Ancient Egyptian Ankh Facts Revealed For Curious Kids | Kidadl


Ancient Egyptian Ankh Facts Revealed For Curious Kids

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Thought to be a key for life and the afterlife, the ankh is a wonderous symbol!

This 'key of life' is shaped like a cross with a loop at the top. This symbol is found engraved in stone in several tombs and places of burial near Egypt.

The Egyptian ankh is a mysterious and ancient symbol that has been around for thousands of years. Many people are curious about the origins and meaning of the ankh, but few know the true story behind this fascinating icon. Let's explore some of the most interesting facts about the Egyptian ankh!

History Of The Ankh

The Egyptian ankh is one of the most ancient symbols in the world. It is thought to date back to prehistoric times and has been used by many different cultures throughout history. The ankh symbolizes life and is often associated with fertility and creation.

  • The ankh is an ancient Egyptian hieroglyph that is known to have played a huge part in culture and religion.
  • This assumption is based on the fact that many Egyptian images of their gods and goddesses appear to be holding the ankh.
  • One of the most prominent Egyptian goddesses, Isis, holds the ankh sign, which shows that this symbol was indicated possession of magical properties for the people of Egypt.
  • The ankh is considered to have been a symbol of life.
  • According to the beliefs that were prevalent in ancient Egypt, life did not end with death but was merely the beginning of the real journey, which was the afterlife.
  • Ancient Egyptians believed that the ankh was the 'key of life' and was required by anyone who needed to traverse the mortal lands and enter the immortal realms.
  • This popular symbol can be seen in many hieroglyphs, most of which either depict an Egyptian god or pharaoh.
  • This essentially means that in ancient Egypt, this Egyptian symbol was only to be in the possession of those whose power was not dependent on life and death.
  • When a pharaoh or queen is seen to be holding this 'key of life' or ankh, this not only means that they have magical powers but also that their power is immortal.
  • Pharaohs throughout the history of ancient Egypt can be seen wearing amulets and other jewelry which depicts this key of life, which shows the importance assigned to the symbol.
  • Even the dead carried this symbol to their grave so that they could take on the journey towards immortality.


Creation Of The Ankh Symbol

The roots of the ankh, as a symbol of life, can hardly be traced. However, it is from this symbol of eternal life that the Coptic Christians first developed a sign for the depiction of their own faith.

  • Ancient Egyptians may have different interpretations for this hieroglyph but the theories that modern archaeologists have come up with say that in ancient Egypt, this sign was used in association with the sun.
  • This was quite fitting since the sun was among the strongest ancient Egyptian gods.
  • This is one of the reasons why an amulet bearing this Egyptian hieroglyph would mainly be made with gold.
  • The basic reasoning is that the sun was associated with gold, while silver was symbolic of the moon.
  • Many theories suggest that this cross or ankh originated from the belt buckle of goddess Isis. However, the theory remains unproven to this day.
  • In many of the hieroglyphs and paintings that remain etched in stone, we can see the goddess Isis holding an ankh against the lips of the dead.
  • This was supposedly the process of revitalizing the dead and opening them towards the life that awaited them after death.
  • This cross was therefore a symbol of the ancient Egyptian belief that there was an afterlife.
  • Many mirrors of the time were shaped like the ankh cross.
  • The reason behind this, as speculated by many archaeologists, is that since ancient Egyptians believed that life and the afterlife were mirror images of each other, an ankh-shaped mirror would be a visual depiction of this.
  • While there is no proof of whether or not this relationship between the cross and mirrors is correct, we can certainly agree that it is quite interesting!
  • Even though the ankh looks like a Christian cross, there is a single significant point of difference.
  • While the Christian cross has one vertical and one horizontal bar, the ankh symbol has a loop at the top instead of the vertical bar.
  • The loop and bars can be understood to be symbolic of the sun rising over the horizon or the passage from Earth to the heavens.
  • In fact, this ancient Egyptian symbol was also used as a symbol for the goddess Venus, as well as the planet Venus.
  • With the development of trade routes, coins bearing the ankh symbol started appearing in ancient Cypress as well.
  • In the present day, this symbol is made into bracelets and amulets all around the world.
Learn mysterious history facts about the Egyptian Ankh.

Significance Of The Ankh Symbol

The meaning of the Egyptian ankh symbol is shrouded in mystery, but there are several theories about its true significance.

  • Some people believe that the ankh represents eternal life or spiritual immortality.
  • Others believe that it signifies the union of male and female energy or the merger of opposites.
  • There is no definitive answer to this question, and the true meaning of the ankh may never be known for sure.
  • In ancient Egyptian mythology, the ankh was often associated with many gods, including the god Osiris, the god of death and resurrection.
  • The ankh was also associated with other gods and goddesses in Egyptian mythology, including Isis, Horus, and Ra.
  • Although it originated as a religious symbol in Egyptian culture, the ankh has become popular around the world as a sign of good luck or prosperity.
  • It is often used in jewelry design or decoration and is a common motif in modern art and tattoos.
  • The ankh remains one of the most enigmatic symbols in history and is sure to continue to fascinate people for years to come.
  • Before the Coptic Christians began using the ankh symbol as a means of showing their religious beliefs, the symbol that they popularly used was that of a fish.

Uses Of The Ankh Symbol

In ancient Egypt, the uses of the ankh symbol were manifold.

  • The tomb of every pharaoh would have different objects that would be made into the shape of the ankh symbol.
  • In fact, a mirror case has been recovered from the tomb of pharaoh Tutankhamun during archaeological studies.
  • Ancient Egyptian gods and goddesses would be shown to be wearing a belt buckle which would be shaped like an ankh symbol.
  • Since this symbol is thought of as the key of life, the dead would be buried with an object of such shapes in their tombs so that their journey towards the afterlife would be effortless.
  • The ankh symbol stands for eternal life and immortality, which is one of the reasons why this, among all symbols of ancient Egypt, has remained relevant throughout the history of mankind.
  • However, the symbol has now been reduced to be a form of art and fashion for most communities.
  • Some Egyptians still believe in the ankh being more than a form of art, which is why they have amulets made in real gold.
Written By
Shirin Biswas

<p>With a degree in English from Amity University, Noida, Shirin has won awards for oratory, acting, and creative writing. She has a wealth of experience as an English teacher, editor, and writer, having previously worked at Quizzy and Big Books Publishing. Her expertise lies in editing study guides for children and creating engaging content.</p>

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