In the most ancient Egyptian records the gods are not pictorially represented, and we have not obtained from these records any descriptions of adoration and sacrifice.
His myth, to be afterwards narrated, is found pictorially represented in a tomb and in the late temple of Philae, is frequently alluded to in the litanies of the dead about 1400 B.C., is indicated with reverent awe by Herodotus, and after the Christian era is described at full length by Plutarch.
So in the famous scene of the weighing of the soul, which first appears pictorially under the New Empire, she introduces the deceased before the forty-two assessors of the heavenly judge, Osiris, and presides over the scale in which his actions and life are weighed.
The employment of the signs are of three kinds: any given sign represents either (I) a whole word or root; or (2) a sound as part of a word; or (3) pictorially defines the meaning of a word the sound of which has already been given by a sign or group of signs preceding.
How they conveyed their meaning, how far they pictorially represented ideas or spelt words in the different languages of the country, is a question not yet answered in a complete way; Landa's description (p. 320) gives a table of a number of their elements as phonetically representing letters or syllables, but, though there may be a partial truth in his rules, they are insufficient or too erroneous to serve for any general decipherment.