Egyptian ceremonial Saw in the Shape of a Ma’at-feather, ca. 1353-1336 B.C.E.
What was Ma’at?
A difficult concept to summarize, but I would describe it as the Egyptian concept of balance, truth, law, order, justice, and morality; it was also personified as a goddess -identifiable by the feather she always wears on her head.
Here are a few more examples of Ma’at being represented elsewhere in Egyptian art:
It was the duty of all Egyptians to live in accordance with Ma’at. Only if they did so could they join the society of the dead when they died. In the final judgement that every Egyptian (even the king) had to pass through, the heart of the deceased was weighed against a feather to determine if his or her actions in life (symbolized by the heart) were in balance with Ma’at (the feather).
Unlike the final trail of Christian tradition, this was not a religious judgement but a social one: people who had been disruptive elements in the society of the living could hardly expect to be welcomed by members of the blessed society of the dead.
-James P. Allen, Middle Egyptian: An Introduction to the Language and Culture of Hieroglyphs (2000).
The shape of the shown saw suggestions that it was used for ceremonial purposes, possibly preparing meat for sacrifice to a god. Artifact courtesy & currently located at the Brooklyn Museum, photo via their online collections.