The Egyptian word 'ankh' means 'life'. The hieroglyph with which this word is written, a cross with a loop on top, perhaps depicts a stylised sandal strap, with the loop being the ankle strap. Other people think that it is a penis sheath. As the symbol of life, it appears regularly in Egyptian art. In numerous reliefs, the king is being given (the symbol of) life by a god. An unusual and intimate way of depicting this may be seen in Amarna art - hands at the end of the Aten's rays are holding the sign to the noses of the king and his family. The sign is also common as an amulet, sometimes combined with a djed-pillar and/or a was-scepter. The Christian cross used in the Coptic church is based on the ankh sign.