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Hedjet, the White Crown of Upper Egypt
in hieroglyphs

Hedjet is the name for the White Crown of Upper Egypt, used in Ancient Egypt. The crown was white and after Lower and Upper Egypt joined together, it was combined with the Deshret, the Red Crown of Lower Egypt. This Double Crown was called the Pschent. The symbol sometimes used for the Hedjet was the vulture goddess Nekhbet. This would be shown next to the head of the cobra goddess Wadjet, the Uraeus on the Pschent.[1]

History[change | change source]

The white crown has a long history, going back into the Predynastic Period. This shows that kingship had been the base of Egyptian society for some time. The earliest image of the Hedjet was thought to have been in the Qustul in Nubia. New discoveries, particularly the excavation of Cemetery U and the tome U-j, dating to Naqada IIIA have shown that it appears earlier in Egypt.[2]

Nekhbet, the protective goddess of Nekhebet (modern el Kab) near Hierakonpolis, was shown as a woman, sometimes with the head of a vulture, wearing the White Crown.[3] The falcon god Horus of Hierakonpolis (Egyptian: Nekhen) was generally shown wearing a White Crown.[4] The White Crown is on the Narmer Palette found at Hierakonpolis. It shows the king of the South wearing the hedjet, triumphing over his northern enemies. The kings of the united Egypt saw themselves as successors of Horus. Vases from the reign of Khasekhemwy show the king as Horus wearing the White Crown.[5]

As with the Deshret (Red Crown), no example of the White Crown has survived. It is unknown how it was made or what materials were used. It is possible it was made from felt or leather. The fact that no crown has ever been found, might suggest that the crown was passed from one ruler to the next, much as in present day monarchies.

References[change | change source]

  1. Arthur Maurice Hocart, The Life-Giving Myth, Routledge 2004, p.209
  2. Roy, Jane (2011). The Politics of Trade: Egypt and Lower Nubia in the 4th Millennium BC. BRILL. p. 215. ISBN 978-90-04-19610-0.
  3. Cherine Badawi, Egypt, 2004, p.550
  4. Toby A. H. Wilkinson, Early Dynastic Egypt, Routledge 1999, p.285
  5. Jill Kamil, The Ancient Egyptians: Life in the Old Kingdom, American Univ in Cairo Press 1996, p.61