Variable of the Day, Ancient Egypt: Multiple uraei


Tomb of Khaemwaset (QV 44)

NOTE: This variable refers to ANY additional uraei on the head of the king beyond the expected uraeus (cobra) on the brow.  The various types of additional uraei, including their placement and headgear, are differentiated in the database.  Sometimes, they wear the hedjet and deshret crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt, implying that they represent the Two Ladies; at other times they sport discs on their heads (as here), suggesting an association with the aggressively protective Solar Eyes.  Some lack headgear altogether.


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  1. Kasia Szpakowska09-11-2012

    Wow, is this common? As attuned as I am to cobras, I had never noticed these before!

    • Art of Counting09-12-2012

      As you well know, the richness of the details is WHY we have to track everything so carefully; so easy to miss pieces in the riot of imagery! This particular configuration (paired cobras atop the deshret) doesn’t appear to be common. However, multiple uraei are quite common on other crowns–the image of Ramses III at the top of his tomb (KV 11) has a staggering 17 uraei (including a uraeus modius) in addition to the one on his brow. E. Ertman discusses this practice in “From Two to many: the symbolism of additional uraei worn by Nefertity and Akhenaten” (JSSEA 23; 1996; p. 42-50). Note that I am aware of at least 1 example of Amenhotep III (from Luxor Temple) where he sports 4 uraei hanging down the lappet of his nemes.

The Art of Counting is dedicated to the memory of Margery Meilleur, who first taught me to view history through the eyes of the images we create.