ANKH
Ankh


   Of all the Egyptian symbols, the most generally recognizable is the ankh, since it is perhaps the most common symbol among the Egyptians. Despite this familiarity, we are really not too sure exactly what an ankh was made of or what it represented. It seems to be some kind of bow or knot that had some kind of specific religious meaning; it's general meaning is "life" or "life-giving power," which was the general symbolic meaning of the knot among the Egyptians.

   As a symbol for the power to give and sustain life, the ankh is typically associated with material things such as water (which was believed by Egyptians to regenerate life; see the discussion of the symbol for water), air, or the sun, as well as with the gods, who are frequently pictured carrying an ankh. The Egyptian king is often associated with the ankh, either in possession of an ankh (providing life to his people) or being given an ankh (or stream of ankhs) by the gods.

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1997, Richard Hooker
Updated 5-8-97