You are in: Collections > Ancient World > Egypt > Galleries Online > Egyptian Galleries Home

[Back to results screen]

This full record display is using an old version of our collections database until it has been reconfigured to work with our new Collections Explorer.
In the meantime, if the record has been edited recently, the version you see here may contain out of date information. To be sure of finding the most up-to-date records please run the search again in Collections Explorer. This is a temporary measure, in place only whilst the new system is being developed, and we apologise for any inconvenience. If you have any questions about the data in this record please contact the Documentation Office

Clay figure of Osiris-Canopus

Click on image(s) for larger view


Clay figure of Osiris-Canopus




figure (representation)




Nile silt clay, mould-made in two halves and then joined. There is some damage to the base of the figurine. Inside there are finger-marks where the maker has pushed the clay into a mould and there is an additional strip of clay on the inside right-hand side to reinforce the join. The surface is eroded and there are some cracks as a result of the firing process. The jar is decorated with relief scenes. The lower registers contain two winged figures. On the front is a winged scarab wearing a sundisk and cow-horns. The beetle is probably a reference to re-birth in the after life and commonly appears on coffins. On the back of the jar is an eagle with the head turned to its right shoulder. On the front of the jar, on a slightly higher register, are two figures of the child of Osiris and Isis: Harpocrates. The young child is depicted with finger in mouth and the side-lock of youth is just about distinguishable on the figure. Behind Harpocrates is a female figure holding a sceptre. She can probably be identified as Isis. The pectoral contains a figure of a seated deity who also appears to have the finger-to-mouth pose and who may also represent Harpocrates. Above this is a heart-shaped amulet, perhaps representing the heart of Osiris. The head of the figurine is human in form and shows the subject with a striated tripartite nemes headcloth. Unlike earlier representations of male gods there is no uraeus (protective cobra) shown. Whilst such images may have served a funerary purpose because they are representations of Osiris, god of the afterlife, they certainly seem to have been used in temples and also in houses for personal shrines. It is not known whether they were developed in Egypt or Italy. Statues of priests holding an Osiris Canopus jar appear in both countries at around the same time in the first century AD (the Roman Period).

Field Collection



height 14.5 cm




circa A.D. 80 — A.D. 200


bequeathed: Whyte, Edward Towry 1932 (Filtered for: Antiquities)


  1. Ashton, S.A.
    (2004) Roman Egyptomania , London : Golden House Publications (2004) London: Golden House Publications [page: 68 & 69]



Accession Number

E.268.1932 (Antiquities)
(Reference Number: 52999; Input Date: 2003-03-25 / Last Edit: 2011-07-12)

Related Image/s

[back to top]

[back to top]

[back to top]

[back to top]