Mythology Page
The god Osiris ruled on earth for many years, bringing civilization and agriculture to Egypt. He was murdered by his brother Seth, who cut his body to pieces and scattered it throughout Egypt. His wife-sister, Isis, gathered all the body parts and put Osiris back together. His body was preserved and wrapped in linen bandages, creating the first mummy and the "model" for burials of important people in Egypt. Isis magically brought Osiris back to life and the god-king rose from the dead. Instead of living on earth, Osiris chose to rule the Underworld.

As God of the Underworld, Osiris was often included in the decoration of Egyptian tombs. In the statuette shown here, we can identify Osiris by the objects that he holds and the way he is dressed. He holds a shepherd's crook and a whip, symbols of his authority. He wears a crown with ostrich plumes and a false beard, items also worn by Egyptian pharaohs, as a reference to his role as a ruler. And his body is wrapped like a mummy to signify his connection to the afterlife.


© Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University,
Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester and Dallas Museum of Art
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