Volume 5 (2022)

First page of the paper.

Papers presented at the third international conference of the Hellenic Institute of Egyptology

The Symbolism of Drinking from Tree–Goddesses in Connection with Pools: Selected Examples from the NK Theban Tombs

Ezzat, Azza


Drinking from the tree-goddess was a religious ritual that many tomb owners tried to show. Egyptian trees took a strong part in the tree cult, and the sycamore was one of the most important of all. It is not surprising that the Egyptians believed that a goddess lived in a leafy tree with a well of water at its foot, and the syamore took a main position in Egyptian mythology. Only three sky goddesses played a major role in the tree cult, namely, Nut, Hathor, and Isis. It will be of some interest to see how they played a crucial role in the tree cult. This paper aims to explore the symbolism of drinking from the tree?goddess in the Theban Necro?polis during the New Kingdom. It will discuss the feminine role represented in the tree-goddess figure, in connection with pools and sycamores. It will also demonstrate the importance of the feminine aspect in Egyptian religion linked to the pools through symbolism, mythology and the presence of the goddesses Hathor, Nut and Isis. The presence of the sycamore goddess, who pours libation from the waters to the T-shaped pool, seen in Theban Tomb paintings, is referenced in relation to funerary practice.


Ezzat, A. 2022. «The Symbolism of Drinking from Tree–Goddesses in Connection with Pools: Selected Examples from the NK Theban Tombs», JHIE 5: 39–46



Language: en

Submitted on 2022-05-14; accepted on 2022-12-23


  • Abdelhamid, T.: «Tree Goddess Scenes in the New Kingdom Private Tombs at Thebes», International Journal of Heritage, Tourism and Hospitality 113/2, 2017, 103-120 [URL: https://ijhth.journals.ekb.eg/article_30224.html].
  • Assmann, J.: Das Grab des Amenemope TT41, Mainz (P. Von Zabern) 1991.
  • Assmann, J.: Death and Salvation in Ancient Egypt (transl. by D. Lorton), Ithaca–London (Cornell University Press) 2001.
  • Barakat, H.: Guide botanique de l’Égypte ancienne, Cairo (Nubar Printing House) 2002.
  • Baum, N.: Arbres et arbustes de l’Égypte ancienne, Leuven (Uitgeverij Peeters / OLA 31) 1988.
  • Billing, N.: Nut: The Goddess of Life in Text and Iconography, Uppsala (Up­psala University / USE 5) 2002.
  • Billing, N.: «Writing an Image – The Formulation of the Tree Goddess Motif in the BD, Ch. 59», SAK 32, 2004, 35-50.
  • Bleeker, C.J.: Hathor and Thoth: Two Key Figures of the Ancient Egyptian Religion , Leiden (Brill) 1973.
  • Brewer, D.J. & Friedman, R.F.: Fish and Fishing in Ancient Egypt , Warminster (Aris & Phillips) 1989.
  • BruyÈre, B.: Rapport sur les fouilles de Deir ᾽el Médineh (1924-1925) , Le Caire (IFAO / FIFAO 33) 1926.
  • Buhl, M.L.: «The Goddesses of the Egyptian Tree Cult», JNES 62, 1947, 80-97.
  • Carroll, M.: Earthly Paradises: Ancient Gardens in History and Archaeology , LA (J.P. Getty Museum) 2003.
  • Daines, A.: «Egyptian Gardens», Studia Antiqua 61, 2008, 15-25.
  • Davies, B.G: Who’s Who at Deir el-Medina: A Prosopographic Study, Leiden (NINO / Eg.Uitg. XIII) 1999.
  • Davies, N. de G.: Two Ramesside Tombs at Thebes, NY (The Metropolitan Museum of Art) 1927.
  • Davies, N. de G.: Seven Private Tombs at Kurnah (Gerdiner, A.H., ed.), London (EES / Mond Excavations at Thebes II) 1948.
  • Eyre, C.J.: «The Water Regime for Orchards and Plantations in Pharaonic Egypt», JEA 80, 1994, 57-80.
  • Evyasaf, R.S.: «Gardens at a Crossroad: The Influence of Persian and Egyptian Gardens on the Hellenistic Royal Gardens of Judea», Bollettino di Archeologia D/D9/5, 2010, 27-37.
  • Farrar, L.: Gardens and Gardeners of the Ancient World: History, Myth and Archaeology , Barnsley (Windgather Press) 2016.
  • Gardiner, A.H. & Weigall, A.E.P.: A Topographical Catalogue of the Private Tombs , London (B. Quaritch) 1913.
  • Grady, E.: Egypt Guidebook, Volume 2: A Traveler’s Guide to the Land of History and Mystery , CA (Notion Press) 2021.
  • Goldwasser, O.: From Icon to Metaphor: Studies in the Semiotics of the Hieroglyphs , Freiburg (Univ. Press / OBO 142) 1995.
  • Harlan, J.R.: «Lettuce and the Sycomore: Sex and Romance in Ancient Egypt», Economic Botany 401, 1986, 4-15.
  • Hooper, M.: The Tomb of Nebamun, London (BMP) 2007.
  • Hugonot, J.–C.: Le jardin dans l’Égypte ancienne, Frankfurt (P. Lang GmbH / PUE 38 / Archéologie 27) 1989.
  • Keel, O.: Das Recht der Bilder gesehen zu werden: Drei Fallstudien, Freiburg (Universitätsverlag / OBO 122) 1992.
  • Lepsius, R.: Denkmäler aus Ägypten und Äthiopien Text VIII, Osnabrück (Biblio Verlag) 1976.
  • Lesko, B.: The Great Goddesses of Egypt, University of Oklahoma Press (Norman) 1999.
  • Manniche, L.: An Ancient Egyptian Herbal, London (BMP) 1989.
  • Middleton, A. & Uprichard, K.: The Nebamun Wall Paintings, London (Archetype) 2008.
  • Parkinson, R.: The Painted Tomb–Chapel of Nebamun, London (BMP) 2008.
  • Philpot, T.H.: The Sacred Tree, NY (MacMillan & C o Ltd) 1897.
  • PM = Porter, B. & Moss, R.L.B: Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Inscriptions, Texts, Reliefs and Paintings: I1 . The Theban Necropolis: Private Tombs, Oxford (Oxford at the Clarendon Press / Griffith Institute / Ashmolean Museum) 1960.
  • Rice‏, M.: Who’s Who in Ancient Egypt, New York (Routledge) 2002.
  • Scalf, F.: Book of the Dead: Becoming God in Ancient Egypt, Chicago IL (University of Chicago Press / OIP 39) 2017.
  • Seele, K.: The Tomb of Tjanefer, Chicago IL (University of Chicago Press / OIP 86) 1959.
  • Shaw, I. & Nicholson, P.: s.v. «Gardens», British Museum Dictionary of Ancient Egypt , Cairo (AUC Press) 1996, 107-108.
  • Wilkinson, A.: «Symbolism and Design in Ancient Egyptian Gardens», Garden History 221, 1994, 1-17.
  • Wilkinson, A.: The Garden in Ancient Egypt, London (The Rubicon Press) 1998.
  • Wilkinson, C.: Egyptian Wall Paintings: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Collection of Facsimiles , NY (MMA) 1983.
  • Wilkinson, R.H.: The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt, Cairo (AUC Press) 2003.
More papers from this issue