Variable of the Day, Ancient Egypt: Pinky gesture
Temple of Seti I at Abydos
NOTE: This gesture, where the king extends his pinky finger, is used to apply ointment to a deity. In his other hand, the king holds the jar of ointment. Usually, the ointment is actually shown as being applied to the god’s uraeus rather than to the deity themselves. This gesture may have an apotropaic aspect, suggesting that in the act of applying ointment, it may have been considered inappropriate to have physical contact with the god, although this is implied as part of the ritual. Often, as in this example, the king’s finger is not shown making actual contact. This gesture is tracked as an individual variable in the database.