2014/10/06

Pillar of Senusert I

An elegant pillar of King Senusert the First is finely decorated with relief on four sides. Each side shows the pharaoh in the presence of a different deity: the falcon Horus of Edfu; Atum of Heliopolis wearing the Double Crown; Amun of Thebes wearing his characteristic crown of two long plumes; and Ptah of Memphis wearing his tight cap on his head and shown inside a shrine.

The reason for showing all these deities of different provinces with the king was not only religious but also political. The king intended to confirm that his reign was supported by these important Egyptian deities.  In each of the four scenes, the king is wearing different costumes, from a tunic to a simple kilt. 

Pillar of Senusert I


He also wears various headdresses that give rich decorative details to the pillar. Elegant hieroglyphic signs are inscribed in columns around the figures of the deities and list their names, their epithets and their places of origin.

This pillar was the reason for a great discovery at the beginning of the twentieth century: Maspero found this pillar under the courtyard in front of the seventh pylon of the temple of Amun-Re at Karnak. 

The find encouraged him to dig deeper, hoping to find other elegant pillars. However, he found hundred of statues of pharaohs and nobles, together with thousands of bronze statues of deities and individuals. It was the discovery of the great cache of Karnak.



Column of Tuthmosis the Fourth

The column was originally erected by Tuthmosis the Fourth, but was later usurped by Ramesses the Second who added his image and titles without erasing the original ones. Finally, during the reign of Trajan, it was cut into three parts and reused in the foundation of a Roman temple.

The scene on the column depicts Ramesses the Second. The scene is protected at the top by a falcon grasping the Shen sign of eternal power in its talons.

Column of Tuthmosis the Fourth


The king is shown offering flowers in the temple. He wears the Khepresh crown of ceremonies with a cobra on the forehead for protection, a ceremonial dress with a transparent upper garment, and a kilt. His neck is adorned with a wide necklace with twisted decorations.

The cartouches and titles of Ramesses the Second are written under the outstretched right wing of the falcon. The cartouches and titles of Tuthmosis the Fourth are written in a column and painted in yellow on the other side of the scene.