Hedjet Symbol – History And Meaning

The Hedjet, unlike most ancient Egyptian symbols, is technically not a hieroglyph. However, it is widely recognizable and very symbolic.

The Hedjet is referred to as the “White Crown,” represented by an old Egyptian crown or a royal headdress from the Upper Egyptian kingdom in the south. Its northern counterpart is the Deshret, the headdress worn by rulers in Lower Egypt.

Hedjet Symbol – History And Meaning

If you want to learn more about the Hedjet symbol, read on to find out the meaning, history, and significance of this Egyptian symbol.

Image by kompak from Wikimedia | CC

Hedjet Symbol History

Before the unification of the two kingdoms of Egypt – Upper and Lower Egypt – in 2686 BCE, the two had different traditions and religious cults. Royal traditions, as well as symbols, were associated with their respective patrons.

Lower Egypt’s patron goddess was Wadjet, represented by the uraeus symbol . The Upper Egypt, on the other hand, was protected by the white vulture goddess called Nekhbet as per ancient Egyptian beliefs.

The Hedjet is very ancient, tracing its roots deep into prehistory. The first representations of the tapered bulb-shaped headdress are thought to have occurred in the Qustul in Nubia around 3500-3200 BC.

Historians and archeologists know of this iconic white crown symbol only from its artistic depictions since no physical Hedjets have been found.

However, new evidence has been excavated from Cemetery U and the tomb U-j in the ancient city of Abydos, now the modern-day El-Balyana in Egypt’s Sohag Governorate, Egypt. This shows that the Hedjet symbol appears earlier, thought to date to Naqada III, about 3200 to 3000 BC.

The Hedjet Symbol

The Hedjet or White Crown symbol is depicted as an elongated design that resembles a stretched gourd. It was the crown of the rulers of Upper Egypt, as opposed to the Deshret which was the Red Crown that the rulers in Lower Egypt wore.

As the crown of kings, the Hedjet symbolizes the sovereignty and divine authority of the ruler. Since the Hedjet was never an actual hieroglyph, it was not used to express its meaning in writing.

There are numerous theories as to how the Hedjet actually looked like and what material it was made of, as well as the workmanship.

Due to lack of any physical fundings of Hedjet crowns, some historians believe that a Hedjet was made out of leather, but others say it was textile. However, most do think that the headdress was woven like a basket out of reed, therefore it was actually green.

The same lack of physical findings has also led historians to believe that the crown was passed from one regent to another, the way it’s done in present-day monarchies.

Today, the Hedjet or White Crown remains only in pictorial representations of ancient Egyptian royals and deities.

Hedjet Symbol Meaning

The word “Hedjet” is an ancient Egyptian which means “White One.” It is the formal name for the White Crown worn by rulers of Upper Egypt. Its northern counterpart is the Deshret or Red Crown, worn by Lower Egyptian rulers.

The Hedjet or White Crown is a white elongated conical headpiece used to represent the king of Upper Egypt.

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