Medium: Wood, bronze, and gilt
Dimensions: 13 3/8 x 3 x 3 1/2 in. (34 x 7.6 x 8.9 cm)
Classification: Decorative Arts, Natural Substances
Credit Line: Gift of Ann and Henry Brunnier. In the Ann and Henry Brunnier Collection, Brunnier Art Museum, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
Isis (or Aset) is the reigning female deity in Egyptian mythology. She is defined as the wife of all Pharaohs since she protected the dead body of a Pharaoh on his trip to the afterlife. Through this belief, and as mother of the four gods that protect the canopic jars, she gained a strong association with funerary rites and rituals. Isis is the mother of god Horus. In art, Isis is frequently symbolized by a cow, a cow's head, or in her most common form seen here, a woman with the horns of a cow on her head and a solar disk between them. She is also depicted cradling her son, Horus. In the Egyptian Book of the Dead, Isis is described as, "She who gives birth to heaven and earth, knows the orphan, knows the widow, seeks justice for the poor, and shelter for the weak."