Expressing luminosity in iconography: features of the solar bark in the tomb of Ramesses VI

Georg-August-Universität, Göttingen

First two paragraphs

Many of the attributes and terms associated with the sky and its gods, in particular the sun-god, can be expressed in iconography as well as in textual descriptions. Often it is not clear which of the two ways of representing divine features influenced the other - exemplifying the inseparability of Egyptian text and image. 

In the representation of luminosity and fieriness, attributes which are said to appertain to most gods described in funerary and other religious literature from the Pyramid Texts onwards, uraei, or rows of uraei, have an important role in iconographically expressing fire, and thus the light of solar and stellar gods (Goebs, in press). They surround or crown the shrine of the sun-god in particular, and also occur arranged as a circlet around: or fanning the base of, royal and divine head-dresses. A similar function is fulfilled by disks, which can indicate both solar or stellar light.


Publication Type

Journal Name

Göttinger Miszellen

Volume Number


Issue Number

none, pp. 57-71


0344-385 X