Face the Music

In the annual Opet Festival, during which Amun traveled from the Karnak temple to the Luxor temple, the procession was greeted by the queen who shook two sistra. Behind her was a group of seven women, labeled “Singers of Amun,” who hold menats and shake sistra before the boat that carried the god. As the boat carrying the god returned to Karnak, temple singers with sistra and menats performed near a man with a large double-ended drum slung around his neck and a group of Libyans with clap sticks. In another scene from the festival, three temple musicians “of the khener of the temple,” with their sistra and menats, performed in conjunction with a larger group composed of a harpist, three men who clap their hands to keep the beat, male dancers, and a group of acrobatic female dancers who do back flips and throw their hair over their faces.

The Life of Meresamun: A Temple Singer in Ancient Egypt, edited by Emily Teeter and Janet H. Johnson


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