Ptolemaic period
Isis, 332 ‑ 30 BC
Black granite
5 5/8 × 2 7/16 × 2 in. (14.3 × 6.2 × 5.1 cm.)
Museum purchase  1996.20.3

Maternal Ideal
Although this sculpture is broken, look closely and you can see this female figure bends her right arm to clasp her left breast in her hand. She is the goddess Isis, and the complete sculpture originally showed her seated on a thrown, nursing her son Horus. Following the murder and dismemberment of her husband Osiris, Isis gathered the pieces, restored him to life, and conceived Horus. Not only was Isis the Egyptian ideal of a wife and mother, but she also became a powerful symbol of resurrection and rebirth.