Archive issues

Author: Aleksandra Majewska   |   Pages: 453–462



A stone statuette of Isis nursing Horus the child from the National Museum in Warsaw (inv. no. 139020 MNW), represents the Isis lactans iconographic type. The gesture symbolizing the importance of nourishment as a source of life is present in Egyptian iconography of the Old Kingdom and is closely related to the theology of royal power. In the stone sculpture in the round the oldest representations of Isis lactans come from the reign of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty, but it hardly precludes their existence at an even earlier date. The cult of the Osirian triad, which embodied the royal family, was supported by the Kushite rulers as a way of legitimizing their right to the throne. The stylistic features of the statuette including the full feminine shapes and the facial features of Isis and of Horus, both echoing Negroid characteristics, link it with the artistic production of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty. Based on the comparative analysis of features of the style and iconographic characteristics, we can conclude that the nursing Isis statuette was carved at the close of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty at the earliest and no later than in the beginning of the rule of the Twenty-sixth Dynasty, that is, around the middle of the seventh century BC.



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