TITLE: The god Oxyrynchus with a worshipper
CULTURE: Ancient Egypt
PERIOD: Late Period, 664 - 323 BC
SIZE: Length 13.1 cm; height 8 cm
PRICE: 5,500 €
PROVENANCE: Private collection of O.J., France, acquired in the 1970s. Provided of export license issued by the ministry of culture.
PUBLICATIONS: Catalogue of the Gilgamesh Gallery. Brafa Art Fair 2014. p. 20.
CONDITION: In good condition. The left horn on the crown is missing.
A bronze figure of the god Oxyrynchus with the morphological characteristics of the animal which gives the god its name. It is shown with a headdress of cow horns and a solar disc with the uraeus. The body of the fish has other details: there is a band of geometric decoration around the front end of the fish which passing under the fins in the form of a collar. The animal god is held in place on a skate-shaped bronze base. Facing the god we find a worshipper sitting on his legs with arms outstretched in a gesture of prayer. Both figures are placed on a rectangular podium.
One of the best-known Egyptian myths is that of Osiris. In this it is told that Set killed the god Osiris, cut him into fourteen pieces and scattered them around different places in Egypt. Isis gathered up all the pieces of Osiris with the exception of the penis, which Set had thrown into the Nile. This was swallowed up by the Oxyrynchus fish with the sole aim of protecting the organ of the god. In the late period of Egyptian civilization this animal was deified because of the myth. Numerous examples were mummified to be placed in tombs and necropoles. Bronze figures of the fish were cast along with small sarcophagi in the shape of the animal to hold them.
The technique of lost wax casting is a sculptural procedure using a mould made from a prototype of the piece to be worked, and this prototype is usually made from beeswax. This is covered with a thick layer of soft material, usually clay, which then solidifies. Once this has hardened it is put in a kiln where the wax inside melts and leaks out from expressly made holes in the clay. In its place molten metal is injected and this takes on the exact form of the mould. To remove the final piece the mould must be removed.