Ankh

Ankh

The ankh (k/; Egyptian ˁnḫ), also known as "crux ansata" (the Latin for "cross with a handle") is an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic ideograph symbolizing "life".

The Egyptian gods are often portrayed carrying it by its loop, or bearing one in each hand, arms crossed over their chest. The ankh appears in hand or in proximity of almost every deity in the Egyptian pantheon (including Pharaohs).

The ankh symbol was so prevalent that it has been found in digs as far as Mesopotamia and Persia, and even on the seal of the biblical king Hezekiah.[1]

The symbol became popular in New Age mysticism in the 1960s.

Unicode has two characters encoding the symbol: U+2625 ☥ in the widely-supported Miscellaneous Symbols block and U+132F9 𓋹 in the more recent Egyptian Hieroglyphs block.

Origin

ˁnḫ
in hieroglyphs
S34n
Aa1
 
or
 
S34
[2]

There have been many suggestions and theories as to the origin of the ankh symbol.

Alan Gardiner (1957) explains the hieroglyph as a depiction of a sandal-strap (ˁnḫ) which came to be read phonetically and could be used (as "rebus writing") for the similar word ˁnḫ "live", a triliteral root probably pronounced /ʕánax/ in Old and Middle Egyptian.[3][4] This verb and its derivatives are likely ancestral to the Coptic words ⲱⲛϩ ōnh "to live, life" and ⲉⲛⲉϩ eneh "eternity".[5]

One of the earliest proposals was that of Thomas Inman, first published in 1869, according to which the symbol combines "the male triad and the female unit".[6] E. A. Wallis Budge (1904) postulated that the symbol originated as the belt buckle of the mother goddess Isis.[7]

Andrew Hunt Gordon and Calvin Schwabe, in their 2004 book The Quick and the Dead, speculated that the ankh, djed, and was symbols have a basis in "cattle culture" and with semen (thought to originate in the spine) being equated with “life”, with the ankh representing the thoracic vertebra of a bull (seen in cross section), the djed representing the sacrum of a bull's spine, and the was representing a staff made from a bull’s penis.[8]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Anch
العربية: مفتاح الحياة
azərbaycanca: Anx
беларуская: Анх
Bikol Central: Ankh
български: Анх
brezhoneg: Ankh
català: Ankh
čeština: Anch
dansk: Ankh
Deutsch: Anch
eesti: Ankh
Ελληνικά: Ανκχ
español: Anj
Esperanto: Ansa kruco
euskara: Ankh
فارسی: عنخ
français: Ânkh
Gaeilge: Anc
galego: Ankh
한국어: 앙크
Հայերեն: Անխ
hrvatski: Ankh
italiano: Ankh
עברית: ענח'
Latina: Ankh
latviešu: Anks
lietuvių: Ankhas
magyar: Ankh
македонски: Анк
Nederlands: Anch
日本語: アンク
norsk: Ankh
norsk nynorsk: Ankh
occitan: Ankh
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਅਨਖ
polski: Anch
português: Ankh
română: Ankh
русский: Анх
Scots: Ankh
shqip: Anku
sicilianu: Ankh
Simple English: Ankh
slovenčina: Anch
slovenščina: Ankh
српски / srpski: Анк
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Ankh
suomi: Ankh
svenska: Ankh
Türkçe: Ankh
українська: Анкх
اردو: عنخ
Tiếng Việt: Ankh
žemaitėška: Anchs
中文: 生命之符