Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Molefi Kete Asante
The ankh is a pervasive symbol in ancient Egypt. The meaning of the ankh conveys the idea of life or the force that generates living. It has been found on all types of materials, including leather, stone, copper, and wood, although it is most often used on gold. The ankh appears in all eras of ancient Egyptian life and is one of the oldest symbols. However, the exact origin of the symbol is not known. Kemetologists and Egyptologists have searched many documents seeking to discover the first instance of the ankh. This has proven to be a difficult task because of the provenance of the symbol as well as its antiquity. The form of the ankh is an oval supported by a “T” Thus, its shape has given rise to many theories about its original meaning. The three most prominent ideas are that the symbol represents the coming together of ...