Two images have been repeatedly shared in Korean-language social media posts that claim to show part of the South Korean flag discovered in ancient Egyptian artwork. The images, however, have been doctored from artifacts and replicas of ancient Egyptian scrolls. Experts on ancient Egyptian art told AFP that no iconography resembling the South Korean flag has been recorded in surviving ancient Egyptian art.
The first image was shared on Facebook Publish on April 17, 2022.
On the right side it seems to show a Taegeuk symbol – the central element of the South Korean flag – in an alleged work of art from ancient Egypt.
“[Breaking news] Taegeuk symbol found in ancient Egyptian pyramid… Historians around the world are shocked,” reads the Korean text overlaid on the image.
Screenshot of misleading claim shared on Facebook. Captured May 23, 2022.
The image was also used as a thumbnail for this youtube video over various historical periods. The video, posted on a channel called “Pincette News” has been viewed more than 36,000 times.
At its five minute 48 second mark, it includes another image that claims to show ancient Egyptian artwork featuring the taegeuk symbol.
The caption for the image reads: “[Ancient Egyptians] drew the history of their ancestors, and drew the Taeguk symbol transmitted by the Goguryeo people.”
Screenshot of the misleading claim shared on YouTube. Captured May 23, 2022.
The ancient Korean kingdom of Goguryeo existed between 37 BCE and 668 CE.
The image, however, has been doctored.
A reverse image search on Google found that the first image matches a papyrus scroll preserved in the British Museum.
According to the museum, it dates back to 19th dynasty of ancient Egypt (1292-1190 BCE).
Below is a screenshot comparing the first doctored image (L) and the papyrus scroll held in the British Museum (R), with the corresponding section in the original illustration marked by AFP in blue:
Comparison of screenshots of the first doctored image shared in the YouTube video (left) and the papyrus roll stored in the British Museum (right), with the corresponding section in the original illustration marked by AFP in blue
The scroll’s description reads in part: “Hunefer’s Book of the Dead”.
A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York told AFP that the second image matched that of the museum. replica of an ancient Egyptian wall painting from the tomb of Nakht at ThebesEgypt.
The replica is dated 1908-1914, while the original dates back to 1410-1370 BC.
The work is titled “North Side of the West Wall of the Chapel of Nakht Offerings”.
Below is a screenshot comparison of the second doctored image (L) and a section of the replica at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (R):
Comparison of screenshots of the second doctored image shared in the YouTube video (left) and a section of the mural’s facsimile housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (right)
“This is not what the ancient Egyptians wanted”
No iconography or pattern resembling the central symbol of the South Korean flag has been found in the remains ancient egyptian artworkexperts say.
Teacher Peter Der Manueliendirector of the Harvard Museum of the Ancient Near East, told AFP he knew “of any ancient Egyptian example of the [symbol].”
“Occasionally people find decorative designs or re-engraved hieroglyphics or other figures that seem to resemble modern symbols in one form or another, but that’s not what the ancient Egyptians wanted. “, did he declare.
A spokesperson for The Metropolitan Museum of Art stated that they “did not know of an ancient Egyptian hieroglyph or circular shaped design with an interlocking spiral pattern that would be confused with this yin and yang symbol”.
AFP previously debunked a false claim made by the same YouTube channel here.