Popular culture and the west have symbolised this classic Egyptian pose. But what does it actually mean? If anything?

Firstly, it’s important to note that the time between now and ancient Egypt is actually shorter than the time of ancient Egypt and more ancient Egypt. You following me? Baring this in mind, ancient Egyptian traditions, art and culture changed A LOT with the meanings of things being lost or changed beyond recognition.

One hypothesis for this pose goes way back. It could be that the Egyptians believed that any part of the body that wasn’t depicted in reliefs wouldn’t be eligible for the afterlife. This ‘Z’ pose was the easiest way to depict the whole body.

Technically, this pose is a composite one. Meaning they would draw their people in an impossible ‘twist’ to show multiple stances in one depiction.

There is a very simple explanation for this art style. Noses and feet are easier to draw sideways. Yet eyes and shoulders are easier to draw from the front. This pose is one of the easiest to recreate on paper, yet one of the most difficult to emulate in real life.

So ‘Walk like an Egyptian’ does have some actual meaning.