The Origins of the Jmy-wt Fetish

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The Origins of the Jmy-wt FetishAuthor(s): Thomas J. LoganSource: Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt, Vol. 27 (1990), pp. 61-69Published by: American Research Center in EgyptStable URL: .Accessed: 14/06/2014 23:31Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . .JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact .American Research Center in Egypt is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access toJournal of the American Research Center in Egypt. This content downloaded from on Sat, 14 Jun 2014 23:31:32 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions Origins of the Jmy-wt Fetish* Thomas J. Logan In 1976 an exhibition of 55 objects from the Tomb of Tutankhamun began a tour of this country. Hundreds of thousands of people saw among them a strange gilt pole-shaped object (Catalogue no. 15) labeled the "Emblem of Anubis." Although we know that this emblem, or fetish, was connected with Anubis and burial, much of its function, indeed even its prototypical form and composition, remains enigmatic. In 1975 Ursula Kohler tried to remedy this situation and listed all the representations of the jmy-wt fetish known.1 In a second section of the same study, the basic meanings and contexts were discussed. While she listed all the attestations, her basic point of departure began with the reign of King Djoser when, according to her, the representation of the fetish became standardized (the Kanon-Form).2 Only one paragraph is de- voted to its meaning during the Thinite Period,3 and that lists its functions as an adjunct to the ms. -ceremony, coronation, Sed- jubilee, and roy- al burial.4 This article will review its depictions in the Thinite Period, discuss their contexts, and deter- mine their contemporary functions. In addition, an unpublished Predynastic representation will be discussed. This earliest attestation suggests what the fetish was originally made from. Occur- rences will be listed with the most recent and proceed to the older, and presumably, more obscure forms. There are no known occurrences from Dynasty 2; but since this period is so poorly documented, it would be premature to draw any conclusions from negative evidence. However, in Dynasty 1 there are many occur- rences, though the majority of them are im- pressions (sealings) or duplicates (seals or labels) of only a few prototypes. There is an unusual grouping of the occurrences of the fetish. It appears only during four reigns: Hor-Aha, Djer (Shty), Djet, and Den; and for each reign it occurs only as a seal (Djer and Den) or a label (Hor-Aha and Djet) but never as both during the same reign. This again could be the result of negative evidence. I. Cylinder Seals a. Reign of Den: 2 sealings There are two attestations of sealings, both from Abydos. The first contains the fetish next to the serekh, which contains the king's name.5 In addition, the standard of Wepwawet is flanked by a w jd-sign6 and the king's serekh. There are also possibly the names of two princes.7 The second * I wish to thank Dr. Bruce Williams of the Oriental Institute, Chicago, for his valuable and much appreciated assistance with this article. 1 Ursula Kohler, Das Imiut (Gottinger Orientforschungen 4; Wiesbaden, 1975). All predynastic dates are based on Werner Kaiser's "Zur inneren Chronologie der Naqadakul- tur," Archaeologia Geographica 6 (1956/57), 69-77. 2 Kohler, Das Imiut, 6. 3 Ibid., 366-67. 4 On coronation see P. Munro, "Bermerkungen zu einem Sedfest-Relief in der Stadtmauer von Kairo," ZAS 86 (1961) 64; on Sed- jubilee see ibid., 64; and on royal burial see H. Altenmiiller, "Die Bedeutung der 'Gotteshalle des Anubis' im Begrabnisritual," JEOL 22 (1971-72), 316 n. 145. 5 From the tomb of Den or Meritneit: Petrie, The Royal Tombs of the Earliest Dynasties (London, 1901), 2:plate XVII, #135; for a discussion of the other elements see A. J. Spencer, Early Dynastic Objects: Catalogue of Egyptian Antiquities in the British Museum, vol. 5 (Oxford, 1980), no. 373; and P. Kaplony, IAF (Agyptologische Abhandlungen 8; Wiesbaden, 1963), 2:1116, fig. 186. 6 Perhaps an early emblem for the goddess WMt who appears in human form holding the emblem on sealings of Khasakhemy and Ny-netjer (Kaplony, IAF 3:plate 82, #309 and plate 125, #748). 7 See the works of Spencer and Kaplony cited in nn. 5 and 6 above. 61 This content downloaded from on Sat, 14 Jun 2014 23:31:32 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions JARCE XXVII (1990) sealing contains the emblem stationed next to the name(?) Khasty and the king's serekh.8 b. Reign of Djer: 2 seals and 4 sealings 1. and 2. Brussels and Bristol seals.9 The em- blem and Wepwawet standards flank the king's serekh. In addition there are the names of two princes. 3. B.M. sealing is a sealing of one of the seals above.10 4. R.T. 2: plate Via, #18, sealing. There is only a photograph and no drawing, but clearly the fetish flanks the king's serekh on the left, and traces on the right could be the pole of the Wepwawet standard. If so, it is the same as numbers 1-3. 5. Berlin 15 666. n The same as 2. 6. Amelineau.12 The photo is unclear but appears to be the same as numbers 1-5. Numbers 1-6 are all probably the same repre- sentation of a single prototype. The examples of seals and sealings that survive all have one thing in common, the fetish occurs only directly next to the serekh of the king as if flanking it in a protective manner. There is no exception. The close relationship of the king and the fetish or Anubis may be confirmed by the (Palermo Stone) Annals, Cairo 1, line 3, box 3, which is the third year of a king that reads hc ny-swt, ms.t Jnpw.13 The Palermo Stone example links the "fashioning" of the jmy-wt fetish specifically with the "appearance" of the king. In the Archaic Period it is obvious that the king can hc more than once during his reign. The Cairo portion of the Annals records the event in year 3; the Palermo stone has it happening in year X + 3 and year X + 2.14 Since it can apparently happen any time during the king's reign, the event is not an "accession"15 in the sense of coronation but more likely a public appearance. The Den and Djer seals and sealings, then, commemorate the king's appearance in public and probably serve a protective function. II. Attestations on Labels a. Reign of Djet: ivory label, fragmentary , from his tomb16 The Djet ivory label is very fragmentary - only two pieces survive. The spatial relationship sug- gested between the two pieces by Petrie is here maintained. It would read "Serekh of WM, ms.t. [sSty-] bity}17 [. . .]18 jmy-wt; the god's fortress [x-] ntrw."19 During the Thinite Period the "fashioning" (ms.t) of statues and standards is well attested.20 Besides the strictly contemporary documents, there is an attestation of the fashioning of the jmy-wt emblem on the (Palermo Stone) Annals. This occurs on Cairo 4, which is clearly dated to the reign of Den.21 The year reads ms.t imy-wt, and there is a building called snty. As with the labels of Hor- Aha to be discussed next, we have a case of a shrine (snwt) connected with the fash- ioning of the jmy-wt. In another example, Anu- bis, whom the jmy-wt fetish represents, is ms. t in the first entry of line two of the Palermo Stone.22 8 R.T. 2:plate XIX, #151, tomb of Den? 9 Cf. IAF 2:1115, fig. 175a and 175b for bibliography. Both come from the tomb of Djer. 10 Spencer, Early Dynastic Objects, #368, tomb of Djer. 11 A. Scharff, Die Altertiimer der Vor- und Friihzeit Agyp- tens (Berlin, 1929), 2:182, #474. 12 Les nouvelles fouilles d'Abydos (Paris, 1896-1898), plate XXVII, 12. 13 For the identification of the jmy-wt fetish and Anubis see Kohler, "Imiut," LA 3:149-50. The Palermo Stone was published by H. Schafer, Ein Bruchstilck altdgyptischen Annalen (Berlin, 1902); the Cairo 1 fragment by H. Gauthier, "Quatre nouveaux fragments de la Pierre de Palerme," Le Musee Egyptien (Cairo, 1915), vol. 3. 14 Schafer, Ein Bruchstuck, 19 and 26. 15 R. Faulkner, Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian (Oxford, 1964), 185. 16 Petrie, Abydos I. 1902 (London, 1902), l:plate XI,2: IAF 2:989 n. 1565. 17 See Schafer, Ein Bruchstuck, 16, year 3; and A. Black- man, "Osiris or the Sun-God?" JEA 11 (1925), 208. 18 Perhaps schc, see n. 28 below. 19 P. Kaplony, "Gottespalast und Gotterfestungen in der agyptischen Friihzeit," ZAS 88 (1962), 5-16. 20 S. Schott, Hieroglyphen (Wiesbaden, 1951) 28-29 and below, n. 24; and A. Gardiner, "Regnal Years and Civil Calendar in Pharaonic Egypt," JEA 31 (1935) 13 n. 2. 21 J.-L. de Cenival, "Un Nouveau Fragment de la Pierre de Palerme," Bull. So. Fr. Eg. 44 (1965) 13ff. 22 Schafer, Ein Bruchstuck, 15. This content downloaded from on Sat, 14 Jun 2014 23:31:32 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions ORIGINS OF THE JMY-WT FETISH 63 Fig. 1. Ebony label (Aha B) found in the royal tomb at Abydos (BM 35518). b. Reign of Hor-Aha Two ebony labels, Kaplony's Aha B, slightly different but from the same prototype, were found in the royal tombs at Abydos: (1) BM 35518, four fragments23 (fig. 1) and (2) Philadelphia 9396,24 almost complete, small portion missing upper left (fig. 2). Since both labels are from the same prototype, they will be considered together. Both are per- forated at the upper right with a hole so the label could be attached to a container. Both have four registers. The top register contains the serekh of Hor- Aha on the left facing right. The next group contains the fashioning (ms. t) of the jmy-wt fetish. Although both labels are almost identical, the form of the fetish differs. To the immediate right (see fig. 2) are two elaborate royal trussed, parked boats above an chc- glyph in front of the temple of Neith.25 The temple entranceway is flanked by flags or standards followed by an open- air courtyard and the enclosed temple shrine. Below in register 2 an offering bearer proceeds to the left (that is, facing the king's serekh). The interpretation of the group depends upon two things: the reading of the ideogram and whether it pertains to the jmy-wt fetish or the building. The sign is written with the c/zc-ideogram (Gardiner P-6) on the two labels.26 It also occurs on two ebony labels from the reign of Djer (Cairo J.d'E. 44365 and Berlin no. 18026).27 On these latter labels in register 1 a hwt is flanked by the ideogram, and Gardiner has suggested that it be read [s]chc, that is, erecting the temple.28 In the second register a throne (s.t) is also erected. From the reign of Djet there are also two similar labels with a building surmounted by a Mr-frieze, so it is a temple.29 A label from the Michaelides Collection also commemorates the 23 R.T. 2:plates IIIA.6; XI.2. For further bibliography, see Spencer, Early Dynastic Objects, 64, #455. 24 R.T. 2:plate IIIA.5; see also H. Ranke, "The Egyptian Collection of the University Museum," University Museum Bulletin 15(1950), fig. 11. 25 On this type of boat, see B. Williams and T. J. Logan, "The Metropolitan Museum Knife Handle and Aspects of Pharaonic Imagery before Narmer," JNES 46 (1987), 245-85. 26 A. Gardiner, Egyptian Grammar (3d ed.; London, 1957), 546. 27 On the Cairo label see J. E. Quibell, Excavations at Sakkara (1911-12). The Tomb of Hesy (Cairo, 1913), 17 and plate XI. On the Berlin label see Scharff, Die Altertumer, 171, fig. 92. 28 "The Personal Name of King Serpent," JEA 44 (1958) 38; Kaplony after originally reading the ideogram as chc realized that it should be the causative schc (Kleine Beitrdge zu den IAF [Agyptologische Abhandlungen 15; Wiesbaden, 1966] 44-45 and 154 n. 190). See also Schott, Hieroglyphen, 29, "errichten"; and P. Lacau, Sur le System hieroglyphique (Cairo, 1954) 87. 29 W. Emery, Great Tombs of the First Dynasty II (Lon- don, 1954), 2:fig. 105 (from Sakkara); V. Vikentiev, "Etudes d'epigraphieprotodynastique,"^S^(56(1959) 6-7, figs. 1-2 (unknown provenance). Cf. also Kaplony, "Gottespalast and Gotterfestungen," 5-16 and fig. 3. This content downloaded from on Sat, 14 Jun 2014 23:31:32 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions XXVII (1990) 64 Fig. 2. Ebony label (Aha B) found in the royal tomb at Abydos (Philadelphia 9396). "erecting of an ch-wrw."30 Yet another Thinite example may be BM 35524 from the reign of Djer.31 The sign looks more like a golf tee next to a walled enclosure. Kaplony reads the sign as kd - in other words, building a royal palace in Buto32 - but the sign can just as easily be read as schc. The erection of temples is also mentioned in the Palermo Stone, as in row 3, no. 1, "erecting a hwt-ntr" and 3/3, "erecting in Herakleopolis a temple for the god Hr/-//."33 From this evidence I interpret the top line as a royal visit to observe "the fashioning of an jmy- wt fetish, erecting the temple of Neith," accom- panied by the obligatory offerings. To the right in register 2 is the running of a bull (Apis?) on a mound in front of a temple identified by a -glyph and a bird.34 The third register continues the royal inspec- tion tour as three traveling ships are depicted with the names of at least two walled towns. The fourth or bottom register identifies the commodity to which the label was attached, namely stj-Hrw oil.35 The oil was a tax donation 30 Vikentiev, "Les Monuments Archaiques," BIE 32 (1949- 50) 225, 227, fig. 25. The label is bordered by the rnpt-sign so it dates to the reign of Den or later. My reading is different than Vikentiev's. 31 Spencer, Early Dynastic Objects, #458. 32 IAF 1:285. 33 Schafer, Ein Bruchstuck, 18 and 20. 34 The running (phrr) of the Apis bull occurs commonly on the Palermo Stone during the Thinite Period, see Schafer, Ein Bruchstuck, 21 #12, 24 #10. 35 IAF 1:313. This content downloaded from on Sat, 14 Jun 2014 23:31:32 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions THE ORIGINS OF THE JMY-WT FETISH from Lower Egypt (jw t mhiv).36 Since the tax is from Lower Egypt and the cult of Neith has been traditionally identified as originating in Sais,37 and the same ships in the third register are interpreted as seaworthy,38 the accepted interpre- tation of a visit by the king to the Delta seems to be likely; for recent studies have proven that the unification of Egypt occurred generations before Menes.39 Indeed, Kaiser already in 1956 and 1957 had shown on the basis of ceramic evidence that there was a separate period between Naqada II and Dynasty 1 (roughly equivalent to Petrie's Se- manian).40 In 1961 he showed that Tura was under the domination of Naqada Ill/Dynasty 0 pharaohs some 100-150 years before the tradi- tional date for the unification under Menes.41 Breasted realized this already in 1931 from the Cairo Fragment of the Palermo Stone. Williams and Logan also show that representations from Naqada II to Naqada Ill/Dynasty 0 prove that much of the ritualistic/ceremonial nature of pharaonic kingship was already present (both in Egypt and Nubia) and conclude that Dynasty 0 was not "Predynastic."42 Further evidence that there was a clear pre- dynastic Naqada cultural presence in Lower Egypt is seen in the recent German excavations at Minshat Abu Omar.43 The abundance of Naqada II ceramics points to more than mere trade but rather a political presence in the Eastern Delta.44 In addition, serekhs from Kaiser's Horizon A on Naqada III pottery, the serekh of King Scorpion at the same site, and two serekhs of Narmer support this thesis.45 It is clear that the Eastern Delta was part of the Naqada II/III culture as H. Fischer had already suggested.46 By the begin- ning of Naqada III, Egypt was unified by a single culture from Nubia to the Eastern Delta. Dynasty 0 controlled Egypt. In fact, a Horizon A serekh was found in Gaza, another dating to Horizon A/C was found at Rafiah, a serekh containing an amorphous shape that dates to Horizon B was found at Den Besor, and it is well known that the serekh of Narmer and possibly that of Scorpion appear in southern Israel.47 It appears that there was a permanent Egyptian military presence in Gath during Nar- mer' s reign, and Yeivin suggests that it lasted for 150 years there.48 On these two labels and on Cairo 4 of the Annals, it is clear that the erecting of a building and the fashioning of the fetish or an Anubis statue went hand-in-hand. c. Kaplony's Aha D: ebony An Aha D ebony label, referring to Anubis, not the fetish, is the well-known label that 36 Ibid., 292, 295. If copied correctly, the quantities seem to differ: 300 units on the BM label, 100 on the Philadelphia label. 37 R. Schlichting, "Neith," LA 4:392-94. 38 B. Landstrom, Ships of the Pharaohs (New York, 1970), 25 and fig. 80. 39 W. Kaiser and G. Dreyer, "Umm el-Qaab, Nachtunter- sungen zur im friihzeitlichen Konigsfriedhof, 2. Vorbericht," MDAIK 38 (1982) 211-69 with figs. 14 and 15. 40 "Stand und Probleme der agyptische Vorgeschichtsfor- schung," ZAS 81 (1956) 87-109; "Zur inneren Chronologie der Naqadakultur" (see n. 1). 41 "Einige Bemerkungen zur agyptischen Friihzeit," ZAS 91 (1964), 108-17 with figs. 5 and 6; cf. also C. Meyer, "Tura," LA 6:807-09. 42 "Metropolitan Museum Knife Handle," see esp. 251-57, Table 1, and 271-72. 43 K. Kroeper and D. Wildung, Minshat Abu Omar (Mu- nich, 1985). 44 Ibid., 67. 45 On Kaiser's Horizon A, see ibid., fig. 84 and 213; on the serekh of King Scorpion, see Wildung, Agypten vor den Pyramiden (Mainz, 1981) 37; on the serekhs of Narmer, see K. Kroeper and D. Wildung, Minshat Abu Omar, fig. 213. 46 "A Fragment of Late Predynastic Relief from the Eastern Delta," Artibus Asiae 21 (1958) 64-88. 47 For early serekhs generally, with references for Gaza and Raphiah, see Kaiser and Dreyer, "Nachuntersuchungen," p. 262, n. 193 and 260-69. On Den Besor: A. Schulman, "The Egyptian Seal Impressions from DEn Besor," Atiqot 11 (1976) 25-26, who identifies the form with Narmer; but Kaiser, "Nachtuntersungen," 266-67, #ee, is more cautious in the identification. On the serekh of Narmer in Arad: Amiran, "The Name of Narmer on a Fragment from Arad," IEJ 24 (1974), 4-12; in Tell Gath (or Erany): S. Yeivin, "Early Contacts between Canaan and Egypt," IEJ 10 (1960) 193-203; and "A New Chalcolithic Culture at Tel cErany and its Implications for Early Egypto-Canaanite Relations," Fourth World Congress of Jewish Studies (Jerusalem, 1967), 1:45-48. On the serekh of Scorpion: S. Yeivin, "Additional Notes on the Early Relations between Canaan and Egypt," JNES 27 (1968) 37-48. The evidence consists of a surface sherd from Gath and decoration on a metal saw from the Kefar Monash Cache. Neither seem conclusive. 48 "A New Chalcholithic Culture at Tel cErany," 47. This content downloaded from on Sat, 14 Jun 2014 23:31:32 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions XXVII (1990) 66 supposedly proves Aha conquered Nubia.49 On the left is the serekh of Hor-Aha facing right. Before him from top to bottom is a sign tradi- tionally read as tj-stj, an r-glyph, and a bound prisoner. The next group consists of Anubis over the ms.t-sign.50 To the right is a walled enclosure. Brovarski suggested that this label does not record a conquest, for the sign read as tj-stj might be the ifp-ideogram.51 He, therefore, reads the label as the "fashioning and opening the mouth of a statue of Anubis." There is a problem with the shape of the sign as it curls inward, but there are very few examples of it during this early reign. In support of Brovarski' s reading of wp is the fact that over the shoulder of Horus is a vertical line intersected by a diagonal line terminating in a loop.52 This heretofore ignored object is clearly a type of mace or implement. As further evidence we may recall P.T. Utterance 20: "O King, I have come ... for I am Horus, I have struck your mouth for you." This label, then, is simply part of the series of labels commemorating the open- ing or erecting of a building accompanied by the ms.t of the jmy-wt fetish or Anubis. As for the bound prisoner, Williams and Logan have pointed out that Dynasty 0 royal ceremonies were frequently accompanied by ritu- al killings.53 This scene probably depicts such a killing. Projecting downward from the serekh are the traces of what I interpret as a mace analogous to the mace projecting downward in identical fashion over a bound prisoner from the cabin of the lower boat on the Turin Painted Linen.54 A similar scene is depicted on the Qustul Incense Burner from L 23;55 for within a boat sailing to a building with a palace facade is a bound prisoner behind whom stands a man with a mace. This scene and several others, including the Painted Turin Linen, Painted Tomb 100 at Hierakonpolis, and the Scorpian Mace Head (note the man with mace and the bound indi- viduals), all depict ritual killings. I will discuss the fact that ritual killing is associated with Anubis or the fetish in the next and last label. d. Kaplony' s Aha C: two different copies of a single original, neither complete 1. Cairo J.d'E. 34907, ebony.56 2. Cairo J.d'E. 34908, ebony.57 Since the two fragments overlap and comple- ment each other, they are considered together here. On the left is the serekh of King Aha facing right. To the right is a palace (ch) from which an individual holding a staff in his left hand emerges. On the far right is the hole for attach- ment together with a group of Horus on a standard, the jmy-wt fetish, and the ms.t-glyph. Between this grouping and the individual is a scene that is partially preserved on each frag- ment. On Aha Cl the upper portion of the scene preserves the inscription szp smcw mhw. The lower portion of the scene preserved on Aha C2 shows an individual observing a man with a container and a knife cut open the chest or abdominal cavity of a bound prisoner. I interpret the scene as the king observing a sacrificial scene accompanied by the szp smcw mhw and the "fashioning" of an jmy-wt fetish. A scene parallel to this is Kaplony's Djer (Shty) A, though it lacks the jmy-wt or Anubis.58 On the left is the serekh of the king facing right. A procession of five men approach the serekh bear- ing, from left to right, a fire altar with two flames,59 a mummiform statue,60 a ncr-catfish, a 49 R.T. 2, plate III.2. W. Emery, Archaic Egypt (Aylesbury, 1961), 51; P. Kaplony, "Aha," LA 1:94-96. 50 The jackal or dog that represents Anubis is always recumbent; Wepwawet always stands: B. Altenmuller, "Anu- bis," LA 1:327-33, and E. Graefe, "Upuaut," LA 6:862-64. 51 "Hor-aha and the Nubians," Serapis 4 (1977-78) 1-3. 52 See Schott, Hieroglyphen, plate VII, fig. 13, for a clear reconstruction. 53 Williams and Logan, "Metropolitan Museum Knife Handle," 271-73. 54 E. Scamuzzi, Egyptian Art (New York, 1965), plate V. 55 B. Williams, The A-Group Royal Cemetery at Qustul: Cemetery L (OINE 3; Chicago, 1986) 138-45 and plate 34. 56 R.T. 2:plate3.5. 57 Ibid., plate 3.6. 58 W. Emery and Z. Saad, The Tomb of Hemaka (Cairo, 1938) 35-39 with plates 17 and 18; see IAF vol. 2, 981 n. 1552 for bibliography. 59 J. Vandier, Manuel d'archeologie Egyptienne (Paris, 1952), 1:847. I am not convinced that this is the correct interpretation, though it seems as likely as Kaplony's pd-chc or sms- "emblem" (Kleine Beitrdge, 155). 60 Kaplony's suggestion {Kleine Beitrdge, 154-55) that the mummiform statue is related to jrw "stadte" or the human- shaped sign with beard and outstretched arms meaning "Gestalt" (with the resultant meaning of "Gestalt, Statue") seems forced. This content downloaded from on Sat, 14 Jun 2014 23:31:32 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions THE ORIGINS OF THE JMY-WT FETISH bird (statue?), and a spear. Above this group is the ras.- ideogram. To the right is the attachment hole and under it the szp smcw mhw group. Like Aha C, the group is accompanied by two indi- viduals: a bound prisoner and a man holding a container in one hand and a knife in the other. He is cutting into the prisoner's chest. Again, we have a case of sacrifice accompanied both by the ' 'receiving of Upper and Lower Egypt" and the "fashioning" of cult objects. Another example of ritual killings has been suggested by Vandier concerning the famous tablet of Aha from Na- qada.61 This label depicts ivrmw ^-awnings con- taining the nbty-title mn, the serekh of Hor-Aha, and a royal barge.62 In the center of the second register two men flank a large vessel supported by a pot- stand. To the left are offerings described by the inscription as jnw mhw and dfjiv smcw.63 The offerings are being put into a pot that is being stirred by the man on the left. Vandier suggests that one interpretation of the scene is "cette ceremonie aurait ete accompagnee d'un repas et de la mise a mort de prisonniers et d'animaux."64 The connection of ritual killing and the jmy-wt might explain its later connection with mummi- fication (by Dynasty 4 or 5)65 and its composition from the skin of animals.66 But the earliest fetishes from the reign of Hor-Aha do not seem to be made from skin (see figs. 1 and 2).67 III. The Origin of the Fetish For the origin of the fetish we must now turn to a Predynastic decorated vase with two tubular lug handles dating to Naqada Ilc-d in the Oriental Institute Museum (OIM 29871; fig. 3).68 This earliest representation of the fetish is part of a growing number of Predynastic documents.69 On the far left of the drawing are four lattice structures.70 The three on the left have similar stylized birds in the top division while the one on the right is interrupted by the lug handle.71 The building may be the same simple type seen on the painted bowl OIM 24119, which consists of 7 vertical poles and 2 horizontal bars.72 The top of each pole supports an object, circles (either open or solid, with one very interesting type with streamers hanging down which, perhaps, is a headdress for the man whom it rests upon), and two quadrupeds identified as crocodiles. Other elements in this tableau include: three vultures, two attacking serpents, a palm tree with a bird perched in it, a plover, and a crocodile. These have all been interpreted by Williams as having royal connotations. Another similar structure is a wooden box from el-Amrah that consists of 7 or 8 vertical poles and 3 horizontal bars.73 Each pole supports an animal head that the excavators interpreted as giraffe heads. They are certainly some form of totem flags. In addition, on the same box is a hippopotamus, crocodile, an enigmatic figure identified as some type of fishing net on the Turin Linen, and a royal bark. The 61 Manuel d'archeologie Egyptienne, 1:833. 62 This label has been published frequently. Four pieces were originally found by J. de Morgan in 1896 {Recherches sur les origines de VEgypte [Paris, 1897], vol. 2: Ethnographie prehistorique et tombeau royal de Nagada). In 1904 J. Gar- stang reexcavated the tomb and found the missing piece and part of a duplicate ("The Tablet of Mena," ZAS 42 [1905] 61-64). For additional bibliography see Kaplony, IAF 2:980 n. 1552 on ch3, A\ and A2. 63 IAF 1:295. 64 Manuel d'archeologie Egyptienne, 1:833. 65 Kohler, "Imiut," LA 3:149-50. 66 The type and portion of skin used varied with time; see Kohler, Das Imiut, figs. 1-5 and pis. I-XI. 67 It is interesting that the same differences seen between the depictions of the fetish on Aha Bl and B2 are identical to what appears on Aha Cl and C2. 68 The vase OIM 29871 (originally MMA 36.1.124) was excavated at Hierakonpolis by Ambrose Lansing for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1935 (see BMMA [1935], vol. 30, #11, sec. II, 37-45). The vase was found in the "Fort" Cemetery, tomb 21. The shape of the vessel as well as the other contents from the tomb (a slate palette in the form of a fish and two R-wares) indicate a date of Naqada Ilc-d (cf. Petrie's D35, Corpus [BSAE 32; London, 1921] plate XXXIII). 69 The shape of this D-Ware belongs to Kaiser's Naqada lid (see Petrie, Corpus, pl. 32, D31b, g, for example). 70 I want to thank David A. Ginocchio for his patient and painstaking work in recovering details from the abraided area to the left and below the lug seen on the right side of the drawing. 71 These birds are very different from the ubiquitous birds with geometric bodies and heads that are usually identified as ostriches. W. Needier, Predynastic and Archaic Egypt in the Brooklyn Museum (New York, 1984), 155, on row 2 identifies similar birds on the Brooklyn Knife Handle as storks. 72 Williams, The A-Group Royal Cemetery at Qustul, 152-53 and plate 84. 73 D. Randall-Maclver and A. C. Mace, El Amrah and Abydos: 1899-1901 (London, 1902), plate XII.13. This content downloaded from on Sat, 14 Jun 2014 23:31:32 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions JARCE XXVII (1990) Fig. 3. Predynastic decorated vase with tubular lug handles, Naqada Ilc-d (OIM 29871). structure is certainly an early representation of a temple. (For another possible Naqada II repre- sentation of a temple see the Naqada bowl dis- cussed in n. 75.) If my identification of the building is correct, then the relationship of fetish and important building is established. On the far right of the OIM vase, two files of the same type of bird approach the lattice struc- tures. There are three birds in the bottom file while a complete bird and traces of the legs of a second are preserved in the row above. I would interpret the birds as nonspecific stylized birds or some form of waders (Ciconiiformes). Above is the second lug handle decorated with streamers. To the left a quadruped turns his head backward, looking at a standard in what I feel to be a coherent vignette.74 Though I am not able to determine with certainty what the form is that surmounts the pole, I am certain that it is another animal and fairly sure that it is an elephant. If so, this corresponds to Sally B. Johnson's recent demonstration (as discussed by Williams) that the elephant was related with Predynastic king- ship.75 This would, then, also confirm the rela- tionship of kingship with the fetish, which is depicted on the left side of the vignette already in the Predynastic period. In the center of the vig- nette are two spirals. Interpretations of spirals, a common motif on D-Ware, have ranged from simple decorative elements,76 imitations of bas- ketry that covered precious vases,77 to imitations of the red and cream bichrome of breccia.78 Usually there are two spirals placed equidistant from each other that act to divide the vase into Williams bases his conclusion on the fact that on the follow- ing documents the elephants are not trampling on the ser- pents, rather the serpents flank and protect the elephant, as S. Johnson had already pointed out ("Predynastic Serpents c. 4000-3200 b.c. Late Predynastic Uraei 3200-3000 b.c." [ARCE 1986 Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., Abstracts, 27]: Brooklyn Knife Handle (Needier, Predynastic and Archaic Egypt, 153-68); the Davis Comb (H. Asselbergs, Chaos en Beheersing: Documenten uit aeneolithisch Egypte [Leiden, 1961] 311, nos. 37 and 38); the Pitt-Rivers Knife Handle (ibid., nos. 41 and 42); the Carnarvon Knife Handle (ibid., nos. 43 and 44); and Sayala Macehead (C. Firth, The Archaeological Survey of Nubia: Report for 1910-1911 [Cairo, 1927] 207-8). In addition, there is a D-Ware vase from Nagada (Vandier, Manuel d'archeologie Egyptienne, 1:350-51) that depicts two boats with structures around the cabins that Vandier identi- fies as prototypical temples of Neith (C. Boreux, Etudes de Nautique egyptienne [Cairo, 1925] 21, also sees these struc- tures as divine), and each boat has an elephant-standard. 74 It is similar to the canine-like animal on the Siah Sealings. See Williams, The A-Group Royal Cemetery at Qustul, 169-71 with figs. 58a and 59. 75 "Decorated Pottery and the Art of Neqada III (Paper presented at the Symposium on Ancient Egyptian Pottery, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, September 1986). 76 Petrie, Prehistoric Egypt (London, 1920), 18. 77 H. Frankfort, Studies in Early Pottery of the Near East (London, 1924), 1:97. 78 Needier, Predynastic and Archaic Egypt, 203, cat. 54. This content downloaded from on Sat, 14 Jun 2014 23:31:32 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions ORIGINS OF THE JMY-WT FETISH 69 two vignettes or cover the entire vase.79 Unlike other examples, these two spirals are placed together in this case and there are no others elsewhere on the vase. In addition, to the lower left of the spirals are what appear to be pieces of the spiral; and the fetish is immediately to the left of this group. Below the spirals is a form with a head like the birds with two legs and outspread wings. However, instead of the traditional Egyp- tian artistic style of depicting the bird from a side-view, here, except for the head, the body is shown frontally. The interpretation seems ob- vious: the bird has been cut and split longi- tudinally. I interpret the spirals as intestines (removed from the bird), which are being cut into pieces, together with the other internal organs spread on the ground. The sections of intestine are then tied to the pole to form the fetish. The fetish on Aha B2 corroborates this; clearly there are only intestines tied to a pole. On the other hand, Aha Bl indicates that at this time the composition was not standardized, for an in- ternal organ is also attached. This brings us to the meaning of jmy-wt. The word is not written out until Dynasties 4 and 5, and then is part of the title of Anubis.80 In these cases the determinative is a circle or "town" determinative (Gardiner O-49).81 It is not until the reign of Pepi II that jmy-wt occurs with the fetish, again with the "town" determinative.82 The pustule (Gardiner Aa-2)83 occurs as a deter- minative first in the Pyramid Texts84 but is not common until after the Old Kingdom. With some reservation I make the suggestion that the original word for the fetish was a single noun jmywt, "that which is inside," referring to the objects from which the fetish was made. This is analogous to jmyw, "tumor."85 I then postulate that the name for the fetish and the title for Anubis coalesced in the later Old Kingdom some five hundred years after the origin of the fetish. In conclusion, (1) the fetish is never held but planted, therefore it is a standard;86 (2) it com- memorated the king's appearance in public, probably as a protective emblem; (3) it was "fashioned" to commemorate the opening or dedication of an important building; (4) it was involved in ritual killings when "Upper and Lower Egypt were received"; and (5) it was already present in the Predynastic period in association with important buildings and king- ship. In the Thinite period there is no indication that it was connected with either the Sed- jubilee or royal burial. Carmel, Calif. 79 Petrie, Prehistoric Egypt, 18, #37. H. Kantor has also pointed out that lug handles have the same function ("Friihe Stufen der Kunst," Propylden Kunstgeschichte [Berlin, 1974] 231). 82 K. Sethe, Urkunden (Leipzig, 1903), 1:114. 80 Kohler, Das Imiut, 324-25. 81 Egyptian Grammar, 498. 83 Egyptian Grammar, 539. 84 Kohler, Das Imiut, 446 with table. 85 WTB, 1:76. 86 Kaiser, ZAS 84, 125 n. 5. This content downloaded from on Sat, 14 Jun 2014 23:31:32 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions Contentsp. 61p. 62p. 63p. 64p. 65p. 66p. 67p. 68p. 69Issue Table of ContentsJournal of the American Research Center in Egypt, Vol. 27 (1990), pp. i-ix, 1-248Front MatterEditorial Foreword [pp. vii-vii]Michael Allen Hoffman (1944-1990) [pp. viii-ix]Restricted Knowledge, Hierarchy, and Decorum: Modern Perceptions and Ancient Institutions [pp. 1-23]O. Gardiner 363: A Spell Against Night Terrors [pp. 25-41]Mehen, Mysteries, and Resurrection from the Coiled Serpent [pp. 43-52]The Narmer Macehead and Related Objects [pp. 53-59]The Origins of the Jmy-wt Fetish [pp. 61-69]An Early Dynastic Cemetery at Kafr Ghattati [pp. 71-87]A Well-Known Piece on Merseyside: Liverpool SAOS E 91 [pp. 89-96]An Armchair Excavation of KV 55 [pp. 97-137]Excavations at Hambukol (Upper Nubia): 1987 and 1988 Seasons [pp. 139-163]Petrography of Islamic Pottery from Fustat [pp. 165-184]Damiette in the Late Eighteenth Century [pp. 185-189]Egyptian Tales of the Fantastic: Theme and Technique in the Stories of Ysuf Idrs [pp. 191-198]Index to The Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt Volumes I-XXVI (1962-1989) [pp. 199-217]Book ReviewsReview: untitled [pp. 219-220]Review: untitled [pp. 220-223]Review: untitled [pp. 223-224]Review: untitled [pp. 224-225]Review: untitled [pp. 225-227]Review: untitled [pp. 228-228]Review: untitled [pp. 229-229]Review: untitled [pp. 229-230]Review: untitled [pp. 230-232]Review: untitled [pp. 232-233]Review: untitled [pp. 233-234]Review: untitled [pp. 234-235]Review: untitled [pp. 235-239]Review: untitled [pp. 239-243]Review: untitled [pp. 243-244]Addendum to Reviews of "Die Mnchner Ochsenmumie" and "Tuna el-Gebel I. Die Tiergalerien" [pp. 244-244]List of Books Received [pp. 245-248]Back Matter