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Healing Statue

Place of production Egypt
Date 7th-3rd centuries B.C.
Object type sculpture
Medium, technique Limestone

11 x 6.6 x 5.4 cm (4 5/16 x 2 5/8 x 2 1/8 in.)

Inventory number 2003.17-E
Collection Egyptian Art
On view Museum of Fine Arts, Basement Floor, Ancient Egypt, Daily life

Egyptian statues played numerous roles in religion. Among them are some pieces that form a special group, mediating between the human and the divine world, giving ordinary people access to the transcendent world by healing diseases with divine power.
Mixing the Horus cippi with statues is the invention of the Saite Period when Horus stelae or parts of their iconography appeared on statues of various goddesses. This statue fragment representing Isis belongs to this group. The statue, according to the back pillar and the posture of the arms, may have originally portrayed the goddess in a standing position. Isis, who may have once had inlaid eyes, wears a modius crown.
The statue derives its apotropaic power from the figure of Isis and the iconography of the back pillar, which can be related to the Horus stelae. Isis was an especially important figure in Egyptian magic and healing and, according to a myth, she healed the sun god Re himself, who was bitten by a snake in exchange for the knowledge of his secret name. The two figures appearing on the back pillar reflect a simplified version of the iconography of the Horus stelae, with the terrifying face of Bes at the upper part and the composite figure of Horus-Shed at the bottom part. The snake portrayed above his arm refers to his apotropaic features against dangerous animals.

This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.

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