Illuminating the Baldachin: An atypical rite of Egyptian jubilee



May 3, 2023


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Jubilee New Kingdom Egyptology Amenhotep III Royal cult New Kingdom Egypt Heb Sed Soleb

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Marianne Pinon, « Illuminating the Baldachin: An atypical rite of Egyptian jubilee », HAL-SHS : histoire, ID : 10670/1.ptwvrk


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The temple of Soleb (Nubie) built by Amenhotep III, was dedicated to Amon and in the service of the royal cult of that king. A rite, “The Illumination of the Baldaquin”, was depicted on the east wall of the second courtyard and was identified as a rite belonging to his jubilees. It was first published by R. Lepsius in his Denkmäler aus Ägypten und Äthiopien and in 1936 by J.A. Wilson in an article entitled “Illumination of the Thrones at the Egyptian Jubilee”. In both cases, it was not a complete publication. Today, thanks to the edition of all the reliefs in 1998 ((M. Schiff Giorgini (ed.)), a detailed study of this rite is possible.Inscriptions are valuable source of information about the ritual, date, participants, words spoken and the gestures that accompanied it. On one hand, this rite gives important information about the calendar of the jubilees of Amenhotep III, especially the third one. In fact, three chronological markers are given: the beginning and the end of the rite and, more importantly, the date of its celebration in the course of the sed-festival. Thus, it provides a clue to date the opening of the third one. On the other hand, the identified officials participating in the ceremonial – Nebmerutef, Samut and Merymery – and others quoted in the unpublished text seem to place the scene in Thebes and more particularly at Malqatta palace.Only a detailed, exhaustive and comparative studies of this rite can give us elements of answer. All this information is essential for the understanding of the sed-festival of Amenhotep III and, more generally, for the understanding of all the jubilees.

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