The Statuette of Isis and Horus
The Statuette of Isis and Horus
In everyday life, we encounter many forms of arts, which have different meanings and significance. The statuette of Isis nursing Horus is a symbol of rebirth. It is made if faience, which is sintered quartz ceramic that creates objects in many different colors. This statuette was from the Ptolemaic period dating 332-30 BC, which was made by Egyptians. This statuette symbolizes a lot of things about Isis and her son Horus, which include the throne, childhood, motherhood, and rebirth. The statuette also signifies a form of religion whereby people formed cults and worshipped the deities in Egypt.
Isis is a goddess who represents many things that range from power, giving life and motherhood. From her name, there is a sense of power as it means the throne. She is depicted in this picture as the queen of the throne, which she sat on after the death of her husband Osiris who was also her brother. She also represents rebirth as she magically gave life to her dead husband who was killed by his brother Set and his body parts scattered so as to conceive her son Horus who becomes the king of the Egyptians. Isis was a very important source of pharaoh’s power as he was her child. Isis was a goddess to many, and her cult spread all through Egypt to Rome and Greece where there is archaeological evidence of buildings that were her temple. People practiced a religion that worshiped the goddess of Isis, and this cult was widespread during the Hellenistic period. The sculpture also shows the conventions of being a child in the ancient world whereby Horus is naked and wears a single lock on his head. Children possess’ innocence and have yet to be contaminated by the pleasures of the world forgetting what they were before. This statuette can be used to remind people of where they came from and to recollect themselves and be what they were nurtured to be.
This sculpture is surrounded by many myths that show different symbolism of the deities worshiped by the Egyptians. The worshippers of these deities performed many rituals to honor them such as the life and death, and rebirth of Horus and Osiris represent different crop harvesting cycles and the successful afterlife of people when they die (Thomas 6-12). The popularity that these deities gained among Egyptian lead to loss of other deities and people turned to the cult of Isis. People get involved in many religions. Isis cult gained popularity in the ancient times in Egypt and still is widely practiced by many pagans in the modern world. Everyone chooses what to believe, and many Egyptians tended to believe in the powers of Isis thus making her their goddess.
The artist used the Egyptian style of the Ptolemaic period, which portray the reign of pharaoh over Egypt. The work consists of two shapes which are intersecting, the mother and the child who is breastfeeding. It signifies the role of Isis as a mother. This artistic work shows that he artist wanted to express that responsibility a mother has towards their child (Capel and Markoe, 125-127). They should nurture them to conquer the world just as Isis nurtured Horus to be the ruler of Egypt. Mothers should prepare their children to inherit the throne that awaits them. The statuettes of this period were used in times of rituals to represent the goddesses worshipped by Egyptians and also were placed in temples to represent and make the presence of the goddess felt in the temples and worshipping shrines and alters. Isis was worshipped as a magician since she used her magic to bring her husband back to life, a mother whereby she nurtured her son Horus to ascend the throne and as a wife. These myths were very important during the period of Greco-Roman. The Greeks referred to her as Demeter and roman as Ceres. The priests during this era were staunch and were believed to perform miracles, and the Isis goddess was honored like other deities through offerings and rituals (Heyob 37-52).
Artists use lines to lead people’s eyes to a composition, and this can give certain information about the piece of art through their direction and character. In this case, the artist uses contours and curves, which enable people to recall the human nature hence depicting the shape of a woman and a boy. This sparks the imaginations of individuals as they follow the curved lines and in their minds, they create the image of Isis and Horus as the artist wanted people to. The sculpture takes the three-dimensional form since we can view it from many sides and be able to identify the two people that are in the statuette. The artwork is always amazing to the eye and the color an artist decides to use on their piece of work has a lot to say about themselves and the piece of art. The value and intensity of the colors depict the nature of the statuette and the emotions that person depicted in the statuette has at that time. The statuette appears shiny and this creates a visual texture hereby we visualize it as smooth to the touch. The colors used in this sculpture depict mystery. Cults have mysteries that surround the so do the goddess they worship
The statuette of Isis and her son Horus has lived in the Christianity era where Mary is shown to be suckling her child who is Jesus. These may show some relationship between Christianity and the cult of Isis. Although the theory surrounding Christianity is quite different, if researched, we can come up with the connection between the two religions as depicted by the two distinct images.
Artwork sparks imagination among people. Different artworks from different times of history have meaning that relates to the modern world. Artwork can help you regain that missing piece between a certain period and can be used to explain different phenomena that occurred in history. Artwork also encourages people to do more research on a certain group of people learn their culture and be inspired by them to form your own artwork that display your keen interest in that culture. This specific artwork helped me in understanding what drives people to worship a certain deity and how do the characteristics of the goddess affect the popularity of their cults. Artwork opens one to the world of understanding each feeling an artist portrays. Every artist seeks to capture life in motion so as the years pass by all those that see their art lives at that moment.
Capel, Anne, and Glenn Markoe. Mistress of the House, Mistress of Heaven: Women in Ancient Egypt. New York: Hudson Hills Press, 1996. Print.
Heyob, Sharon. The Cult of Isis among Women in the Graeco-Roman World. Netherlands: Brill Archives, 1975. Print.
Thomas, Angela P. Egyptian Gods and Myths. Buckinghamshire: Shire Publication LTD, 2001. Print.