The color red is associated with Het-Hert in many ways. One of her titles is Mistress of the Red Cloth, and a priestly title from Dendera was "She who unites with the Red Cloth, She who is upon Her throne." In the Myth of the Destruction of Mankind, red dye is mixed with beer to look like human blood. When Sekhmet saw the red liquid, she drank it until intoxicated and was unable to finish annihilating mankind.
The red scarf was worn as a part of the costume for priestesses of
Het-Hert during the Old Kingdom. It is a long, narrow piece of fabric that is tied
around the neck with its ends trailing down the back like streamers. It was also
worn by dancers, though draped in a different way.
|Outside the Old Kingdom mastaba tomb of Mereri at Saqqara
there is a false door of his wife Nebet (aka Ibi), a priestess of Het-Hert. The false door
of a tomb is the place where the Seen and Unseen Worlds connect, allowing the ka of the
deceased to partake of the offerings placed there by loving relatives.
The carved relief from this false door shows Nebet wearing a long scarf and carrying two cloth sacks and two sistra (one of which is sticking out of the sack on the right). It looks as if she also might be wearing a menat necklace around her neck. One of her titles was "Priestess of Het-Hert in all Her Places."
Another priestess shown
wearing the long red scarf is Hemet-Netjer Het-Hert Imi. In
the picture on the right from her husband Ihy's tomb at Thebes, she
wears a menat around her neck and shakes a sistrum. The original
picture is quite damaged, as a family had taken up residence in the
tomb and had used it as a kitchen. This picture has been colored
in Photoshop, but the original did show quite clearly that the scarf
In the Old Kingdom tomb of Kagemni at Saqqara, his wife Nebty-nubkhet (aka Seshseshet) is also shown wearing a long, red scarf. She wears a menat and has her hair pulled back into a pony tail.
The red scarf is also associated with dancers who performed in honor of Het-Hert. They wore the scarf criss-crossed in front of the chest and hanging down in back. In some depictions, the scarf is worn tight around the neck and in others, it hangs more loosely around the shoulders.
Galvin, Marianne, The Priestesses of Hathor in the Old Kingdom and the 1st Intermediate Period, pp. 228-231.
Porter and Moss, Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Reliefs, and Paintings, vol. III, pt. 2, p. 521.
Saad, Zaky Y., ASAE 43 (1943), p. 454, pl. XL.
Saleh, Mohamed, "Tomb of Ihy no. 186," Three Old-Kingdom Tombs at Thebes, c. 1977.
Staehelin, Elisabeth, "Untersuchungen zur ägyptischen Tracht im Alten Reich," MÄS 8 (1966), 175-176.
Photograph of dancers from tomb of Kagemni compliments of Victor Rivas of Friends of Egyptology
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