Funding for the project “Beautiful Feast of Djeser-Djeseru in the temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahari, part 1”

The Ministry of Education and Science, as part of the Excellent Science II competition, awarded funding for the publication entitled “Beautiful Feast of Djeser-Djeseru. Part 1. North wing of the east wall of the Upper Courtyard of the temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahari” by Dr Jadwiga Iwaszczuk. The project involves the preparation for publication of the first of three volumes of a publication devoted to the Beautiful Feast of Hatshepsut as depicted in the temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahari. This will include the scientific editing of the monograph, proofreading of the manuscript, linguistic proofreading of the text by a native speaker, and technical editing. Dr Jadwiga Iwaszczuk’s monograph entitled “Beautiful Feast of Djeser-Djeseru. Part 1. North wing of the east wall of the Upper Courtyard of the temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahari” is intended for the Deir el-Bahari series co-published by the Institute of Mediterranean and Oriental Cultures and Harrassowitz Verlag. The book is the first volume in a series of three dedicated to the Beautiful Feast of Hatshepsut, the temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahari in Luxor (Egypt), a UNESCO-listed building. The festival was one of the most important Theban processional festivals during the reign of Queen Hatshepsut (1492-1471 BC). It was during her reign that processional festivals became part of the religious policy of the rulers reaching a setting hitherto unknown. The queen began to create processional routes and barge stations began to be erected outside temple areas. The queen’s temple at Deir el-Bahari itself became the site of festive processions, and its walls were decorated with representations of three cyclical processional festivals: the feast of Opet, the feast of Djeser-djeseru and the feast of Hathor, as well as two occasional festivals: the feast celebrating the bringing back of the queen’s obelisks from the quarries and the feast celebrating the return of the expedition sent by the ruler to the land of Punt. This indicates the importance of the festivals, which Hatshepsut’s ideologues intended to last for millions of years. The beautiful Feast of Jeser-Jeser is depicted in the Upper Courtyard of the temple, referred to by the Egyptians themselves as the Sacred Courtyard, in close connection with the temple’s holiest place, which was the sanctuary. The feast remains unknown to date, both to the scholarly world and to those interested in ancient Egyptian religion and culture. The restoration and documentation work has now been completed, which has made it therefore possible to describe and interpret these important representations. The monograph is the result of many years of study by the author, who worked on the temple site for 20 years, also serving as deputy head of the archaeological and conservation mission. The aim of this publication is to present the work of the Polish mission active at Deir el-Bahari since the 1960s on the decoration of the northern part of the eastern wall of the Upper Courtyard, to show the representations that are not widely known and to justify the reconstruction of this part of the temple of Hatshepsut. In order to meet the challenge posed, this work presents the decoration of the wall, on which the initial and final scenes of the feast are preserved, in a detailed manner that allows one to grasp the nuances of religious thought and is essential for further interpretation. The first volume thus captures the offerings at Karnak before Amon to mark the beginning of the festival, the procession towards the river and the crossing of the Nile by Amon’s river barge with its accompanying barges, as well as the return of the barges by water, the procession on foot towards the temple at Karnak and the scenes of the offerings at the end of the festival performed by the ityphalic Amon. The second volume will be devoted to the central scenes preserved on the north wall of the Courtyard, while the last planned volume will contain a reconstruction of the course of the feast and its interpretation. In addition to the description of the decoration, the translations, transcription and transliteration of the inscriptions are also included in Volume 1. The history of this part of the building is also described, as well as the history of research, restoration and documentation. The detailed description is due precisely to the need to explain to the reader the rationale for the reconstruction and possible corrections to the decoration reconstructed on the wall, as it should be noted that the greater part of the wall was destroyed during the earthquake and the blocks from it were sometimes used secondarily as building material. Those parts of the wall that did not collapse were further disfigured by the Copts, removing what they thought were ancient deities by forging the faces and limbs of the figures of officials, sacrificers and soldiers depicted on the walls. It should be noted that these were not the only erasures to which the decoration of this wall was subjected: during the reign of Hatshepsut’s stepson, Pharaoh Tuthmosis III, representations of the queen herself were removed with a lack of precision; thanks to this lack of precision, it is possible to restore them today. The next stage of destruction was the Amarna period, when king Ekhnaton ordered his officials to remove figures and names of deities other than solar deities from the decoration of the temples, and the most important deity to be crouched from the walls was Amon of Thebes, the dynastic god and ruler of Thebes, then the capital of the state, who was also the main character of the Beautiful Feast of Djeser-djeseru. The analysis presented in the first volume of the publication of the Beautiful Feast of Djeser-djeseru will serve to reconstruct the festival both at the level of actual events and religious description of the world, its significance for royal ideology, and is also the basis for distinguishing this festival from similarly celebrated Theban festivities and, above all, distinguishing it from the Beautiful Feast of the Valley, most often identified with it. drukuj