Egyptian Symbols: Hedjet

The Hedjet is the conical white crown of Upper Egypt that symbolized the regalia of that area of the country. Together with the Red Crown or Deshret, they form the Pschent during the unification of the country. It is mostly associated with the goddess, Nekhbet, who was the iconic deity of southern Egypt. The crown was made of fabric-like material including cloth and reeds suggesting why no white crown has ever been excavated. It may also be called as the Nefer, the White Nefer, or the White Crown.

The existence of the Hedjet precedes the dynastic period in Egypt. It is believed to have been first used between 3500 and 3200 BC. The earliest image of the Hedjet was in Northern Nubia during the Naqada II period. This suggested that the Hedjet was assimilated and brought to Egypt from white crown clan of Nubia.

The Hedjet is associated with a number of deities. Statues of Nekhbet as tutelary goddess are visible in Nekhebet near Hierakonpolis where she is seen wearing the white crown. The falcon god Horus may also be seen wearing the crown in the same city. During the reign of Khasekhemwy, vases often show the king of Upper Egypt as Horus wearing the White Crown. In fact, in the Narmer Palette found in Hierakonpolis, the southern king is depicted with the Hedjet as he triumphs over his enemies from the north. The white crown may also be associated with Osiris as it formed the basis of his more popular Atef crown.

However, the Hedjet may come in other colors as well although rarely. In the Harris Papyrus, Rameses III is seen before the gods wearing the Hedjet painted in yellow

Alternatively, the Hedjet may also be represented by a goddess as the uraeus shown next to the image of Nekhbet in the Pschent.