongs to the Lower Egyptian tradition.
In the Late Period the god was usually depicted with the atef crown, but the white crown can occasionally also be seen. In the Middle Kingdom Osiris was often (or, according to some, always) shown wearing the white crown - an indication of his Upper Egyptian origin - and although later he often wore more elaborate crowns, especially the atef-crown, the white crown remained one of his attributes. The god was even called prince of the white crown in Ptolemaic texts (on Bigga near Philae, and in Edfu). As a result statues of the god with the white crown were also made, although these are less common. See for example a magnificent sitting Osiris in the Louvre, Paris (inv. no. E 3751).
For the use of the white crown instead of the atef-crown see Wolfgang Helck - Wolfhart Westendorf (Hrsg.), Lexikon der Ägyptologie, Band IV (Wiesbaden, Harrassowitz, 1982), p. 627; John Gwyn Griffiths, The Origins of Osiris and his Cult (Studies in the History of Religions, Supplements to Numen, 40) (Leiden, Brill, 1980), p. 239, referring to Elisabeth Staehelin, Untersuchungen zur ägyptischen Tracht im Alten Reich (Münchner Ägyptologische Studien, 8) (Berlin, Bruno Hessling, 1966), p. 150.
For the title prince of the white crown see Erich Winter, "Der 'Fürst der weissen Krone', ein Beiname des Osiris", Chronique dÉgypte XXXIX, Nos 77-78 (1964), 41-43, also referring to Hermann Junker, Das Götterdekret über das Abaton (Denkschriften der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien, Philosophisch-Historische Klasse, 56) (Wien, Hölder, 1913), 14.
For the position of the hands and the possible Lower Egyptian origins of the statuette see Günther Roeder, Ägyptische Bronzefiguren (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Mitteilungen aus der Ägyptischen Sammlung, 6) (Berlin, 1956), 186 f.
Late Period, circa 664-332 B.C.
Height 18.3 cm.
Collection of Sir Stephen Lewis Courtauld (1883-1967), possibly acquired during the trip he and his wife Virginia made to Egypt in 1936. Sir Courtauld was among many other things financial director of Ealing Film Studios in the United Kingdom, and trustee of the Royal Opera House, London. He was also well known for providing financial support for the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and for redeveloping Eltham Palace in South East London in the 1930s.