ikhet_sekhmet: (Default)
Some notes on the temple of Kellis in the Dakhleh oasis, and Tutu's missus there, the goddess Tapshay / Tapsais / Tanefershay / Tnaphersais.

"It consists of a small, three-roomed stone temple with a contra temple of two rooms, surrounded by a vast complex with mud-brick chapels and other subsidiary buildings." (p 107) The evidence dates the temples' use between the first century BCE and the first half of the fourth century CE. (p 109)

A bronze votive statue of Tapshay, perfectly preserved by a "thick crust" of libations and dust, was found in the contra temple in 1992, inscribed to "Tapsais all-victorious". (Kaper and Worp discuss the exact meaning of the epithet at length. One inscription in the temple gives her the words: "I send your enemies to the slaughtering place.")

The goddess' Egyptian name is Ta-p3-š3y - "She who belongs to Shay", where Shay (Psais in Greek) is the god of fate, or "she of fate". Tapsais was a common name for women.

"From the inscriptions and representations on the walls of the temple, it is clear that Tapsais was considered to be one of the main deities of Kellis, on a par with the gods Tutu and and Neith." (p 112) In fact, the West Temple ("a subsidiary of the Main Temple" - the contra temple?) was devoted solely to the two goddesses - Tutu's mum and his wife.

While Tutu is given attributes of kingship, Tapshay's iconography - in particular, the crowns she's shown with - suggests that of the Ptolemaic era queens. Plus she's given the title R't - surely "female Re" - which is also given to queens and the goddesses Hathor and Isis.

In the Kellis temple, where you might expect the hieroglyphs that so often precede a divine name and mean "Words spoken by...", this hieroglyph "consistently" appears:


(N6B in Gardiner's extended sign list.) Kaper and Worp discuss whether it should be read as "Lord/Lady of the Two Lands" or as "R'/R't".

I'd been wondering about this sign, because (as they mention) it also appears at Deir el Hagar with the names of Amun-Re, Mut, Triphis, and Nut. I've been trying to identify some of the goddesses in photos people have posted of Deir el Hagar ("Mut-Sekhmet, Mistress of Isheru", maybe?) but was partly stumped by the mystery hieroglyph!

Kaper, O. E. and K. A. Worp, "A Bronze representing Tapsais of Kellis", Revue d'Égyptologie 46, 1995, 107-118.
ikhet_sekhmet: (Butterfly hair)
Discussing the various forms in which the god Tutu is depicted, Olaf Kaper concludes: "Finally, three of the sphinxes (S-1, S-2, S-3) have been depicted with outstretched wings, bringing to mind the verb ḫ3ḫ, to be fast, which could be written with" either of two sphinx hieroglyphs. (p 41)

Pleasingly, thanks to Wikipedia and the Aegyptus font, I can show you both Kaper's stela S-3 and those two written sphinxes:



Isn't the Internet grand! :D

Kaper, Olaf E. The Egyptian God Tutu: a Study of the Sphinx God and Master of Demons with a Corpus of Monuments (Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 119). Dudley, Mass. : Peeters, 2003.


Dec. 3rd, 2013 03:41 pm
ikhet_sekhmet: (Butterfly hair)
Made a trip into the chilly heart of Chicago yesterday to see the Art Institute of Chicago's current exhibition, When the Greeks Ruled Egypt. I wanted to make a few notes before I forget what I saw! (Wish I'd thought to bring a notebook and pencil in - we also visited the Egypt's Mysterious Book of the Faiyum exhibition at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore - that didn't have a catalogue either, but at least I was able to jot down some accession numbers!)
  • A seated, kilted lion-headed "Horus, son of Wadjet" - a large bronze figurine
  • Tutu in sphinx form (I think the identity of this piece may be disputed)
  • the feet of a life-size statue of the deified Arsinoe II
  • Looking at the green profile of Osiris in a BD, Jon speculated he might have inspired the look of Scaroth from City of Death :)
  • Something I'd never noticed before: the faces of Ptolemaic reliefs, although apparently two dimensional, actually have naturalistic undulating flesh - cheeks, for example.
  • Another label pointed out that thousands of years of continuity in artwork represents a form of immortality.
I had the sheer amateur gall to email the Walters about a couple of mistakes in their labels. *facepalm*


Sep. 5th, 2013 08:30 pm
ikhet_sekhmet: (Butterfly hair)
I'm awfully keen on Tutu (here he is in my Tumblr). I shall now bore for the Commonwealth on the subject. Or, to put it another way, here is a catch-all posting for this unusual Egyptian deity. :)

Tutu or Tithoes originated in Sais, came to prominence in the Late and Graceo-Roman periods, and was worshipped throughout the country. He started off as a vanquisher of Apophis, but became popular as the master of demons. He is most often depicted as a sphinx.

Tutu has power over the demons that cause disease and misfortune - a group with various titles: the Seven Demons of Neith, the ḫ3tyw (butcher demons) of Sekhmet, and the šm3yw (wandering demons) of Bastet. The demons, who may also be dispatched by Mut or Nekhbet, are also called šsrw "arrows" (from the bow of Neith), hbyw "messengers", or wpwtyw "messangers". They often appear as armed, animal-headed men. (Khonsu, the son of Mut, Nefertem, the son of Sekhmet, and Mahes, the son of Bast or Sekhmet, could also control their mothers' squads of demons.) Tutu may be depicted with these demons, and given titles such as ḥry šsrw "master of demons".

Tutu is frequently called '3 pḥty "great of strength", which is also the name of the first of Neith's demons. He's also called "who comes to the one calling him", which expresses his availability to the ordinary person who needs help. He's also called "lord of the Book" (of Life and Death), "who saves men from evil", and even "the divine demon".

Tutu is typically portrayed in the form of a sphinx, though he does also pop up in human form, especially in temples; and occasionally as a lion-headed man. As a sphinx, Tutu may be accompanied by a griffin, representing the Roman goddess Nemesis; with the Wheel of Fortune; and/or with a winged sun indicating his divine status - though his demonic nature was expressed by addition of weapons, snakes, or scorpions to his paws. Another goddess, Petbe, was equated with Nemesis and may have contributed Tutu's snaky tail: "In the Demotic 'Tefnut Legend',' writes Kaper, 'Petbe is described as a griffin, 'whose tail is that of a serpent'."

Tutu is often depicted facing out of images, like Bes - as Frankfurter points out, this gives him extra apotropaic power. He typically wears the tni crown (two ostrich feathers, sun disc, twisting rams' horns). His sphinx body may have a crocodile head emerging from the chest, an entire croc body slung under the sphinx, a lion's head joined to the back of the human head (and a crocodile or ibis head joined, in turn, to the lion), He may wear Roman soldiers' dress, including one example of a gorgoneion, and another of a lion's face in its place. A few sphinxes have wings - Kaper is reminded of the verb ḫsḫ, "be fast", which could be determined with a griffin or a sphinx.

Tutu's consort, Tapshay, Tapashay, or Tapsais, was worshipped alongside him and Neith at Ismant el-Kharab (ala Kellis, the only place Tapshay was worshipped, and the only temple dedicated to Tutu). She wears the red crown, Hathor's feathered crown, or both, as in this bronze statuette. Olaf Kaper speculates "she may have been a private person who was divinised after her death". (At Shenhur, Tutu was the consort of Isis of Shenhur.)

Frankfurter, David. "The local scope of religious belief". in Religion in Roman Egypt: assimilation and resistance. Princeton, N. J. : Princeton University Press, c1998.
Kaper, Olaf E. The Egyptian God Tutu: a Study of the Sphinx God and Master of Demons with a Corpus of Monuments (Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 119). Dudley, Mass. : Peeters, 2003.
Kaper, Olaf E. The God Tutu at Kellis: On Two Stelae Found at Ismant el-Kharab in 2000. in Gillian E. Bowen and Colin A. Hope (eds). The Oasis papers 3 : proceedings of the Third International Conference of the Dakhleh Oasis Project. Oxford : Oxbow, c2003.
ikhet_sekhmet: (Default)
Complete Gods and Goddesses has an entire section on cat and lioness deities! Alongside the familiar ones like Mahes and Pakhet, there are gods I've never even heard of: the sphinx earth god Aker, Apedamak, Mekhit, Menhyt, Mestjet, the twin lions called Ruty, Seret, Shesmetet, and Tutu.

Read more... )

Wilkinson, Richard H. The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt. Thames and Hudson, London, 2003.


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