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I recently inherited a sculpture from one of my sisters.  It seems extremely unusual for her, as her taste is very modern.  Yet, her bedding has Egyptian motifs, and there are Eastern prints on her walls with Eastern biblical motifs.

I never really looked at it closely before.  At first glance, many years ago, I thought it was an amateurish work bought at an art fair, with a rude and unsubtle gaping hole where a phallus would be.  When I examined it now, however, the myth of Osiris blossomed in my mind.

From Wikipedia, the myth according to Plutarch:

"The cult of Osiris (who was a god chiefly of regeneration and re-birth) had a particularly strong interest toward the concept of immortality. Plutarch recounts one version of the myth surrounding the cult in which Set (Osiris' brother) fooled Osiris into getting into a box, which he then shut, had sealed with lead, and threw into the Nile (sarcophagi were based on the box in this myth). Osiris' wife, Isis, searched for his remains until she finally found him embedded in a tree trunk, which was holding up the roof of a palace in Byblos on the Phoenician coast. She managed to remove the coffin and open it, but Osiris was already dead. She used a spell she had learned from her father and brought him back to life so he could impregnate her. Afterwards he died again and she hid his body in the desert. Months later, she gave birth to Horus. While she was raising him, Set was hunting one night and came across the body of Osiris. Enraged, he tore the body into fourteen pieces and scattered them throughout the land. Isis gathered up all the parts of the body, less the phallus (which was eaten by a fish) and bandaged them together for a proper burial. The gods were impressed by the devotion of Isis and resurrected Osiris as the god of the underworld. Because of his death and resurrection, Osiris is associated with the flooding and retreating of the Nile and thus with the crops along the Nile valley."

  • First, in a coffin, hurriedly thrown into the Nile.  Only found because it was embedded in tree trunk, which gave away its location.
  • Secondly, hidden in desert.
  • Lastly, his pieces gathered together for a more proper burial.

From Wikipedia, the myth according to Diodorus Siculus:

"Osiris is described as an ancient king who taught the Egyptians the arts of civilization, including agriculture. Osiris is murdered by his evil brother Set, whom Diodorus associates with the evil Typhon ("Typhonian Beast") of Greek mythology. Typhon divides the body into twenty six pieces which he distributes amongst his fellow conspirators in order to implicate them in the murder. Isis and Horus avenge the death of Osiris and slay Typhon. Isis recovers all the parts of Osiris body, less the phallus, and secretly buries them. She made replicas of them and distributed them to several locations which then became centres of Osiris worship."

Long ago, as part of my interest in the Trinity, I chose Osiris. Apparently, he also chose me, as this replica came into my hands magically, without conscious effort, from the spirit of my sister to me.  The replica now shares spacetime in my shrine with Ganesh, who also had considerable family and dismemberment issues.

Notice his head near his right knee, and the stump of his right arm.  The gaping hole where his phallus would be is bottomless, in the sense that a flashlight cannot illuminate the bottom. 

The sculpture is about 8 inches high, not including the pedestal.

The name of the artist (I think) was inscribed into the casting, but I have not been able to trace it correctly yet.  It looks like Ju Hin, or maybe Jullin.  I welcome any ideas to discover the provenance.