Horus and Set Silhouetted

Laser cut from 11Ga stainless steel, 9 11/16in by 10 11/16in (24.7cm x 27.3cm)
© Joan Ann Lansberry March 2009

The seed of the inspiration came about when my boss made a rare visit to our shop and showed us results from a new toy he had, a metal cutter complete with a preprogrammed series of designs. He had a huge Harley Davidson logo in thick aluminum. This got me thinking. What if I could create a similar design that would work using positive and negative space?

I started with a photo of a statue in the Cairo museum, of Horus and Set blessing Ramesses III:

Horus and Set with Ramesses the Third seen at the Global Egyptian Museum website, housed in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo
Granite, height 195cm, width 72cm, originally found at Medinet Habu

© Ma'at Production. Used with permission

I replaced the pharaoh with the hieroglyph for ‘lord of transformation’, to suggest Set and Horus blessing those on the quest for willed conscious evolution, and the necessary balance between Set-like characteristics and Heru-like characteristics.

An interesting passage in the Pyramid texts relates:

"Hear O Thoth, in whom is the peace of the gods.
Open, O Horus; stand guard, O Seth,
that I may rise in the eastern side of the sky like Ra
who rises in the eastern side of the sky."
(Translated by R. O. Faulkner and with glyphs)

And thus the Khepera scarab in my piece is rising like Ra.

After completing the design, I wasn’t content to leave it a black and white print, as nice as that is. I also wanted it in solid metal, in a wall hanging and in a pendant. I found a laser cutting company via the web that would enable me to bring this into being. In this process, I learned what a vector image is and how it differs from a raster image, and was happy to learn the Illustrator program that came with Photoshop can create one.

I could have chosen all sorts of metals, but I wanted something durable, something that I could envision existing even a millennium from now. So I chose steel. Many months later, I was watching a program on the History channel that gave the history of iron. I was surprised to learn steel is 98% iron. Iron has associations with Set, for its meteorites are called ‘the bones of Set’ and a meteor had hit near one of the regions whose people were devoted to Set even as late as Roman times.

Version for pendant, 1 3/4in by 1 15/16in (4.5cm x 5cm)

A more frontal view has the light source obscured by the camera, so I had Julia photograph the pendant in the second photo.