Hedvig Győry: Mélanges offerts a Edith Varga „Le lotus qui sort de terre” (Bulletin du Musée Hongrois des Beaux-Arts Supplément 1. Budapest, 2001)

JOHN GEE: Towards an Interpretation of Hypocephali

Towards an Interpretation of Hypocephali E dith Varga's long interest in hypocephali has culminated in a monograph which discusses their long development and antecedents. 1 It is therefore fitting in a Festschrift honoring her that there be some discussion of the chal­lenges that still face those who try to understand hypocephali. One impediment to understanding hypocephali is the lack of a comprehensive collection of the examples published in usable form. As a result, some of the statements made about hypocephali based on only a few examples cannot pos­sibly be correct when considered in the light of the larger corpus. 2 Secondly, a typology of hypocephali is still lacking. Thirdly, there is no standard way of referring to the various parts on the hypocephali. Fourthly, one of the glaring problems encountered in the sparse commentary on the iconography of hypocephali is that the identifications made of various figures often bears no resemblance to the identification by the ancient Egyptians of the same figures. Typology and List of Hypocephali The following typology of all the hypocephali known to me is based on the number of registers, with subdivisions of categories: Type I Type I Hypocephali have one register. Type la includes a scene with a cow that E. Varga has designated III. 3 Examples include: 1 Edith Varga, Napkorong a fej alatt, Budapest 1998. 2 For example, Jorge Ogdon claimed of a figure that E. Varga identifies as being in field III, "the other arm is never rep­resented, and none of these figures is ithyphallic," (Some Notes on the Iconography of the God Min, Bulletin of the Egyptological Seminar 7 (1985-86), p. 30). Examples that contradict his first statement are Bryce hypocephalus, and Louvre E 26834a; examples that contradict his second are Ashmolean 1982-1095; BM 37909 8445d, Cairo SR 10687 CG 9446 JdE 29521; Leiden AMS 62. The Joseph Smith Hypocephalus could fit in cither category. ' All designations come from E. Varga, op. cit (note I), p. 139-44.