Thursday, August 9, 2012
"Composite Glyphs and Seated Ptah"

While wandering "konde's" photo albums of lovely things she's seen in museums, I took note of some of the unusual composite glyphs. I'd thought these were more usually seen in the Old Kingdom, (for example, the Second Dynasty stela of a royal priest called Nfr-Sts, ‘Set is beautiful’), yet they are showing up in later pieces.

Detail from the stela of Penbuwy.

Penbuwy is at the lower right of the stela, in 'dua' pose before this symbol, which combines the 'ka' symbol with the 'offering table' symbol. The combination emphasizes the Ka (the aspect of the soul meaning 'vital life force') is receiving the offerings. Whose Ka is it? In this case, it is Ptah, who sits under his canopy at the stela's upper left, with a table piled high with food and flower offerings.

Detail from the stela of Penbuwy, 19th Dynasty.
Entire stela, British Museum, EA.1466

The Was/Ankh/Djed follows the form of Ptah's seated body, rather than being vertical, as it is when he stands, as seen in this example from the Hermitage Museum. Perhaps this is to suggest the Was/Ankh/Djed is part of Ptah, rather than being a separate scepter.

Back to the composite glyphs! The sarcophagus of Ankh-Hor, from the Late Period, (ca. 664-332 BCE) has an unusual Tyet-ka glyph:

Detail of sarcophagus, Neues Museum, ÄM 41

Tyet glyph by itself...

"The exact origin of the Isis knot is unknown, thought initially this sign was perhaps a variant of the ankh (S34) which it resembles closely, except that its transverse arms are curved downwards. In written sources the meaning and symbolism of the tiet seem to be similar to those of the ankh, and the sign is often translated as 'life' or 'welfare.'" (Richard H. Wilkinson, Reading Egyptian Art, (Thames & Hudson 1994), page 201.)

No doubt this combined symbol was placed on Ankh-Hor's sarcophagus to help ensure he could sustain his life force.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

It began with playing with the tyet-ka motif found on Ankh-Hor's sarcophagus

I inverted it and made it into a version for 8x10

Julia suggested coloring it, which got me experimenting...

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