Saturday, March 07, 2009

Anubis or Taweret?

That statue... I just can't stop thinking about it and I bet a lot of people can't! I'm hoping for an Old Egyptian flashback. If Alpert is there wearing an ankh and a cobra crown, I think I'll just about explode! Could ancient Egyptians have used the island as a real-life heaven? Send a dead body there (after taking "good care" of it ) and have it resurrected? Or did they base their myths on the island? You know, dead people going in a boat to "heaven" where they lived again? has this great image:

And a there's a very good discussion about it there too.

Including the question of whether it's not Anubis but Taweret, the pregnant hippo:

From Wikipedia about Anubis:

Anubis is the Greek name[1] for a jackal-headed god associated with mummification and the afterlife in Egyptian mythology. In the ancient Egyptian language, Anubis is known as Inpu, (variously spelled Anupu, Ienpw etc.)[2]. The oldest known mention of Anubis is in the Old Kingdom pyramid texts, where he is associated with the burial of the king.[3] At this time, Anubis was the most important god of the Dead but he was replaced during the Middle Kingdom by Osiris.[4]

He takes various names in connection with his funerary role, such as He who is upon his mountain, which underscores his importance as a protector of the deceased and their tombs, and the title He who is in the place of embalming, associating him with the process of mummification.[3] Like many ancient Egyptian deities, Anubis assumes different roles in various contexts, and no public procession in Egypt would be conducted without an Anubis to march at the head.

And Taweret:
In Egyptian mythology, Taweret (also spelt Taurt, Tuat, Taueret, Tuart, Ta-weret, Tawaret, and Taueret, and in Greek, Θουέρις "Thoeris" and Toeris). Her name means (one) who is great. When paired with another deity, she became the demon-wife of Apep, the original god of evil. Since Apep was viewed as residing below the horizon, and only present at night, evil during the day then was envisaged as being a result of Taweret's maleficence.

As the counterpart of Apep, who was always below the horizon, Taweret was seen as being the northern sky, the constellation roughly covering the area of present-day Draco, which always lies above the horizon. Thus Taweret was known as mistress of the horizon, and was depicted as such on the ceiling of the tomb of Seti I in the Valley of the Kings.

In their art, Taweret was depicted as a composite of all the things the Egyptians feared, the major part of her being hippopotamus, since this is what the constellation most resembled, with the arms and legs of a lioness, and with the back of a crocodile. On occasion, later, rather than having a crocodile back, she was seen as having a separate, small crocodile resting on her back, which was thus interpreted as Sobek, the crocodile-god, and said to be her consort.

Early during the Old Kingdom, the Egyptians came to see female hippopotamuses as less aggressive than the males, and began to view their aggression only as one of protecting their young and being good mothers, particularly since it is the males that are territorially aggressive. Consequently, Taweret became seen, very early in Egyptian history, as a deity of protection in pregnancy and childbirth. Pregnant women wore amulets with her name or likeness to protect their pregnancies. Her image could also be found on knives made from hippopotamus ivory, which would be used as wands in rituals to drive evil spirits away from mothers and children.

In most subsequent depictions, Taweret was depicted with features of a pregnant woman. In a composite addition to the animal-compound she was also seen with pendulous breasts, a full pregnant abdomen, and long, straight human hair on her head.

As a protector, she often was shown with one arm resting on the sa symbol, which symbolized protection, and on occasion she carried an ankh, the symbol of life, or a knife, which would be used to threaten evil spirits.

Both sound intriguing in the context of Lost and the island!


Erik said...

It's not Anubis as does not have jackal ears, and it is not Taweret, as it has a human body, and is male, wearing a male egyptian garment, and has a human-like foot. There are a couple of Egyptian gods that have been found with human bodies and lion heads, which could qualify that are being discussed on

Maria said...

I've been following a few threads over at The Fuselage about this, and man, it is sooo interesting. So many deities that would fit into the "mythos" and so many that might fit the physical structure. I'm still hoping we might see the front of the statue this season, but maybe it's more realistic to hope for next season.

The main thread I've been reading is in the Spoiler forum at The Fuselage, titled "Mysterious Egyptian Influences".

Anonymous said...

You are right Taweret should have a hippo body -but you are wrong since the producers used a stylized version- it IS Taweret (confirmed by Network and producers)