Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Eye of Horus

I was always fascinated with mysteries of Ancient Egypt, and especially with vast array of sacred symbols, left behind by this super civilization. As a result, Egyptian collection was a cornerstone of my “Sacred Symbols” project. And the very first design I was working on, was one of the well-known depictions of the famous Eye of Horus. This particular artifact was unearthed by archaeologists in a form of a golden pendant. The image later become very popular, and is being used on numerous modern-day replicas and souvenirs. Here you can find my version of the image. 

The Eye of Horus is an ancient Egyptian symbol of protection, royal power and good health. The eye is personified in the goddess Wadjet (also written as Wedjat, Uadjet, Wedjoyet, Edjo or Uto and as The Eye of Ra or "Udjat").  Wadjet was one of the earliest of Egyptian deities who later became associated with other goddesses such as Bast, Sekhmet, Mut, and Hathor. She was the tutelary deity of Lower Egypt and the major Delta shrine the "per-nu" was under her protection. Hathor is also depicted with this eye. Funerary amulets were often made in the shape of the Eye of Horus. The Wedjat or Eye of Horus is "the central element" of seven "gold, faience, carnelian and lapis lazuli" bracelets found on the mummy of Shoshenq II. The Wedjat "was intended to protect the king [here] in the afterlife" and to ward off evil. Ancient Egyptian and Near Eastern sailors would frequently paint the symbol on the bow of their vessel to ensure safe sea travel.

Horus was the ancient Egyptian sky god who was usually depicted as a falcon. His right eye was associated with the sun Ra. The eye symbol represents the marking around a Peregrine Falcon's eye that includes the "teardrop" marking sometimes found below the eye. The mirror image, or left eye, sometimes represented the moon and the god Djehuti (Thoth).

The Eye of Horus arguably served as a prototype for the well-known symbol of the All-Seeing Eye. The Eye of Providence (or the all-seeing eye of God) is a symbol showing an eye often surrounded by rays of light or a glory and usually enclosed by a triangle. It is sometimes interpreted as representing the eye of God watching over humankind (or divine providence). It also appears in Buddhism, where Buddha is also regularly referred to as the "Eye of the World" throughout Buddhist scriptures (e.g. Mahaparinibbana Sutta) and is represented as a trinity in the shape of a triangle known as the Tiratna, or Triple Gem.

In Medieval and Renaissance European iconography, the Eye (often with the addition of an enclosing triangle) was an explicit image of the Christian Trinity. Seventeenth-century depictions of the Eye of Providence sometimes show it surrounded by clouds or sun bursts.

In the modern era, the most notable depiction of the eye is the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States, which appears on the United States one-dollar bill.

As usually, the above design is available on a limited number of high quality customizable products exclusively from my Sacred Symbols gallery on Zazzle.

The above information provided in part by, Wikipedia and various printed materials on Egyptology. All images are Copyright © of C.7 Design Studio

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