Narmer Macehead

Narmer Macehead

The Heb-Sed or Sed festival was a kind of festival designed to renew the King's potency and the fertility of the land. Originally celebrated every 30 years, later rulers shortened this. Ramesses II is though to have probably celebrated his 14th heb-sed when he was 65/66. The ritual involved the king running around a set course an example of which can be seen on the Narmer Macehead where we see three vertical ellipses before a running figure and from another relief panel from the South Tomb of Djoser at Saqqara[1].

Early Dynastic Period

Early depictions of this festival can be seen on an ivory statue of Narmer where his ritual robe has a pattern of lozenges[1], and an alabaster jar seal with his name[2]. It may also be depicted on the Narmer Macehead though others would disagree[3]. Other early depiction can be seen from the reign of Den with a tablet showing him wearing the Double-Crown and he sits on a single dais. Lower on the tablet Den is shown again running a race wearing the double crown and carrying a flail. Anther tablet shows Den on a double heb-sed platform[4].


  1. 1.0 1.1 Clayton, P.A (2001) Chronicles of the Pharaohs London: Thames & Hudson.
  2. Amiran, R. (1974) An Egyptian Jar Fragment with the Name of Narmer from Arad Israel Exploration Journal. Vol.24 No.1 pp.4-12
  3. Tyldesley, J. (2011) Myths & Legends of Ancient Egypt Glasgow: Ellipsis Books Limited.
  4. Millet, N.B (1990) The Narmer Macehead and Related Objects Journal of American Research Center in Egypt: Vol. 27, pp. 53-59
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