The was sceptre
A sceptre is a symbolic ornamental rod or wand borne in the hand by a ruling monarch as an item of royal or imperial insignia.-Antiquity:...
is a symbol that appeared often in relics, art and hieroglyphics associated with the ancient Egyptian religion. They appear as long, straight staffs, with a stylized animal head on top and a forked end.
scepters were used as symbols of power or dominion, and were associated with the gods (such as Set
Set was in Ancient Egyptian religion, a god of the desert, storms, and foreigners. In later myths he was also the god of darkness, and chaos...
Anubis is the Greek name for a jackal-headed god associated with mummification and the afterlife in ancient Egyptian religion. In the ancient Egyptian language, Anubis is known as Inpu . According to the Akkadian transcription in the Amarna letters, Anubis' name was vocalized as Anapa...
) as well as with the pharaoh
Pharaoh is a title used in many modern discussions of the ancient Egyptian rulers of all periods. The title originates in the term "pr-aa" which means "great house" and describes the royal palace...
scepters also represent the Typhonic beast or Set-animal (the mascot of the Egyptian god Set). In later use, it was a symbol of control over the force of chaos that Set represented.
In a funerary context the was
sceptre was responsible for the well-being of the deceased, and was thus sometimes included in the tomb equipment or in the decoration of the tomb
A tomb is a repository for the remains of the dead. It is generally any structurally enclosed interment space or burial chamber, of varying sizes...
or coffin. The sceptre is also considered an amulet
An amulet, similar to a talisman , is any object intended to bring good luck or protection to its owner.Potential amulets include gems, especially engraved gems, statues, coins, drawings, pendants, rings, plants and animals; even words said in certain occasions—for example: vade retro satana—, to...
. The Egyptians perceived the sky as being supported on four pillars, which could have the shape of was
sceptres. The was
sceptre is also the symbol of the fourth Upper Egyptian nome
A nome was a subnational administrative division of ancient Egypt. Today's use of the Greek nome rather than the Egyptian term sepat came about during the Ptolemaic period. Fascinated with Egypt, Greeks created many historical records about the country...
, the nome of Thebes
Thebes is the Greek name for a city in Ancient Egypt located about 800 km south of the Mediterranean, on the east bank of the river Nile within the modern city of Luxor. The Theban Necropolis is situated nearby on the west bank of the Nile.-History:...
scepters were depicted as being carried by gods, pharaohs, and priests. They commonly occur in paintings, drawings, and carvings of gods, and often parallel with emblems such as the ankh
The ankh , also known as key of life, the key of the Nile or crux ansata, was the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic character that read "eternal life", a triliteral sign for the consonants ʻ-n-ḫ...
-sign and the djed
The djed symbol is a pillar-like ancient Egyptian symbol representing stability. It has been interpreted as the backbone of the Egyptian god Osiris, especially in the form Banebdjedet . Djedu is the Egyptian name for Busiris, a centre of the cult of Osiris...
-pillar. Remnants of real was
scepters have been found, constructed of faience
Faience or faïence is the conventional name in English for fine tin-glazed pottery on a delicate pale buff earthenware body, originally associated with Faenza in northern Italy. The invention of a white pottery glaze suitable for painted decoration, by the addition of an oxide of tin to the slip...
or wood, where the head and forked tail of the Set-animal are visible, with the earliest examples dating back to the times of the first dynasty.
) is also the Egyptian hieroglyphic character that stands for a word meaning power