Hedjet

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Hedjet, the White Crown of Upper Egypt
S1
Hedjet
ḥḏt
in hieroglyphs

Hedjet (ḥḏt) is the formal name for the White Crown of pharaonic Upper Egypt. The crown was white and, after the unification of Egypt, it was combined with the Deshret, the Red Crown of Lower Egypt, to form the Pschent, the Double Crown of Egypt. The symbol sometimes used for the Hedjet was the vulture goddess Nekhbet shown next to the head of the cobra goddess Wadjet, the Uraeus on the Pschent.[1]

History[edit]

The white crown, along with the red crown, has a long history, with each of their respective representations going back into the Predynastic Period, indicating that kingship had been the base of Egyptian society for some time. The earliest image of the Hedjet known so far is in Northern Nubia (Ta-Seti) from around the Naqada II period (c. 3500–3200 BCE).[2] It is possible that the "White crown clan" either migrated northward and their regalia were adopted by the southern Egyptians, or the conquering upper Egyptians took the white crown as their own as they absorbed the kingdom into the new unified state, as they later did with Lower Egypt.

Nekhbet, the tutelary goddess of Nekhebet (modern el Kab) near Hierakonpolis, was depicted as a woman, sometimes with the head of a vulture, wearing the White Crown.[3] The falcon god Horus of Hierakonpolis (Egyptian: Nekhen) was generally shown wearing a White Crown.[4] A famous depiction of the White Crown is on the Narmer Palette found at Hierakonpolis in which the king of the South wearing the hedjet is shown triumphing over his northern enemies. The kings of the united Egypt saw themselves as successors of Horus. Vases from the reign of Khasekhemwy show the king as Horus wearing the White Crown.[5]

As with the Deshret (Red Crown), no example of the White Crown has survived. It is unknown how it was constructed and what materials were used. Felt or leather have been suggested, but this is purely speculative. The fact that no crown has ever been found, even in relatively intact tombs (such as that of king Tutankhamun) might suggest that the crown was passed from one regent to the next, much as in present day monarchies.

See also[edit]

  • Atef - Hedjet Crown with feathers identified with Osiris
  • Khepresh - Blue or War Crown also called Royal Crown
  • Uraeus - Rearing Cobra

References[edit]

  1. ^ Arthur Maurice Hocart, The Life-Giving Myth, Routledge 2004, p.209
  2. ^ Book review of Timonthy Kendall, Genesis of the 'Ka' and Crowns?, Thames & Hudson 2003
  3. ^ Cherine Badawi, Egypt, 2004, p.550
  4. ^ Toby A. H. Wilkinson, Early Dynastic Egypt, Routledge 1999, p.285
  5. ^ Jill Kamil, The Ancient Egyptians: Life in the Old Kingdom, American Univ in Cairo Press 1996, p.61