The Everlasting Allure of Ancient Egyptian Design
The world's fascination with ancient Egyptian jewelry is apparent from its constant revival, with designers taking inspiration from the rich culture and its protective symbols.
Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic symbols were key in conveying information, with each symbol having meaning and depth. As religion was fully integrated as part of their everyday lives, the ever-present spiritual world for the ancient Egyptians was symbolized through common symbols in art, architecture, and jewelry.
The ankh is the most recognizable ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol that was commonly used in writing and in Egyptian art. It represents eternal life and has the power to protect against negative energies.
The eye of Horus, also known as the wedjat eye, is half-human (the eye and brow), and half falcon (the vertical and spiral elements underneath). It is closely associated with the god Horus, who could be shown as a falcon or falcon-headed man. Wearing this symbol offered protection and good health.
This creature symbolizes rebirth and fertility. Scarab beetles roll balls of dung and lay their eggs within these balls. Ancient Egyptians thought this behavior resembled the movement of the sun from east to west, leading to an association of the beetle to the sun god Ra.
The sesen, or lotus flower, appears often in ancient Egyptian art and jewelry. At night, the lotus flower closes and sinks underwater. At dawn, it rises and opens again. This pattern identified it with the sun as well as rebirth.
The djed is the symbol of the god Osiris’ backbone and it represents stability. It’s shaped like a vertical pillar with several horizontal lines at its top. Ancient Egyptian culture dates back thousands of years and is still prevalent; therefore, this symbol is especially significant.
Egyptian, Ancient. “Amulet of an Ankh.” Art Institute of Chicago, 1070, www.artic.edu/artworks/136258/amulet-of-an-ankh.
“Wedjat Eyes.” JHU Archaeological Museum, archaeologicalmuseum.jhu.edu/staff-projects/ancient-egyptian-amulets/wedjat-eyes/.
“Scarabs.” JHU Archaeological Museum, archaeologicalmuseum.jhu.edu/staff-projects/ancient-egyptian-amulets/scarabs/.
“Lotus Flower.” Ndsu.edu, 2021, www.ndsu.edu/pubweb/chiwonlee/plsc211/student%20papers/articles09/elizabeth%20larson/lotusflower/New%20Folder/Lotus%20flower.html.
“Djed-Pillars.” JHU Archaeological Museum, archaeologicalmuseum.jhu.edu/staff-projects/ancient-egyptian-amulets/djed-pillars/.