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  • n l kav

    shen ring. These divine birds are frequently depicted holding the shen in their claws, hovering above the king and guarding him beneath their outstretched wings. The shen signs represented with these avian deities may be regarded as symbols of eternity, and therefore life, but it is possible that the signs also carry the connotation of protection, and this double significance would certainly seem to be present in many of the small decorative items and amulets, and indeed the larger royal objects, which are adorned with this sign. While the earliest use of a cartouche seems to have been identical in form to the shen sign, early in Egyptian history, the form of the shen ring was lengthened in order to hold the increased number of hieroglyphs resulting from longer royal names and fuller orthography. In this way, the shen continued to be used as a sign with its own meaning while the cartouche, or shenu, became the standard holder of the royal name. Occasionally, one may find the name of a god or goddess in a cartouche. This was especially the case for Osiris-Onnophris and Isis in the temple inscriptions of the Greco-Roman Period. Read more:

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