Isis lactans, 6. Jahrhundert v. Chr.
About the object
The statuette shows the goddess Isis breastfeeding Horus the Younger. Her headdress, a set of cow's horns framing a flat sun disk, is a symbol of Hathor, the divine celestial cow. The horns also allude to the crescent moon and the role of Isis as the goddess of magic and death.
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The statuette shows the goddess Isis, proffering Horus the Younger her breast. This type of figure is called Isis lactans. Isis is wearing a Uraeus wreath on her head, out of which the cow's horns project and enclose the solar disk. The headdress is also the symbol of the heavenly goddess Hathor, with whom Isis was associated in the late Egyptian period. The cow horns symbolise the crescent moon, which is why Isis was also worshiped as goddess of the moon in addition to her function as the goddess of magic. The figure expresses Isis' maternal power and underlines her life-giving function. The cult of Isis lived on during the Roman Empire and competed with early Christianity. As a mother breastfeeding a child, Isis became the model for portraits of Mary with the baby Jesus.