Magazine Articles

You will find below all articles from the Magazine.

The shape of this libation vessel imbues the offering with the power of its symbols, ankh (life, living) and ka (spiritual essence), reflecting its religious purpose. 1st Dynasty (3100-2900 B.C.). Metropolitan Museum of Art (MMA), New York.

Read Like an Egyptian — Art in Ancient Egypt, Part 1

Probably only one percent of the ancient Egyptians were literate, and those literate few were royalty, nobility, upper-crust managers and administrators, at least some of the top military people, full-time priests and scribes. But many people could “read” what they were seeing, and understand it without knowing how to read hieroglyphs. The ideas and symbolic iconography were grounded in their culture; the art spoke to them even if their knowledge of the written text was, for the vast majority of the public, rudimentary at best — no doubt limited to a few basic glyphs. [more…]

Meretseger: She Who Loves Silence. The Cobra Deity at Deir el-Medina

Meretseger: She Who Loves Silence. The Cobra Deity at Deir el-Medina

In the Western world the cobra rarely inspires sentiments of benevolence, warmth or good intentions. It is not a cuddly beast. Matters were more ambivalent in ancient Egypt where a range of wild animals were identified with deities imbued with admired values of physical strength, protection and courage, as well as less obviously admirable qualities like aggression, retribution, vengeance and retaliation. Like Sobek, the crocodile deity, and Sekhmet the lioness, the cobra deities comprised a mixture of attributes that centred on their fierce ability to defend themselves and to strike, hissing and spitting poison, to annihilate their aggressors.  [more…]

The Significance of the Crossed Arms Pose -  Part 2: Osiris, The Osiris and the Osirides

The Significance of the Crossed Arms Pose – Part 2: Osiris, The Osiris and the Osirides

Is it a futile activity to ask, as I do in this series of articles, “What is The Significance of the Crossed-Arm Pose?” It might be argued, for instance, that variations in the pose at death exhibited by royal mummies simply reflect what embalmers decided to do on the day, or at least the customary practice of a particular undertaker. Similarly, it might be argued that each individual anthropoid coffin might be expected to reveal some unique design characteristic, and that no significance should be attached to the specific hand/arm pose depicted on the lid. [more…]

Marianne Brocklehurst

Marianne Brocklehurst and the West Park Museum, Macclesfield. Part 2

In part 1 I looked at how Marianne Brocklehurst acquired a collection of some 500 Ancient Egyptian objects during the three trips to Egypt that she records in her diary, cartoons, sketches and watercolours. In this section I look at the museum and the collection that Marianne and her brother Francis built for the benefit of the residents of Macclesfield in northwest England. [more…]

Figure 6. Dr Granville's Mummy, from Thebes, 600BC

The Significance of the Crossed Arms Pose in the New Kingdom – Part 1

Amongst the many miracles through which delicate objects are preserved from ancient Egypt down into modern times, perhaps the most remarkable is the survival of the mortal remains of a virtually complete sequence of New Kingdom rulers. These kings, along with a number of queens and lesser royalty – who date from the end of the Seventeenth Dynasty through to the start of the Twenty-Second Dynasty – are generally referred to as the Royal Mummies, and were for the most part recovered from the Royal Cache of 1881 (in tomb TT320), and the Second Royal Cache of 1898 (in tomb KV35, the tomb of Amenhotep II). [more…]

An Exploration of the term ‘inw’  from the Early Dynastic Period to the New Kingdom

An Exploration of the term ‘inw’ from the Early Dynastic Period to the New Kingdom

The term inw has been described as ‘vexatious’ in its complexity, touching as it does on a range of intricate subjects outside the scope of this article. The following article does not claim to cover all aspects of inw. A reading list for those who wish to explore the subject in more detail, is provided at the end. [more…]

In his book ‘The Official Gift in Ancient Egypt’ (1996) Edward Bleiberg notes that there are thirty eight different interpretations for the term ‘inw’ in English, French and German. As Bleiberg notes ‘The Egyptians could not have been as vague as the numerous translations suggest’  [more…]

Figures 5 and 6.  The seal of Heqanakht and Letter III

Revisiting Heqanakht

Heqanakht’s ‘letters’ consist of a number of related papyri which have been dated to the early part of the Twelfth Dynasty (2025-1700 BC). The papyri deal with the day-to-day concerns of a well-to-do, land owning farmer who lived near Thebes and who carried out his professional duties as a kA-priest near Memphis. The letters and accounts which make up the papyri were found unopened and, apparently unread, ‘in the condition of their original shipping’ (Goedicke, 1984, p.5). In two instances, the letters still bore their original clay seals [more…]