Wednesday, February 24, 2010

egyptian bookmark

This beautiful thing was a gift I received from client I work with on the Pearle L. Crawford Memorial Library project, in Dudley, Massachusetts. The library is nearly completed, and I am very happy with the results thus far. I can't wait for it to be finished.

I don't read hieroglyphics very well. I've forgotten most of my ancient Egyptian since high school, so I'm going to have to do some guessing. On the left we've got a young man, probably a noble or wealthy person, and he's cruising on a barque, in a pool of water. The barque, its passenger, and the cargo on board, seem to be blessed by the sun god Ra, who shines down upon the whole affair. What he's hauling could be either a Canopic Chest or a bee hive. Maybe its folded laundry, not sure. He's also got something standing up there that looks like candles, but is probably a ceremonial object like a fetish; an animal skin hanging from a stick, which are symbols of Osiris and Anubis. Seems like it might be.

Our man is headed to a place guarded by a couple of falcons, who appear to be saying something, which I'm going to assume is some kind of greeting. On the right of the scene, our guy is being led by the hand by Anubis, the jackal-headed god of embalming, and friend to the dead. I checked out some Egyptology sites to see if I could figure out what's going on here, and based on my less than exhausting research, I'm going to hazard a guess: He's being led to the Court of Osiris for the Weighing of the Heart ceremony. I'm also going to guess that our man is carrying a feather in honor of Ma'at, who will--as the goddess of truth, law and universal order--provide the actual feather against which his heart will be weighed. If our man in the sun has a heart that weighs less than the feather, he's on his way to the afterlife!

On either end of the marker are sesen, or lotus flowers, the symbol of the sun, of creation and rebirth. Seems to go along with the whole thing. I may not have had ancient Egyptian in high school, but this is my bookmark story and I'm sticking to it. Unless of course I'm wrong, in which case I'll fix it.

Its a beautiful papyrus marker in any case, and I thank Anne Marie who was nice enough to present it to me after traveling to Egypt. Thanks Anne Marie!

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