SYMBOLS Stories of cultural life.


Obelisk' usually refers to a stone monolith, perhaps having a rectangular cross section tapering towards a pyramidal top. The word 'obelisk' comes from the Greek word for 'pointed pillar' and 'needle'.  

The Egyptian obelisk, known as the Tajen in ancient Egypt, symbolized a petrified ray that penetrates the clouds and disperses negative forces that accumulate in the form of storms. The word "obelisk" in the Greek language refers to a prong for roasting and indicates protection, defence and stability.  

In fact, Obelisks were tapered monolithic pillars, typically erected in pairs and placed near temples to protect them from harm, as well as to honour the solar god RA. The Egyptians held the belief that solar rays held immense power that followed a person to the grave and had the potential to bring about resurrection.  

An obelisk was constructed of a single piece of stone, usually red granite from the rock quarries of Aswan. Each obelisk was constructed of two parts: the body and the pyramidon. The pyramidon symbolized the rays of the sun, and the top was covered in gold, which was a metal that personified the "flesh of the gods." An obelisk traditionally contained inscriptions on all four sides, and many were also carved with hieroglyphs. Earlier versions of obelisks were less elaborate structures known as "benben" stones, but they were still topped with the pyramid ion shape and stood in honour of the sun god.  

The form of the obelisk was imported from occidental culture and sometimes pillars (see below) have the shape of obelisks.


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