Statuette af Osiris. Romersk CC0

Statuette of Osiris.
Egyptian, Late Period, 664 BC-332 BC

Bronze with remains of gilding. 9,5 cm
Inventory number: H36

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The fascination of Egypt Crosscuts

Osiris, ruler of the Realm of the Dead

One of the most important and powerful gods of ancient Egypt was the god of death, Osiris. According to the myth he was an Egyptian pharaoh who was murdered by his brother Set. His wife Isis resuscitated him with the aid of the god of graves, Anubis, and Osiris became ruler of the Realm of the Dead. Osiris is thus both a dead and a resurrected god. He is therefore shown with a living face and open eyes, while his body is enveloped in the mummy wrappings of the dead. In his hands he holds two symbols of his ruling power: the crook and the flail.

As ruler of the Underworld, Osiris was the judge of the dead. In his antechamber the heart of the deceased was weighed, and only if the heart was lighter than a feather – a sign of a good and righteous life – was the person reborn to eternal life in the realm of Osiris. Those who had heavy hearts after living a false and unjust life, on the other hand, were eaten by the monster Ammut.