Yale Peabody Museum Gallery Talk
Relief fragment with Nubian archer. YPM ANT 006776
Cuneiform Letter of Ramesses II to Hattusili III. YPM BC 006909

The Zoomorphic Sign List, or Hieroglyphic Bestiary

John Coleman Darnell

Professor of Egyptology, Department of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations

Curator, Division of Anthropology, Yale Peabody Museum


Thursday, September 20 at 4:00 pm

Study Gallery, First Floor


The Predynastic Upper Egyptians developed a series of primarily zoomorphic icons for representing cosmic concepts, depicting these images on decorated ceramics, rock surfaces, and their own bodies. Ultimately developing into important members of the hieroglyphic sign list of the developed script, many of these symbolically significant animals become important representations of later divinities, and even actors in the Pharaoh Akhenaton's Hymn to the Aton. In keeping with the theme of Akhenaton, his reign, and the idyllic landscapes in which he, his court, and the very fish of the river, animals of the desert, and birds of the air worshipped the many-rayed and multiple-handed sun disk Aton, the talk will also quickly point out several important pieces in the Peabody's collection, including a depiction of a Nubian archer from ca. 2050 BCE, and a letter written by Ramesses II to the king of the Hittites.


Refreshments to follow. Free admission.