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Statue of Taweret/Theories/Meaning

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Multiple theories on the meaning of the statue have been presented.

The statue

Ward

Given that the statue was built near the coast, looking towards the sea, it is very likely that its function was either as a symbolic/mystical ward against foreign threats or a beacon/location indicator like the Colossus of Rhodes. It could also have been built to intimidate any potential threat coming from the sea. The gigantic size of the statue suggests that it acts as a warning sign to all those who are about to come to the island.

Guidance

It is used for pointing to the bearing on/off the island.

Historic

It is just a sign that the island has been a part of a number of people's lives over the course of human history (WWII, Dharma Initiative), but is otherwise insignificant.

Tribute

It was constructed as a tribute to Mother.

  • The creatures comprising Tarawet's form: lion, crocodile (also hippopotamus in other depictions) represent the fierce protective nature of motherhood. Mother was protector of the Island.
  • Tarawet depictions seldom show her holding an ankh, and never two. The dual symbols of eternal life are reprsentations of Jacob and his twin.

Pregnancy and Motherhood

The Egyptian goddess Taweret was seen as a deity of protection in pregnancy and childbirth. When the statue was destroyed by the Black Rock, that was the start of a period when women were not able to live through pregnancy on the island. It would also explain why it was shown with its legs spread in an earlier flashback and together in another -- because it needed to be rebuilt at an earlier point as well to prevent the demise of the island's civilization. She was often depicted carrying an ankh, the symbol of life, or a knife (Jacob and his knife at the beginning...), to symbolize protection from evil spirits.

Tawaret was a household goddess, of the sort commonly worshipped in the home but largely absent from monumental architecture and 'high' temple religion. It would have been highly unlikely that the Egyptians would have normally built a monumental statue to Tawaret, the goddess did not even have any formal temples. But given the fertility problems on the Island and the fact that the Egyptians believed in sympathetic magic, it is possible that they constructed the statue to ward off demons and spirits associated with infertility. This is given further credence by the fact that Tawaret was already an apotropaic deity. She was depicted as a hippopotamus because that animal was particularly feared and deadly in Egypt, and thus was seen as a suitably formidable protector of pregnant women and their babies. The Statue is also unusual in that Tawaret was normally depicted with exaggerated features of pregnancy, a distended stomach and pendulous breasts, which were absent in the Statue. Perhaps this is symbolic of the Island's issues with fertility.

Tawaret and Apep

Tawaret is the goddess of Motherhood, and was connected to Apep, the God of evil who is often depicted as a giant snake. In the temple, the heiroglyphics show the smoke monster as a snake. She was also seen as a protector, and she protected people from evil by restraining it. As mythology progressed Apep became the god Set, the god of storms, darkness and chaos. Tawaret was seen as his wife and literally restrained him from harming others. It was said she was a goddess of evil but changed her ways and held Set back on a chain.

  • Apep's greatest enemy was Ra, the bringer of light. Ra = R.A - Richard Alpert.

The 4 toes

Congenital malformation

The makers of the statue had and depicted a congenital physical malformation, the result of a small population and the lack of genetic variety. Abnormalities in digits, toes, fertility and infant mortality can be the result of a restricted gene pool [1] [2]. The small gene pool can lead to the emergence of genetic mutations - recessive traits that would normally be either dormant or replaced by a "healthy" version of the gene from the other parent. But with a small gene pool where parents have many genes in common, there are no healthy genes to replace the mutation. Higher incidence of polydactylism (i.e. too many fingers or toes) have been observed in genetically restricted communities, such as the Amish [3]. The makers of the statue may have come from a very small gene pool. Highly restricted gene pools are common on islands, and have lead to the evolution of animals that differ radically from their off island relatives (see pygmy elephants [4] and island giantism, such as the moa [5].

Evidence

  • It appears as though the statue was modeled after someone born without a fifth toe, not someone who lost a toe.

Counter-Evidence

  • The Egyptian motifs would seem to rule this out, as many Egyptian deities were depicted with various non-human features, including unusual feet. The front of the statue also appears to be a non-human face, as seen in "The Incident, Part 1".

Pharaoh’s trait

Egyptian figures were sometimes represented to mimic Egyptian pharaohs. For example, during the Amarna Period in Egyptian history human figures in art took on the peculiar characteristics of the pharaoh Akhenaten, with exaggerated bellies and skinny arms. If the statue was built during a time when a pharaoh had only 4 toes, then the statue may have been built to mimic said pharaoh.

The ankhs

The statue is holding 2 ankhs, implying a duality of physical life and the afterlife. The island holds both in a single physical place.

Possible Cultural Antecedents

  • The statue may be in reference to a story, Headlong Hall by Thomas Love Peacock.
    • Chapter 4 notes, "Here you see is the pedestal of a statue, with only half a leg and four toes remaining: there were many here once. When I was a boy, I used to sit every day on the shoulders of Hercules: what became of him I have never been able to ascertain."
  • The statue may be in reference to the poem "On a Stupendous Leg of Granite", by Horace Smith. The poem begins, "In Egypt's sandy silence, all alone, / Stands a gigantic Leg / The only shadow that the Desert knows:". The poem refers to the fallen Ramesses II colossus near Luxor, Egypt. The poem is about the irony of power--and the end of powerful civilizations. Percy Bysshe Shelley's version of the poem, "Ozymandias," also describes the foot statue.
  • The Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, snapped off mid-leg in an earthquake 56 years after it was built.


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