Appearance: The symbol for the west was portrayed in two fashions. The first was a standard topped with a feather and a falcon. Tohe second was a round-topped pole with only the feather. The first symbol was used until about the 12th Dynasty. The second was first used in the 6th Dynasty and eventually replaced the earlier symbol.
The symbol was portrayed in Egyptian art in various degrees of personification. Sometimes the symbol had arms which would embrace a deceased person. Occasionally the symbol was shown as a woman with the sign on her head or with the sign as her head.
For the ancient Egyptians, the west (specifically the desert west of the
Nile) was the destination of the dead. This is because the sun died every
day in the western horizon, only to be reborn the next morning in the east.
Most Egyptians were buried to the west of the Nile with their heads facing
the west. The "Goddess of the West" (a woman shown with the hieroglyph
of the West on her head) would receive the blessed dead in the afterlife.
This goddess was originally developed as a persona of Hathor,
who also occasionally wears the glyph on her head. In the image to the
left, the blessed deceased is shown heading towards the western mountains where
there is plenty of food and drink (the glyphs for "food" and "drink" are
on either side of the "mountain" glyph).