Tehuti; from “The Spirit of Ancient Egypt” (Ana Ruiz )
Tehuti (Thoth, Djehuty), the ibis-or baboon-headed lunar deity of writing, wisdom and literature. He is also known as the messenger and scribe to the gods. His cult center was at Per-Tehuti (Hermopolis, City of Hermes). In Greek mythology, he is identified with Hermes; in Roman mythology, he is Mercury. Tehuti is often seen carrying a pen and scroll.
He is Vizier to Ausar and creator of hieroglyphic writing and of the calendar. As Tehuti was a lunar deity, he created the first calendar based on lunar phases; it was his duty to record time.
The divine ibis was a symbol of wisdom and mental concentration.
This animal was likely chosen to represent the god of writing, Tehuti, as the bird’s beak resembles a reed pen pointing downwards as if to write.
The ibis was believed to be the incarnation of Tehuti. Thousands were bred to be embalmed and offered as sacrifice to him; mummified ibises were found at Tehuti’s cult center at Per Khnemu (Hermopolis, City of Hermes — the Greek equivalent of Tehuti).
As a result of their curious nature, the baboon and ape became associated with Tehuti as well, and symbolized mental aptitude. Asten is a form of Tehuti depicted as a baboon. […] These animals were bred and maintained in temples in honor of Tehuti.
A wonderful legend tells how the lyre first appeared. After the Nile had flowed over the land one year and returned to the confines of its banks, it left behind a bed of dead sea creatures. Among these creatures was a tortoise, whose flesh had been dried up by the heat of the blazing sun. Nothing remained inside the shell but hardened sinews and nerves. Having been contracted by the heat, they became resonant. One day, as Tehuti (Thoth), the god of communication and learning, was walking down by the riverside, he came upon this shell and kicked it, by accident.
The sound the shell emitted pleased him immensely. He took this idea as a model and expanded it, constructing a musical instrument in the shape of a tortoise and stringing it with the ligaments of dead animals.
Quoted from: “The Spirit of Ancient Egypt” © Ana Ruiz 2001