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TT31, the tomb of Khonsu , also called To (or Ta) .in the valley of the nobles -luxor -thebes

The sacred barques

there are Two types of barques

1-a portable scale model
2- a true craft destined to sail.

The portable model includes a small chapel which is occupied by the god's statue during the processions. It can either be placed on a sledge and pulled, or carried by the priests, on their shoulders, by means of wooden poles, the number of poles being variable, from two to five. The statue remains hidden from the believers by wooden panels or hangings. When they are not in use, these false barques are preserved in the intimate parts of the temples.

 The portable boats are often richly decorated, golden, plated with leaves of copper, gold and silver, with precious stone inlays. In the temple of Medinet Habu is found an inscription which shows the enormity of wealth which could be accumulated: 300,000 deben of pure copper, 2,000 deben of black copper, 50,000 deben of electrum, 3,600 deben of lapis lazuli, 6,600 deben of malachite, 3,300 deben of precious stones (1 deben = 91gm). The prow and the stern often carry a representation, a cheerful animal, which evokes the god, such as the ram for the barque of Amon (see dm-1600).
The number of priests carrying the barque is variable. It is certain that it was a great honour to carry the divine craft, where one would see the sovereign and highest dignitaries participating in this task.

Thus at the time of the terrestrial journey, or when it crosses the Nile, the god's processional barque is always followed of a considerable crowd. The barque not only stopped at temples, but also at multiple sanctuaries of smaller size (for example the red chapel of Hatshepsut for the barque of Amon) but also at simple altars, which would allow the porters to become refreshed and to rest.
These divine exits lead to great festivals, for example the Opet festival, or the Great Festival of the Valley in Thebes, at the time of the exit of Amon. The god's oracle consultation in his barque, which took place during these exits, become more and more frequent at the end of the New Kingdom.

Among these craft, the Userhat barque of Amon is one of the best-known, because it is represented numerous times on the walls of the temples or in the tombs of individuals. However, on the scale of the country, the two small boats are most often quoted in the texts, are the Henu boat of Sokar to Memphis and the Nechemet boat transporting the statue of Osiris during his festivals in Abydos.

 The true barque serves to transport the artificial ones on the Nile, its canals and the sacred lakes, either to go to the place of a festival, or from one temple to another in order to visit gods or goddesses. So that at the time of the Opet festival, the divine image of Amon leaves Karnak in the barque to go to the temple of Luxor. It is a question of imitating the mode of transport of the sun god, Re, who, in his day boat and his night boat, crosses the sky.


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