Rear view of the same statue Alabaster statue of Pepy I Palace symbol

Palace Wall

(serekh)

Appearance: The serekh glyph was one of the devices in which the name of the king was written. Another device was the more familiar cartouche. It was formed by a rectangular "frame" with a section below representing a type of niched or paneled walling which was common in early Egyptian architecture. The symbol was also a popular motif on early royal coffins. Above the frame, the Horus falcon was usually perched, and within the frame would be the king's name. The falcon emphasized kingship.

Meaning: The sides and "frame" of the serekh probably represent walls as seen in a plan, while the entire symbol represented the walls of the royal palace or the city in which the king lived as the incarnation of Horus.

The use of the serekh in Egyptian art and decoration dates to its earliest history. A memorial stelae for the First Dynasty king, Djet, features the serekh as the sole decoration. The alabaster statue of the Sixth Dynasty king, Pepy I, shows a sophisticated use of the symbol. Here, the Horus falcon guards the king in the same manner as the famous statue of King Khephren. However, instead of facing the king and wrapping his wings around the king's head, the falcon is perched perpendicularly to the pharoah. On the rear of the king's throne (the serekh could also mean "throne") is carved the serekh symbol with the king's name within the frame. By standing in a right-angle to the king, the falcon remains in the proper position as a part of the serekh motif.

The serekh was also featured in several other contexts. It appears on Middle and New Kingdom coffins, as well as in the form of a standard associated with the pharaoh's ka.


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