Variable of the Day, Ancient Egypt: Being led

Temple of Ramses III at Medinet Habu

NOTE: This variable covers the action of the primary individual being led–whether pharaoh or, in private tombs, the deceased.  The king is regularly shown in temple relief being led by one or a pair of deities (often Montu, Atum, and/or Thoth) into the presence of another god, such as Amun.  The next scene on the wall generally depicts the king before a major god receiving implements of kingship or some other boon.  Scenes of being led are usually quite intimate, with figures holding hands and the primary individual being offered the gift of life (and, in this example, dominion).  The king wears complex regalia in many of these scenes, including the looped red sash that appears to be related to potentially hazardous liminal, or transitional, spaces.


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The Art of Counting is dedicated to the memory of Margery Meilleur, who first taught me to view history through the eyes of the images we create.