Variable of the Day, Ancient Egypt: Falcon hovering overhead


Egyptian art falcon Ramses

Tomb of Ramses VI (KV 9)

NOTE:  Falcons, like discs and vultures, are often depicted hovering over the kin’g head.  They shield pharaoh from harm and also bestow various gifts.  In the above instance, the unidentified  falcon extends to the king a shen sign (representative of eternity), and two clusters of hieroglyphs–one an ankh (“life”) flanked by was scepters (“dominion”) atop a neb (“all”) sign, and the other showing a djed (“stability”) in place of the ankh.  These clusters indicate that the falcon deity is giving the king an eternity of “all life and dominion” and “all stability and dominion.”  All variations in the appearance of these divine protectors, including identifiers and elements grasped in the talons, are tracked in the database.


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  1. van HOORN, Jacobus06-09-2013

    Subject: falcon in scene top left or right corner.

    I have vaguely scan the members of the group : congratulation.
    An interesting brain storming group, not denied by different subjects approached.

    Have you noticed that the double gold pearls collar was still in use under Rameside time, including on the sarcophagus of Rameses Ist, included this relief from R-VI ?

    PS: what is the web link to that DB ?

    • Art of Counting07-05-2013

      Thank you–I have been very pleased with the number of scholars who have joined our project and embraced this quantifiable approach. Once funding is secured and I am able to develop the online database, we will continue expanding and provide an easy venue for data entry. There is no online database yet, only local ones that can be linked.

      The shebiu collars are a fascinating element. We track not only their presence but also the number (single, double, and triple) with the aim of identifying specific uses for specific contexts.

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.