Peeking Through Glass at Ancient Deities

An interior view of the Egyptian Museum, Cairo

Staring at those itty-bitty Egyptian deity figurines was like falling into a never-ending time warp! I swear, I could’ve pulled a “Pharaoh’s Rest” in there, spending centuries admiring these awe-inspiring, painstakingly carved creations. Some were bigger, some were smaller – it’s like they had their own little divine hierarchy going on! It’s no wonder every Egyptian home had a god or goddess on speed dial; they took their religion seriously! Take, for example, the pint-sized powerhouse, “Bes” – he was the go-to guy for home security and ensuring stork deliveries went off without a hitch. And with hundreds of gods and goddesses in their divine rolodex, the ancient Egyptians sure knew how to keep their spiritual address book packed!

Statues of deities and gods from ancient Egypt

What are deities?

Although they are famous for their giant statues, the Egyptians also carved smaller, more ornate sculptures. They used various materials including alabaster, ivory, limestone, basalt, wood gilded with gold, and sometimes even solid gold. Above is an example of the intricate work of Ancient Egyptian sculptures.

Local areas had local gods, with each city or region often having their own deities that they worshipped. If a city came to prominence under a ruler or powerful official, then the local gods rose alongside them. These became ‘state’ gods, worshipped by the wealthy and elite in the temples. However, the general population continued to worship their local gods as well. Some gods, therefore, were preferred by certain classes of people, some were only worshipped in certain areas, and others prominent only in certain periods. In later times, different deities were frequently combined or merged.

Ancient Egyptian deities are the gods and goddesses worshipped in ancient Egypt. … Deities represented natural forces and phenomena, and the Egyptians supported and appeased them through offerings and rituals so that these forces would continue to function according to maat, or divine order.

Some mainstream idols were

  • AMUN-RA: The Hidden One.
  • MUT: The Mother Goddess.
  • OSIRIS: The King of the Living.
  • ANUBIS: The Divine Embalmer.
  • RA: God of the Sun and Radiance.
  • HORUS: God of Vengeance.
  • THOTH: God of Knowledge and Wisdom.
  • HATHOR: Goddess of Motherhood.

Some lesser known idols were

Human-headed Imsety, a son of Horus, was the protector of the liver.

Baboon-headed Hapy, a son of Horus, was the guardian of the lungs.

Falcon-headed Qebehsenuef, a son of Horus, protector of the intestines.

Jackal-headed Duamutef, a son of Horus, keeper of the stomach.

Nephthys was the sister of Isis and Osiris and a protector of the dead.

I made the video below so you could take a rare look inside the museum, as well as the gilded “Royal Mummy” room. The first mummy that visitors encounter is that of King Seqenenre Taa II, followed by those of Queen Ahmose Nefertari, King Amenhotep I, King Thutmose I, King Thutmose II, Queen Hatshepsut, King Thutmose II, King Amenhotep II and Thutmose IV.

Like Egypt? See my other blog posts here.

Something out of Indiana Jones!
Entrance to the Royal Mummy room
Tutankhamun’s sarcophagus
Statues of Rahotep and Nofret (No 27), a noble couple from the reign of Sneferu, builder of the Bent and the Red Pyramids at Dahshur. Almost life-sized with well-preserved painted surfaces, the limestone sculptures’ simple lines make them seem almost contemporary, despite having been around for a staggering 4600 years

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