Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Cartouche (Ancient Egypt)

In ancient Egypt, kings enclosed their hieroglyphic names in a design that enclosed that name in a vertical oval with a horizontal bar on the bottom.
In ancient Egypt, the cartouche was called a sheni which is the Egyptian word for the verb encircle.
.The pharaoh Huni, who was the last king of the 3rd dynasty was the first to enclose his throne name in a cartouche.
The kings had two names the throne name and the birth name.
From the 18th dynasty onward, the Pharaoh sacrophagus was shaped like a cartouche. The ancient Egyptian believed that the cartouche protected the pharaoh against evil.
In the tomb of Tuthmosis III, the entire burial chamber was designed like a cartouche.
Pharaohs would place their cartouches on their temples and their tombs.
It was also not unusual for a Pharaoh to chisel out the cartouches of a predecessor in order to take credit for their buildings.
The Pharaoh would then have his own workmen carve his cartouche into the buildings.
There are also cartouches such as the one at Medinet-Habu in the temple of Ramses II. This shows a cartouche with its arms outstretched holding the hair of two enemies of Egypt.
The cartouche also aided the work of early Egyptologists because they showed which groups of signs were the royal names.


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