Relief of Senusret I before Min-Amun

In this relief King Senusret I presents offerings to the god Min-Amun, shown in his ithyphallic form. 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.

Amongst the offerings to Min is a lettuce (pictured just above the tip of the erect phallus) which was considered an aphrodisiac and frequently associated with the god. This wall relief is from White Chapel of Senusret I, Karnak Temple Complex. Luxor or Thebes was known in ancient Egypt as Ipet-isut ‘the most select of places’.

Relief of King Senusret I before the god Min-Amun
Relief of King Senusret I before the god Min-Amun

The temples of Karnak were built, enlarged, demolished, re-built and restored for over 2000 years after the Theban kings and the god Amun came to prominence at the beginning of the Middle Kingdom (2040-1782 BC). Karnak was particularly active from the beginning of 18th Dynasty (1550-1292 BC) when the capital of Egypt was established as Thebes.

Middle Kingdom, 12th Dynasty, reign of Senusret I, ca. 1971-1926 BC. Karnak Open Air Museum, Luxor.