Heh (god)

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C11
Huh
in hieroglyphs

In Egyptian mythology, Heh (also Huh, Hah, Hauh, Huah, Hahuh, Hehu) was the deification of infinity or eternity in the Ogdoad, his name itself meaning "endlessness". His female counterpart was known as Hauhet, which is simply the feminine form of his name.

Like the other concepts in the Ogdoad, his male form was often depicted as a frog, or a frog-headed human, and his female form as a snake or snake-headed human. The other common representation depicts him crouching, holding a palm stem in each hand (or just one), sometimes with a palm stem in his hair, as palm stems represented long life to the Egyptians, the years being represented by notches on it. Depictions of this form also had a shen ring at the base of each palm stem, which represented infinity. Depictions of Huh were also used in hieroglyphs to represent one million, which was essentially considered equivalent to infinity in Egyptian mathematics. Thus this deity is also known as the "god of millions of years".

Origins and mythology[edit]

The primary meaning of the term ḥeḥ was "million" or "millions"; subsequently, a personification of Ḥeḥ was adopted as the Egyptian god of infinity. Together with his female counterpart Ḥauḥet, Ḥeḥ represented a member of the Ogdoad of eight primeval deities whose worship was centred at Hermopolis Magna.

Forms and iconography[edit]

Heh

The god Ḥeḥ was usually depicted anthropomorphically, as in the hieroglyphic character, as a male figure with divine beard and lappet wig. Normally kneeling (one knee raised), the god typically holds in each hand a notched palm branch. (These were employed in the temples for ceremonial time-keeping, which use explains the use of the palm branch as the hieroglyphic symbol for rnp.t, "year"). Occasionally, an additional palm branch is worn on the god's head.

Cult and worship[edit]

The personified, somewhat abstract god of eternity Ḥeḥ possessed no known cult centre or sanctuary; rather, his veneration revolved around symbolism and personal belief. The god's image and its iconographic elements reflected the wish for millions of years of life or rule; as such, the figure of Ḥeḥ finds frequent representation in amulets, prestige items and royal iconography from the late Old Kingdom period onwards.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Barta, Winfried [1992], "Die Bedeutung der Personifikation Huh im Unterschied zu den Personifikationen Hah und Nun", Göttinger Miszellen 127 (1992), pp. 7–12.

See also[edit]