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An Essential Look At Ankhs Of North Africa

By Gamal Rasheed
In ancient times, the Egyptians used an exceptional symbol called the Egyptian Ankh. Among the many symbols of the Egyptian script or hieroglyphics, the Egyptian Ankh is well-known. Though it looks much like the cross that depicts Christianity, a loop present above the top line makes it slightly different.

The way in which the Egyptian Ankh originated is described in many theories and legendary stories. Some of them describe that the Ankh is a symbolic expression of sex. Many other theoretical facts say that the knot of Isis is shown in the form of a contemporary bow.

Hieroglyphics or the Egyptian scripts explain the Ankh symbol in depth. Some explanations give a detailed picture of the lower part of the Ankh. In fact the lower portion is partitioned to form the two ends of a bow.

A study of the oldest scripts of hieroglyphics shows that the Egyptian Ankh is divided from the end portion. Egyptologists, after tracing the origin of the knot-like form of the Ankh, suppose that it shows a religious sign.

Even though historians have not been able to reach a definite conclusion regarding the origins of the symbol of the Ankh, there is no confusion about what it represents. In its essence the Egyptian symbol is supposed to represent life. That is why many ancient Egyptian deities have been depicted carrying the symbol of the Ankh in their hands symbolizing life.

In a few of the hieroglyphics, a king with an Ankh over his lips is pictured, and it is said to be symbolic of the ‘breath of life’. Deeper research shows that this Egyptian Ankh actually provides a symbolic expression of air and water that are mandatory for the presence of life.

Anthropomorphism is a significant part of Egyptian antiquities. A lot of pictures related to this aspect have been discovered in Egypt. One such picture depicts a pharaoh in the background of the Egyptian Ankh in the form of a fan of ostrich feathers. Thus such pictorial representations of the Ankh provide various meanings.

The Egyptian Ankh is represented in a peculiar manner wherein numerous symbols are made to form a chain. This picture of a chain of Ankhs is usually found on water receptacles expressing the powerful nature of water. Objects used for libation during ritualistic activities also display the Ankh.

Another important fact about the Egyptian Ankh symbol is that a lot of items used in their everyday lives, had been intentionally made in the form of the Ankh. Objects that were particularly used in royal functions, involving religious rituals were made like the Ankh. However, the common people had either Ankh-shaped objects or simply the Ankh picture painted on the object. Mirrors, spoons, sistrums and many crockery items were often Ankh-shaped.

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Ancient Egyptian cosmetics have seen a resurgance in interest. For those who found the above mentioned information useful you might take pleasure in visiting our guide to Ancient Egyptian Mythology.