Wepwawet – Statue and Coin

The Egyptian deity Wepwawet has been slowly entering my consciousness for some time now. Which is totally unlooked for and somewhat curious. Curious, I say, because his totem animal is the jackal or wolf, a dog like creature, similar to that of Anubis. I don’t particularly like dogs. I am much more of a cat person, or even a crocodile person. Now for the second time a deity with canine associations has made itself present in my awareness. The first was Hekate, about three years ago. Hekate’s epiphany was vivid, startling, revealing, and totally unexpected. Wepwawet’s approach has been subtle, quiet, like someone softly saying “hello”. So, a new experience. I decided that it would be nice to have an image of Wepwawet. No one makes statues of Wepwawet. There are lots and lots of statues of Anubis available today, but nothing for Wepwawet. Then I discovered something interesting. Egyptian statues and paintings of Anubis always show him as black, but  images of Wepwawet show him as brown, gray, or white. This has led scholars to suggest that the original totem animal of Wepwawet was a wolf. The principal cult center of Wepwawet was a place called Zawty (modern Asyut), which the Greeks called Lycopolis, City of the Wolf.  Images of Anubis and Wepwawet as a jackal headed man are more or less identical, except for the color and any accompanying inscriptions. A catalog came in the mail, and there it was – a white statue of Anubis. Although described as Anubis, the statue is very clearly suitable as an image of Wepwawet. So I sent away for it and it was delivered to my home five days later. I gave it to Wepwawet and I think he is pleased. The figure is 12 inches high, in ivory white color, and wears a vaguely Egyptian style tunic. The tunic is studded with little mirror insets which almost give the impression that the figure is wearing armor. A curious non Egyptian detail, but the figure looks nice. The coin design is a modern design for a coin in honor of Wepwawet. The issuance of this coin will be a future project of the Antonine Imperium, if funding should become available someday.

Hail Wepwawet! Opener of the Ways! Battle Leader! Hunter! Guardian! Guide! Helper!

 

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Published in: on October 12, 2010 at 12:32 am  Comments (9)  
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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Woa. I love the modified statue. It works really well and feels very distinctively Wepwawet.

  2. For some strange reason, the images aren’t coming through for me in the post here, alas. Hmm…

    I do find it interesting, though, that the preliminary prayers in Ekklesía Antínoou rituals for the last few years have been to (in order) Wepwawet, Hekate, and Ianus, and they are all people you’ve made coins for, or are considering doing. Coincidence? I think not! 😉

    • If, years ago, someone had asked me if I paid devotions to Hekate and Wepwawet, I would have answered something like “What? Who? Me?”. The Gods move in unexpected and mysterious ways, which nay sound like a rote comment but is nevertheless true.

      I don’t know why the images are not coming through for you. Malevolent Internet space demons?

  3. Greetings,

    I’ve seen the original translation of this deity’s name as “Ap-uat” which seems to me more accurate. This deity actually had a connection to Anubis, who’s Egyptian name was “Anpu”. (Anpu – Apuat the similarity is interesting isn’t it?)

    Modern scholars who translate “Ap-uat” as “Wepwawet” also now tend to translate Osiris as “Wassir” instead of “Ausar”. I tend to think of that as a possible error also, since the Egyptian name of Isis is “Auset.”

    There again, with the older translations you have a linguistic pair – “Ausar – Auset”. This similarity is an easy and basic way to show a fundamental connection between two entities.

    Anpu “Anubis” is commonly thought to be a dog rather than a jackal, and was the guide into the realms of the spirit.

    Ap-uat”, (or Wepwawet I guess, since there is no Greek name for him) is thought to have been depicted as a wolf, and can be thought of as being an active scout into the “outer” world. Ap-uat and his banner preceded the armies of the Pharaoh when Egypt set out to war.

    As I’m reading your blog, the pictures of the statue and coin are not showing up. Possibly there was an upload error??

    -Marcus Cassius Julianus

    • First off, let me apologize for the drive-by. And I’m also sorry if any of this comes across as harsh. That isn’t my intent. My intent is to try to combat some of the misinformation there is about Wepwawet on the internet.

      Apuat, which I believe originated with Budge, probably derives from the Greco-Roman shortened hieroglyphic spelling of his name. Instead of it being Wp-wA-wt (opener of the wayS), it is spelled Wp-wAt (opener of the way.) It’s a very straight-forward pen-and-paper rendering of the latter. Phonetically the two variations may have been very similar anyways, since the t-ending and w-plural may have been dropped from pronunciation by the Greco-Roman periods. Hence we end up with Ophois.

      There is no particular relationship between his name and that of Anup (not Anpu.) I don’t think the two would have even sounded that alike. The two gods also actually remained remarkably distinct, I think it’s been the laziness of scholars that has led to them being conflated so much. We have the Greeks and Romans to thank for some of it as well though.

      I could argue all day about Anubis = dog, Wepwawet = wolf, but the simple fact of the matter is for the vast majority of ancient Egyptian history they were both considered to be jackals. The division between ‘domestic canid’ (as Anubis became more of a dog) and ‘wild canid’ (as Wepwawet stayed a jackal) started around the New Kingdom mainly and it was the Greeks who then relabeled each as dog and wolf respectively. But even in Greek, those terms mean little more than ‘domesic canid’ and ‘wild canid.’ I also have yet to see even a single representation of Wepwawet where he is actually shown to have a brown, grey, or white head. Back to the laziness of scholars, who neglect to notice that ‘colourless’ (in order words the colour of bare stone which has lost its plaster and pigment) is NOT ‘white.’ No need whatsoever to go around repainting statues, he’s just as black as Anubis.

      • Thanks for your comments. The idea that Wepwawet images are supposed to be white or gray does seem to be rather entrenched in the popular literature today. It does provide an easy way to readily distinguish between Anubis and Wepwawet images, however.
        I do prefer “Wepwawet” as the deity’s modern name, it’s not likely to be confused with any other deity’s name.
        As for the distinction between dog, wolf, and jackal – they all seem alike to me. I am really a cat person. With at least two “patron” deities associated with dogs. By “patron” I mean a deity to whom I feel greater or lesser links of some kind.

  4. Thanks for your comments. The pictures seem to have disappeared for a while. Hopefully they are back now.
    Poppaeus

  5. Nice statue, definitely. ^_^

    • I thought it was interesting and distinctive. Egyptian inspired but also modern. Sort of “Art Deco Egyptian” in style.


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