Among the finest known products of Egyptian metalworking of the Late Period, this bronze figure of Osiris-Ptah combines iconography traditionally identified with two major Egyptian deities. Instead of holding the crook and flail typical of Osiris, the hands of this statuette are placed atop one another grasping the djed-pillar and was-scepter, emblems usually associated with depictions of the god Ptah, see Laurent Coulon, “Statue d’Osiris-Ptah,” In O. Perdu, ed., La crepuscule des pharaons: Chefs-d’oeuvre des dernières dynasties égyptiennes. Brussels, 2012, cat. 113, pp. 230-231.
In his right hand, the god holds an ankh-sign, the hieroglyph for “life,” here most likely serving as a play on words for the epithet neb ankh, “lord of life,” a well-attested epithet for Osiris-Ptah. A small chapel of Osiris-Ptah Lord of Life was constructed at the end of Dynasty 25 by Kushite pharaohs Taharqo and Tanutamani along the processional route from Karnak temple to the precinct of the goddess Mut, and it is possible that the finest examples such as the present one were dedicated there by well-to-do officials at that time or shortly thereafter. It is also however possible that some of these pieces have a Lower Egyptian origin. A number of relatively large-scale bronzes of Osiris-Ptah and other forms of Osiris seem to belong to a related group of especially fine products of bronze workshops, many with gilding, surface decoration and rich inlays, see E. Tiribilli, “An Unusual Iconography of Osiris: The Bronze Statuette Petrie Museum UC 8033.” Egitto e Vicino Oriente XXXIX (2016): 117-132.
An interesting parallel is Metropolitan Museum of Art 56.16.2, a statuette of Osiris with the epithet “Lord of Life” (Neb Ankh) as well as the “Foremost of the Westerners” ( Khentyimentiu), donated by a certain Padihorpare during Dynasty 26. The extremely fine modeling observable on this statuette attests to the skill of the artist who produced it and the wealth of the individual who commissioned it. Details such as the braided beard with tightly curled end, the uraeus placed on the white crown, and the finely rendered head of the was-scepter are augmented by traces of gilding and the survival of dark blue glass inlaid eyes and eyebrows. The wooden base is likely to be ancient, although no inscription is preserved.