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9. Agyptologische Tempeltagung: Kultabbildung und Kultrealitat.

9. Agyptologische Tempeltagung: Kultabbildung und Kultrealitat. Edited by HORST BEINLICH. Konigtum, Staat und Gesellschaft Fruher Hochkulturen, vol. 3,4. Wiesbaden: HARRASSOWITZ VERLAG, 2013. Pp. 391, illus. [euro]84 (paper).

The theme of the ninth Agyptologische Tempeltagung conference was cult illustration and cult reality (Kultabbildung und Kultrealitat). The conference volume includes a series of explorations focusing on the relationship, or lack thereof, between representations and images of cult activities and the realia of cultic performances. Due to the presence of members of Gottingen s Edfu project, there is an emphasis on material from this site in the volume. Overall, five articles stand out in providing overviews of theoretical approaches to the topic at hand. Together, they would make a good introduction to the issues for graduate students. Most other articles in the collection are more focused on analysis of specific groups of data, which will be discussed in light of the theoretical articles which frame this review.

First, in "Die agyptischen Wirklichkeiten in Kultpolitik und Kult," Rolf Gundlach takes a very broad view, exploring the places of ritual scenes and ritual performance in relation to five aspects of temple building programs--environment ("Lage/Umgebung"), architecture ("Architektur"), decoration ("Dekoration"), equipment ("Geratschaften"), and actions ("Handlungen"). He groups Kultabbildung with decoration and Kultrealitat with actions. He then describes four stages in planning temple building programs, emphasizing the importance of the form of the royal titulary in the beginning of the process, describing it "als Nucleus der Grundlage von Tempelplanungen." The wall scenes, which are the focus of most of the studies in this volume, come very late in the process, after the locations and types of temples were chosen based on political considerations. One of the main approaches which authors in this volume take is analysing decoration in light of broader categories of evidence, like those represented by Gundlach's other four categories.

Christopher Theis focuses on the history and function of the Temple of Ptah within the enclosure at Karnak, examining a broad complex of associations, including its place in both the geography of Karnak and the chronology of Ptahs worship at that site ("Le temple de Ptah a Karnak. Remarques preliminaires"). Martina Ulimann addresses the meanings and functions of wall decoration, in relation to location, architecture, and temple furniture at Amada ("Architektur und Bildprogramm des Tempels von Amada: Zur Problematik der Rekonstruktion von Kultrealitat"). She ultimately concludes that the temple was a magically effective sacral installation ("magisch wirksame sakrale Anlage").

Peter Graeff explores the relationship between personifications of nomes depicted bearing offerings in the Temple of Horus at Edfu with contemporary administrative sources about nomes and asks whether such offerings were actually made, or were largely symbolic ("Gauopferprozessionen--Bild und Realitat einer Textkategorie am Beispiel des Tempels von Edfu"). In "Das Herz ist zufrieden in Abydos: Bild und Befund in Relief and Ritual," Andraes Efflands focus is on three Nineteenth-Dynasty scenes featuring a trio of heart-shaped vessels receiving libation flows. Several fragments of heart-shaped vessels dating to the time of Ramesses II were found at Umm el-Qaab. However, this was probably only one variation on a ritual for which we have evidence as early as Khaseqemwi (a heart-shaped vessel from Hierakonpolis, p. 40, Abb. 6), and continuing well into the Late Period (a scene in tombs at Tuna el-Gebel and Tanis, p. 21). Effland also discusses the symbolic importance of the heart, referring to a wide range of literature, including medical texts, mortuary material, and fictional tales.

The relationship between scenes and textual descriptions of ritual is the main focus of the second theoretically focused article which this review will highlight. Dieter Kurth, in "Textliche Aussagen zur Kultralitat in Tempelinschriften griechisch-rominscher Zeit," examines the relationship between temple decoration and texts describing temple cult and symbolic systems in more depth. Based on this data, he posits three categories of decoration: that primarily related to the temples role as the deitys house (e.g., plant and heavenly decorative motifs); that primarily related to the treatment of the king; and that primarily related to the treatment of the deity. He ultimately concludes (among other things) that the relationship between cult illustration and cult reality is highly variable, but that conveying the ideal natures of the deities and the temple as a place for their worship was a vital theme of the decoration.

Holger Kockelmann addresses the relationship between scenes and graffiti in "Zur Kultpraxis auf Philae: Aussagen der Templedekoration und dokumentarischer Befund im Vergleich." He concludes that this material ultimately sheds little light on actual cultic performance. In contrast, Andrea Kucharek finds that the scenes contribute greatly when read in light of the papyrus version of ritual she analyses in "Die Gro[beta]e Dekret und die Osiriskapellen von Dendera." Nonetheless, things are still not simple for her, as regional variation, change over time, and pragmatic flexibility are all factors in this material.

Third, in "Bemerkungen zu den Vignetten von Tempelszenen als abstracts des Ritualverlaufs," Erhart Graefe begins by summarizing the range of views on how temple scenes relate to ritual performance (from a script, to depictions not to be followed at all). He takes a moderate position, reading scenes as "abstracts or summaries" ("abstracts oder Resumees") of the course of ritual. He goes on to discuss a series of scene types, in which he argues that the ritual objects should be read in different ways: as symbols; as hieroglyphs; as everyday objects, varied by context; as conveying multi-level word play developed over the ages; and as representations of ritual.

Other articles with a close focus on specific scene types, with some commentary on their immediate architectural contexts, include Silke Ca[beta]or-Pfeiffer, "Milch ist es, es ist keine Wasser darin: Bemerkungen zu den Szenen des sogenannten Ubergie[beta]ens der Opfergaben mit Milch in Philae und den unternubischen Tempeln"; and Thomas Gamelin, "Le ritual de foundation des temples: Jeux dimages et jeux de placement."

Fourth, Benoit Lurson explores whether changes over the course of the New Kingdom in depictions of ritual reflect changes in the rituals themselves or are merely iconographic changes, in "Zwischen Kultabbildungen und Kultrealitat: Die Rolle der ikonographischen Dynamik." He examines changes in the rendition of three rituals (offering ointment, offering Maat, and the Daily Ritual) which, he argues, represent primarily iconographic changes with their own sort of language, which were largely independent of changes in the underlying performance. His analysis also involves reference to material remains and papyrus copies of ritual.

Finally, Andreas H. Pries centers the issue of performance, questioning how standardized ancient Egyptian cult practice actually was, in "Ritualvollzug im Spiegel der uberkommenen Tradition, oder: Wie festgelegt war die altagyptische Kultpraxis tatsachlich?" This is a question which is not asked nearly enough in many areas of Egyptology. In this volume, Kuchareks article, referenced above, also deals with it. Many aspects of ancient Egyptian religion were not as standardized as those in the modern monotheistic traditions of the cultures to which most modern Egyptologists belong. Moreover, many of the questions which it seems natural for us to ask may never have arisen in the minds of the ancient Egyptian, who may have been as unable to answer them as we often are.

Other authors in this volume have also chosen not to center visual representations of performance. For example, Hana Vymazalova and Filip Coppens, in "The Clothing Ritual in the Royal Temples of Abusir: Image versus Reality," discuss ritual at Abusir by primarily looking at administrative texts in conjunction with material remains of ritual objects.

The volume closes with an invaluable list of all the articles appearing in the first nine Agyptologische Tempeltagung volumes, arranged alphabetically by author.


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Author:Eaton, Katherine
Publication:The Journal of the American Oriental Society
Article Type:Book review
Date:Jan 1, 2017
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