Tree of Life – Egyptian

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From Temple of Opet, Karnak, Luxor, courtesy of

Between Taweret and Sekhmet is the Egyptian Tree of Life, with a perching bird figure wearing the double crown of upper and lower Egypt. The trunk of the tree, has 2 plant-like bindings at its centre, in a format that can been seen repeated in many tombs and temples.

From Hypostyle Hall: South Wall. Karnak Temple Luxor. Courtesy of kairoinfo4u on Flickr

Now Thoth and Horus pull on the bindings around the Tree of Life, even using their feet for better leverage. Ramesses II sits atop the tree but doesn’t wear the crown of upper and lower Egypt. Thoth and Horus find respective representation by Hermes and Apollo in the Greek Pantheon, and in the myth of Apollo’s Lyra it is Hermes who creates the Lyra and gives it to Apollo. So it is interesting that in the above their counterparts work together to control the Tree of Life.

From the Tomb Khaemhat TT57, courtesy of

Then we find this more disturbing image of two men bound with the Tree of Life, which appears less ambiguous than previous images

From Temple of Amun, Karnak, Luxor, courtesy of

In the above, there are two versions of the tree; one with two figures pulling on the bindings and a simpler version under the seat of the Pharaoh or God. The later version under the seat of an exalted figure may be seen repeatedly in temples and tombs in Egypt.

From Temple of Amun, Karnak, Luxor, courtesy of

The above appears to be a representation of the Tree of Life without/before control vectors, compared to later images its articulation is far more grandiose and beautiful.

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