Monday, June 7, 2021
Unusual Hathoric Iconography

Traced from JE 6135 / CG 34017 (Printable)

I was taking a tour of my favorite flickr photographers' captures, when I came across an unusual stela:
Capture one, by "kairoinfo4u"
Capture two, by Heidi Kontkanen

Heidi Kontkanen gives the info:
Sohag National Museum
Stele with two figures holding a stand with the head of Hathor. The name Menkheperra (Thutmose III) is inside the cartouches.
18th dynasty, from Abydos.
JE 6135 / CG 34017
I'm grateful she give the accession numbers, for it allowed me to find out more about this fascinating stela. I'll let Elizabeth Frood describe it:

"The third object generally attributed to Nebwawy is CG 34017 (pl. VI 1), a rectangular limestone stela half the size of the two biographical stelae. CG 34017 belongs iconographically to a distinctive group of New Kingdom objects. The central scene is framed by a winged disc, with bands of text on the sides and at the base. The scene depicts a column topped with a Hathor head wearing the goddess's characteristic wig and a complex atef-crown that incorporates two uraei with sun-discs on the upper level, and uraei with white crowns on the lower level. At the bast of the column stand two figures of a striding king, with a cartouche reading mn-hpr-r' above the head of each. Both figures wear a red crown, collar, short kilt, and tail, and reach out to embrace the column with the visible outer arm. The unusual Hathoric iconography and its connection with the textual references to Heqet deserve a detailed treatment that would break the bounds of this article."
Elizabeth Frood, "Ritual Functions and Priestly Narrative: the Stelae of the High Priest of Osiris, Nebwawy", The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 89 (2003), pages 62-63

Of course the "unusual Hathoric iconography" is what I want to know more about!

But at least we know that Nebwawy was a Priest of Osiris at Abydos during the 18th Dynasty, and under Thutmose III he attained the position of High Priest of Osiris, a title which he held until his death, which occurred some time during the coregency of Amenhotep II. Source: Wikipedia

Barbara A. Richter, in _The Theology of Hathor of Dendera: Aural and Visual Scribal Techniques in the Per-Wer Sanctuary_ gives examples of the many varieties of crowns found in the Per Wer. One is similar to what Hathor is wearing on Nebwawy's stela:

Anedjty Crown (Ostrich Feathers, Sun disk, Ram's Horns)
"The final crown in this survey is a composite that is very similar to the double falcon feather crown that we just discussed, except that it uses ostrich instead of falcon feathers. Besides the ostrich feathers, it also includes a solar disk framed by two uraeii with sun disks, all of which sits atop a pair of ram's horns." (Wilbour Studies in Egypt and Ancient Western Asia at Brown University (Lockwood Press 2016), page 107)

She gives an example of Seti I at Abydos, wearing this crown, for which I found her source:

But even so, it isn't quite as elaborate as that which Hathor wears. CG 34017 features four uraei and two vertical horns, in addition to the horizontal ram's horns. This aspect of the Per-Wer Anedjty likely holds true for this stela as well: "The symbolism carried by the crown's two ostrich feathers, representing Ma'at and the two Divine Eyes, is always subtly present". (page 110)

Possibly the reason for FOUR uraei has to do with the concept of 'Hathor Quadrifrons' (the Mistress of the Four Quarters of Heaven), and how she is depicted in columns with four faces of Hathor, so that she can look out in all four directions, and be supremely protective as the Eye of Ra. (Geraldine Pinch, quoting Derchain, Votive Offerings to Hathor, Griffith Institute, 1993), page 158.

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