The ancient Egyptians used symbols to represent many words and ideas. Their writing, known as hieroglyphs, have a lot of symbols that represent their gods and their lives. One of the most cherished symbols of ancient Egypt is the “Ankh’. This is their symbol for the key of life.
Egyptologists still are not sure where the idea of the Ankh came from. There are some that think it is the combination of male and female. They believe that the symbol was first used as a kind of belt buckle for the goddess Isis.
The ankh is one of the favorite symbols and shows up in a lot of the ancient Egyptian art. It appears on the walls of burial tombs and is used in many paintings and sculptures. It is often at the very end of the fingers of a picture of a god or goddess and it’s believed that it represents the gods offering the gift of life. It is thought that the ankh was in burial tombs as a symbol of life after death.
The ankh was used as an amulet and was carried either by itself or combined with other hieroglyph symbols to mean health and strength. Many mirrors were discovered with metal that had been shaped into the form of the ankh. Some think that it was to give the person the ability to see into another world.
Archeologists have discovered pictures in ancient Egypt that show the gods pouring water on the pharaoh’s head as part of a cleansing or ritual for purification. The water is shown as chains of ankhs and is thought to represent dominion and power. The images confirm the connection and bond between the gods and the pharaoh.
Throughout ancient Egypt the ankh was shown as a staff or ‘djed’ column. The djed column represented strength and stability and was thought to be a symbol for Osiris. Osiris was the god of the underworld and brought fertility. The two symbols placed together were success, long life, longevity and strength.
Ankhs were made out of just about everything that the ancient Egyptians could craft. From metals such as bronze and gold to glazed ceramics, stone and wood. In many cases they would add inscriptions on them for amulets. The symbol was included as decoration for the furniture of the wealthy as well as the pharaoh. Since it meant the key of life, it was thought to bring good luck to the owner. Jewelry has been found that contain the image of the ankh.
The ankh was used in so many of the religious rituals and combined in so many ways that some archeologists believe it might have grown to be a kind of general symbol to add life and power to another symbol.
As trade and wars continued throughout the lands, the ankh began to appear on coins found in ancient Cypress. Later the ankh was used as a symbol of the planet Venus as well as the goddess Venus also known as Aphrodite. The islands that produced copper would use the copper to create ankhs.
The symbol of the ankh was rediscovered and its popularity as an amulet or talisman can be seen in a lot of the jewelry and art today. In the last number of years there has been an increased interest in ancient Egypt and their religions. It is believed that this started with the popularity of the world tour of the contents of King Tut’s tomb. Many people are buying and making items that have the ankh symbol on them.