Today’s demon is a turtle-headed guardian!

Turtle-headed guardian demon from the tomb of Ramesses III. Image from Hornung, E. (2013), 'Ägyptens göttliche Mischwesen', in Spinnenfuss Und Krotenbauch: Genese Und Symbolik Von Kompositwesen. (ed., Michel, P.) Zürich: Theologischer Verlag Zürich. Page 3, Figure 2.

Turtle-headed guardian demon from the tomb of Ramesses III. Image from Hornung, E. (2013), ‘Ägyptens göttliche Mischwesen’, in Spinnenfuss Und Krotenbauch: Genese Und Symbolik Von Kompositwesen. (ed., Michel, P.) Zürich: Theologischer Verlag Zürich. Page 3, Figure 2.

 

It is always interesting to see how the ancient Egyptians depicted composite beings such as this one. This demon actually has the head and shell or body of a turtle as its head! Perhaps this is to make the image more recognisable as a turtle, as turtle heads may well be confused with the heads of other animals, such as snakes. This depiction is from the tomb of Ramesses III (KV 11). You can find out more about this tomb on the Theban Mapping Project website.

Turtles in ancient Egypt have recently been studied by Lauren Ryan, an MA student at Swansea University, for her thesis. They evidently inspired her artwork, which you can check out on her website Little Dragon Designs.

Artwork by Little Dragon Designs.

Artwork by Little Dragon Designs.

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