Ankh – The key of life

The Ankh is an ancient Egyptian hieroglyph and a symbol of life which, in its heyday, was both widespread and charged with meaning. Ancient reliefs show Egyptians carrying the ankh in their hand, with the upper loop serving as a handle. This is also where the term «key of life» comes from.

On a number of these wall reliefs, ancient Egyptian gods can be seen holding the ankh to the nose or mouth of the pharaohs. They have the key to «eternal life» in their hands. The ancient Egyptians believed that they would breathe this immortality into them once their earthly life had ended.

Opening scene in the animation video

In this scene, Nefertari (left), dressed in a white ceremonial robe, receives the breath of life from the mother goddess, Isis (right). Isis is the goddess of birth, rebirth and the guardian of magic. Nefertari, also Nefertiti or Nefertari Meritenmut (* unknown; † around 1255 BC.), was the  «Great Royal Wife» of Pharaoh Rameses II in the New Kingdom, 19th Dynasty.

The tomb of Nefertari

The tomb of Nefertari, where this scene is to be found, is the largest architectural and artistic undertaking ever dedicated to a woman in ancient Egypt. It is the most beautiful of all the tombs in the Valley of the Queens, where the murals still radiate in their original colours after more than 3000 years.