RESTORED BY THE HIGH PRIEST MENKHEPERRE
Peter J. Brand
It is a great pleasure to dedicate this study to my mentor Donald Redford. Exposure to the sheer depth and broad range of his scholarship both in print and in person during classes in Toronto as a Ph.D. candidate sparked my historical imagination in many directions, despite the natural tendency of the graduate student towards keeping a rather narrow perspective while researching a thesis. He has and continues to exemplify for me the value of a multi-disciplinary approach to Egyptological studies, the importance of a rigorous analysis of every scrap of evidence and the fruits to be derived from an overarching historical viewpoint in examining Egyptian civilization.
During the Third Intermediate and Late Periods, a number of what might be called “official” ex voto graffiti were carved at the behest of the clergy of Amen-Re as objects of popular devotion. These can sometimes be found on the walls of New Kingdom temples that had been left undecorated by the pharaohs of that era, and they frequently occur alongside the much cruder etchings of devout commoners. Another phenomenon associated with popular temple devotion was the securement of veils to screen selected icons from view. The presence of these screens can be detected by holes drilled into the walls which surround such images. Here the line of demarcation between “popular” and “official” religious practice blurs, since the veils were placed by the temple hierarchy in response to popular cult practice. Yet another manifestation of the official piety of the high clergy and later kings was the restoration of the monuments of their New Kingdom predecessors. This was most common in the Ptolemaic era, although examples may be found throughout the Third Intermediate and Late Periods.1
All three of these phenomena coincide in Luxor temple on the west exterior wall of the solar court of Amenhotep III (figure 1). Here, an isolated raised relief depicts the ithyphallic form of Amen-Re, stand-
1 A doctoral dissertation on this subject is now underway: Joseph Brett McClain,
Restoration Inscriptions and the Tradition of Monumental Restoration (Ph.D. Diss., University
of Chicago, forthcoming).