Egyptian Symbols: Pschent

The Pschent is the famed double crown of Egypt that symbolized the unification of the country. It is the combination of the conical white crown known as Hedjet of Upper Egypt and the red crown with a bee proboscis at the end known as Deshret of Lower Egypt. To the ancient Egyptians, it was known as the sekhmeti that translates into “the Two Powerful Ones. It represents the pharaoh’s power over the whole Egypt as a single and united country.

The pschent was legendary for bearing two animal emblems: the Egyptian cobra or the uraeus in a ready to strike form representative of the patron goddess of Lower Egypt, Wadjet and the Egyptian vulture that symbolized Nekhbet – the tutelary goddess of Upper Egypt. These symbols were usually fastened in front of the crown and were singularly known as the nebty of the two goddesses. Later on, the vulture was eventually replaced with another cobra.

The pschent has been attributed to its maker – the First Dynasty pharaoh named Menes. However, the first pharaoh to wear it as royal regalia was another First Dynasty pharaoh named Djet as evidenced by a rock inscription with his Horus wearing it.

This crown is also associated with deities like Horus and Atum because of their special association and relationship with the ruling pharaoh.

However, like its predecessors, the Hedjet and Deshret, no physical evidence of the Pschent has been excavated probably because it was also made of organic material like reeds, rubber, or cloth. This has made the pschent’s presence found mostly only in ancient tales, inscriptions, statues and depictions.