Relief of Min-Amun

Min-Amun is Egyptian god of fertility and harvest, depicts him as he was commonly portrayed, carrying a flail in his right hand while simultaneously holding his erect penis in his left hand.

Detail from the Red Chapel of Hatshepsut or the Chapelle Rouge. New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty, reign of Hatshepsut, ca. 1479-1458 BC. Karnak Temple Complex.

Relief of the god Min-Amun
Relief depicting the fertility god Min-amun, Karnak

Min was associated with Amun during the New Kingdom, partly because both were linked to the ram and the bull, both of which were seen as a symbols of virility.

Min was often connected with the Sed Festival. This was a festival that took place when a king had been on the throne for 30 years, and thereafter every five years or whatever interval the king determined. It was a fertility festival and the king had to run a short race to show that he was still fit enough to run and be fertile. Inevitably Min as the god of fertility, took a prominent part in the festival and this statue comes from the Luxor Temple.

The best known example of Min is a slab, now in the Petrie Museum, shows the Sed festival in full swing with the king Senusret I running his race towards Min with his erect penis. It was found again at Koptos, but it had been reused in the Ptolemaic period, and was found face down – hence its excellent state of preservation. When it was first displayed in 1894, the penis was rather too explicit, so it was covered by a label.