Relief Fragment of Shepenwepet II
Third Intermediate Period, second half of Dynasty XXV, ca. 700 B.C.E.
From North Karnak
Brooklyn #74.99.2, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
Photo © Joan Lansberry, May 2008-2016
(From the info card):|
"This relief fragment from a chapel in North Karnak shows a God's Wife of Amun, a celibate high priestess of the god, wearing a vulture headdress. The ankh-sign held before her nose is offered by a now missing deity. The provenance of this block, as well as the stylistic detailing of the mouth, nose, and eye, suggests an identification with Shepenwepet II, the daughter of the Kushite king Piye."
Although the God's Wives were celibate, it does not mean they had no sexuality, but rather it was reserved for their chosen God. Mysliwiec and Packer explain "there is a reiteration of such designations as 'she who unites with the god', 'she who comes together with the god,' or 'she who comes together with the members of the god' -sentiments that are shown in certain reliefs represented these women in intimate contact with the god." (_Eros on the Nile_, page 97)
Not only that, the God's wives had increasing political power, eventually more so than the queen, "Beginning in the Third Intermediate Period".