Viper, Viper, Leaf, Nobleman

Welcome back, everyone! I’m quite eager to point out to you very important hieroglyphs on my false door. Let’s start with something easy … like identifying the signs in my beautiful name.

I’m talking about my nickname–that’s what we ancient Egyptians called a “beautiful name” (or “good name”). Just like today, in ancient Egypt people were given nicknames; some are just an abbreviation of their longer name, while others represent a characteristic of that person.

My nickname–Fefi–is easy to read and write. The first hieroglyph is the one associated with the sound “f,” and that’s the horned viper. I know, I know! It looks like a slug with antennae, but trust me, you don’t want to be near a real horned viper. It’s a venomous snake! This sign is written twice in my nickname.

The other hieroglyph is a reed leaf (it looks like a knife standing upright or a feather), which Egyptologists associate with the sound “ee,” written as “i.”

What you get is “f … f … i.” Inserting the letter “e” between consonants makes it easier to pronounce–hence “Fefi.” 

Oh! There is also a hieroglyph at the end of my nickname that doesn’t represent a sound; it represents an idea. It’s the image of man–sometimes standing, sometimes seated. This tells you that the name you are reading is that of a male person … and I am a man! (In my case, it’s actually a nobleman, not just an ordinary guy.) That’s one of those ideograms I mentioned earlier.If the hieroglyph represented a woman, the name would be female … useful, huh?

When you put all the hieroglyphs together, here’s what my nickname looks like:

Next time you visit the Museum, take a look at my false door and see if you can find the combination of hieroglyphs that spell my nickname–viper, viper, reed leaf, and nobleman. I had a scribe write it several times on my monument. And while you’re in the Egyptian gallery studying the false door, take a selfie with me, Fefi!

(The hieroglyphs in this blog post are made possible thanks to JSesh, an open source hieroglyphic editor.)

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