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Sunk Relief of the God Hapy

At Abu Simbel, below the seat of one of the colossal statues of Ramesses II (c.1279-1213 B.C.E.), is this sunk relief of the god Hapy, the personification of the Nile flood. The figure of Hapy appears twice, tying stems of plants around the hieroglyph for "unite." The extended foot of each Hapy figure rests on the hieroglyph which is a lung from which a windpipe projects straight up from the center, forming a "T" at the top. On the left Hapy holds stems of the lotus (symbol of Upper Egypt); on the right he holds stems of the papyrus (Lower Egypt). Hapy’s crowns also display these plants. Hapy is androgynous (both male and female characteristics), suggesting the fertility of the land which results from the Nile flood. This androgyny explains his pendant breasts and swollen belly. The centralized image of the lung and windpipe flanked by the two figures of Hapy illustrate the Egyptian concern for balance and order. The cartouche of Ramesses II sits directly above the lung and windpipe.
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