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Deshret, the Red Crown of Lower Egypt
in hieroglyphs

Deshret, from ancient Egyptian, was the formal name for the Red Crown of Lower Egypt and for the desert Red Land on either side of Kemet (Black Land), the fertile Nile river basin. When combined with the Hedjet (White Crown) of Upper Egypt, it forms the Pschent (Double Crown), in ancient Egyptian called the sekhemti.

The Red Crown in Egyptian language hieroglyphs eventually was used as the vertical letter "n" . The original "n" hieroglyph from the Predynastic Period, and the Old Kingdom was the sign depicting ripples of water.


In mythology, the earth deity Geb, original ruler of Egypt, invested Horus with the rule over Lower Egypt.[1] The Egyptian pharaohs, who saw themselves as successors of Horus, wore it to symbolize their authority over Lower Egypt.[2]
Other deities wore the deshret too, or were identified with it, such as the protective serpent goddess Wadjet and the creator-goddess of Sais, Neith, who often is shown wearing the Red Crown.[3]

The Red Crown would later be combined with the White Crown of Upper Egypt to form the Double Crown, symbolizing the rule over the whole country, "The Two Lands" as the Egyptians expressed it.[4]

As concerns deshret, the Red Land which comprised the deserts and foreign lands surrounding Egypt, Seth was its lord.[5] It was considered a region of chaos, without law and full of dangers.

Records of the Red Crown[edit]

None of the red crowns have survived, and it is unknown how it was constructed and what materials were used. Copper, reeds, cloth, and leather have been suggested, but this is purely speculative.

The Red Crown frequently is mentioned in texts and depicted in reliefs and statues. An early example is the depiction of the victorious pharaoh wearing the deshret on the Narmer Palette. A label from the reign of Djer records a royal visit to the shrine of the Deshret which may have been located at Buto in the Nile delta.[6]

The fact that no crown has ever been found buried with any of the pharaohs, even in relatively intact tombs, might suggest that it was passed from one regent to the next, much as in present day monarchies.

Deshret headdress gallery[edit]

Deshret (vertical letter N) in hieroglyphic writing[edit]


  1. ^ Ewa Wasilewska, Creation Stories of the Middle East, Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2000, p.128
  2. ^ Toby A. H. Wilkinson, Early Dynastic Egypt, Routledge 1999, p.194
  3. ^ George Hart, The Routledge Dictionary Of Egyptian Gods And Goddesses, p.100
  4. ^ Ana Ruiz, The Spirit of Ancient Egypt, Algora Publishing 2001, p.8
  5. ^ John D. Baines, Byron Esely Shafer, Leonard H. Lesko, David P. Silverman, Religion in Ancient Egypt: Gods, Myths, and Personal Practice, Cornell University Press 1991, p.93
  6. ^ Toby A. H. Wilkinson, Early Dynastic Egypt, Routledge 1999, p.284

See also[edit]