Khepresh and Pschent

Khepresh and Pschent


The pschent was the double crown worn by rulers in ancient Egypt. The ancient Egyptians generally referred to it as sekhemty, the Two Powerful Ones. It combined the White Hedjet Crown of Upper Egypt and the Red Deshret Crown of Lower Egypt.

The Pschent represented the pharaoh’s power over all of unified Egypt. It bore two animal emblems: an Egyptian cobra, known as the uraeus, ready to strike, which symbolized the Lower Egyptian goddess Wadjet; and an Egyptian vulture representing the Upper Egyptian tutelary goddess Nekhbet. These were fastened to the front of the Pschent and referred to as the Two Ladies. Later, the vulture head sometimes was replaced by a second cobra.


The invention of the Pschent is generally attributed to the First Dynasty pharaoh Menes, but the first one to wear a Double Crown was the First Dynasty pharaoh Djet: a rock inscription shows his Horus wearing it.

The king list on the Palermo Stone, which begins with the names of Lower Egyptian pharaohs (nowadays thought to have been mythological demigods), shown wearing the Red Crown, marks the unification of the country by giving the Pschent to all First Dynasty and later pharaohs. The Cairo fragment, on the other hand, shows these prehistoric rulers wearing the Pschent.


As is the case with the Deshret and the Hedjet Crowns, no Pschent has survived. It is known only from statuary, depictions, inscriptions, and ancient tales.


Among the deities sometimes depicted wearing the Double Crown are Horus and Atum or Ra both representing the pharaoh or having a special relationship to the pharaoh.


The khepresh was an ancient Egyptian royal headdress. It is also known as the blue crown or war crown. New Kingdom pharaohs are often depicted wearing it in battle, but it was also frequently worn in ceremonies. It used to be called a war crown by many, but modern historians refrain from defining it thus.

No original example of a khepresh has yet been found. Based on ancient artistic representations, some Egyptologists have speculated that the khepresh was made of leather or stiffened cloth covered with a precise arrangement of hundreds of sequins, discs, bosses, or rings. As with many other royal crowns, a uraeus (cobra) was hooked to the front of the khepresh.


The Blue Crown, or War Crown, was represented in hieroglyphs.

The earliest known mention of the khepresh is on the stela Cairo JE 59635 [CG 20799] which dates to the reign of pharaoh Neferhotep III, during the Second Intermediate Period. In this and other examples from the same era, the word is written with a determinative that represents the cap crown, a lower and less elaborate type of crown. Images of the khepresh from the reign of Ahmose I, first king of the New Kingdom and the Eighteenth Dynasty, show a headdress that is taller than the cap crown and more angular than later forms of the khepresh. This crown continued to evolve during the early Eighteenth Dynasty, attaining its best-known form in the reigns of Hatshepsut and Thutmose III.

After Amenhotep III’s reignand particularly during the 18th and 19th Dynastiesit came into fashion and was even adopted by some pharaohs as a primary crown. The crown ceased to be depicted in the Kushite Dynasty (747 to 656 BCE).

During the New Kingdom, pharaohs were shown with this crown in military circumstances. However, some scholars think that the crown was also meant to evoke the divine power of the pharaoh, and was thereby worn to religiously situate kings as manifestations of gods on earth.

Source: Wikipedia

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