Nine bows

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The Bronze Sphinx of Thutmose III, showing Pharaoh reclining on the Nine Bows. The front of the statuette uses the lapwing Rekhyt bird to say: "all the people give praise", using the hieroglyphs, nb, for all, the lapwing, for the people, and the star, for praising; (this is a rebus). Djed pillars of "Dominion" are on the side.

The nine bows is a term used in Ancient Egypt to represent the traditional enemies of Egypt. The peoples covered by this term changed over time, as enemies changed, and there is no true list of the nine bows.[1] When illustrated the nine bows are usually shown as dressed differently from each other, as they each personify a specific enemy relevant to the time period.

Pharaoh Djoser[edit]

One of the oldest representations of the Nine bows is on the seated statue of Pharaoh Djoser–his feet rest upon part of the nine bows, a term given to southern Nubians.[2] The Rekhyt bird-(lapwing) is often associated in the iconography, with the phrase: "all the peoples give praise".

Tutankhamun's tomb[edit]

Pharaoh-King Tutankhamun has a famous representation of the Nine Bows, and the nine foreign enemies. The tomb was closed with a knotted rope, and the rope impressed with a clay seal. The seal contains an impression with Anubis, reclining as a jackal, at the top list of the Nine foreign rebels, in a long, vertical cartouche-image.


  1. ^ Wilson, 2005, p.61
  2. ^ "Enemies of Civilization: Attitudes toward Foreigners in Ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, and China", Mu-chou Poo, Mu-chou Poo Muzhou Pu. SUNY Press, Feb 1, 2012. p. 43. Retrieved 7 jan 2017


  • Kevin A. Wilson (2005). The Campaign of Pharaoh Shoshenq I Into Palestine. Mohr Siebeck.