Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Egypt's Goddess Nuit

When we were in Cairo, we visited a Papyrus place. I forget now if it was called a "Papyrus School" or a "Papyrus Factory." It was a tourist stop, and inside a man demonstrated the making of papyrus paper. Click here to read about the process of making paper from papyrus. Apparently papyrus paper does not tear. Its wrinkles can be smoothened away. It has long life, so that papyrus from thousands of years ago still exist.

Hyped up like that our small group of 30 was eager to buy papyrus. The place had all sorts of papyrus paintings for sale. There were a lot of Egyptian gods and goddesses and hieroglyphics. I wanted to get a painting on papyrus of the Holy Family - a stylized painting of Joseph pulling a donkey that's carrying Mary and Jesus. My husband spotted a painting of a woman wearing blue. Her body was curved like a horseshoe, with her head and feet on the ground. She had gold stars on her clothing and she looked quite glorious. We were told that she was the goddess Nuit or Nut. That was all we knew about her. We bought her because her image appealed to us.

When we visited the Valley of the Dead, we saw more paintings of the goddess Nuit in the funerary chambers. There were several versions of her but always she stood on all fours, with her body curved like canopy. One image showed her with a bubble in front of her mouth. Our guide explained that Nuit swallowed the Sun God Ra in the evening and gave birth to him in the morning. She was a friend of the dead, a mother-protector. She looked magical.

The above image is not the one we own, but it's one version of the goddess Nuit with her husband Geb (earth god) beneath her. This site gives you more information about the goddess Nuit.

We haven't had time to get the two papyrus paintings framed, but we're looking forward to getting that done soon. We won't be around to see if these will last for thousands of years though.

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