’Chapel entrances at Abydos.’
Standing at the western end of the Second Hypostyle Hall of the Seti I Temple at Abydos, this picture shows the entrances to four of the seven chapels that can be accessed from the hall. The centre of the picture is dominated by the imposing gate to the Chapel of Amun-Ra. To the left of this gate we see subsequently the entrances to the Chapels of Ra-Horakhty, Ptah and (hardly visible) Seti I. At one time wooden doors would have been attached to these stone doorways.
In the wall between each of these doorways there is a niche which probably once held a statue of a god. Each niche is decorated with three internal scenes which show Seti making offerings either to the deity to whom the adjoining chapel is dedicated, or to a related deity. Thus, the niche in the foreground shows Seti offering a “nemset” vessel to Mut, the consort of Amun. The niche could also have been used to store sacred scrolls pertaining to the rites which were performed in the adjoining chapel. As the lower part of the niche is without decorations a stash of scrolls wouldn’t have obscured the sacred images on its three walls.
To the left of this niche we see Khonsu giving Seti the breath of life. Khonsu is depicted as a falcon-headed man wearing the crown of the full and the crescent moon. On the right Isis caresses the king as a child. She says to him: “You are my son, you have come forth from me, I have nursed you, in order to be Ruler of the Two Lands.”
The lower register on each side of the niche is decorated with a series of Nile gods, kneeling, hermaphrodite personifications of Egyptian nomes (districts). Each figure is basically male, with the breasts of a woman (symbolizing fecundity), and on its head there is an emblem which indicates the name of the nome. The figures carry food and jars of wine and water which they present to the gods. On the right we see the Upper Egyptian nomes number 6 (with crocodile emblem, region of Dendera) and 7 (with sistrum emblem, region of Hiw).
Finally, at the left-hand edge of the picture, framing the temple guard, we see the gate which gives access to the Nefertem-Ptah-Sokar Hall.
The Seti Temple at Abydos was begun by Seti I and completed by his son Ramses II in the 13th century BC. Photo Mick Palarczyk.