May 13, 2012

Edfu and Temple of Edfu Facts

Edfu Seen with Clarity, 1927
Constance Sitwell

The massive outer walls of the Temple of Edfu are still whole at Edfu; one can look right down the open passages that run all the length of the building; one can walk unseen along those mighty corridors between calm golden walls incised with histories of gods and warriors and kings. There is no painting here, no colour but the scorched bright amber of the stone, and the pure cobalt of the sky above. I wandered about by myself without the fear of being alone, which haunts one beneath the monstrous columns of Kamac. This building is neither stupendous nor strange, and centuries of quiet burial beneath the drifting sand have kept it from falling into ruin. It stands now as it stood then, its beauty, unchanged, its shadow clear-cut and distinct under the fierce insistent sunlight as they were of old.

Edfu
As I passed between the towers of the gateway which lift their splendid sloping sides high into the blue, I tried to imagine the scene on a feast day when decorated poles were fixed to the walls, and the coloured banners streamed fluttering against the sky. In the court, the arrogant painted priests assembled in their brighdy fringed robes of fine linen. I suppose they had the same proud mouths and delicate oval faces that one still sees here and there among the living as well as in the sculptured dead. Did they stand in solemn order, their shadows sharp upon the ground, with the vivid walls behind, all fresh with tints of daffodil, turquoise, and pale vermilion? And the King, would he be there with the leopard-skin thrown over his shoulder and the sun striking dazzling on the golden cobra, with lifted head that made his royal headdress? Yes, and his arms are heavy with bracelets and ornaments set with lapis lazuli and emeralds.

Edfu Temple
The stones of the stairs leading to the roof are worn by the feet of men who walked there thousands of years ago. I climbed them now, going in the steps of those who carried offerings to the sun-god, and stood looking down on the wide empty view. There is no town here now; nothing moves at this somnolent hour, only down a path through the doura and maize a man in a yellow-striped boumous walks slowly along, carrying a squawking turkey blue with rage.

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