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What Does Each Egyptian Symbol Mean?
Symbolism was used a lot in Ancient Egypt, across jewelry, art, and even buildings. These symbols convey lots of information about the rulers and gods of the time. Let's take a look at some of the key symbols and their meanings.
Based loosely on a cross, the loop on top is what makes the Ankh stand out. Said to represent eternal life, this is one powerful symbol. Gods are depicted carrying an ankh to support them in the afterlife. Grab your own piece of eternal life with an Ankh T-Shirt.
Ba has a human head on the body of a bird, representing a human in the spirit world. The features on the face would be those of the deceased. Ba was often depicted in tombs and temples as if something is returning to see the body that carried the being while on earth.
Sometimes referred to as the Red Crown of Egypt, Deshret represents the lands of Wadjet in Lower Egypt.
Resembling a pillar, this hieroglyphic character is said to stand for stability. Sometimes representative of the god of the afterlife, Osiris, it also represented his spine.
Eye of Horus
One of the most widely-replicated symbols today, this symbol is named after the God of the Sky, Horus, who is said to have lost an eye in battle. It’s a favorite on clothing, such as this Eye of Horus T-Shirt, with several color options available. The Eye of Horus represents good health, protection, and royal power. Sometimes known as the Eye of Ra, thought to be Horus’s right eye, Ra was the sun god, so this symbol can also represent the sun.
Another symbol associated with Horus, the Falcon came to symbolize freedom, vision, and victory. It has become one of the most easily recognizable Egyptian symbols.
Feather of Maat
Upholding Maat was the responsibility of the pharaoh, and on his death, the world plummeted into chaos that only stopped when a new pharaoh was crowned. The Feather of Maat is indicative of justice, truth and morality.
Where Deshret symbolized Lower Egypt, Hedjet (the White Crown) represented the area of Upper Egypt. The two together formed Pschent - the double crown - when the country was unified.
Resembling two arms outstretched to receive something, Ka is said to show the spiritual power with a person’s body after having survived death. Ka found an eternal place for his body, so bodies were mummified to support them living forever.
The beautiful lotus flower blooms when the sun comes up, and then by nightfall, it closes and sinks beneath the water only to repeat the blossoming again the next day. Naturally, the lotus flower was associated with the sun and creation as a whole.
This is another depiction of the sun, the circular image of a serpent shown eating its own tail. It symbolizes renewal and rebirth, and the never-ending circle symbolizes infinity.
One of the seven wonders of the world, the Egyptian Pyramids still draw a lot of attention today. Built as tombs for the Pharaohs and their associates, the depiction of the pyramid remains one of the most recognizable of all Egyptian symbols.
Another great symbol for a t-shirt, like this Pink Scarab T-Shirt, the Scarab symbolizes rebirth. Ancient Egyptians watched these beetles scurrying into the dry ground and re-emerging, so they became associated with resurrection.
A mythical creature that is one of the most instantly recognizable associations with Ancient Egypt, the sphinx has a human head on the body of a lion. Said to have been on guard at the entrance of Thebes, an ancient Greek city, the sphinx would only grant passage to those who were able to solve a riddle.
Tyet (or Tiet)
Tyet looks similar to the Ankh symbol, and like Ankh, Tyet is generally interpreted as symbolizing life. Sometimes known as the Knot or Blood of Isis, it's symbolic of the magical powers of Isis.
Uraeus was often found on headdresses and foreheads. The rearing cobra with its hood flared symbolizes Wadjet, one of the earliest Egyptian goddesses. Uraeus came to represent sovereignty and the divine, and it symbolizes protection.
This staff was an accessory for the great deities to demonstrate their power. The Was is a staff carried by the gods, with a canine head on the top.
The wings of the sun in this symbol are thought to represent a solar eclipse. By that measure, the symbol is often associated with great power and divinity, as well as royalty. It’s a powerful symbol indeed.