It starts to be used at the beginning of the Fourth Dynasty under Pharaoh Sneferu. The cartouche is usually vertical with a horizontal line, but it is horizontal if it makes the name fit better, with a vertical line on the left. The Ancient Egyptian word for it was shenu. In demotic writing, the cartouche was reduced to a pair of brackets and a vertical line.
At times amulets were given the form of a cartouche displaying the name of a king and placed in tombs. Such items are often important to archaeologists for dating the tomb and its contents. Cartouches were only worn by pharaohs.
- The New Oxford Dictionary of English (1998) ISBN 0-19-861263-X - p.281 "cartouche: a carved tablet or drawing... an oval or oblong enclosing a group of Egyptian hieroglyphs, typically representing the name and title of a monarch".
- "Ancient Egyptian Cartouche Lesson". Artyfactory.org. Retrieved 2013-08-22.
- Allen, James Peter, Middle Egyptian: an introduction to the language and culture of hieroglyphs, Cambridge University Press 2000, p.65
- Peet, Thomas Eric & Loat, William Leonard Stevenson. The Cemeteries of Abydos. Part 3. 1912-1913, Adamant Media Corporation, ISBN 1-4021-5715-0, p.23