Cursive hieroglyphs, or hieroglyphic book hand, are a form of Egyptian hieroglyphs commonly used for handwritten religious documents, such as the Book of the Dead.
What are Hieroglyphs?
Egyptian hieroglyphs were the formal writing system used in Ancient Egypt, used for writing the Egyptian language. Hieroglyphs combined logographic, syllabic, and alphabetic elements, with some 1,000 distinct characters.
The word hieroglyph comes from the Greek adjective ἱερογλυφικός (hieroglyphikos), a compound of ἱερός (hierós ‘sacred’) and γλύφω (glýphō ‘(Ι) carve, engrave’; see glyph) meaning sacred carving.
How Cursive Hieroglyphs are written?
This style of writing was typically written with ink and a reed brush on papyrus, wood, or leather. It was quite common during the Ramesside Period, and many famous documents, such as the Papyrus of Ani, use it. It was also employed on wood for religious literature such as the Coffin Texts.
Cursive Hieroglyphs VS Hieratic
Cursive hieroglyphs should not be confused with the truly cursive form of hieroglyphs known as hieratic. Hieratic has many ligatures and signs unique to itself. However, there is a certain degree of influence from hieratic in the visual appearance of some signs.
One significant difference is that the orientation of cursive hieroglyphs is not constant, reading right to left or left to right depending on the context, whereas hieratic is always read right to left.
A right-to-left reading direction is also most common in the writing of cursive hieroglyphs, but they are usually arranged in columns rather than rows.
Read about: Hedjet – The White Crown of Upper Egypt, Pschent – The Double Crown of Unified Egypt
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