A headrest Hieroglyph for 'headrest'



Appearance: The headrest was used in ancient Egypt from the beginning of the Old Kingdom to support the head of a person while asleep. The headrest consisted of a curved upper section which cupped the head on top of a flattened base. Headrests were necessary in life and in death, the eternal sleep. As such, many headrests have been found inscribed with the owner's name and epithets such as "wekhem-ankh": "repeating life", a term equivalent to "deceased."

Meaning: Because of its supportive nature, the headrest was associated with the solar cult. It held the head, which like the sun, was lowered in the evening and rose again in the morning. A headrest from the tomb of Tutankhamun illustrates this imagery. On the base are the two lions of the horizon and the god of the air Shu upholds the cup for the head. A painting in the Book of the Dead owned by the scribe Ani portrays the solar barque on a stand. The shape of the stand and the bottom of the boat form the shape of hieroglyphic headrest.

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