Volume 3 (2020)

First page of the paper.

Brief Observations on Coat Colours of Ancient Egyptian Horses: Symbolism and Potential for tracing the Origin of a Type of Horse

Norris, Pauline


This short paper offers some observations, based on tomb paintings and a number of artefacts, concerning the symbolism associated with the coat colours of the domestic horse in Egypt and it is suggested that the study of the coat colours may also further our knowledge of the origins of this useful animal in Egypt.


Norris, P. 2020. «Brief Observations on Coat Colours of Ancient Egyptian Horses: Symbolism and Potential for tracing the Origin of a Type of Horse», JHIE 3: 91–98



Language: en

Submitted on 2019-05-03; accepted on 2020-10-09


  • Aldred, C.: e gyptian Art, London (Thames and Hudson) 1980.
  • Ashmawy, A.: «Names of Horses in Ancient Egypt» Proceedings of the 9th International Congress of Egyptologists, Grenoble, 6-12 September 2004 (Goyon, J.–C. & Cardin, C., eds) Leuven (Peters / OLA 1501) 2007, 665-676.  
  • Aston, B.C., Harrell, J.A. & Shaw, I.: «Stone», Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technology (Nicholson, P.T. & Shaw, I., eds), Cambridge (Cambridge University Press) 2000, 5-77.
  • Bökönyi, S.: «Data on Iron Age Horses of Central and Eastern Europe», American School of Prehistoric Research Peabody Museum, Harvard University, Bulletin 25, 1968, 3-71.
  • Chaix, L.: «An Hyksos Horse from Tell Heboua (Sinai, Egypt)», Archaeology of the Near East IV B. Proceedings of the 4th International Symposium on the Archaeology of Southwestern Asia and Adjacent Areas (Mashkour, M. et al., eds), Groningen (ARC–Publicatie 32) 2000, 177-186.
  • EG = Gardiner, A.: Egyptian Grammar, Oxford (Griffith Institute / Ashmolean Museum) 31994.
  • Emery, w.b.: «A Preliminary Report on the Excavations of the Egypt Exploration Society at Buhen 1958-1959», Kush 8, 1960, 7-10.
  • Gardner wilkinson, j.: t he Ancient Egyptians – Their Life and Customs 1, London (Senate) 1994  [reprint of the 1st Edition: London (J. Murray) 11837].
  • Gower, J.: Horse Colour Explained, North Pomfret, Vermont (Trafalgar Square Publishing) 2000.
  • Hannig, R.: Großes Handwörterbuch Ägyptisch–Deutsch (2800-950 v. Chr.), Mainz (P. von Zabern) 52009.
  • Hērodotos: The Histories (translated by A. de selincourt and revised by J. marincola), Harmondsworth UK (Penguin Classics) 1996.
  • hodel–Hoenes, s.: l ife and Death in Ancient Egypt, London (Cornell University Press) 2000.
  • hoffmeier, j.k.: «review of Rommelaere, C. (1991): Les chevaux du Nouvel Empire égyptien: origines, races, Harnachement», JARCE XXXI, 1994, 228-229.
  • Hyland, a.: The Horse in the Ancient World, Stroud UK (Sutton Publishing) 2003.
  • kanawati, n.: T he Tomb and Beyond, Warminster (Aris & Phillips) 2001.
  • Ludwig, A., Pruvost, M., Reissmann, M., Benecke, N., Brockmann, G.A., Castaños, P., Cieslak, M., Lippold, S., Llorente, L., Malaspinas, A.–S., Slatkin, M. & Hofreiter, M.: «Coat Colour Variation at the Beginning of Horse Domestication», Science 324, 2008, 485.
  • Meeks, D.: «L’introduction du cheval en Egypte et son insertion dans les croyances religieuses», Les équidés dans le monde méditerranéen antique: Actes du colloque organisé par L’École Française d’Athènes, le Centre Camille Jullian, et l’UMR 5140 du CNRS, Athènes, 26-28 Novembre 2003 (Gardeisen, A. ed.), Lattes (Édition de l’Association pour le Développement de l’Archéologie en Languedoc–Roussillon / Monographies d’Archéologie Méditerranéenne) 2005, 51-59.
  • Mekhitarian, A.: Egyptian Painting, London (Macmillan) 1978.
  • Nibbi, A.: «Some Remarks on Ass and Horse in Ancient Egypt and the Absence of the Mule», ZÄS 106, 1979, 148-168.
  • Nibbi, A.: «Notes on the so–called Eastern Libyans, Ancient Egypt and the Horse and Chariot», Sahara 10, 1998, 97-106.
  • Norris, p.a.: A n Examination of the Horse in Egyptian Art from the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Dynasty (Unpublished MA Dissertation), UK (University of Birmingham) 2007.
  • Petrie, w.m.f.: Ancient Gaza I: Tel ᾽ el-Ajul, London (British School of Archaeology in Egypt / New York University) 1921.
  • rommelaere, c.: Les chevaux du Nouvel Empire égyptien: Origines, Races, Harnachement, Bruxelles 1991.   
  • Spalinger, A.J.: War in Ancient Egypt, Oxford (Blackwell Publishing / Ancient World at War 2) 2005.
  • turner, S.: The Horse in New Kingdom Egypt: Its Introduction, Nature, Role and Impact (PhD Dissertation), Australia (Macquarie University) 2015.
  • te Velde, H.: «A Few Remarks upon the Religious Significance of Animals in Ancient Egypt», Numen 271, 1980, 765-782.
  • Urk. = sethe, k.: Urkunden der 18. Dynastie. Urkunden des ägyptischen Altertums IV, Band III, Leipzig (C. Hinrichs’sche Buchhandlung) 1907, Heft 9-12, 625-936  [URL: http://etana.org/sites/default/files/coretexts/15286.pdf].
  • Vernus, P.: «Réception linguistique et idéologique d’une nouvelle technologie: le cheval dans la civilisation pharaonique», The Knowledge Economy and Technological Capabilities of Egypt, the Near East and the Mediterranean 2nd Millennium BC-1st Millennium AD. Proceedings of a Conference held at the Maison de la Chimie. Paris, France 9-10 December 2005 (Wissa, M., ed.), Barcelona (AOS 25) 2009, 1-46.  
  • Wb. = Erman, A. & Grapow, H.: Wörterbuch der ägyptischen Sprache I-V, Leipzig (J.C. Hinrichs) 1926-1931. 
  • wilkinson, r.h.: Symbol and Magic in Egyptian Art, London (Thames & Hudson) 1999.      
More papers from this issue