Osiride statues of Hatshepsut

An Osiride statue is a standing statue of a pharaoh in the form of a mummy, with its back leaning against a wall or a column. These statues that are said to have been introduced during Mentuhotep II's reign at the beginning of Egypt's Middle Kingdom, express the pharaoh's assimilation with Osiris after their death. Osiris was god of fertility, resurrection, and the netherworld. He was usually depicted wrapped as a mummy, holding a crook and flail as scepters and as symbols of his control over nature.

Hatshepsut's mortuary temple at Deir El Bahari was modelled after the mortuary temple of Mentuhotep II - albeit at a slightly smaller scale - which was built at the same site some 600 years prior. All three levels of the temple exemplified the traditional Egyptian value of symmetry.

At the facade of the Upper Coronation Portico 26 Osiride statues of Hatshepsut were set in a row when the temple was completed. After the death of Hatshepsut, all her statues have been removed and thrown into nearby quarries next to the temple causeway where they were discovered during the Museum's excavations in the early Twentieth Century. Thanks to the work of the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology University of Warsaw in cooperation with the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, a number of these statues have now been restored, all to the same height of 5.2 meters.

The row of Osiride statues reflect the geographical distinction between Upper- and Lower Egypt. The statues on the left wear the White Crown, while the statues on the right (on the above photo) wear the Double Crown. The faces and the unclad parts of the body were painted red, regardless of which crown the statue was wearing. Regarding the false beards depicted on ancient Egyptian statues, kings' beards tend to be straight and squared-off at the end whereas the beards of gods are curved and rounded, with the exception of the god Ptah, who wore a straight beard. The curved beards here represent the divine status of the pharaoh.


Details of one of the Osiride statues of Hatshepsut wearing the Double Crown:

 Details of Osiride statues of Hatshepsut wearing the White Crown:

Other Osiride figures of Hatshepsut were also set up at the corners of the sanctuary of Amun, in the innermost of the temple. The heads of some of these statues can be found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art today.


Heads of Hatshepsut's Osiride statues in the Metropolitan Museum of Art:


The White Crown of Egypt - Hedjet- was worn by rulers of Upper Egypt that comprised of the Nile valley south of Memphis and up to the first cataract near modern Aswan. Nekhbet, the vulture goddess sometimes shown on the forehead of kings, can be depicted wearing the crown in her role as protector of Upper Egypt.

The Double crown - Pschent - is a combination of both the Deshret (Red Crown) and Hedjet (White Crown) symbolising the unification of Lower and Upper Egypt under a single ruler. Kings wear this crown to shown their control over a unified Egypt.


To check out Osiride statues of some other kings of ancient Egypt, click here or here.

#Hatshepsut #Osiris #Osiride #DeirElBahari #AncientEgypt #Egyptology

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