Friday, April 2, 2010

Egypt 36: Philae II

I believe this is the outside hallway that looks out upon the water, the outside of which we saw in the second photo of the last post.  The proportions in this place were absolutely lovely.  Grand and intimate at the same time, a hard balance to find.
This fellow was inside, hidden in a small room.

I did manage to grab a shot of this lintel, which is over the door that leads into the main sanctuary.  (It took several tries to get one that wasn't blurry, of course, but hey.)  Notice two versions of the winged vulture and snake combination above.  We know that together they are symbolized as protectors of the combined upper and lower Egypt.

Below, one has to look very closely, but if one does one can see that the two panels are mirrored. On the left, the pharaoh makes an offering to Osiris, with the hat with two tops, and Isis behind Osiris, wearing a headdress with horns surrounding a sun.  We know the pharaoh is making the offering because of his triangular okay, trapezoidal apron.  Sharp angled is a better description.

In the left panel the pharaoh makes his offering from the left.  On the right panel he makes his offering from the right.  We have no idea why he is making his offering, of course.  But, we get to feel a little bit like insiders after nearly two weeks of looking at panels like this because we have at least been able to identify the players.

This image of the Madonna and child predates Christianity by 500 years or so.  Here we have Isis suckling her divinely conceived son, Horus.  The ancient Egyptians were a little more open about their bodies and sexuality, so she is shown offering the holy son her nipple.  We know it's Isis because of her crown, as seen in the previous image, with horns surrounding a sun.  We don't know when or why or by whom parts of here were defaced.

There is another panel in the Luxor Temple, that I haven't shown because I don't have a good image of it, which shows Amun 'marrying' the woman would would later bear him his divinely conceived son.  As mentioned before, all of the major conceptual themes found in modern Christianity had been part of the ancient Egyptians' religious practices for thousands of years.  Some find it disconcerting when they learn this, some find it comforting.

This cat found us while we were all standing in the main courtyard between the two pylons.  It carried on an animated conversation with John for some minutes before it finally decided he had no food and tried its fortunes elsewhere.

Here is the best shot I have of that inner courtyard.  Notice that some of the figures on the pylon wall have been 'excised' and some have not.   Horus, the divine son of Isis can be seen as the middle figure on the right side.  I don't know who the others are.

An outside view of the temple taken (obviously) from the side opposite the water, as we made our way back to the boat dock and water taxi.  Look at the lower right figure, which has been excised, on the main pylon.  Notice the figure has its arm raised.

The figures he is subjugating are obscured by shadow and cannot be seen from here.  By now we can see that there is a pattern to seeing this theme on the outside of temples and we begin to trust our suspicions that this is a symbolic act, not one based upon a specific historical incident, as many academics claim.

This only happened once, but this fellow in white was working with the taxi driver.  He was already on board when the taxi came to take us back to the mainland.  He had nice things to sell but the ladies declined to purchase any of his necklaces.

The small town by the boat dock had the most finished buildings and was the best kept of any we had seen so far on our trip.  I was charmed by the picturesque image it presented as we returned.

Notice all the water taxis.  I'm not sure that little temple is large enough to hold all the people they were capable of bringing over when they are all in use.

These folks were going out as we were coming in.  It tickled me to see all the different ways there are to enjoy the taxi ride.

The dock, as you can see, was jammed.  We ended up backing up and parking two boats over to the right--and then had to walk across all those boats to get to the dock.

If that had happened somewhere in America, I'd have had my nose seriously out of joint.  Here, it was simply part of the entertainment.

Next time, Abu Simbel.

Continue on to Post 37: Abu Simbel by clicking here.


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