Thursday, March 05, 2009

Lost 5.08: That Statue



In my blog post yesterday I made a case for the statue (which we only see from the back) being Set.

It could be Anubis, but the long jackal ears aren't there. Instead, as I pointed out in my post, Set was the mortal enemy of Horus, and was the god of chaos and destruction. He was eventually banished to the desert. Horace seems to be the enemy of the Others (who presumably worshipped the statue in their earlier days) and when you go off the island, you are banished to the desert.

But one of my readers, Chris Temple, emailed me making a case for another Egyptian god. This is Taweret:



She is the Egyptian goddess of sagging breasts pregnancy and childbirth. She has small ears, like the island statue, and that flat hat on her head. And... she has four toes. But more importantly, her importance is a goddess of fertility, and when we know what happened on the island, could the Others have always had fertility problems and they once called upon gods and goddesses to help them?

I think this is an excellent case. However, I think I'm still leaning to Set, simply because from the back the statue looks male and muscular, not, well, fat with her breasts hanging down to her waist. (Why is it that the childbirth goddess has to be a friggin' hippo?)

Here's a particularly wicked picture of Set.



I'll let you decide.

37 comments:

ChrisTemple said...

Thanks for the recognition! Can I expect a footnote in your next book now? Just kidding! I think that maybe it could be a hybrid of both gods. Like a balance between chaos and fertility. If the island is in chaos children can't be born? Just a guess though.

Beena said...

I still think it could be Anubis. But Taweret could make sense, too.
On the other hand, maybe it's not an Egyptian statue at all. Maybe it's some old Greek statue and this island Atlantis.
All I know, is I hate the suspense!!!!

Megan said...

I think Chris is right.

Benny said...
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Benny said...

I thought at first the figure was more feminine than a strong masculine body.

What I figure is an interesting project is trying to link some of the common hieroglyphs to the gods discussed.

joshua said...

I know next to nothing about Egyptian mythology, but I'm fairly certain the figure is male (the loincloth is a dead giveaway), and the head looks very leonine to me. From what I understand, there were a fair number of lion-headed goddesses but only a few lion-headed gods. Right now, my money's on a diety named Nefertem. Originally regarded as the young aspect of the "first god" Atum (a theorized source for the biblical name Adam), Nefertem was later believed to be the child of creator-god Ptah (also associated with resurrection) and warrior goddess Sekhmet (who liked to destroy her enemies with flaming arrows). He was often depicted with a lion's head (Sekhmet was a lioness) topped with an Egyptian water lily. I think that inverted triangular shape on the statue's head could easily look like a lily from the front.

But it's just a guess!

joshua said...
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joshua said...

(Pretty sure those are ankhs in both his hands, too...)

Hisham said...

Try to bear this with me: Upon closer look at the Four-toed Statue in Live Together, Die Alone, we can see that the foot is wearing a sandal. Egyptian statues are always barefooted, while Greek, Roman, Phoenicians and Canaanites are not. Now, given that the exit of the Island is in Tunisia, not Egypt, and given that the ancient Tunisians believed in gods like Baal and Tanit rather than Osiris and Isis, I tend to think that the statue belongs to a non-Egyptian god, despite all the Egyptian references on the Island. But maybe more than one civilization resided there. For all we know, the Island has a massive depth in history.

Another thought. Maybe the back we saw wasn't of the Four-toed Statue after all. Sayid, Sun and Jin saw it from the ocean, and there clearly was a mountain behind it and no trees, or small ones, and what they saw was white (Greeks and Romans used white color for their statues mosr of the time, Egyptians preferred golden or black). When the Left Behinders saw it, they were in the jungle, and what they saw was yellow-ish. It can't have gotten white after some thousands of years, right? Denudation doesn't give things a shiny white color.

So what does that mean? There is more than one statue on the Island! Perhaps there is a statue that represents each civilization that had contact with the Island during a specific era.

Ponder on that.

Benny said...

@Joshua: you're right. I never really realized that goddesses all had long dresses. And I agree that they are both ankhs.

@Hisham: in traditional representation, Egyptian gods are barefooted, but it often happens that statues will wear some sort of sandal or boot. There is egyptian influence but that it is completely Egyptian is only hypothesized.

As for the color, it may be explained by sunlight; with regards to the trees, consider that there might be some hundreds (or even thousands) of years between the two appearances.
But as far as the mountain goes, this may be a bigger head scratcher. So you may be on to something.

Benny said...

Not to spam or anything but I found this interesting:

http://www.ancientegypt.co.uk/gods/story/main.html

The way this story about the creation of the world is depicted sounds somewhat familiar. It's easy to associate characters of Lost with various gods/goddesses.

Hisham said...

@Benny: Perhaps it sounded like that I'm trying to prove that the Statue Sawyer and Co. saw wasn't Egyptian, but all I'm trying to say is that it probably wasn't the Four-toed Statue. It would be, in fact, a huge surprise to learn that what Sayid and Co. had a glimpse at was one of several statues on the Island.

I visited the Egyptian Museum in Cairo several times (I'm Egyptian and I live in Egypt) and I never saw a statue wearing sandals or shoes. The way the Four-toed Statue looks suggests Greek/Roman in my opinion, for I also visited the Greek-Roman Museum in Alexandria several times, and all of the statues have something to wear in their feet.

Perhaps I'm wrong after all, and maybe my memory isn't serving me well right now. After all, the producers promised we'd see the Statue again this season, and may be that was it. I just hope they don't go Hollywood-style on us and mix Egyptian stuff with things that have nothing to do with Egypt at all as usual. (10,000 B.C for example).

redeem147 said...

That statue is male, and Egyptian. It looks to be holding an ankh. I suppose it could have been holding a scepter that had broken off. Same with the ears. The hair looks more like Set. I think that's the best bet.

Set could also be the smoke beast.

When I was younger, my big hobby was Egyptology (though it's been a long time).

I noticed that Justin mentioned a theory in his LJ that Richard Alpert could be Ra.

Maybe that's not even the statue that the foot is from. Maybe there were more than one. Hence the four toes.

Benny said...

@Hisham: that's what I thought you said. That is not to say your idea is wrong at all, it's a valid theory and one that would have an interesting impact on what we see as the theory of the island.

Since the producers did say the statue was going to be addressed this season and it is not likely we'll spend significant time back in that period, I was just trying to come up with explanations for the differences you mentioned.

Beena said...

Maybe it's both Greek and Egyptian. Like Hermanubis.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermanubis

Maggie Elizabeth said...

In the picture of Thaweret, there is only four toes, but Set has five. So I think I'm leaning towards Thaweret, although it would be cooler if it were Set.

Benny said...
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Benny said...

Here's another obscure egyptian go that may fit. I'll let you guys research pics on your own, but I'll post some links to the most appropriate ones.

Maahes:
man with the head of a lion.
also has four toes!

The Chapati Kid said...

Horus = Horace?

redeem147 said...

I've been trying to find a connection between Tunisia and ancient Egypt, based on the idea that if a portal goes one way, it can go the other.

Nothing so far.

Maahes sounds interesting, God of war and all.

Benny said...

Here are three links with more info on Maahes. I really like this idea. Despite his reference name "The Lord of Massacre", he was rarely referred to as Maahes, his purpose was to protect the innocent. Within the context of loss, we often hear that whatever violence used is in order to protect those who are important and often innocent. This comes almost only from Ben.

Some other appropriate titles are "Helper of the Wise Ones" and "Wielder of the Knife"

-a short summary:
http://www.per-bast.net/maahes.html

-a picture in which we see four toes:
http://www.christies.com/lotfinderimages/d51716/d5171692l.jpg

-with a short history and a picture reflecting the headdress:
http://www.thekeep.org/~kunoichi/kunoichi/themestream/maahes.html

We cannot reject the possibility that it is a king rather than a god. In which case it could be anyone we've met or will meet who has a significance on the island. One such thought is that Jacob was a great king of the Island with some Hellenistic-Roman-Egyptian cultural traits with ties to Dravidians (the temple), Bhuddists, Hindus and those of Judeo-Christian-Muslim heritage...

The concept of Mu becomes more and more interesting, though I'm not sold.

Benny said...

@redeem: I forgot to mention. The only link I can think of (and found so far) is from the Roman empire when it reached all around the Mediterranean. The Carthage reference springs to mind! It might be our link (Latin anyone?).

But there might have been an older empire the covered the territory! Actual or mythical.

Hisham said...

There are a lot of information on Wikipedia about ancient Egyptian-Tunisian ties. Hard to place them in the show, though. But you're welcome to read and if you figure something out, let me know. It's so frustrating to be Egyptian and yet know so little about my ancestors!

Hisham said...

@Benny: Some believe that an old empire that existed in the Sahara Desert area was actually Atlantis. Plato mentioned in his writings some relationships (trade, marriage) between ancient Egypt and Atlantis.

And... Tunisia shares borders with Algeria, in which there are the Tassili Caves, which some believe that the paintings they contain are actually painted by Atlantis's people. I don't know if that has something to do with anything, though.

Benny said...

@Hisham: thanks, Atlantis is one of the theories which, with Mu, starts being slightly more interesting than in past seasons. Though I still have difficulty seeing it, since Atlantis was either at the gates of Gibraltar or in the Mediterranean (not the Pacific). Though with moving islands, who knows now.

But the idea that Atlantis was an empire in the desert makes it even more interesting. And that could be the strong connection between the Island and the Sahara.

Given your proximity to more accurate sources of information, I trust your words on all things Egyptian!

Anonymous said...

Billibob said:

This is probably totally off the wall, but I see the unenlarged picture of the "statue" as an almost perfect depiction of the stance (and shape) of Juliet--especially if she were wearing one of the white robe "death ceremony" type outfits that we have seen once or twice. I don't mean to say that the statue is Juliet (it has that little crown/hat, which she never has had), but the physiognomy of it has a Juliet feel to me.

This might support Chris Temple's theory, since Juliet is the go-to person on fertility. Juliet also happened to be pretty important in this episode.

Look at it with an open mind and see what you think.

billibob

humanebean said...

Some random thoughts on the statue (a.k.a. can you tell that I've been thinking about this non-stop for 3 days now?):

The anatomy of the statue seems at least androgynous to me if not definitely feminine. The shoulders/arms/hips/backside really do have a superficially feminine look. Now, statues of the ancient world sometimes do reflect fewer gender-specific attributes, so this is far from definitive. I don't know that we ought to focus so much on the specific god/goddess that may be indicated by the form as much as once again struck by the link to ancient world cultures evoked by this image.

One of the stories surrounding the myth of Atlantis is that, as the continent experienced the first of several seismic events that would ultimately submerge the lands, a diaspora began that brought knowledge and culture to various other regions and thereby impacted THEIR culture. This, as the story goes, helps to explain pyramid construction in areas as far apart as Central America and Egypt.

Another story relates that the people of Atlantis had discovered an advanced and powerful energy source (hmmmm...) that they unfortunately turned to destructive ends - among other things trying to drill down into the earth- and that this led to the very seismic shifts that destroyed their continent. This theory holds that seeds of this technology also spread to different parts of the Earth and helped build said pyramids, for instance, evoking descriptions of "pyramid energy" and other tales in various cultures.

Additionally, we do often see myths and stories across various cultures that express identical notions: death/resurrection, shape shifting/creatures that are part man/part animal, power held by the gods/appropriated by man and misused, etc. We've seen multiple ancient cultures referenced by buildings, writing, statues on this Island and I think that the conglomeration of these elements is far more important than any one of them.

All of this is just a means of saying that I feel that the specific identity of this statue may not ultimately be as important as the answers to: who built it? When? HOW? Where did the stone come from? Was this just one of many?

Personally, what we've seen of the four-toed foot and this statue points strongly to separate statues/separate cultural influences. And, I'm DYING to learn more. God, I love this show. Er - I mean Ye gods! I love this show!

redeem147 said...

The statue looks Egyptian (back, loincloth, stance, looks like it's holding the top of an ankh). There are Egyptian hierogyphics in the cave and on the count down clock. Paul had an ankh.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say the statue is Egyptian. :)

Though I also think it possible that there's some other cultural influence, if the sandalled foot is indeed from that statue.

SenexMacdonald said...

Nikki wrote:
"Why is it that the childbirth goddess has to be a friggin' hippo?"

Sorry I am late to the game.

I think that is due to the large belly a hippo has. It always looks like it is very pregnant - even if it is a male. That would certainly be emphasized if it stood on the back two legs. Plus it could personify the weight gain made by women who are expecting. Therefore they are heavier aka hippo-like in that area. I could volunteer to go back to ancient Egypt to ask someone!

I do not know about the mammories of a hippo - but I know that when a female cat I had a long time ago was nursing, her mammories were not round-ish like humans but kind of flat with a nipple at the end. You could notice them when she walked. Not being a hippo expert - maybe their's are the same on females. Just a thought.

SenexMacdonald said...

To me, the statue appears to be male and definitively Egyptian. The view we have of it is not completely from the back but a little to the side. Both arms are down and holding something. I think it/they look like ankhs. Can't be 100% sure however. The legs look like they are apart with one foot in front of the other - based on the angle of our view. The colour difference could be due to exposure to sun and the elements. The grandeurs of ancient Egypt today have been affected by these as well and so do not look like what they would have looked like so many years ago.

We do have clues that Egyptians might have been there. After all, Smokey's "home" is covered in hieroglyphs. We also know that the ancient Egyptians could have sailed across the Atlantic. Makes sense they could have sailed around Africa to the Pacific as well.

Is it the same statue as the feet we saw? Only time will tell...but the Left-behinders couldn't see the feet. I would love it if there were different statues for different civilizations who came across the island over time.

Is it a god/dess or a god-king? Don't know for sure but it is definitely not wearing either the upper or lower crowns of Egypt...so could be a god/dess instead of a god-king. Hey, got 3 cats all named after Egyptian god/desses or god-kings.

Is it a human face or that of an animal? First look at the hair suggests something in the cat family - lion, etc. Without looking at the face, who knows. However, the ears suggest that also.

Could it be someone we know? Hell, yes. Statues have reflected a cross between animal and human before so it is not unheard of. I am betting on Locke.

Richard Alpert as Ra. He does like his eye shadow! I am going out on a limb to say this but since we know nothing about the original inhabitants of the island - it is possible that Richard could be one of them. He has been around a long time, learned from new people finding their way there and has a wealth of knowledge. Some habits die hard - as in eye shadow.

Maybe he came from Egypt originally or some other area of the Mediterranean. Hell, he could have even come from a Meso-American or even a South American society - all capable in travelling the Pacific. Some of them also like eye shadow!

Where ever this is taking us - I love it. Just hope it is not a lost-leader. Want some resolution to this.

redeem147 said...

I showed my friend the Egyptology expert the photos, and she said, "Looked at the photo. Actually, I don't think it looks like an Egyptian God. They don't have hair like that. Set does not have dog ears - he has what looks like little giraffe antennae sticking out of the top of his head. Tawaret is a chick and the statue is a guy. Sorry, but I think the folks on "Lost" are just messing with you - again.

SonshineMusic said...

I personally think that they are two different statues. The top part we saw this time has a definite Egyptian feel, but the four toed foot has the sandal of more a Greek or Roman look.

Of course it is possible, as others have said, that it is some mixture.

Ali Bags said...

This is probably completely ridiculous but I've just been watching Sky One's Lost Initiative and one of the presenters keeps insisting the statue is Juliet - ridiculous, yes, but I find it interesting that there was emphasis on Juliet's back in 'LaFleur' and we see the statue's back. When she's in bed with Sawyer (or James or whatever) she lies on her front so we get a view of her back. At first, I couldn't understand why Sawyer was clothed and she wasn't - there had to be some reason (as they usually find any excuse to show Sawyer in his naked glory). Is a connection being made between her and the statue?

filipe c said...

Richard Alpert initials are R.A. Ra is an egyptian god, right?

Hisham said...

@filipe c:
Ra is the god of sun in Egyptian mythology.
And Kate Austen's initials are KA. Ka is the soul in Egyptian mythology.
I think we are thinking way too much!

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Tonight's close-captioned aka subtitled version on ABC of last week's show says that the statue is indeed the one that they previously saw with the four toes!

I still do not believe it (IMHO) - but for the sake of the poor people who are doing the close-captioning aka subtitling and may have been told this by ABC or Darleton, I will go along with it for the moment.

Always interesting to see what they add to the previous week's ep when they do this. LOL

Buy Viagra said...

The program is so lame and bad, but the statue was pretty cool.