Friday, 9 April 2010

The royal crowns of the ancient Egyptian pharaohs. (2)

The Nemes Crown.

This crown is actually more a striped head cloth then a crown, covering the whole crown and back of the head. It had two flaps which hung down behind the ears and in front of both shoulders. The Nemes Crown, the oldest example of which covers the head of the statue of Netjerikhet (Djoser) and the Khat were the most frequently worn headdresses. It was worn with a uraeus (a cobra in attack position) seshed, the uraeus being a part in the majority of the royal crowns.
The Nemes Crown can be seen combined with the earlier mentioned double crown on the statue of Ramses II at Abu Simbel. Maybe the best known example of the Nemes Crown is the Death-mask of Tutankhamun.

The blue Crown.

The Blue Crown or Khepresh is also known as the Blue Crown of War because pharaohs of the New Kingdom are often shown wearing this headdress in battle, but it also had ceremonial use. Although it is often referred to as the Crown of War, modern historians refuse to refer to it this way.
The material uses for the Khepresh was cloth or leather stained blue and it was covered with many little yellow sun-disks. Also with this crown a uraeus was fastened to its front.
The earliest mention of the Khepresh comes from the second intermediate period, where Amenhotep III is the first king depicted to wear the Blue Crown. During the 18th and 19th dynasty it was worn by some of the pharaohs as their main crown.

The Atef Crown.

This was a white headdress (Hedjet) combined with ostrich feathers and was worn during some religious rituals. The first depiction of the Atef Crown dates as far back as the reign of Sahure during the 5th dynasty. The meaning of the word “Atef” is known. While it may mean “his might” or “his terror”, the real meaning of the word remains unsure.
The Atef Crown is associated with the gods Osiris (who wears the crown as a symbol of the ruler of the underworld) and Heryshef (the ram god, ruler of the river banks), but it can also be worn by Horus and Re in their many forms.
Under Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV) the triple Atef occurs which may have replaced the Atef Crown during the Amarna period.


  1. I like the image of the blue crown. Seems there are more depictions of crowns left than crowns itself.

  2. Indeed...maybe not every King/Queen had his/hers own crown but it did get handed over from ruler to ruler. This way the chance of finding an actual crown gets very slim.....

  3. Blue Crown is known from the first kings of the New Kingdom, more considered as a ritual Sun Crown, associated with the King as Horus, and Atef associated King with Osiris.( Also triple Atef with addons - Khemkhemet ("roaring") - probably was the invention of Akhenaten only and used only during Amarna period and in Greek-Roman Period (but modified)). Amenhotep III was not the first pharaoh of the 18th dynasty depicted in the Blue Crown - Thutmose II, Amenhotep I, Hatshepsut, also and earlier as well as Thutmose III.
    Akhenaten likes Khepresh due to the solar symbolism of this Crown which gives (symbolically) the 'right to rule the two lands" given to the King by Atum. Also there were some more major crowns such as Khait (golden hat or helmet decorated in same golden solar plaques as Khepresh), the Tcheny Crown (solar disc on a ram's horns with 2 feathers and uraeuses), the Seshed diadem, Khenu Crown (feathers and solar disc on a platform with 2 types of ram's horns).

  4. I love reading on all this stuff please keep your site updated all of this is so interesting to me.I always think about how times really were back them and were so lucky that all the art left by them is a wonderful thing.I don't mean to come across so ignorant of the right words and phrases to use there is just so much I don't understand about the way they lived and I am so curious.

  5. I have a theory for the use of the Nemes Crown,if any one is interested reply in here so I know this site is still active.
    P.S. I`ll drop in often.