Al-Ahram Weekly Online   1 - 7 February 2007
Issue No. 830
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Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

Gilded youth

A sandstone lintel painted with gilded solar child deities was unearthed yesterday at the Temple of Mut in Luxor, reports Nevine El-Aref

Excavators from the Brooklyn Museum stumbled upon the unique lintel painted with five gilded deities during routine cleaning of the precinct enclosure wall of the temple. Topped with a cavetto cornice embellished with painted stripes, the lintel is well preserved. It is framed by rounded moulding and the decoration includes raised relief figures. The five gilded solar deities appear sitting on lotus blossoms against a blue backdrop, representing the sky, each with a finger in its mouth. The first and last are crowned with the sun disk, the second wears a double crown, the third a hem-hem crown and the fourth a two-plumed crown. The golden child gods sit before an offering table to the right of which are two figures, the first an ape, whose face still bears some gilding, wearing a modius and feather with his arms raised in a gesture of worship. Apes are often shown in connection with the sun. The second figure is of the goddess Taweret, crowned with cow's horns, a sun disk and two feathers.

Sabri Abdel-Aziz, head of the Ancient Egyptian Department at the Supreme Council of Antiquities, says early studies suggest the lintel may date from the late Intermediate Period. The newly discovered artefact is now being cleaned and restored.

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