The Ujat, more commonly known as Wadjet or Eye of Horus, was a powerful symbol in ancient Egypt. It was frequently displayed on jewelry made of gold, silver, lapis, wood, porcelain, and carnelian. It was believed to have healing and protective powers. In use of notation of measurement, the symbol was divided into six fractions, representing the shattering of Horus’s eye in the Contendings of Horus and Set. However, if the pieces are added up, they equal 63/64 rather than 1. This might represent the magic Thoth had to use to restore the eye or suggest that perfection was simply not possible. Each piece of the Eye of Horus was also associated with one of the six senses, including thought.
The design of the eye seems to represent a blend of a human’s and a falcon’s eye. Particularly the vertical “tear line” line below the eye and the horizonal line beside the eye are very characteristic of some falcon species. Meanwhile, the stylized, spiral “tear line” is similar to the cheetah, which is associated with the heavens in early Egyptian mythology.
The mythology of the Eye of Horus stems from the Osirian myth, when Set ripped out one or both of Horus’s eyes. In myth that is related to the tearing out of the left eye, the Eye of Horus is associated with the waxing and waning of the moon. During which time, the moon appears to be torn out of the sky and then restored every lunar month. In the other myths where it was Horus’s right eye, the myth refers to the solar eclipse in which the sun is blotted out from the sky. Part of the significance of displaying the two eyes was also for protection, such as on the sarcophaguses or on either side of the bow for boats and ships.
- Dunn, J. (UNK) The Eyes Have It. http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/eyeofhorusandre.htm
- Gray, A. (2017) Wadjet: The Eye of an Egyptian God. http://www.stmuhistorymedia.org/69983-2/
- Hill, J. (2010). Ancient Egypt Online. http://www.ancientegyptonline.co.uk
- Strudwick, H. (2006) The Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt. New York, New York: Metro Books.
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