When it came to the meaning of life, there was one symbol that stood for just that throughout the ancient Egyptian culture. It was the ankh, a hieroglyphic character that was often connected to the Egyptian gods, who were often seen transporting the symbol about the land, carrying it by the loop. In temple paintings, it is the ankh, which is often seen in the hand of various gods. Sometimes the symbol is viewed crossing their breastplate. Other references to the ankh include the Egyptian Cross. It is often thought of as the original construction of the cross that is used today by Christians.
Where Did It Come From?
Researchers are unaware of when the ankh became popular throughout the Egyptian culture. No one has been able to come about a theory that supports all angles. Various interpretations of its shape ranges from referring to genitalia to something representative of a sandal strap. Others speculate that the ankh combines the features of both the male and female symbols associated with Osiris and Isis. The cross has represented Osiris in the past, while Isis is represented by the oval. This has been viewed as a combination of heaven and earth. Whatever the interpretation of the origins of this symbol, it is all agreed upon that is refers to life or the energy of life. Along the way, it has also come to signify immortality, the universe, as well as power.
Additional thoughts also include:
Since the ankh bears a close resemblance to a key, it is seems connected to the thought that it may have representative of the unlocking of the gates of death.
The ankh has been used as a symbol for life after death throughout the realms of Coptic Christian belief.
During ritual magic practices, the ankh is known to play an important role.
Some have also recognized its likeness to a combination of a cross and the Christian fish symbol. Some believe that it may serve as a reference to a specific point of origin, as well as a connection to the three main Egyptian pyramids. This analysis leads to the belief that two ankhs may serve as the basis of the astrological sign of the Pisces. Others associate the ankh with the crucifix.
Within Egyptian Art
When taking a look at Egyptian tomb paintings, as well as other pieces of art, the ankh is often visible. In works of art depicting gods or goddesses, the ankh can be found close to their hands. It tends to be used as a reference to the afterlife. Amulets were made during ancient Egyptian times, which looked much like an ankh. The mirrors during these times also utilized ankhs within their design, often taking on the shape of this respected symbol. In art, the ankh was also representative of conception when a god was seen touching a human with it.
Today, the ankh has been embraced within popular culture. Video games, computer games, movies and books have all been based upon the symbol of the ankh. It has also been worn as a piece of jewelry in many different social circles, including those who worship vampires. The ankh has also become a popular tattoo theme, embraced by celebrity singers and athletes.