May 9, 2012

The Love of Abydos, 1908 | Luxor - Walking Through Egypt

The Love of Abydos, 1908
Douglas Sladen


It was clear that our dragoman loved Abydos better than any other place he took us to. He bubbled over with information and high spirits. This is the sort of dialogue to which he treated us.

He clapped his hands and began: “This way, this way, ladies, see procession round the walls men carrying can-shaped vessels of beer Mohammed knows the numerals 106 barrels. Each column have a figure of Osiris bearing the name of Ramses the Great.”
While I was examining the lovely black granite door-jambs, he began to spell out the cartouches in the way he had: “Ramses beloved of Amen the great son of Ptah elected by Ra the son of the sun Amen beloved of Ra.”

And while I was examining the gay colours on the smooth, fine limestone he babbled on: “Ramses beloved of Amen.”
The colours and the paintings were delightful, and there were such pretty people in the processions. I liked everything about this sumptuous temple. While
I was photographing the place where the minor Abydos tablet, now in the British Museum, was cut off, in the way they had in the good old days when finding was keeping and anybody who liked could help himself to ancient monuments, Mohammed began again: “Ladies, ladies and gentlemen, here is Osiris in the Hades accompanied by Isis, Nephetes, and Amnte one, two, three receiving the homage. The homage is of a rather practical kind.”
“I, your son Seti the First, am burning incense before you, and I pray you to give me a good Nile.” The figure of Seti was gloriously dignified and beautiful. Mohammed was witheringly sarcastic to a lady who ventured to suggest that Seti’s hands were in a rather strained position. “Madam hands not wrong if artist makes any mistakes Seti will cut off his head.”

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