Hatshepsut offering Incense to Min-Amun

This sunken relief depicts Hatshepsut offering incense to the fertility god Min-Amun, most often represented in male human form, shown with an erect penis which he holds in his left hand and an upheld right arm holding a flail.

Although it had been demolished and parts were reused in antiquity, following rediscovery, the chapel has been reconstructed using its original materials. Its original location is thought to have been in the central court of the temple of Amun-Re at Karnak.

Hatshepsut offering Incense to Min-Amun
Relief of Hatshepsut in her ruling male figure offering Incense to Min-Amun. The Red Chapel of Hatshepsut or (“Chapelle Rouge”)

Censers were essential in temple and funerary ceremony, they were used in the ritual cleansing acts, before images of the gods and the mummified bodies of the dead. Incense was burned in one end at the end of a long handle, which was often fashioned to resemble birds or animals and, by association, deities.

Min, Egyptian god of fertility. He was invoked for animal. vegetable and human fertility. He is represented in human form with legs placed close together like those of a mummy and an erect phallus. A flail is depicted above his raised arm with its hand extended to one side. He wears a tight scull cap on his head with two lofty plumes and two streamers hanging down the back.

Detail of a carving from the Red Chapel of Hatshepsut or (“Chapelle Rouge”) constructed initially as a barque shrine during the reign of Hatshepsut, the fifth king of the 18th dynasty of Ancient Egypt and ruled from approximately 1479 to 1458 BC, to be used during the Opet festival celebrations.

Opet was celebrated during the second month of the season of Nile inundation. During this festival golden, bejeweled cult statues of Amun, his consort Mut and their son Khonsu―each on a separate barque―made a ritual journey in a joyous procession from their main temples at Karnak to the Temple of Luxor.

This ensured Amun’s rebirth, and restored his creative power and the order of the cosmos. It also allowed Amun to re-communicate his power to the king and thereby renew the latter’s right to rule. Once the ceremonies were concluded, the barques were returned to Karnak.