Appearance: The pool was the Egyptian symbol for any body of water. It was depicted as a rectangle transversed by parallel wavy vertical lines. Egyptian artistic canons decreed that all objects must be portrayed so that they are instantly recognizable to the viewer. Thus, pools were always shown as if the viewer were above the body of water, even though the rest of the image would be shown as if the viewer were standing to the side of the rest of the objects in the picture.
When Egyptians wished to convey the watery nature of other things, they would use the wavy lines of the pool on the object.
Meaning: Like many ancient cultures, the Egyptians believed that the world emerged from primeval waters. The Egyptians personified these waters as the god, Nun. The pool often symbolized these waters of the First Time. The young sun god was often depicted rising from a pool of water that represented Nun.
The pool was also related to the Afterlife, as seen in the image to the right. As water was greatly needed for survival in Egypt's harsh desert climate, the deceased was often shown drinking from a pool of water. Often a fruit-laden palm tree is shown growing from the pool. These images were very common in Egyptian tombs, and they were often accompanied by wishes for the deceased to "walk according to your desire on the beautiful edge of your pool." The Four Sons of Horus were also shown rising from a lotus that is emerging from a pool before the throne of Osiris in the Underworld. Finally, the Egyptians also portrayed deadly Underworld lakes of fire with the pool hieroglyph, but drawn with red, instead of blue.
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