Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Goddess

Artist Unknown "The Goddess Seshat" ca. 2055 B.C.  Temple of Karnak 

In Egyptian mythology Seshat (also spelled Safkhet, Sesat, Seshet, Sesheta, and Seshata) was the goddess of wisdom, picture-writing and architecture. Her name means she who scrivens (i.e. she who is the scribe), and she is credited and worshipped as the inventor of picture writing. (Which is why I am counting her as an image-maker, since hieroglyphs may be used as words but they are also visual representations, pictures, of things.)

In art the goddess Seshat is depicted as a woman with a multi-pointed emblem above her head, although it is unclear what this symbol represents. Interestingly, a spell in the Coffin Texts states "Seshat opens the door of heaven for you." Usually, as in this image, she is shown holding a stylus pen and surveying cords.

This wall carving, which at some earlier date might have been painted in bright colors, can be seen in the Temple of Karnak, in Luxor, Egypt and dates from about the beginning of the Middle Kingdom.


Anonymous said...

Love this!

Peter Downs said...

Very cool :)

Katharine Beals said...

This project is expanding in some really interesting directions. I hadn't heard of the Coffin Texts until today