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Winter 2010 Lecture Series - International Scholars Forum -
Lectures 71 and 72

The California Museum of Ancient Art proudly presents its WINTER 2010 SERIES, "A TALE OF TWO TEMPLES: THE HOUSE OF AMUN-RE AND THE HOUSE OF MUT." Two dynamic speakers, both recently minted Egyptologists, will be featured: Dr. Elaine Sullivan and Dr. Elizabeth Waraksa. The lectures will be held at Piness Auditorium, Wilshire Boulevard Temple, 3663 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles on Mondays, February 8 and February 22 at 7:30pm.

On Monday, February 8, Dr. Elaine Sullivan will deliver "THE TEMPLE OF AMUN-RE AT KARNAK: 2000 YEARS OF RITUALS AND RENOVATIONS." Famous for its hypostyle hall and its sphinx-lined processional entrance, Amun-Re's Temple at Karnak is one of the largest, most spectacular archaeological sites in Egypt. Yet visitors are unaware of the temple's complicated history. Founded in the Middle Kingdom by Senusret I, important additions were made by most New Kingdom pharaohs, many of which no longer stand today.

The Power and Pageantry of the God Amun-Re's Statue

The Egyptian temple represented a miniature cosmos, but few are aware of its many cultic functions. In Karnak's central sacred spaces, the king (or a priest acting as his representative) performed daily rituals to the statue of the god in order to assure divine approval. Relief scenes carved on the walls of the great hypostyle hall, built by Seti I, best illustrate these ceremonies. The Temple of Amun-Re also acted as a place of great pageantry during important yearly festivals. The god's statue would come forth to visit other Theban temples, such as Hatshepsut's Temple at Deir el Bahri during the Beautiful Feast of the Valley. The queen's famous Red Chapel, found disassembled, offers vivid scenes of the journey from Karnak to the Nile's west bank.

Newly developed reconstructions using 3D Virtual Reality show the different construction phases of the temple complex - many of whose structures no longer exist - and help to clarify the relationship between the built world of the temple and the historical, political and social developments in Thebes and the Egyptian state.

Elaine A. Sullivan received her PhD from Johns Hopkins in 2008. W. M. Keck postdoctoral fellow at UCLA, she recently completed work on the "Digital Karnak Project." Dr. Sullivan excavated at Karanis and the Mut Temple in Egypt and at Umm el-Marra in Syria. She has published a number of articles on Ancient Egypt.

On Monday, February 22, Dr. Elizabeth Waraksa will give an illustrated lecture, "QUEEN OF THE GODS, MISTRESS OF THE TWO LANDS, GREAT OF DREAD: THE GODDESS MUT AND HER THEBAN TEMPLE." One of the least-known temples at Karnak, the Mut Temple, located in Luxor on the Nile's east bank, was a center of the goddess' worship from at least the reign of the 18th Dynasty female Pharaoh Hatshepsut. Not as vast as the adjacent temple of Amun-Re, it was nevertheless part of the ritual complex devoted to the Theban triad of gods: Amun-Re, Mut and Khonsu, regarded as father, mother and son, respectively.

Why did Hatshepsut pay special attention to the Mut Temple?

Who was Mut? From art, architecture and literature, we know that the goddess had various forms and was both maternal and vengeful. We know that Hatshepsut gave special attention to the Mut Temple, but why? Did an association with the goddess Mut aid in Hatshepsut's quest to rule as pharaoh?

The layout of the temple, with its horseshoe-shaped Sacred Lake, allows us to reconstruct rituals performed there, including boat processions and festivals. There is strong evidence that both men and women participated in the professions as well as the religious festivals at the Mut Temple during the New Kingdom. This fascinating temple, which up until now has remained closed to the public, offers us insight into the popularity of the goddess Mut.

Elizabeth A. Waraksa is the Librarian for Middle Eastern Studies at UCLA's Young Research Library. Having received her PhD in Egyptology from Johns Hopkins in 2007, she participated in excavations at the Mut Temple in Egypt and Poggio delle Civitelle in Italy. Dr. Waraksa offers us a novel theory in her book, Female Figurines from the Mut Precinct.

We are honored to have these two recent Egyptology experts participating in our International Scholars Forum. Join us this winter for a remarkable series. Mark these dates on your calendar & be sure to attend:

P.S. If not a CMAA Member, JOIN TODAY and receive free tickets to our WINTER 2010 SERIES! Individuals, $40; Couples, $65 - a bargain in future discounts and free admissions!