Old Kingdom signs by Serge Thomas

glyphs resource

A few years ago, we were asked to produce a number of signs, mainly from the Old Kingdom.

M. Serge P. Thomas (mostly) and Serge Rosmorduc (for a small part) have therefore produced versions of these signs. Furthermore, in addition to those, M. Thomas has sent a set of interesting revisions of signs for the main fonts, including in particular some beautiful interpretations of signs in the style of the original IFAO fonts (the rendering of the G17 owl is particularly beautiful).

Sign naming

To facilitate the possible use of these signs and guarantee the uniqueness of their code, we have decided to use an identifier specific to this family, identifier 12. It has been used only for those signs we are sure to include in the main JSesh library.

We have reworked the codes, and made a selection of the signs. The original delivery generally includes several graphic tests for the same sign, which give an idea of Mr Serge Thomas's work.

  • for the signs which will be part of the official JSesh font, I have decided to give them a plain Gardiner code ;

  • Codes starting with US248 or US22 for variant characters and graphic experiments proposed by S. Thomas. Those codes are usually not modified. In theory, US22 signs are the signs sent by S.J.P Thomas, and US248 might have been a bit modified, but it's not always respected.

When I decided to use « plain » Gardiner code, I had to take a few decisions :

  • the qꜣr basket sign, whose code was US1V33AEXTU (for ) has now a better version, ,and its own code, V300. The rationale behind that is that it's not really a variant of V33. It's an old kingdom sign with its own value, which was later replaced by V33 as a more generic sign. If the Old Kingdom is to be encoded, it shouldn't be on the basis of subsequent normalisations.

Some of the signs are cursive hieroglyphs, or even hieratic signs. Mr Thomas has drawn them in a right-left orientation. However, to facilitate their integration into JSesh, we have turned them around (only for signs in ). In fact, if we indicate in JSesh that the text is oriented right-left, the rendering will be correct.

In some cases, source research has provided interesting variants of the signs. We also propose them.

In particular, M. Thomas has drawn lots of signs from the Junker, Gîsa volumes.

The raw versions, as sent by Serge Thomas, will also be available.

The included sign correspond to:

  • a list of additional signs which have been requested;

  • signs added in a second time, usually because they appeared in the same sources, or, in some cases, because curiosity led us to them (for instance O169C ).

A

US248A450VARA: man in sedan chair

Seneb in his chair.

Bibliography: Junker, Hermann. 1941. Die Mastaba Des Snb (Seneb) Und Die Umliegenden Gräber. Gîza, V.

A600: man standing over a dog

Value: wh;

Source: CT I, 80

A601: washerman (ḥwty)

A washerman striking a linen on a stone.

Source: Brovarski E. « The Washerman of the God, Senenu ». In: Hawass Z., Daoud K., Abd El-Fattah S. (éd.). The Realm of the Pharaohs, Essays in Honor of Tohfa Handoussa. Cairo, 2008. p. 145‑176. p. 154, fig 4 p. 172.

A602: man chopping wood

A602: standardized JSesh sign

A602A: original sign

Source: Drenkhahn R. Die handwerker und ihre tatigheit im alten agypten. Harassowitz, 1976, p. 77.

A603: man chopping wood

A603: standardized JSesh sign

A603A: original sign

Source: Drenkhahn R. Die handwerker und ihre tatigheit im alten agypten. Harassowitz, 1976, p. 77.

A604: blacksmith fanning a kiln

A604: standardized JSesh sign

A604A: original sign

Source: Drenkhahn R. Die handwerker und ihre tatigheit im alten agypten. Harassowitz, 1976, p. 77.

A605: man killing a fowl

Value: determinative for wšn "strangle ?" (a bird).

Source: H.G. Fischer « Five Inscriptions of the Old Kingdom », ZÄS 105, 57; Reisner, tomb G2191.

A606: man under a sunshade

Value: sb(ꜣ), sunshade.

Source: H.G. Fischer, “Quelques particuliers à Saqqâra”

  • Tomb of Nikare; p. 179 ; p. 185, Fig. 5

  • See also MMJ 6, 1972, p. 151-156 for representations.

A607: cryptographic scene, man on a bull

Source: : CGC 1696

Bibliography:

  • Capart, Jean. 1929. « Un Hiéroglyphe Mystérieux. » In Mélanges Loret, II:1–2. Kémi.

C

C183VARA: woman with vulture headdress.

Note: we have here a problem due to Gardiner's classification, which separates men and women from deities. Dimitri Meeks' classification for this sign would not be a problem. We have chosen to use "C" category as most similar signs are already there.

D

D26VARA: spitting mouth

Value: pw.

Source: Munro, I. Untersuchungen zu den Totenbuch-Papyris der 18. Dynastie, 1987, p. 183

D500 head surrounded by dots.

Value: ḥr=f m sḏ.t

Bibliography: V. Rondot, « Une monographie bubastite », BIFAO 89, 1989, 265

D501 arm holding šsp sign.

Bibliography: Junker, Hermann. 1938. Die Mastabas Der Vorgeschrittenen V. Dynastie Auf Dem Westfriedhof. Gîza, III. p. 212

F

F200 Combination of F31 and M23.

Value: ms nsw.t, royal child.

G

G1000 quail chick with liquid flowing from the neck.

Value: pw.

Bibliography: Munro, I. Untersuchungen zu den Totenbuch-Papyris der 18. Dynastie, 1987, p. 183

I

I200: snake

Value: ideogram for ḥfꜣw

Bibliography: CT III, 24a, B17C.

M

M43VARA: Old Kingdom shape of M43 vine, standardized version

Value: as M43.

Full description: Sign without vessel, and with only two grapes. Actually, Gardiner, Egyptian Grammar, lists almost this shape p. 484, but doesn't give it a code (Gardiner's shape has three grapes, and is indeed described as Old Kingdom variant).

:

Source: JSesh fonts, modified to match the features of the sign in Verner, M. 1928. Abusir I: The Mastaba of Ptahshepses : Reliefs. Excavations of the Czech Institute of Egyptology. Charles University, n° 78. p. 158

US1M43VARB: Old Kingdom shape of M43 Vine, semi-facsimile

Value: as M43. See M43VARA for description.

Source: Verner, M. 1928. Abusir I: The Mastaba of Ptahshepses : Reliefs. Excavations of the Czech Institute of Egyptology. Charles University, n° 78. p. 158

It's an attempt at a more regular shape than the actual facsimile. I'm not fully convinced.

US1M43VARC: Old Kingdom shape of M43 Vine, fac-simile

Value: mainly as determinative for kꜣny, gardener.

Source: Verner, M. 1928. Abusir I: The Mastaba of Ptahshepses : Reliefs. Excavations of the Czech Institute of Egyptology. Charles University, n° 78. p. 158

  • n°78 ntf ḥḏw ꞽn kꜣny; ntf bd.t ꞽn kꜣny, water the onions by the gardener; water the emer by the gardener

  • also, o.c.: n°77 fd.t ꜥbw šꜣw ꞽn kꜣny n pr-ḏ.t, cutting the lettuces from the garden by the gardener from the funerary estate

N

N34VARB: ovoid copper object

Value: Ideogram/Abbreviation for copper as a material in lists.

Bibliography: Goedicke, Hans. 1994. “A Cult Inventory of the Eighth Dynasty from Coptos (Cairo JE 43290).” MDAIK 50: 71–84. pp. 76, 77, 79.

O

US248O44VARAE: Old Kingdom variant of ꞽꜣ.t

Source: Sign from the tomb of ḥmꞽwnw.

Bibliography: Junker, Hermann. 1929. Die Mastabas Der IV. Dynastie Auf Dem Westfriedhof. Gîza, I. Abb. 23b, Taft 17, p. 150-151

O169B: vault

Value: determinative for wrm.t vault

Bibliography: WB I, 133 et Faulkner Concise Dictionary p. 64

O169C: vault (from the P.T.)

Value: determinative for wrm.t vault.

Source: Another variant, copied from Isabelle Pierre-Croisiau, Les textes de la pyramide de Pépy Ier, Fac-similés, pl. IIB (= Pepi I, P/F/Se, col. 84).

Bibliography: WB I, 133 et Faulkner Concise Dictionary p. 64

O500: Heb festival race boundary-marker

Value: ideogram for the Heb festival race boundary-marker (ḏnb)

Bibliography: Spencer, A. J. 1978. “Two Enigmatic Hieroglyphs and Their Relation to the Sed-Festival.” The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 64: 52. https://doi.org/10.2307/3856431.

P

US248P127EXT

Boat from Junker Giza 5, p. 15

US248P128EXT

Boat from Junker Giza 5, p. 15

S

US22S25A: mantle or mantel-like garment

Value: as S25.

Note: the sign code is a bit weird, because in fact it has already been added to JSesh.

Source: : shape in « Covington’s Tomb ».

Bibliography: Brovarski, Edward. 1996. “An Inventory List from ‘Covington’s Tomb’ and Nomenclature for Furniture in the Old Kingdom.” In Studies in Honor of William Kelly Simpson; p. 119, 122; fig. 1

M. Thomas has also drawn the other shapes given in the text.

Shapes found in early offering lists Kha-bau-sokar, Hathor-nefer-hetep, Irensen, Metjen, Rahotep, Hesyre (as pictures):

  • US22S25VARC
  • US22S25VARD
  • US22S25VARE

Later shape, G 4260, Izi and Setju:

  • US248S25VARF

T

T200: Fish trap.

Value: determinative for sq.t, fish-trap.

The sign was created from the photography of the tomb wall. The font shape used in the running text of the publication is slightly different.

Bibliography: H. Altenmüller, Die Wanddarstellungen im Grab des Mehu in Saqqara (Archäologische Veröffentlichung 42), 1988

U

U200: barber case

Value: ideogram for barber ; maybe ẖꜥq

Bibliography: P. Montet, « Contributions à l’étude des mastabas de l’Ancien Empire », Kêmi 2, 1931, 178-189. (= Mélanges Loret, vol 2).

U200A: barber case, inspired by hieratic shape

Value: ideogram for barber ; maybe ẖꜥq

Bibliography: P. Montet, « Contributions à l’étude des mastabas de l’Ancien Empire », Kêmi 2, 1931, 178-189. (= Mélanges Loret, vol 2).

This sign, first known in Middle Kingdom coffins, would be a cursive hieroglyphic rendering of a hieratic shape for

V

V300: basket with handle, « qꜣr » sign

Value: determinative for qꜣr.

Slight modification of a sign sent to us by Dr. Peter Dils, from the TLA. Thanks a lot !

Should replace US1V33AEXTU, whose shape is incorrect. I keep the old one, in case someone wants to discuss its shape.

Bibliography: Collombert, Philippe. 2010. Le Tombeau de Mérérouka: Paléographie. Vol. 4. Paléographie Hiéroglyphique. Le Caire: Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale. p. 158, §308 (with references to other occurrences)

Note that this shape is more or less the standard shape for this sign, but there are many other variants, for instance Berlin 32186, formerly 1/70, which displays a less regular bag.

This sign is a slightly modified version of an original created by Peter Dils.

W

W200: vase W1 pouring liquid

Value: det for wrḥ, anoint and wdḥ.

A 𓎯 vase, opened and pouring liquid. One of the case where a sign represents an action and not an object, as demonstrated by Lacau, o.c..

Bibliography: Lacau, Pierre. 1954. Sur Le Système Hiéroglyphique. Bibliothèque d’étude 25. Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale, p. 57-58.

  • PT 816 (N) and (P)

  • In PT 816 (M) and 50a (N), the same sign is draw upright. As it can can done with the rotation system of JSesh, and that the meaning is the same, we won't add this upright variant to this distribution.

W200A: vase W1 pouring liquid

Value: As W200.

Bibliography: ibid, shape from Neit Pyramid (803) and Jéquier, tombeaux de particuliers, p. 112.

W201: cauldron or cooking pot

Value: det. for wḥꜣ.t or ktw.t

Shape from Wenis, 405b; PT 274.

Bibliography:

  • Giddy, Lisa L. 1981. « A Note on the Word Wḥꜣ.t. » BIFAO 81.1: 19–28. p. 20 ;

  • Roquet, Gérard. 1978. « Wḥm, Verbe Plein et Semi-Auxiliaire. À Propos d’une Inscription d’Ancien Empire. » BIFAO 78, p. 489 ; gives multiple variants of this sign (Pyr 405, James HTBM I, pl. 2; Lepsius, Denkemäller II, pl. 28).

  • U. Verhoeven « Grillen , Kochen, Backen im Alltag und im Ritual Altägyptens. Ein lexicographisch Beitrag » (Rites égyptiens IV), Bruxelles 1984 , p. 107;

US22W81A: cauldron or cooking pot

Source: Roquet, Gérard. 1978. « Wḥm, Verbe Plein et Semi-Auxiliaire. À Propos d’une Inscription d’Ancien Empire. » BIFAO 78, p. 489 ; gives multiple variants of this sign (Pyr 405, James HTBM I, pl. 2; Lepsius, Denkemäller II, pl. 28).

US22W91A: cauldron or cooking pot

Source: Roquet, Gérard. 1978. « Wḥm, Verbe Plein et Semi-Auxiliaire. À Propos d’une Inscription d’Ancien Empire. » BIFAO 78, p. 489 ; gives multiple variants of this sign (Pyr 405, James HTBM I, pl. 2; Lepsius, Denkemäller II, pl. 28).

Aa

US22Aa20VARAE: detailled Old Kingdom variant of Aa20

detailled version of the Aa20 ꜥpr sign

Bibliography: Junker, Hermann. 1941. Die Mastaba Des Snb (Seneb) Und Die Umliegenden Gräber. Gîza, V, p. 15

Aa13VARA

Value ꞽm.

Bibliography: Clère, « Notes sur l’inscription de Sarenpout Ie », RdE 22, 1970, 44-45,

Serge Rosmorduc

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