Inherkhau worshiping the serpent god Sata
Tomb painting of Inherkhau worshiping the serpent god Sata, son of the earth and guardian of the underworld.
Snakes were dominantly present in ancient Egyptian mythology. They played a double role, benevolent and malevolent. They could be evoked for curing, protecting and healing but at the very same time cursing and inflicting danger. Sata belonged to the first group. Many deities were pictured in a serpent form.
The significance of the snake in Ancient Egypt is very ambivalent. It inspires both fear and admiration. The royal cobra, in particular, protects the wearer against enemies.
In the Book of the Underworld, uraei serve as the guardians of doors and gates.
Various deities were associated to snakes, such as Renenutet who was the goddess of the harvest and was depicted as a woman-cobra.
In addition to the presence of simulacra of Renenutet in the fields, especially during the grape harvest and the harvest phases, there are numerous representations of the goddess near the pantries in Deir el-Medina, with the aim of repelling food enemies such as mice, insects and even snakes.
Tomb of Inherkhau (TT359) vignette of chapter. 87 of the Book of the Dead. New Kingdom, 20th Dynasty, Ramesside Period, ca. 1189-1077 BC. Deir el-Medina, West Thebes.