Two lions of the god Aker
Aker appears as a pair of twin lions, one named Duaj (meaning “yesterday”) and the other Sefer (meaning “tomorrow”). Aker was thus often titled “He who’s looking forward and behind”.
Vignette from a papyrus, The Book of the Dead of Ani, Theban scribe, frame 7. New Kingdom, 19th Dynasty, reign of Ramesses II, around 1250 BC. Now in the British Museum. EA 10470,7
Lions were widespread in prehistoric times and still present in the Nile Valley in the late Pharaonic civilization. The lion was an important element in royal symbolism and divine iconography, the latter being mostly female.
In the hieroglyphic graphic code, the Egyptians represented the feline in two ways: lying down, with a majestic air, or erect, in the act of walking. The reclining pose is the one that has been used since the Predynastic Period in a wide repertoire of sculptures in the round, and it is from it that the later iconography of the sphinx developed.
Illustration of Aker
One of the two lions of god Aker, who was closely associated with the journey of the sun through the realms of the underworld. He appears as a pair of twin lions, one named Duaw (meaning “tomorrow”) and the other Sef (meaning “yesterday”). Aker was thus often titled “He who’s looking forward and behind”.
Aker was first depicted as the torso of a recumbent lion with a widely opened mouth. Later, he was depicted as two recumbent lion torsos merged with each other and still looking away from each other.
New Kingdom, 20th Dynasty, ca. 1189-1077 BC. Detail of a painting from tomb of Inherkhau (TT359), Deir el-Medina, West Thebes.