The goddess portrayed seated on a now missing throne wearing an unadorned, tight-fitting sheath dress, and holding the head of her child, Horus, in her right hand, while offering him her left breast with the other. The young god seems to be welded to her knees, his arms against his body, his open palm on his knees, and legs held together. Isis wears a broad beaded collar, a striated tripartite wig and a uraeus crown topped with a solar disk placed between two cow horns. A uraeus on her forehead frames a vulture's head whose pelt sits atop the wig; this is the insignia of the mother-goddess.
Background: One of the most celebrated goddesses in Egyptian mythology, Isis was the daughter of Seb, the earth god, and Nut, the goddess of the heavens. She was also both the wife and the sister of Osiris. Osiris was killed and dismembered by Seth, brother of Isis. In her myths, Isis searches for, retrieves, and miraculously reassembles the body of her dead husband. She then conceives and gives birth to her son Horus. To the Egyptians, Isis was the archetypal mother goddess. She was both a faithful wife and devoted, loving, mother; and this is the way she is depicted in this small statuette. Sitting on her throne, Isis holds the infant Horus to her breast supporting his head with her left hand. Despite its size and deeply human subject, the work displays all the hallmarks of Egyptian sculpture in its monumental frontality and serene dignity. In later Christian times, the image of Isis and the infant Horus became the model for the Madonna and child.
Dimensions: Height: 20.3 cm (8 inches)
Condition: Minor cosmetic restoration to horn tip, in very good condition overall. Custom mount.
Provenance: Ex Superior Galleries, June 2-3, 1998, lot 6020. Thereafter private Virginia collection, acquired in 2015.