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Egypten 3.7 :: Divine signs

Object description

The term for hieroglyphics used by the ancient Egyptians was medu netjer or ‘divine signs’. The hieroglyphs represented sounds and meanings but were also believed to have innate magical powers.

The signs epitomised strong conservatism and the Egyptians retained their hieroglyphs for over three thousand years. They wrote on everything; on walls, papyrus and shards of ceramic and stone (ostraca) but also on furniture, coffins and statues.

Parallel to the hieroglyphs, a more cursive form of writing, hieratic, was developed for everyday writing of for example receipts, letters and contracts. The most elaborate hieroglyphs were used for religious inscriptions on tomb and temple walls, texts that were to stand the test of time.

Not all Egyptians were literate, far from it. It is estimated that only around 1% of the population could read and understand simple texts. Only a very small number was able to write longer literary and theological works.

Exhibition, showcase
Egypten 3.7
Title
Divine signs
Alternative Name
Hieroglyphs
Title, Swedish
Gudomliga tecken
Old numbers
1285-C-02
Description, Swedish

Egyptierna kallade hieroglyferna medu netjer, ”gudatecken”. De stod för ljudvärden och betydelser men ansågs samtidigt ha en inneboende magisk kraft.

Skriften präglades av stark konservatism och egyptierna höll fast vid sina hieroglyfer i över tretusen år. Man skrev på det mesta; väggar, papyrus och skärvor av keramik och sten (ostraka). Men även på möbler, kistor och statyer.

Parallellt med hieroglyferna utvecklades en kursivstil, hieratiska, för vardagliga texter som skulle skrivas snabbt, som kvitton, brev och kontrakt. De riktigt fina hieroglyferna sparades för religiösa inskrifter på grav- och tempelväggar, texter som skulle stå i evighet.

Långt ifrån alla egyptier var läskunniga. Man räknar med att ca 1 % av befolkningen kunde läsa och förstå enklare noteringar. Av dem kunde bara en liten del författa längre litterära och teologiska verk.

Description

The term for hieroglyphics used by the ancient Egyptians was medu netjer or ‘divine signs’. The hieroglyphs represented sounds and meanings but were also believed to have innate magical powers.

The signs epitomised strong conservatism and the Egyptians retained their hieroglyphs for over three thousand years. They wrote on everything; on walls, papyrus and shards of ceramic and stone (ostraca) but also on furniture, coffins and statues.

Parallel to the hieroglyphs, a more cursive form of writing, hieratic, was developed for everyday writing of for example receipts, letters and contracts. The most elaborate hieroglyphs were used for religious inscriptions on tomb and temple walls, texts that were to stand the test of time.

Not all Egyptians were literate, far from it. It is estimated that only around 1% of the population could read and understand simple texts. Only a very small number was able to write longer literary and theological works.

Egypt, Number in Exhibition
3.7
Comments
One object, VM 280, was removed in 2019 when it was returned to its owner.
Photograph Number - Is Object Example For
ext-0007
alt
Date - Registration
2013-09-06
Belongs to Exhibition, Part of
New Egypt, 3, In the shadow of the pyramids