Bracelet of Queen Ahhotep I

This bracelet of Queen Ahhotep I is formed with two semicircles. Gold and lapis-lazuli were used to create its beautiful two-color decoration. The right semicircle depicts Geb, the god of earth, wearing the double crown and seated on the throne. His hands rest on a sign of protection that is on the shoulder and arm of the king kneeling before him.

The other half of the bracelet is engraved with a falcon and a jackal-headed figure representing the Souls of Pe and Nekhen, the mythical ancestors of the rulers of Egypt before unification. Kneeling, their arms are raised in the henu position, typically used in ceremonies and celebrations.

Bracelet of Queen Ahhotep I. Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 4684
Bracelet of Queen Ahhotep I. Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 4684

The Souls of Pe and Nekhen of are depicted in the kneeling kneeling pose and the placement of the arms are part of temple rituals by which gods and kings as living gods were hailed by this gesture of jubilation.

The gesture of jubilation was called ‘henu’. The pose is also indicative of their readiness to hammer the enemies of their lawful descendants.

The souls of the figures were referred to as the ‘Bau’. In ancient Egyptian mythology, the concept of the soul was complex and multifaceted.

The Egyptians believed in multiple components of the soul, including the ka, ba, akh, and others. The deities are upholders of the divine right of kingship inherited by the ruler in his manifestation as the god Horus.

Gold Inlaid Bracelet of Queen Ahhotep
Gold Inlaid Bracelet of Queen Ahhotep

Most of the objects found in the tomb of Queen Ahhotep bear the names of her sons, Kamose and Ahmose, the kings that chased the Hyksos out of the country.

The queen played a major role during the war of liberation as testified by the many objects that her sons donated to her grave goods. Some of those gifts were weapons, unusual for a woman’s tomb.

Second Intermediate Period, 17th Dynasty, ca. 1560-1530 BC. Dimensions: height 3.4 cm, diameter 5.5 cm. From Dra’ Abu el-Naga’, Thebes. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 4684