A shen ring is a circle with a line at
a tangent to it, which was used in Hieroglyphics
as a stylised loop of a rope. In particular,
the circle represented eternity, as circles
did in many ancient cultures (e.g. the wedding
ring). The symbol could be stretched to
contain other objects, which were then understood
as being made eternal by the shen ring.
Indeed, when it contained a name, the symbol
became the cartouche. The word shen itself
means, in Egyptian, encircle.
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