Archive for the Doorkeeper in the Temple of Amun Category

Harwa TT37 Grand Steward High Priest Doorkeeper in the Temple of Amun

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Harwa: “Great of the Greats”.

Harwa was an important man in ancient Egypt. He was an important figure in the life of Amenirdis I of ancient Egypt’s XXV Dynasty. He acted as the ‘Chief Steward’, or ‘Grand Steward’ for Amenirdis I, as God’s Wife of Amun and also whilst Queen Amenirdis served as Divine Adoratrice.
Additionally, he held the title (as High Priest) of “Doorkeeper in the Temple of Amun”.

Born in to a family of Theban Priests, Harwa held high office in Thebes (modern-day Luxor) with great responsibility to Amun and God’s Wife of Amun, the Divine Votaress, Amenirdis I. He was son of the “Lady of the House”, Nestaureret, and of a Priest attached to the temple of Amun in Karnak, Padimut son of Ankhefenamon.

His tomb is located in el-Assasif, part of the Theban Necropolis, near to Deir el-Bahri and is known as TT37 (Theban Tomb 37) which has been under archaeological examination for some years (14+) and currently not accessible to the public.

Harwa HieroglyphsThe tomb of Harwa (TT37) displays important features of a man holding such religious, spiritual and political power. Scenes and texts – at least those engraved in the principal axis of the monument – can be read as part of a description of the Egyptian man’s journey from his daily life to the Netherworld, passing through the ultimate experience of death and beyond. Each part of the monument concurs to document a different step of the path leading to eternal life.

The tomb (TT37) is large and in the “Osiris Hall” there is a wall relief describing the moment of the death where Harwa is shown ‘between worlds’, and separated from his physical body, with Anubis holding one hand. Harwa then exists in two (or more?) dimensions simultaneously – in the Land of Osiris and still in the land of the living, just.


Harwa’s tomb shows the moment of death in its supreme glory and Harwa continues to be shown ‘in the middle’, almost in a ‘freeze-frame’ reliefwith both his Ka and Ba ‘conscious’ (possibly his Akh + Ren + Shwt), ‘present’ and aware of their ‘state’ i.e. Harwa’s Ba – or possibly his Shwt or Ren – is shown as young and healthy whilst his Ka and physical form is as it was before the ‘freeze-frame': corpulent, bald/ing and approximately 60 years old.

Alternatively, could the ‘freeze-frame’ relief depict the split-second when the Ka, Ba, Akh, Ren and Shwt ‘meet’ prior to the ‘magical’ departure to the different realms?
We will never know exactly why this complex scene is shown but it was most certainly important to Harwa and the explanation could possibly be beyond the understanding of our modern-day thought processes.
For the ancient Egyptians everything exists also in its complementary form. Nothing existed isolated, only for itself. The function/s was always intertwined with their universe, with Netjer and with Man.

 

This relief is highly unusual in ancient Egyptian scenes and whilst the above is purely personal conjecture, there is little doubt that Harwa was ‘more than a mortal’ given his almost ‘pharaoh-like’ status and titles.
Harwa was not only a dignitary holding vast powers but the ruler of Upper Egypt, ruling on behalf of the pharaohs of the twenty-fifth Dynasty, along with God’s Wives of Amun et al. This conclusion is supported by a limestone ushabti (shabty), discovered in TT37 during 1997, showing Harwa holding in his hands the crook and the flail i.e. the regalia – characteristic emblems of pharaonic royalty. A further ushabti is kept in the Egyptian collection of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

 

Could it be that Harwa had numerous ‘Kas’, similar to the pharaohs of ancient Egypt?
Could the ‘freeze-frame’ be indicative of Harwa’s status as a ruling, ‘semi-royal’ noble?
Any further ideas, suggestions or comments would be most welcome – please e-mail me: Research@Amunirdis.net

 

A ushabti (shabty) of Harwa from TT37 – [image link].
More information and images from Harwa’s tomb – [link]

 

As an aside: I find it interesting that the tomb of Akhamenerau – TT404 (Theban Tomb 404) – is adjacent to TT37, the huge tomb of Harwa. Akhamenerau was “Chief Steward of the Divine Adoratrix Amenirdis I (Amunirdis I) and Shepenupet II (Shepenwepet II)” and, obviously, held office under these two powerful God’s Wives of Amun. It seems strange to me – though I’m no scholar – that Akhamenerau ruled at this time (though I can find no dates for Akhamenerau) and that placement of TT404 was so very close to TT37. Was this significant in itself, as – possibly - with the adjacent placement of the tombs of Montuemhat (TT34) and Petamenophis (TT33)? I would suggest so.
Did Amenirdis I and Shepenupet II’s rule of Upper Egypt overlap…?
Coregency for a few years before Amenirdis died?
Did Harwa hold Office under both God’s Wives of Amun…?
Amenirdis I ‘adopted‘ Shepenupet II and the latter obviously held Amenirdis I in high regard (see Medinet Habu, Chapel of the Adoratrice Amunirdis I) or did Akhamenerau live long enough to serve – and rule – under both God’s Wives of Amun?

 

Montuemhat and Petamenophis’ Theban Tombs
Montuemhat (TT34) served the Nubian Kings Taharqa and Tanutamun (Tanutamani, Tanwetamani or Tanutamon) as Fourth Prophet of Amun, Mayor of Thebes and Governor of Upper Egypt in the XXV dynasty.
[Bust of Montuemhat]
[Statue Group of Montuemhat and His Son, Nesptah]

Petamenophis (TT33) (Padiamenope, Padiamenipet, Petamenofi or Padiamenopea) served as Chief Lector Priest during the XXV to XXVI dynasties.

[Limestone fragment of tomb relief]

[Serpentine ushabti]

 

 

In Harwa’s Tomb (TT37), a text well-engraved on the southern wall of the passage leading to the First Pillared Hall enumerates his good deeds having recourse to the most typical phraseology of the Egyptian “ideal biography”. It is Harwa himself who is speaking. He tells the visitor to the tomb:

“I gave bread to the hungry man, clothes to the naked man”.

This phrase is pivotal in the connection between Harwa and Queen Amenirdis I as, on the reverse (and base) of the famous alabaster statue of Amenirdis I, there is a well-carved series of hieroglyphs which say:
“I gave food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, clothes to the naked man.” (the full translation can be found Here…)

 

I have not seen a connection made anywhere regarding these two series of hieroglyphs – online or offline. I believe that this connection hasn’t yet been made by the scholars but the importance of the similar phrases is amazing to me.

Harwa held the position of “Grand Steward” for about forty years from the time of Piankhy, serving under Nubian pharaohs Shabaqo or Shabaka (713-698 BCE) and Shebitqo (698-690 BCE), until the reign of Taharqo or Taharqa (690 – 664 BCE).
Coincidentally, Amenirdis I is said to have served as God’s Wife of Amun, Divine Adoratrice (or Divine Votaress) and “God’s Hand” for approximately forty to forty-six years.
[Taharqo (or Taharqa) was the uncle of Amunirdis.]
 

It is my personal belief that Amenirdis I and Harwa had a close ‘royal’ relationship and ruled ‘together’ (in various roles) from ancient Thebes at approximately the same times in ancient Egypt.

During the 1997 archaeological campaign in Harwa’s tomb (TT37), a limestone ushabty (or shabti) was unearthed showing features which shed new light on some aspects of the role played by Harwa inside the Theban administration. It is a typically mummiform funerary statuette of the XXV Dynasty but it holds in his hands the crook and the flail, that is to say, the regalia, the characteristic emblems of the pharaonic royalty.

As far as it is known, it is the only example of non-royal ushabty displaying such characteristics.
Furthermore, in the Chapter VI of the Book of the Dead engraved on the body, Harwa is mentioned as “Great of the Greats”.
These evidences should point out that Harwa had more power than the one deriving from his role and that he can be considered as the co-governor of the Theban region on the behalf of the Nubian King alongside the Divine Adoratrice, Amunirdis I.
Also the vastness of his tomb and the high number of his statues can support the hypothesis that Harwa was the most politically influential person of the State; stretching to the First Cataract (a graffito signed by him has been found at Nag’esh Sheikh, near Aswan). 

If this assumption is confirmed by further excavations, then the positions of Montuemhat and Petamenophis will have to be reconsidered. They chose in fact to place their tombs east and west of the tomb of Harwa as if they attributed a high reverence to him and considered him a sort of ancestor. Does this also apply to Akhamenerau in TT404 and Peshuper (tomb location unknown at this time)? In this frame one has to ask: is it possible to speak of a “dynasty” of functionaries governing the Theban region with the consent of the Nubian kings? If this proves to be true, then, as they did not belong to the one family nor did they share the same titles and position, what was the mechanism of succession of these functionaries? No-one yet knows the answer to that question or the countless others raised by the life, works and tomb of Harwa, Grand Steward in the Precinct of Amun.

Many questions are raised merely because of the surviving evidence belonging to Amenirdis I and Harwa et al., but there are some issues which are quite clear:

Upper Egypt was ruled well under the governance of these two mighty figures (and others) and for forty to firty-six years, approximately, Upper Egypt was relatively peaceful (as opposed to the XXIII to XXIV Dynasties political and religious unrest and turmoil) whilst Pharaoh Shabaka (Amunirdis I’s brother) ruled from Memphis. Even after the death of her brother, Amunirdis I remained in control and acted, along with others, answering the State’s needs on many levels. Order was temporarily restored and both Amunirdis I and Harwa played a major role in ancient Egypt at that time.

The Hand of God – Gods Wives of Amun – Ancient Egypt – Karnak Temple Complex

Posted in Abode of Amun, Adoption, Adoratrice, Adoratrix, AEMES, Ahmose, Ahmose Nefertari, Akaluka, Akhamenerau, Amen, Amen-Ra, Amenardis, Amenirdis, Amenirdis the Elder, Amnirdis, Amon, Amonardis, Amonirdis, Amoun, Amun, Amun-Ra, Amunardis, Amunirdis, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Egyptian, Ankh, Ankhnesneferibre, Apries, Atum, Black Pharaohs, cartouche, ceremonies, Chantress, Chantress of Amun, Chief Priestess, Co-Regent, consort, Coronation Name, creation myth, De Ese Hebsed, Divine Adoratice of Amun, Divine Adoratrice, Divine Adoratrice of Amun, Divine Adoratrices, Divine Adoratrix, Divine One, Divine Votaress, Divine Wife, Doorkeeper in the Temple of Amun, Dynastic, Dynasty, Egypt, Egyptian Goddess, Egyptian History, Egyptian Queen, Egyptological Research, Egyptologists, Egyptology, EgyptSites, falcon tail feathers, False Door, First Prophet, Flagellum, God, Goddess, Gods Hand, Gods Wife, Gods Wife of Amun, Great Royal Wife, Harwa, Hatshepsut, Heka Djet, Henuttawy, Hieroglyphic, Hieroglyphics, Hieroglyphs, High Priest of Amun, High Priestess, High Priests, Inner Abode of Amun, Ished Trees, Isis, Karnak, Karnak Temple, Kashta, Khonsu, King Kashta, Kush, Kushite, Kushite Queen, Lady of the House, Late Period, Lord of Life, Lord of Thebes, Luxor, Luxor Egypt, Maat, Maatkare, Menat, Middle Kingdom, Min, Misr, Museum, Mut, Neb Ankh, New Kingdom, Nitocris, Nitoqret, Nubian, Nubian King, Nubian Queens, Oracle, Osiris, Osiris Hall, Osorkon, Peshuper, Pharaoh, Pharaohs, Pinudjem, Precinct of Amun, Prenomen, Priest, Princess of Nubia, Psamtik, Ptah, Ptolemaic Temple, Queen Amenirdis, Queen Amunirdis, Queen of Egypt, religious ceremonies, Research, royal ladies, Royal Uraeus, Ruler of Eternity, Saite, Saite Dynasty, Scribe, Shabaka, Shabaka Neferkare, Shabaqo, Shabitko, Shebitku, Shepenupet, Shepenwepet, Sheshonq, Shrine, shwty plumes, Sistrum, Sole wife of the God, Taharqa, Taharqo, Takelot, Tanis, Tantamani, Temple of Amun, Temple of Khonsu, Temple of Ptah, Temples, Theban, Thebes, Third Intermediate Period, Tiye and Nefertari, Tomb, Tombs, Twenty Fifth Dynasty, Two Lands, Upper Egypt, Uraeus, Votaress, vulture headdress, Wahibre, Waset, www.Amenardis.net, www.Amenirdis.net, www.Amunirdis.net, www.EgyptSites.co.uk, XXIII, XXIV, XXV, XXV Dynasty, XXVI, XXVI Dynasty with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2009 by www.Amunirdis.net

The “Hand of God” – “God’s Wives of Amun” – Ancient Egypt – Karnak Temple Complex

“I had recently become very interested in the religious role of ‘God’s Wife of Amun’ so I set off for the northern part of Karnak to investigate their shrines. At least this was away from the more crowded areas of the temples, which became more deserted as I walked past the open air museum on the path towards the Temple of Ptah. There are several chapels of the Gods’ Wives on the left hand side of the path, in various states of ruin, but some still had some interesting reliefs.

Path to the shrines at Karnak

During the Late Period the wives of kings are rarely represented, but in Thebes, the female office of the ‘God’s Wife of Amun’, or ‘Divine Adoratrice’ is often seen as supremely important, a figure holding a position of power and wealth even greater than that of the High Priest. The title of ‘God’s Wife’ can be traced right back to the Middle Kingdom, but the office became more prominent at the beginning of the New Kingdom, with Ahmose-Nefertari, wife of Ahmose I, whose donation stele found at Karnak, tells us much about her role. At that time the title was usually given to the wife of the reigning king, her names were written in a cartouche and she was often succeeded by her daughter. Many royal ladies of the New Kingdom were associated with this office, at least nominally, including Queens Hatshepsut, Tiye and Nefertari.

Duties of the God’s Wife were essentially religious, associated with musical ceremonies and titles such as ‘Chantress of the Abode of Amun’, and often with fertility connotations. Her function was to play the part of the consort of the god Amun in religious ceremonies, stressing the belief that kings were conceived from the union between Amun and the Great Royal Wife. The title ‘The Hand of the God’ was also sometimes used when referring to her relationship to Atum in a creation myth – Atum’s hand being regarded as female. The regalia changed through Dynasties XVIII to XX, but usually included the vulture headdress with uraeus and often the shwty plumes, or falcon tail feathers worn by Amun and Min, or sometimes the sundisc and Hathor horns on a modius, a sort of circular crown. In the later new Kingdom a pleated robe with a red sash replaced the earlier slim sheath dress. Her insignia included the sistrum, menat, a variety of musical instruments and the flagellum.

God's Wives Shepenwepet & AmenirdisFrom Dynasty XXI onwards it was always the king’s unmarried daughter or sister who was given the title of ‘God’s Wife’ and the role became increasingly important. Maatkare, daughter of Pinudjem I is depicted as God’s Wife in the Temple of Khonsu at the southern side of Karnak. Her titles were ‘Divine Adoratrice, sole wife of the god’. Henuttawy, daughter of Pinudjem II is also depicted here. It was from this time on that the God’s Wives adopted a coronation name as well as a birth name. During the reigns of the Libyan kings, their sons were given the office of High Priest of Amun and their daughters the title of ‘God’s Wife of Amun’. Some of the daughters of Libyan Chiefs and Egyptian elite were called ‘Chantress of the Inner Abode of Amun’ and presided over a college of priestesses, which seems to have been a kind of upper class convent.

At Karnak, several chapels were dedicated to Osiris and to Amun who was, by the Late Period, associated with him. They were mostly built during the period when Nubian kings ruled at Thebes and were dedicated by the reigning ‘God’s Wives’. The first shrine I came to on the northern path, the chapel of Osiris Neb-ankh (Lord of Life) dating to the Dynasty XXV reign of the Nubian King Shabaka, is in a fairly ruinous condition. Although there is now little remaining of the pylon entrance, courtyard and two inner chambers, the cartouches of Shabaka and the God’s Wife Amenirdis (I) can still be seen on the entrance.

Chapel of AnkhnesneferibreThe second structure here is better preserved with some good reliefs. This is the (earlier) chapel of Ankhnesneferibre who was a daughter of King Psamtik II of the Saite Dynasty XXVI and sister of King Wahibre (Apries). We know from surviving texts that this lady arrived in Thebes at only seven months old (in 595 BC) and was eventually installed as ‘High Priest’ of Amun. The next structure is her later chapel which is larger still and originally had a four-columned hall and a sanctuary at the rear. Parts of the gates survive and reliefs of Ankhnesneferibre before various deities can be clearly seen, including cartouches of Kings Ahmose II and Psamtik III. In one of the reliefs she is followed by her chief steward and fan-bearer who is named here as Sheshonq. There are also some lovely depictions of a lion-headed cobra and a strange underworld deity with two duck’s heads.

Shepenwepet's Chapel of Osiris Neb-ankhNext to Ankhnesneferibre’s chapel is another tiny shrine, also a chapel of Osiris Neb-ankh. This is like a little dolls-house, dedicated by the God’s Wife Shepenwepet (II), a daughter of King Taharqa of Dynasty XXV. Said to be perhaps the smallest religious monument in Egypt with a doorway only a little over a metre high leading to a tiny inner chamber, it is difficult to imagine any ceremony taking place here. There are some superb deeply-carved reliefs inside this little shrine with cartouches of Shepenwepet (II) and her sister the ‘God’s Wife’ Amenirdis, (II) as well as a cartouche inscribed for Osiris Neb-ankh.

Bypassing the Temple of Ptah I walked over to the next Osiris structure, an enigmatic little chapel, now just a small single chamber, dedicated by Amenirdis to Osiris De-ese-hebsed, also dating from Dynasty XXV. There were two God’s Wives named Amenirdis, the first a daughter of King Kashta and the second, who constructed this monument, was daughter of the Nubian King Taharqa. I had already seen the chapels at Medinet Habu belonging to this royal lady. Moving on I passed the scant remains of a Ptolemaic Temple of Osiris, no more than a lintel and two door-jambs.

Temple of Osiris Heka-djetAgainst the eastern enclosure wall is the largest remaining and one of the earliest chapels dedicated by the God’s Wives at Karnak. This is the Temple of Osiris Heka-djet (’Osiris, Ruler of Eternity’) which was built by the Libyan king Osorkon III and his son, the High Priest of Amun, Takelot III of Dynasty XXIII. This structure has high walls and I had to find a guard to let me inside through the locked door. Though there was once an entrance gate and a courtyard, these are now gone and I went straight into the first of three small rooms, the two innermost rooms being the earliest part of the temple. High on one wall there is a lovely relief of Shepenwepet (I) presenting an image of Ma’at to Amun and receiving a menat necklace from the goddess Isis, while her successor, Amenirdis (I), receives an ankh from Amun and Mut. There are some very unusual reliefs in this temple, including the only known depiction of a God’s Wife, Shepenwepet, wearing the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt, complete with royal uraeus, normally a strict prerogative of the pharaoh. Another beautiful and unique dual-scene shows the two rulers, Osorkon and his co-regent Takelot, back to back under two ished-trees, while the gods write the kings’ names on the leaves. There is also an unusual series of seven false doors each one carved inside the other. I loved this little temple, it was just a pity that the combination of shadows and shallow reliefs did not offer a good opportunity for photography.”

http://egyptsites.wordpress.com/2008/04/29/the-hand-of-god/

Reproduced courtesy of  http://www.EgyptSites.co.uk/ with thanks.

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http://www.Amunirdis.net/
http://www.Amenirdis.net/
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Brooklyn Museum: Dig Diary – http://digdiary.blogspot.com/

Posted in Adoption, Adoratrice, Aidan Dodson, Akaluka, Akhamenerau, Amen-Ra, Amenardis, Amenirdis, Amenirdis the Elder, Amonardis, Amonirdis, Amoun, Amun, Amun-Ra, Amunardis, Amunirdis, Ancient Egypt, Ankhefenamon, Ankhnesneferibre, Apet, Ashdod, Assasif, Assyria, Black Pharaohs, Book of the Dead, Brooklyn Museum, Chief Priestess, Conundrum, David Aston, Dig Diary, Divine Adoratice of Amun, Divine Adoratrice, Divine Adoratrice of Amun, Divine One, Divine Votaress, Doorkeeper, Doorkeeper in the Temple of Amun, Dynastic, Egypt, Egyptian, Egyptian Dates, Egyptian Goddess, Egyptian History, Egyptian Queen, Egyptian Years, Egyptological Research, Egyptologists, Egyptology, el-Assasif, Goddess, Gods Hand, Gods Wife, Gods Wife of Amun, Grand Steward, Great of the Greats, Harwa, Harwa’s Tomb, Hatnefrumut, Hatshepsut, Hieroglyphic, Hieroglyphics, Hieroglyphs, High Priestess, High Priests, High Steward, Iamanni, Karl Jansen-Winkeln, Karnak, Karnak Temple, Kashta, Kawa, Kenneth Kitchen, Khaneferumut, Khons, Khonsu, King Kashta, Kush, Kushite, Lady of the House, Late Period, Lord, Lord of Thebes, Luxor, Medinet Habu, Meroë, Montu, Montu-Ra, Mut, Napata, Neferkare, Nestaureret, Nitocris, Nubia, Nubian, Nubian King, Nubian Kingdom, Osiris, Osiris Hall, Osorkon, Padimut, Peshuper, Pharaoh, Pharaohs, Precinct of Amun, Prenomen, Priest, Princess of Nubia, Psammetichus, Psamtek, Psamtik, Queen Amenirdis, Queen Amunirdis, Queen of Egypt, Queen Pebatma, Ra, Re, Regnal Years, Research, Rolf Krauss, Sargon, Scribe, Scribe of Amenirdis, Shabaka, Shabaka Neferkare, Shabaka Stone, Shabaqo, Shebitku, Shepenupet, Shepenwepet, Solar Eclipses, Stelae, Steward of the Divine Votaress, Sudan, Taharqa, Taharqo, Takelot, Tang-i Var, Tashakheper, Temple of Amun, Temples, Theban, Theban Necropolis, Theban Tomb, Thebes, Third Cataract, Third Intermediate Period, TT37, Twenty Fifth Dynasty, Votaress, Waset, www.Amenardis.net, www.Amenirdis.net, www.Amunirdis.net, XXV Dynasty, XXVI Dynasty with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2009 by www.Amunirdis.net

“An end and a beginning

On March 23, 2007 the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art opens at the Brooklyn Museum. To celebrate the opening and the accompanying exhibition, “Pharaohs, Queens and Goddesses”, we decided to devote the last posting of the 2007 season at the Mut Precinct to some of the female figures, mortal and divine, associated with the site.

Hatshepsut being crowned by Amun-Re and granted life and dominion by the goddess “Great in Magic”, from the reconstructed Red Chapel in the Karnak Open Air Museum. An early 18th Dynasty temple at Mut dates to the reign of this woman who ruled as king.

“God’s Wife of Amun” was an important female priestly title in Thebes. In the 1st millennium BC it was usually held by a sister or daughter of the reigning king, each God’s Wife adopting her successor. They became so powerful that they were able to have themselves represented in roles normally played by the king.

In scenes of goddesses suckling humans, the human is normally the king, with the scene representing the transfer of life and power. Yet in this scene in the Chapel of Osiris-Ruler-of-Eternity at Karnak, not only is the God’s Wife of Amun, Shepenwepet I, being suckled, she is also wearing 2 Double Crowns, something shown nowhere else in any period.

In her funerary chapel at the temple of Medinet Habu, Amunirdis makes offerings to Amun and Hathor. The presence of funerary chapels to mortals within the sacred grounds of a temple is rare until the Third Intermediate Period, a time when God’s Wives of Amun flourished.

Intangible concepts could also be represented as goddesses. In a scene commemorating an important military campaign by Sheshonq I of Dynasty 22, the goddess “Victorious Thebes”, carrying a mace, an axe and a bow, drags conquered cities (shown as bound prisoners with the city names enclosed in cartouches representing fortified walls) to be slaughtered.

Upper and Lower Egypt were represented as the goddesses Nekhbet (right) and Wadjet. Scenes of the king flanked by these protective deities are common in all periods of Egyptian history. This one comes from the Mut Precinct’s Ptolemaic Chapel D.


Keeping Mut and Sakhmet happy was a main function of the Mut priesthood. In this scene from the Mut Precinct’s main entrance the king (holding Hathor-headed sistra) and two priestesses play music to Mut and Sakhmet to amuse them and keep them contented.


Two busts of Sakhmet in the Mut Precinct. Sakhmet angered could release disease and disaster on Egypt. Contented she could control these forces, which is why she is a goddess of health and healing as well as of death and destruction.


These 3 reliefs of Mut span a period of several hundred years. On the left is a relief from Amunirdis’s funerary chapel at Medinet Habu; in the center a relief from the chapel of Osiris-Ruler-of-Eternity at Karnak; and on the right a relief in Chapel D at the Mut Precinct. In all three scenes Mut appears in her usual guise of a human wearing the Double Crown.

And finally, a stela of a king offering to Mut that we uncovered in 2006. While the stela is uninscribed, it is entirely possible that it dates to the reign of the Roman Emperor Tiberius, showing that Mut continued as an important goddess even after Egypt’s conquest by Rome.

Richard Fazzini
Director, Mut Expedition”

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