Q:

What does an obelisk symbolize?

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Quick Answer

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, defense and stability. An obelisk also had a phallic significance and was considered sacred. Pan, the god of sensuality, was often depicted as an obelisk.

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Full Answer

Obelisks were tapered monolithic pillars, typically erected in pairs and placed near temples to protect them from harm, as well as to honor 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 Asw?n. 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 honor of the sun god.

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