the Hall of Ma'at feather



Appearance: The feather is depicted as a tall ostrich plume whose tip bends over under its own weight.

Meaning: The feather, because of its name, "shut", was a symbol of Shu. Shu was the Egyptian god of the air and the father of the earth (Geb) and the sky (Nut). Shu was often shown wearing a feather in his hair. Occasionally Geb was shown dressed in feathers, a representation of the air which covers him.

Usually, the feather was a symbol of Ma'at, the goddess of truth and order. The goddess was always shown wearing an ostrich feather in her hair. The feather by itself was her emblem.

In art, the feather was shown in scenes of the Hall of Ma'at. This hall is where the deceased was judged for his worthiness to enter the afterlife. The seat of the deceased's soul, his heart, was weighed on a balance against the feather of Ma'at. If the heart was free from the impurities of sin, and therefore lighter than the feather, then the dead person could enter the eternal afterlife. Other gods in the judgement hall who were part of the tribunal overseeing the weighing of the heart were also pictured holding a feather.

During the feast of Min, men would erect a ceremonial pole. These men would wear four ostrich feathers on their head. The significance of the feather in this context is uncertain.

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