ChapterPDF Available

Ostriches in Ancient Egypt (Pharaonic& Coptic epochs)

Authors:
  • Egyptian Ministry Of Tourism& Antiquities

Abstract

Ostrich was abundant and broadly distributed in Egypt during the prehistoric and Pharaonic epochs, most probably received, brought or hunted from Kush (Nubia), Ethiopia, and Punt country referred to as “Ta netjer”, the “land of the god” (east coast of Africa, corresponding to modern coastal Ethiopia, Eretria and Djibouti
Ostriches in Ancient Egypt Venice Ibrahim Attia
vivalo_jesus@yahoo.com vivalojesus.ibrahim@gmail.com V I S January 2018 Page 1
Ostriches in Ancient Egypt
(Pharaonic& Coptic epochs)
By
Venice Ibrahim Attia
Ostrich
-scientifically ostrich or common
ostrich is known as (Struthio
camelus camel-bird, because it is
very large, can survive a long time
without water, and it lives in desert
and sandy places similarly as the
camel), it is a species of large
flightless omnivores (feed on
both plants and animals) birds
native to Africa (mainly northern
Africa), most probably they were
hunted for sport, their feathers and
also for their meat.
Struthio camelus distribution map
S. c. camelus
S. molybdophanes
S. c. massaicus
S. c. australis
Scientific classification
Kingdom:
Animalia
Phylum:
Chordata
Class:
Aves
Order:
Struthioniformes
Family:
Struthionidae
Genus:
Struthio
Species:
S. camelus
Binomial name:
Struthio camelus:Linnaeus, 1758
Subspecies:
-S.c.camelus Linnaeus, 1758
North African ostrich.
-S. c. australis Gurney, 1868
Southern ostrich.
-S. c. massaicus Neumann,
1898 Masai ostrich.
-S. c. syriacus Rothschild,
1919Arabian ostrich
Ostriches in Ancient Egypt Venice Ibrahim Attia
vivalo_jesus@yahoo.com vivalojesus.ibrahim@gmail.com V I S January 2018 Page 2
Ostriches
-The average life spanof an ostrich
is about 50 to 75 years, weighing
from 63 to 145 kilograms with a
hight of about 2.8 m, its body is
covered by black to gryish white
feathers , the head, neck and legs of
both male and female ostriches is
nearly bare ( without feathers) with
a thin layer of down ( sort of very
small light kind of hair or feather
like), the neck and thighs skin of
ostrich is gray or pink, dependent
on subspecies, it has just two toes
on each foot (most birds have four),
with the nail on the larger, inner toe
resembling to a hoof and the outer
toe has no nail , the reduced
number of toes is a kind of natural
ecological adaptation to accelerate
runningspeed to escape and run
away from predaors.
Ostrich foot compared to other birds feet
-It also posseses the biggest and
largest eyes of any other birds, as
well as other land vertebrate, sized
about 50 mm (2.0 in) in diameter
with eye lashes on top.
Ostrich eyes with long eyelashes, flat broad beak and
thin layer of down covering the neck
-Ostrich feathers hang loosely and
don't hook together like feathers of
other birds, thus giving them the
bushy and shaggy appearance.
Ostrich feathers
Ostriches in Ancient Egypt Venice Ibrahim Attia
vivalo_jesus@yahoo.com vivalojesus.ibrahim@gmail.com V I S January 2018 Page 3
Adult ostrich with shaggy and bushy feather
appearance
-Ostriches are considered as one of
the largest living species of
birds possesing a long neck and
long legs, it is also one of the fastest
birds with running speed up to
about 70 km/h (19 m/s; 43 mph).
-It feeds on seeds, shrubs, grass,
fruits , flowers and occasionally
they may eat insects and small
invertebrates, they can thrive
without drinking water for several
days, and lives in groups of 5-50
birds, thus males usually have 2-7
females to defend.
Ostrich family
-Ostriches become sexually
mature when they are 2 to 4 years
old, thus females mature six months
earlier than males, reproducing
small chicks several times over its
lifetime, their mating season begins
in March ending in August where
the female ostrich lays glossy
cream-coloured fertilized eggs, with
thick shells marked by small pits
with average size of 15 cm long,
13 cm wide weighing about 1.4
kilograms (over 20-24 times the
weight of an average chicken's
egg).
Average Ostrich egg
Ostrich egg compared to an average chicken's egg
Ostriches in Ancient Egypt Venice Ibrahim Attia
vivalo_jesus@yahoo.com vivalojesus.ibrahim@gmail.com V I S January 2018 Page 4
-The eggs are incubated by females
during day time and by the males
during night for 35 to 45 days in a
nest made of a simple pit, 30 to
60 cm deep and 3 m wide, the
hatched chicks are usually fawn
coloured (grayish yellow
brown to moderate reddish brown),
with dark brown spots, by six
months chicks become full-grown
and at age 3 or 4 years it reaches
maturity.
Ostrich eggs incubated and watched over by parents
Ostrich hatched chicks
Ostrich in ancient Egypt
-Ostrich was abundant and broadly
distributed in Egypt during the
prehistoric and Pharaonic epochs,
most probably received, brought or
hunted from Kush (Nubia),
Ethiopia, and Punt country
referred to as Ta netjer,
the land of the god (east coast of
Africa, corresponding to modern
coastal Ethiopia, Eretria and
Djibouti .
Egyptian spelling "pwenet"
-Ancient Egyptians did not consider
the ostrich as a sacred diety birds
but they greatly valued it for its
feathers and eggs, thus association
of new life and or rebirth with the
ostrich egg has been verified by
numerous archaeological finds,
their amulets were considered
having power conferred upon the
dead and such amulets were
depections of two ostrich plumes
supposed to fly away in the wind,
bearing deceased soul, where the
pair of plumes used as a vehicle for
the soul of the deceased (Flinders
Petrie, Amulets).
Ostriches in Ancient Egypt Venice Ibrahim Attia
vivalo_jesus@yahoo.com vivalojesus.ibrahim@gmail.com V I S January 2018 Page 5
William Flinders Petrie, (1853 -1903)
courtesy of Petrie Museum, University College
London.
Egyptian Ostrich Plume Amulet.
-Charles Kuentz (1895 - 1978 )
Americanborn French
Egyptologist who was director of
the Institut français d'archéologie
orientale from 1940 to 1953
idetified a relief with prancing
(dancing) birds in Madenet Habu
Temple as ostriches, he also
translated the Hieroglyphs on King
Ahmose I stela that describes the
king as dancing ostrich.
Charles Kuentz (1895 - 1978 ) Americanborn
French Egyptologist who was director of the Institut
français d'archéologie orientale from 1940 to 1953
Prancing birds, identified by C. Kuentz as ostriches.
Kuentz, p.87
-Ostrich feathers and eggs were
used for decoration, thus high
ranked officers, elite charioteers
and wealthy individuals wore
Ostriches in Ancient Egypt Venice Ibrahim Attia
vivalo_jesus@yahoo.com vivalojesus.ibrahim@gmail.com V I S January 2018 Page 6
ostrich feather on their heads as a
sign of elegance, also royal horses
were decorated with ostrich
feathers upon their heads.
Bas relief from the temple of Merenptah: Amenophis
III on his triumphant chariot showing the horses
adorned with feathers
Tomb wall depicting Queen Nefertari wife of
Rameses II wearing an ostrich feather on her head
-Pliny mentioned that the eggs of
the ostrich were prized and valued
for their large size and strong hard
shells, and were employed and used
as vessels for certain purposes, the
eggs were also eaten and the
feathers of wings and tail were
used as ornaments for the crests
and helmets of warriors.
Pliny (Gaius Plinius Secundus 23 -79 AD)
-Also Horapollo( Horus Apollo;
Greek: Ὡραπόλλων, one of the last
leaders of Egyptian priesthood at a
school in Menouthis near
Alexandria during the reign of
Zeno AD 474491, the author of a
treatise, titled Hieroglyphica) wrote
about the Egyptian cult and the use
of the Ostrich feather "The man
rendering justice to all, was
represented by the ostrich feather;
because that bird, unlike others, has
all its feathers equal."
Ostriches in Ancient Egypt Venice Ibrahim Attia
vivalo_jesus@yahoo.com vivalojesus.ibrahim@gmail.com V I S January 2018 Page 7
The cover page of The Horapollo's Hieroglyphica.
Ostrich feather, emblem of the Egyptian Goddess
Ma’at reprisenting justice.
Egyptian Goddess Ma'at with an ostrich a feather on
her head, Ma'at daughter of the sun god Ra and
goddess of truth, justice and harmony, associated
with balance of things on Earth
-The ostrich has its importance in
ancient Egyptian culture and
religion where its feather was the
sign of the deity Ma’at, which was a
symbol of purity, thus the justified
deceased were pictured wearing
ostrich feathers on their heads,
where an ostrich feather was the
weight against the heart of the
deceased during judgment.
God Anubis weighing the Heart against a feather.
Judgement in the Hall of Truths, taken from the
Papyrus of Ani Book of the Dead, showing weighing
the heart of the deceased against a feather.
Ostriches in Ancient Egypt Venice Ibrahim Attia
vivalo_jesus@yahoo.com vivalojesus.ibrahim@gmail.com V I S January 2018 Page 8
Different spelling of Goddess Ma'at
in hieroglyphs
-An ostrich plume symbolized truth
and justice in ancient Egypt, and
was the emblem of the goddess
Ma'at who personified these
virtues, and who was the patron-
saint of the judges, her
head is adorned with an ostrich
feather, her eyes are closed,
similarly as Justice is blindfolded,
Ma'at is always portrayed as a
woman with a white ostrich feather
on her head carrying a scepter in
one hand and an ankh sign in the
other.
Wall relief of Ma'at with an ostrich feather on her
head in the upper eastern part of Edfu temple, Egypt.
Goddess Ma'at statue made of Gold and lapis lazuli
from the third Intermediate Period800700 BCE
Egyptian Museum, Cairo
-The image of goddess Ma'at was
the most precious offering for the
gods, and was attached to the
necklace of the chief judge as a
badge of officeand as a dedication
to justice snd a promise to applying
it always.
Ostriches in Ancient Egypt Venice Ibrahim Attia
vivalo_jesus@yahoo.com vivalojesus.ibrahim@gmail.com V I S January 2018 Page 9
Winged Egyptian Goddess Ma'at, Kom Ombo temple
Egypt
Goddess Ma'at kneeling with outspread wings, 19th
Dynasty. Tomb of Siptah. Valley of the Kings.
Western Thebes.
-Ostrich feathers were worn in
ancient Egypt, being stuck in their
hair, and a religious significance
was possibly connected with this
custom, also other gods were
depicted holdind or wearing
ostrich( Ma'at) feather as a symbol
of justice.
Statue (figure) of the God Re-Horakhty with an
ostrich plume, New Kingdom,Late Period, 1550-332
B.C.
Faience, polychrome inlay depicting God Thoth (ibis
bird) with ostrich (Ma'at) feather, Late Period
(Ptolemaic), 4th century B.C
Metropolitan museum.
-Ostrich feathers are also
invariably found in the hair of
soldiers, and there are some ancient
Egyptian depictions and carvings
showing warriors adorned with
ostrich feathers and that applies
with chariot horses.
Ostriches in Ancient Egypt Venice Ibrahim Attia
vivalo_jesus@yahoo.com vivalojesus.ibrahim@gmail.com V I S January 2018 Page 10
Heads of horses and worriors adorned with ostrich
feathers
Roylties and princesses had fans
made from ostrich feathers, thus
there was a high ranked person
responsible for the king fans
bearing the title: "Fan bearer to the
right of the king", also ostrich
feathers were used to make fancy
fans and decorations.
Fan Bearer to the right of the King
view of Khaemwaset, a son of Ramesses III, holding
a khu fan ( made of ostrich plume).
royal chariots escorted by two female attendants,
holding plume-shaped fans tomb of Meryra High
Priest of Aten
Ancient Egyptian standard feather fans, the Khu
papyrus staff with ostrich feather carried by princes,
boats and oars, Osiride crowns, feathered horse
headdresses, flowers and vases. Grammar of
Ornament by Owen Jones.
Ostriches in Ancient Egypt Venice Ibrahim Attia
vivalo_jesus@yahoo.com vivalojesus.ibrahim@gmail.com V I S January 2018 Page 11
-Ostrich eggs was related to divine
and diety births and world creation
mythologies (Lefébure 1910), it was
also believed that does breath life
within its shell and could bring air
to the deceased (Drioton 1933).
During the dynastic Egypt the
resurrectional aspects of the egg
were widespread and was a
common believe among Egyptians,
and that explains the abundance of
egg shells and or their fragments in
various tombs and graves where
they were believed to be after life
resurrection tokens and a symbol of
rebirth.
-Whole ostrich eggs were used as
bowls and containers especially
used as a baby feeder containers,
and were placed in the graves this is
explained by the discovery of such
ostrich egg shell containers as well
as fragments of shells within
numerious number of ancient
Egyptian children graves ( for
example at Abu Simbel 215:25,
ostrich eggs were found with an
infant Emery & Kirwin 1935:
459”, also in cemetery 101, Grave
594, an egg was found along with a
burial of an infant ).
Egg-shaped jar from the Pillared Hall precinct at
HK6 (photo by J. Rossiter).
-Fragments of ostrich eggshells
(small pieces) were also used im
makind various shapes of beads
used in makingin necklaces , it has
been used in some instances as a
sort of stamps.
ostrich eggshell rocker-stamp tool, rectangular in
shape with notches incised around the edges, and an
oval in shape bead hole with a drilled from the
exterior to the interior through the centrefound in Bir
Kiseiba, Egyptian western desert.
British museum, Cridit of British Museum
-Ostrich eggs were represented and
depicted regularly in ancient
Egyptian art, knowing that the
ostrich is among the first species of
birds which have a lot of pictorial
depictions as evidence of their
abundance in various epochs in
Ostriches in Ancient Egypt Venice Ibrahim Attia
vivalo_jesus@yahoo.com vivalojesus.ibrahim@gmail.com V I S January 2018 Page 12
ancient Egypt, (thus it is important
to mention that physical bones and
skeletal remains” of the ostrich
itself are scarce despite the
abundance of its eggshells as well
as its feathers in the form of fans.
-Ostrich findings in diffirent
Egyptian epochs are as follows:-
In Neolithic Egypt
-The Neolithic epoch of Ancient
Egypt( about 8600 - 4400 BC)
directly befor the predynastic era.
-Ostrichegg shell beads has been
found in the site of Nabta Playa
(lower Nubia area in upper Egypt)
in different areas along with tools
that were used to drill their holes
,polish and finish them, all
preserved in good condition.
Nabta Playa (lower Nubia area in upper Egypt).
Ostrich eggshells, prepared and completed beads,
Photo:Don Hitchcock 2015, British Museum
Ostrich eggshell beads, 8000 - 6750 BC
Photo:Don Hitchcock 2015, British Museum
Flint tools used in drilling holes in ostrich egg shells
beads
Photo:Don Hitchcock 2015, British Museum
Ostriches in Ancient Egypt Venice Ibrahim Attia
vivalo_jesus@yahoo.com vivalojesus.ibrahim@gmail.com V I S January 2018 Page 13
stones with grooves used for polishing ostrich
eggshell beads,
Photo:Don Hitchcock 2015, British Museum
In Pre-dynastic Egypt
-The Pre-dynastic epoch of Ancient
Egypt (prior to 3,100 BC)
is the period between the early
Neolithic and the beginning of the
Pharaonic monarchy begun with
the rule of King Narmer founder of
the First Dynasty who unified lower
and upper Egypt .
-Excavated drawings of ostriches
were recognized on some rocks on
cliffs on the Nile valley, upper
Egypt desert and in Nubia dating
from predynastic Egypt.
Egyptian petroglyphs at Gebel el-Silsila, showing
several animals including an ostrich.
- The largest concentration findings
of ostrich eggs discovered in one
place in Predynastic Egypt was
found at a tomb in Hierakonpolis
(Nekhen tomb).
Plate from Winkler’s Rock-Drawings of Southern
Upper Egypt showing animal petroglyphs.
Ostrich Rock-Drawings of Nag el-Hamdulab
(Aswan) upper Egypt
- Ostrich eggs with traces and
remains of painting and engraving
have been found in prehistoric
tombs of Egypt, and are figured by
Jean Capart (Primitive Art in
Egypt, p. 40).
Ostriches in Ancient Egypt Venice Ibrahim Attia
vivalo_jesus@yahoo.com vivalojesus.ibrahim@gmail.com V I S January 2018 Page 14
Jean Capart (1877 1947) a Belgian Egyptologist,
director of the El-Kab excavations 1937- 1939, 1945
Smithsonian Institution Archives.
Site of predynastic cemetery of HK6 at Hierakonpolis
Predynastic cemetery of HK6 at Hierakonpolis where
clusteral fragments of ostrich egg shells has been
found
Incised ostrich eggshell pre-dynastic Egypt
(Naqada I and II). housed in the Egyptian Museum,
Cairo (inv.N.93)Courtesy of the Egyptian Museum,
Cairo.
-An ostrich egg (broken into pieces
and rebuilt through restoration)
found between 1930 and 1948 in
Maadi area, from predynastic lower
Egypt dated to the 4th millennium
Restored ostrich egg shell from Maadi area, from
predynastic lower Egypt dated to the 4th millennium
Incised ostrich eggshell pre-dynastic Egypt
(Naqada I and II). in the Oriental Institute,
Chicago (E12322).Courtesy of the Oriental Institute
of the University of Chicago
Ostriches in Ancient Egypt Venice Ibrahim Attia
vivalo_jesus@yahoo.com vivalojesus.ibrahim@gmail.com V I S January 2018 Page 15
Incised ostrich eggshell frompre-dynastic Egypt
(Naqada I) Nubian Museum, Egypt
Ostrich egg with a blow hole in one end, and incised
decoration, Naqada, grave 1480,
Ashmolean Museum
-Anciet Egyptian artists also made
ostrich egg figures from clay and
ornamented it with black zigzaged
lines and white spots.
-Some daily used items such as
combs, palettes, pottery jars, pots,
containers decorated with an
ostrich shapes has been found from
Egyptian predynastic period
Decorated comb with an ostrich shape made of bone
Predynastic, Late Naqada lNaqada II Date: ca.
39003500 B.C. Metropolitan Museum
Egyptian Late predynastic palette with an Ostrich
shape (Manchester palette). Naqada II
Painted pottery vase decorated with ostriches,
Naqada epoch. Rijksmuseum van Ouheden, Leiden.
Ostriches in Ancient Egypt Venice Ibrahim Attia
vivalo_jesus@yahoo.com vivalojesus.ibrahim@gmail.com V I S January 2018 Page 16
Painted pottery vase decorated with ostriches with
other shapes, Petrie Museum of Egyptian
Archaeology
Decorated pottery urn decorated with ostriches pre-
dynastic Egypt, (Neus Museum Berlin).
-Ancient Egyptians used ostrich egg
shells to make beads used to make
necklaces of varioue shapes such as
beads found in HK43 Burial 300,
which belongs an infant(child) from
Predynastic Egyptian epoch at the
site of Hierakonpolis (3600 B.C.).
Ostrich eggshell beads from HK43 Burial 300, the
burial of an infant
-In Dynastic Egypt
-The dynastic epoch of Ancient
Egypt begins with the regine of
King Narmer (Menes), founder of
the First Dynasty who unified lower
and upper Egypt, starting the
Pharaonic monarchy and the great
legacy of a long epoch of civilization
( starting with the early dynastic
3100BC till the end of the late
period 525BC).
King Narmer (Menes), first king of the First Dynasty
(31st century BC), Narmer Palette, , Cairo museum
Ostriches in Ancient Egypt Venice Ibrahim Attia
vivalo_jesus@yahoo.com vivalojesus.ibrahim@gmail.com V I S January 2018 Page 17
-The ancient Egyptians were aware
of the morning remarkable
behaviour of ostriches when they
run around flapping with their
wings ina dance filledwith
happiness with a sence of pride,
triumph and feeling strong, thus
King Ahmose I (lead the conquest
against the Hyksos, 18 dynasty-
New Kingdom) was described in a
his stela (housed in Cairo museum
CG 34001 - KIU 575) as an ostrich
in such beautiful scene as follows:-
like Atem in the east of the sky
when the ostriches dance in the
valleys
20 m jrty stwt⸗f m ḥrw mj Jtm m jȝbtt pt njw ḥr jbȝ m
jnwt mj psd Jȝḫw m
“like Atem in the east of the sky
when the ostriches dance in the valleys”
Stela of King Ahmose I(housed in Cairo museum CG
34001 - KIU 575)
A fragmentary statue of Ahmose I, Metropolitan
Museum of Art.
Mummy of Ahmose I
- In various Dynastic Egyptian eras
ostrich drawings, paintings and
depictions are frequently seen on
the walls of tombs especially in
hunting seens and expeditions to the
west and south of Africa (Lebia,
Nubia& Punt Land.
Ostriches in Ancient Egypt Venice Ibrahim Attia
vivalo_jesus@yahoo.com vivalojesus.ibrahim@gmail.com V I S January 2018 Page 18
Relief with a hunting scene depecting 2 ostriches
with other animals (12th Dynasty)
Berlin, Neues Museum
Relief depicting a militairy expedition by Ramses II
from the temple of Beit el-Wali, in New Kalabsha
Lower Nubia.
-Also it is known and proved that
ancient Egyptians domesticated and
raised ostriches in special farms for
their meat, feathers and eggs, some
paintings show tamed herd of adult
ostriches led by their owners or
persons in charge of the ostrich
farm .
Domesticated ostriches depiction on walls of ancient
Egypian tomb
Copy of wall painting of a servant carrying a bowl
containing ostrich eggs, holding a rabbit ( hare) in
the other hand and an ibex, tomb of Horemheb
(TT78), Sheikh Abd el-Qurna, Thebes. Reign
of Thutmose III - Amenhotep II, New Kingdom, 18th
Dynasty, N. de Garis Davies (1881-1965).
Ashmolean Museum.
Undecorated ostrich egg: intended for use as a
container, with an opening in one side, Early
Dynastic (Egypt), British museum.
Ostriches in Ancient Egypt Venice Ibrahim Attia
vivalo_jesus@yahoo.com vivalojesus.ibrahim@gmail.com V I S January 2018 Page 19
- During the Fifth Dynasty (2498-
2345 BC) Egypt witnessed
flourishing trade with Punt Land)
,thus the earliest recorded ancient
Egyptian expedition to Punt was
organized by Pharaoh Sahure of the
Fifth Dynasty (25th century BC),
Subsequently, more expeditions to
Punt in the Sixth, Eleventh, Twelfth
and Eighteenth dynasties of Egypt
were recorded.
Head of statue of Sahure
Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Relief with a depiction of ostrich eggs and plumes
-Queen Hatshepsut during the
Eighteenth ncouraged trade by
building a fleet in the Red Sea to
facilitate trade between Egypt and
other areas of the ancient world
especialy the eastern coast of
Africa, this is clearly recorded on
Hatshepsut's mortuary temple at
Deir el-Bahri with drawings of five
ship voyage on reliefs .
Queen Hatshepsut statue, Hatshepsut temple, Egypt.
Egyptian expedition to Punt during the reign of queen
Hatshepsut
Ostriches in Ancient Egypt Venice Ibrahim Attia
vivalo_jesus@yahoo.com vivalojesus.ibrahim@gmail.com V I S January 2018 Page 20
Detail of Bas Relief of expidition to Punt
Hatshepsut temple Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahri
Reliefs depicting the expedition to Punt
Deir el-Bahri temple
Egyptian ship carrying goods from the Land of Punt
heading to Egypt
-A description in Tutankhamen’s
tomb of the king hunting ostriches
by bow and arrow as a privilege of
the pharaohs showing elegant
strength.
Gold funerary mask of king Tutankhamen found in
his tomb, 14th century BC
Flabellum, a fan-shaped head piece made of gold and
wood from the tomb of Tutankhamun shpwing
Tutankhamun on a chariot aiming his arrow at an
ostrich., Valley of the Kings, Thebes. 1350 BCE,
New Kingdom. Egyptian Museum,Cairo.
Ostriches in Ancient Egypt Venice Ibrahim Attia
vivalo_jesus@yahoo.com vivalojesus.ibrahim@gmail.com V I S January 2018 Page 21
Tutankhamun's ostrich feather fan
Image by Harry Burton
Griffith Institute, Oxford University
Tutankhamun's Ivory Fan Trimmed with Ostrich
Feathers
-An expedition to Punt, probably of
a peaceful nature probably for
trading and importing purposes is
recorded on the wall connecting the
two Karnak pylons of King
Harmhab (Horemheb) of the
nineteenth dynasty, the relief shows
the king at the right, holding
audience, receiving the chiefs of
Punt approaching from the left,
bearing sacks of gold dust, ostrich
feathers, etc. (Breasted, Ancient
Records of Egypt, III, 37).
King Horemheb
-In the rock temple of Abu Simbel
ther are scenes depicting the war of
king Ramses II against the Libyans
and the Nubia war, in one of these
scenes king Ramses sits enthroned
on the right side; approaching from
the left are two long lines of African
people bringing furniture of ebony
and ivory, panther hides, gold in
large rings, bows, myrrh, shields,
elephants' tusks, billets of ebony,
ostrich feathers, ostrich eggs, live
animals, including monkeys,
panthers, a giraffe, ibexes, a dog,
oxen with carved horns, and an
ostrich.
Scene from the tomb of Meryre II at El Amarna,
Egypt, Libyans are portrayed (middle register)
offering ostrich eggs and feathers to Akhenaten
(N. de G Daveies 1905:Pl, 40)
Ostriches in Ancient Egypt Venice Ibrahim Attia
vivalo_jesus@yahoo.com vivalojesus.ibrahim@gmail.com V I S January 2018 Page 22
-Breasted (op. cit., Ill, 475),
illustrates a very instructive
Egyptian scene , where a man
on the left side of the illustration
leads a captured ostrich, grasping
its neck with his right hand, while
his left holds a rope slung around
the bird's neck (double precaution
hints holding the ostrich well with
strength), another man on the right
side carries three ostrich feathers
and a basket filled with three
ostrich eggs.
James Henry Breasted
American Egyptologist, archaeologist, and historian
August 27, 1865- December 2, 1935
Breasted instructive illustrationof an Egyptian scene ,
where a man leads a captured ostrich and another
carrying ostrich feathers and eggs.
Decorated ostrich egg, Egyptian, 2nd millennium BC
Musees Royaux d'Art et d'Histoire, Brussels,
Belgium
-In the tomb of the queen Aa
Hotep, mother of Amasis I (about
1703 B.C.) a semicircular fan was
discovered decorated all over with
gold plates and provided along its
edge with perforations for receiving
the feathers.
-In the tomb of the scribe and grain
accountant Nebamun New
Kingdom, 18th dynasty, reign of
King Akhenaten a black ostrich
Feather fan with a wooden handle
was found now housed in the
British museum
A black ostrich Feather fan with a wooden handle.
Tomb of the scribe and grain accountant Nebamun
New Kingdom, 18th dynasty, reign of King
Akhenaten. British museum.
Ostriches in Ancient Egypt Venice Ibrahim Attia
vivalo_jesus@yahoo.com vivalojesus.ibrahim@gmail.com V I S January 2018 Page 23
-In Tomb TT 40 of Amenhotep
(familiar name Huy) who was
probably "scribe of the
correspondence of the King’s Son of
Kush, Merymose" having several
titles such as: "Fan bearer to the
right of the king"and "Overseer of
the gold countries of Amon";
"Overseer of the gold countries of
the Lord of the Two Lands" ) who
lived during the reign of
Tutankhamun and located in the
Theban necropolis at Qurnet
Mura’i, there is a depection in the
transverse hall on the south side
west wall showing some ofeerings
brought to the king from Nubia
including ostrich feathers.
Block statue of Amenhotep (Huy), found at Abydos.
British Museum.
Seen from tomb TT 40 of Huy
Ostrich feathers offered to the king tomb TT 40 of
Huy
Details showing ostrich feathes adorning heads and
offered to the king
Ostriches in Ancient Egypt Venice Ibrahim Attia
vivalo_jesus@yahoo.com vivalojesus.ibrahim@gmail.com V I S January 2018 Page 24
-In Christianity & Coptic Egypt
-The ostrich is mentioned in the
holy Bible several times as follows:-
+ In Job 30:29:- “I have becomea
brother to jackals And a companion
of ostriches”
+In Job 39:1318:- “13 The wings
of the ostrich wave proudly,but are
they the pinions and plumage of
love? 14 For she leaves her eggs to
the earth and lets them be warmed
on the ground,15 forgetting that a
foot may crush them and that the
wild beast may trample them.16
She deals cruelly with her young, as
if they were not hers;though her
labor be in vain, yet she has no fear,
17 because God has made her
forget wisdom and given her no
share in understanding.18 When
she rouses herself to flee, she laughs
at the horse and his rider”.
+In Leviticus 11:16:- “and the
ostrich and the owl and the sea gull
and the hawk in its kind”
+In Deuteronomy 14:15:- and the
ostrich, the owl, the sea gull, and
the hawk in their kinds .
+In Lamentations 4:3 :- Even
jackals offer the breast, They nurse
their young; But the daughter of
my people has become cruel Like
ostriches in the wilderness.
+In Micah 1:8:- Because of this I
must lament and wail, I must go
barefoot and naked; I must make a
lament like the jackals And a
mourning like the ostriches.
+In Isaiah 43:20:- “The beasts of
the field will glorify Me, The jackals
and the ostriches, Because I have
given waters in the wilderness And
rivers in the desert, To give drink to
My chosen people
+In Isaiah 13:21:- But desert
creatures will lie down there, And
their houses will be full of owls;
Ostriches also will live there, and
shaggy goats will frolic there.
+In Isaiah 34:13:- Thorns will
come up in its fortified towers,
Nettles and thistles in its fortified
cities; It will also be a haunt of
jackals And an abode of ostriches.
+In Jeremiah 50:39:- Therefore
the desert creatures will live there
along with the jackals; The
ostriches also will live in it, And it
will never again be inhabited Or
dwelt in from generation to
generation.
- Eggs generally bear significant
symbolism in christianity as
follows:-
*a symbol of the resurrection
because the small chick breaks
from the egg at its birth, just as
Christ broke forth form the tomb.
Ostriches in Ancient Egypt Venice Ibrahim Attia
vivalo_jesus@yahoo.com vivalojesus.ibrahim@gmail.com V I S January 2018 Page 25
*symbol izes the promise of hope
for new life.
* a symbol of chastity and purity,
since the chick is protected within
the shell
* a symbol eternity.
* symbol izes being watchful over
self soul so as it would grow better.
Egyptian Copts differentiate the
ostrich egg from all others eggs as
bringing to mind the remarkable
and ceaseless care with which the
parent ostriches guard their eggs,
thus their vigilance remind the
believers that their thoughts should
be fixed continually on spiritual
things.
An ostrich egg or an imitation of it
is hung in the dome of Coptic
churches in front of the altar
before or infront of the iconostasis
(Icon carrier)as a reminder of
God.
-Egyptian Copts generally has the
same concept which is similar to
that of the ancient Egyptians ( their
ancistors) where an ostrich Egg
symbolizes the easily emergence of
life from death.
- Coptic church took the ideaof an
ostrich egg and its symbolism and
used it as a pointer toward
resurrection, where the ostrich eggs
is known to hatch after intense
staring and concentration as well as
caring of the parents during the
incubation period and this is a quite
destenctive fitting description of the
spiritual life and the attitude should
be and recommended during
prayers especially during church
services at mass.
Four ostrich eggs hung from the church in St.
Makarios Monastery in Wadi Natroun.
An ostrich egg hung in a church in St. Bishoy
Monastery in Wadi Natroun, Egypt.
Ostriches in Ancient Egypt Venice Ibrahim Attia
vivalo_jesus@yahoo.com vivalojesus.ibrahim@gmail.com V I S January 2018 Page 26
Ostrich Egg in the Hanging Church Cairo
Ostrich eggs infront iconostasis in one of the
churches of the the Monastery of St. Antony (4th
Century AD)
An ostrich egg infront iconostasis in one of the
churches of the Monastery of St. Paul the Hermit
(3rd- 4th Century AD)
Other findings of ostriches in Egypt
-A 500-year-old eulogy ( Fifteenth
century), written on an ostrich egg,
discovered broken into pieces in the
remains of a mausoleum, covered
with a eulogy written in Arabic
letters, it has been rebuilt through
restoration into one piece, thusthe
text has been translated by Dr.
Dionisius Agius and appears to be
written on the occasion of a funeral
of a young man and consists of
quotations from the Koran and
poetic verses, saying that death will
be better than life.
A 500-year-old eulogy, written on an Ostrich, Egypt
- painted ostrich egg shell fragments
were found in trench BE95/96-7 in
the Berenike Project, which is a dig
in the eastern Egyptian desert that
is excavating the remains of
Bernike, a harbour on the Red Sea
coast active between the 3rd
century BC and the 6th century
AD, (Hughes, 2001) they were
painted in red with Greek letters
Ostriches in Ancient Egypt Venice Ibrahim Attia
vivalo_jesus@yahoo.com vivalojesus.ibrahim@gmail.com V I S January 2018 Page 27
and a pentagram star (Zych &
Sidebotham, 2010).
Ostrich eggs painted with a red motif. 3-6th century
BC,Berenike, Egypt (Zych & Sidebotham, 2010).
References:
- Allen, R.C., 1997. Agriculture and
the origins of the state in ancient
Egypt. Explorations in Economic
History, 34(2),135154.
- Kathryn A. Bard, Steven Blake
Shubert, Encyclopedia of the
Archaeology of Ancient Egypt,
Routledge (UK) 1999
-James Henry Breasted, Ancient
Records of Egypt, Part III
- Adolf Erman, Life in Ancient
Egypt, Courier Dover Publications
1972
- Mark Healy, New Kingdom
Egypt, Osprey Publishing 1992
- Charles Kuentz, La danse des
autruches, BIFAO 23 (1924)
- A. Lucas, Ancient Egyptian
Materials and Industries
- Frederic Portal, Comparison of
Egyptian Symbols With Those of
the Hebrew, Kessinger Publishing
2003
- Kantor, H. J. (1948). Predynastic
Ostrich Egg with Incised
Decoration. Journal of Near
Eastern Studie
- B. G. Trigger, Ancient Egypt,
Cambridge University Press 1996
- David Wengrow, The Archaeology
of Early Egypt: Social
Transformations in North-East
Africa, C. 10,000 to 2,650 BC,
Ostriches in Ancient Egypt Venice Ibrahim Attia
vivalo_jesus@yahoo.com vivalojesus.ibrahim@gmail.com V I S January 2018 Page 28
Cambridge University Press 2006.
- Dorman, Peter F.; Brunner,
Hellmut. "hieroglyphic writing".
Encyclopædia Britannica.
- Kelany, A. In press. More Late
Palaeolithic rock art at Wadi Abu
Subeira, Upper Egypt. Annales du
Service des Antiquites de l’Egypte.
- Huyge, D., 2009. Rock Art. UCLA
Encyclopedia of Egyptology, Los
Angeles.
- Huyge, D., Aubert, M., Barnard,
H., Claes, W., Darnell, J.C.,
Dapper, M. de, Figari, E., Ikram,
S., Lebrun-Nélis, A., Therasse, I.,
2007. “Lascaux along the Nile”:
Late Pleistocene rock art in Egypt.
- Arthur H. Muir, Jr. & Renée F.
Friedman, Analysis of Predynastic
ostrich eggshells from
Hierakonpolis and beyond
- Petrie, W.M.F., 1920. Prehistoric
Egypt. Egyptian Research Account
& British School of Archaeology in
Egypt 31.
- Petrie, W.M.F. & Quibell, J.E.,
1896. Naqada and Ballas. Egyptian
Research Account & British School
of Archaeology in Egypt 1.
- Phillips, J., 2000. Ostrich eggshells
- Nicholson P.T. & Shaw, I. Ancient
Egyptian materials and technology.
Cambridge: 332333.
- Shaw, Ian, and Paul Nicholson.
(1995, 2003). "Punt." The
Dictionary of Ancient Egypt. New
York: Harry N Abrams, Inc
- Easton's Bible Dictionary , Ostrich
- International Standard Bible
Encyclopedia
- Smith's Bible Dictionary
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any references for this publication.