III. D. The Jebel Barkal Pinnacle as Uraeus God: Amun-Kamutef; Phallic Entity; and Manifestation of All Procreative and Fertility Gods
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If the foregoing has demonstrated that the Jebel Barkal pinnacle was perceived as female - a natural statue embodying each and all of the goddesses of the divine and royal uraei - more evidence reveals that it was simultaneously understood to be male - an entity symbolizing the phallic presence of Amun in his procreative form Kamutef.  In Egyptian contexts since the Middle Kingdom Kamutef had been typically represented as a mummiform man holding an erect phallus with his left hand and elevating his right arm to support a flail (fig.  51). From early Dynasty 18 in Kush, however, Amun-Kamutef assumed an alternate form.  During their campaigns in Upper Nubia, Thutmose I and III each carved identical images of Amun on the great quartz outcrop at Kurgus (Hagar el Merwa), near the fifth cataract, where for the first time the god was represented as a ram-headed man (fig. 52); in separate texts below these images, he was also labeled  “Amun(-Re) Kamutef” (Davies 2001, 49, fig 4).  Shortly thereafter, from the reign of Thutmose III, an identical ram-headed god made his appearance as the Amun of Jebel Barkal (fig. 53a) and, at Thebes, an identical god made his appearance as the Amun of Luxor (Ipet-resyt “Southern Sanctuary”) (fig. 53b) (Pamminger 1992, pl. 1-3, fig. 1).

Fig. 51:  Amun in his procreative aspect as Kamutef - a twin of the ancient fertility god Min of the Eastern Desert south to Nubia (Murnane and Nelson 1981)

Fig. 52:  Amun in his first appearance as a ram-headed god, carved on the rock at Hagar el-Merwa in Upper Nubia by the military expedition of Thutmose I (ca. 1504 BC).  A text under the image also names the god “Kamutef.” (Davies 2001, 49, fig. 4)


Fig. 53a:  Amun pictured on a small stela from Jebel Barkal, dedicated by Thutmose III.  (Dunham 1950, pl. 47H).

Fig. 53b.  Amun of Ipet-resyt (“Southern Sanctuary”=Luxor Temple), represented on a lintel from western Thebes. Although picturing kings Amenhotep I and Thutmose III, the object seems to be Ramesside in date, British Museum (BM 369 [153]).  (Pamminger 1992, 100, pl. I)


That Amun-Kamutef was identified with the Jebel Barkal pinnacle – and that the pinnacle was discreetly perceived as the god’s phallus - is made clear from a graffito scrawled on the western cliff of the mountain (Cave Site II) (fig. 54).  In this sketch, the artist has pictured Jebel Barkal as a bent-top box, inside which the great god sits enthroned.  In front of it rises the pinnacle, which appears now not merely as a uraeus but as a uraeus with a ram-head and the upraised arm and flail of Kamutef!  That this strange depiction was no anomaly at Jebel Barkal is indicated by a small bronze figurine of a ram-headed uraeus found inside B 700 (fig. 55).  From these examples it is obvious that the pinnacle, as rearing uraeus, represented the procreative god as a colossal phallic entity.  This conclusion is reinforced by the large uraeus statue, inscribed for Kamutef and dedicated by Taharqo, which was found buried in the Luxor cache (fig. 56).  The text on the statue subtly informs us that the object represents both the procreative god of Luxor and the procreative god of Jebel Barkal as rearing uraeus/pinnacle, and emphasizes again that these two gods and their two sanctuaries were closely related (See below, III, H, I).

Fig.54: Graffito from the western side of Jebel Barkal, showing Amun seated within the mountain and the pinnacle as a rearing ram-headed uraeus with the upraised arm of Kamutef. (Drawing by T. Kendall)


The name Kamutef (“Bull of his Mother”) is taken to mean that Amun as Ka (=“Bull” or phallic being), written with the “bull” hieroglyph, impregnated his wife-consort, the goddess Mut ("Mother"), who then gave birth to him as his own son (i.e. the king = Ka = “Bull”), so that Amun became both his own father and son, and Mut became both his wife and “mother.”  On the other hand, the god’s name can be understood as “Ka of his Mother,” in which the word “ka,” written with a hieroglyph representing a pair of open arms, conveyed the meaning that Amun was the “divine twin, essence” of Mut – in other words, that He, the father, was also She, the mother!  As hard as this is to fathom, Egyptian artists sometimes portrayed this combined father-mother deity.  Such a dual-sexed Kamutef appears, for example, in the Khonsu temple at Karnak, where Amun’s ithyphallic body has been given the lion head of Sekhmet/Mut (“Eye of Re”) - and the Theban triad has been reduced to two!  In this scene (painted without the deity being named or explained) the god and goddess have become One, followed by their child, a bull-headed Khonsu, who doubtless symbolizes both the royal Ka (=”Bull”/king) and Moon (fig. 57).   Naturally, given the stong association of Jebel Barkal with both Kamutef and the “Eye/Uraeus of Re/Horus,” and the fact that the pinnacle was thought to embody both at once, one is tempted to view this image as an esoteric rendering of the god as revealed at Jebel Barkal.  Supporting evidence for this hypothesis occurs in Spells 162-165 of the Book of the Dead and their vignettes (See III, G, below).

Fig. 55: Bronze statuette of a rearing ram-headed uraeus, from Jebel Barkal, B 700, room 704. Courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA 24.960). (Photo: T. Kendall)

Fig. 56: Granite statue of Kamutef as a uraeus, dedicated by Taharqo and found at Luxor Temple.  Coutesy of the Luxor Museum.


Fig. 57:  Painted relief inside the Khonsu Temple at Karnak, showing Ramses IX before the dual-sexed Kamutef and Khonsu (as Ka/”Bull”).  (Photo:  Susanne Gänsicke.)


The name “Kamutef” was a verbal conundrum, which described Amun’s nature, appropriate to a Creator, as a complete self-generating being.  He was his own father, mother, and son - a concept described by Taharqo in his Karnak text, quoted above (III, A).  As a divine entity, Amun was unfathomable, but in Egyptian solar terms his essence had a certain logic.  In his role as maintainer of the universe, he was a single being, but as Sun God he traversed the heavens by day and the underworld by night and could assume separately deified aspects (ba’s).  At dawn he was Khepri (the newly risen sun) or Re-Horakhty (the sun as deified living king); at mid-day he was Re (the strong sun), and at sunset he was Atum (the dying or aged sun of primeval times).  When he set, he became a solar aspect (ba) of Osiris, the deceased king and sun god of the Underworld and of night. As each “god” passed from one phase to the next, each became the parent or son of himself, yet each existed within the one being of Amun.  Of course, as will be shown below, the pinnacle embodied not merely the divine Father and Mother in all their forms but also the divine Child and King in all of his:  Horus, Khonsu, Osiris, Atum and Royal Ka.