Ptah-Sokar-Osiris figure of Hor, son of Djedhor
Ptolemaic Period, 332–30 BC
wood, pigment, gesso, gold, silver
89.4 x 17.9 x 50.3 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Felton Bequest, 1939
A feature of ancient Egyptian religion is the process of syncretism in which originally distinct gods with similar powers were brought together to create a composite deity. In Ptah-Sokar-Osiris three gods associated with resurrection are united. This impressive statue depicts the god in his characteristics guise: the mummiform figure of Osiris with the crown of Sokar. It undoubtedly originates from the tomb of its owner, Hor, a priest of the gods Min and Osiris at Akhmim, whose titles are inscribed on the front. The figure is made in two parts, in the manner of a coffin; the plumed crown, upon horns and with the solar disc, is attached to the head and the base is solid. On the upper body the details of a large collar with falcon-head terminals are incised, as are a shrine-shaped pectoral containing images of Osiris, Anubis, Isis, and Nephthys, and a single text column on the lower body.
The wig is blue; the rear of the figure carries two vertical columns of black text written upon a yellow ground containing a prayer to the god. The base is silvered with hieroglyphs incised that offer all life and dominion to the owner; at its edges are blue bands and on the top the position where a miniature sarcophagus was attached – which possibly supported a crouching falcon symbol of Sokar – is clear. The symbolic burial of the figure’s owner within these waters ensured his eternal recreation.
The hymn on the dorsal columns may be translated as follows:
“Hail to thee, heir who proceeded from this god, spittle which proceeded from ft divine body that returned, great god, ruler of the Thinite nome, who appeared F-a the dew out of the left eye, ruler of the realm of the dead in the twilight. It is coming forth from the primaeval water that the great god has returned. It is (on) coming forth from it that he (already) ruled. He is shining in the sky as Orion; the unwearing stars follow him. He supports the heaven which rejoices …“
The end of the hymn is missing; the scribe who wrote the text probably, misjudged the space available to him and was simply forced to omit the ending. This should have read:
… under her master. the inhabitants are in jubilation for the ka of the Osiris (name of the owner of the statue). Every protection is his protection.
Hope, Colin. “The Ptah-Sokar-Osiris Figure Of Hor.” Art Bulletin of Victoria 24: 47-53.