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Ancient Egyptian symbols and Definitions

posted 18 May 2011, 10:03 by Manal Raafat   [ updated 18 May 2011, 14:55 ]

My design Cartouche with my name inside on a Papyrus


Sign for Life :

   Ankh ,'The Key of Life' : 

 Symbol of eternal life. The gods are often seen holding an ankh to someone's lips this is considered to be an offering of "The Breath of Life". The breath you will need in the afterlife.It is believed to unlock the mysteries of heaven and earth. Its design appears to combine the symbolic cross of Osiris and the oval of Isis. It is often shown being carried by the gods and pharaoh.

 Symbol of the west bank of the Nile

   Amenta :

This symbol represents the Underworld or Land of the Dead. Originally it meant the horizon of the sun set. Later, it became the symbol of the west bank of the Nile, where the sun set and also where the Egyptians traditionally buried their dead.

Sign for Encircling Protection :

   Cartouche :

In the form of a knotted rope it was used to enclose the royal name of the pharaoh. The cartouche is the elongated form of the shen symbol. 

Symbol of Protection :

   Shen :

A loop of rope that has no beginning and no end, it symbolized eternity. The sun disk is often depicted in the center of it.The word shen comes from the word "shenu" which means "encircle," and in its elongated form became the cartouche which surrounded the king's name.

symbol of spontaneous creation :

   Scarab :

Called the dung beetle because of its practice of rolling a ball of dung across the ground. The Egyptians observed this behavior and equated it with the ball of the sun being rolled across the sky. They confused this balled food source with the egg sack that the female dung beetle laid and buried in the sand. When the eggs hatched the dung beetles would seem to appear from nowhere, making it a symbol of spontaneous creation. In this role it was associated with the sunrise.

Symbol of Union upper and lower Egypt :

   Pshent :

The Double Crown, the red crown and the white crown put together to represent a unified Egypt. Although Egypt was not always a unified nation it was stronger that way.Therefore unification was desirable. Narmer (Menes), the founder of the First Dynasty around 3100 B.C., was the first man recorded wearing this crown.

      -Deshret  The Red Crown. This was the crown that represented Lower Egypt (northern).


       -Hedjet    The White Crown. This was the crown of Upper Egypt (southern).

Symbol represents the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt.

   Sema : 

the lungs attached to the windpipe. 

In these renderings we see the Sema bound with two plants, the papyrus and the lotus. The papyrus represents Lower Egypt and the lotus represents Upper Egypt. 

Symbol of  Healing :

   Eye of Horus (Wedjat, Udjat) :

During his confrontations with the god Seth, Horus is said to have lost his left eye, which represented the moon. However his wife, the goddess Hathor, restored it. That is why the wedjat symbolises healing.

Sign for Rebirth 

   Lotus :

 you can read more in the post of lotus flowers

Symbol of Ascension :


It is believed the pyramid was a representation of the world's axis, with the body of the structure symbolising man's ascent to the heavenly skies - in particular, Pharaoh's ascension to Heaven and the Afterlife. It has also been proposed that the pyramid may have symoblised the sloping rays of the sun as a source of eternal strength and energy.  

Symbol of stability and strength :

   Djed  : 

It is believed that the Djed is a rendering of a human backbone. 

Symbol of truth, justice, morality and balance :

   Feather of Maat :

 It was pharaoh's job to uphold Maat. When a pharaoh died, Maat was lost and the world was flung into chaos, only the coronation of a new pharaoh could restore Maat. 

Symbol of Osiris and Anubis :

   Fetish of Osiris :

An animal skin hanging from a stick .

Symbol of gold :

   Nebu : 

 gold was considered a divine metal, it was thought to be the flesh of the gods. Its polished surface was related to the brilliance of the sun. Gold was important to the afterlife as it represents aspects of immortality. By the New Kingdom, the royal burial chamber was called the "House of Gold."

symbol of authority :

   Sekhem :

 There are many symbols ,but it will be so long .


Open new document with dimensions of 400 x 800 pixels in Illustrator .

  • Draw a rectangle all arround the rectangle with no stroke and the color of Papyrus for the fill ,then add style from the style panel .
  • Add new layer then draw an rounded corner rectangle . You can increase or decrease the roundation of the corners with the right and left arrow keys .
  • Draw the horizontal line with the draw line tool.
  • Add the letters for the name you like.
  •  Save your work.