'The sun in its bark at Dendera.'
Enveloped by the disc of the sun, the sun god Ra is traveling across the sky in his solar bark on the astronomical ceiling in the outer hypostyle hall of the Hathor Temple at Dendera.
The ceiling consists of seven separate strips but here we are looking at a detail of the middle register of the FIRST STRIP EAST from centre.
The whole of this register deals with the daily voyage of the sun god and for everyone of the twelve hours the sun is depicted in its bark, with a goddess, crowned by a sun disk, standing in adoration before its bow. The text band below and above this register amongst others mentions that Ra " travels with a joyful heart", that he is "King of Time" and "he guides the heart to fulfill itself".
This picture shows Ra's voyage during the fifth hour of the day. On either side of the sun disc, Isis and Thoth are standing in adoration.
Behind Isis is the cat-headed goddess Bastet. Near the stern of the boat a pilot is manipulating the two steering oars. Near the bow a falcon-headed god is spearing a turtle, symbol of the evil spirited god Seth.
At the left-hand edge of the picture we see a similar falcon-headed god, standing in the bow of the sun bark of the fourth hour. He is spearing a man who belongs to one of the traditional enemies of Egypt.
For an overview of this ceiling strip see picture 29552.
This part of the Dendera Temple was built during the Roman period (first century AD). Photo Paul Smit.