The curious case of a sun disk with legs

Part of a series of posts by the 2017-18 students taking the course CLE343: Supernatural Beings and Demons of Ancient Egypt / CL-M79 Ancient Egyptian Demons led by Dr. Kasia Szpakowska at Swansea University

Post written and designed by Osian Richards 

The walking sun-disk entity

“I’m walking on sunshine (Wow!)
I’m walking on sunshine (Wow!)
I’m walking on sunshine (Wow!)
And don’t it feel good”  (Lyrics from the song by Katrina and the Waves)

Before you say anything, don’t worry! This is not a piece on that memorable song by Katrina and the Waves. This will be a showcase, however, for the particular duatling known as the ‘Walking sun disk’.

Apotropaic Wand, Hippopotamus ivory

Fig.1 Apotropaic wand from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The walking sun disk entity (see left) is depicted mostly on apotropaic wands, objects that were made from ivory to protect individuals from other hostile liminal beings. 

Its iconography could vary, perhaps indicating the versatile nature of its being.
The sun disk could have many forms, from being a simple sun disk to a disk with a dot in the middle, a disk within the disk, or even a disk that has a uraeus. And the knives! This entity could also be depicted armed, ready to butcher maleficent forces. 

Image result for Walters art museum apotropaic wand
Fig. 2. Apotropaic wand from the Walters Arts Museum, 71.510. The Walking sun disk entity is depicted on the right with the uraeus

What makes this duatling especially unusual is the addition of legs. Anyone ever saw the sun with legs?? Nope, neither have I. This entity, however, does have legs. For the ancient Egyptians, this might have had a significance. Perhaps this was emphasizing the movement of the sun across the day? Or perhaps the duatling is simply copying the other liminal entities on the wands, each of them moving (metaphorically) in single file from one end of the wand to the other?
Image result for Walking sun

Apart from apotropaic wands, this duatling can also appear on the tomb walls of Pharaohs such as Thutmose III and Ramesses VI. Especially during the tenth hour of the Amduat, four protectors of the sun god Re are depicted with sun disks, very much like our duatling from the wands. 

So there you go, a preview into the shining star of the duatling world. It may not look much, but if it can wield a knife, posses the power of the Ureaus and protect the sun god. Then surely this duatling is not to be trifled with.

Always liked the underdog…