Mast (hieroglyph)

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hieroglyph #2
Egyptian hieroglyphs
Ship's Mast
Egyptian hieroglyphs

The ancient Egyptian Mast hieroglyph is one of the oldest language hieroglyphs from Ancient Egypt. It is used on a famous label of Pharaoh Den of the First dynasty, but forms part of the location hieroglyph: Emblem of the East.

Nectanebo II's obelisk uses the Mast hieroglyph when describing the construction of his obelisk; in a S-Egyptian emphatic word construct he adds a vertical S, the folded cloth, Gardiner no. S29,
, at the beginning of the word "to erect". (see here, high res: [1], low res: [2])

The Ship's Mast hieroglyph is used as a triliteral phonetic hieroglyphic to represent the sound sequence ꜥḥꜥ, which means "to stand erect", or "to stand vertical"; its use is extensive throughout the language history, and hieroglyphic tomb reliefs and story-telling of Ancient Egypt. It is possibly a forerunner hieroglyph kh3[clarification needed], the sun rising upon the horizon.

In the 198 BC Rosetta Stone, the ship's mast hieroglyph has the unique usage in the final line of the Ptolemy V decree: the mast is used twice-(adjective, verb):

engrave the decree..: "...upon a vertical-(mast) stone stele" the 3-language scripts, .."Shall be made to stand it in the sanctuaries in temples all..."

See also[edit]


  • Budge. An Egyptian Hieroglyphic Dictionary, E.A.Wallace Budge, (Dover Publications), c 1978, (c 1920), Dover edition, 1978. (In two volumes) (softcover, ISBN 0-486-23615-3)
  • Budge. The Rosetta Stone, E.A.Wallace Budge, (Dover Publications), c 1929, Dover edition(unabridged), 1989. (softcover, ISBN 0-486-26163-8)