Hello Mary, I feel a bit sorry that no one answered your question, and although I doubt I can be of much help I may as well give it a go.
The Temple of Luxor (Thebes) was the home of the Opet festival. Opet means literally 'secret house' because as you probably already know the temples in Egypt comprised of concentric chambers that got ever darker until you reached the inner sanctuary.
The sanctuary contained the statue of the god, in this case Amun. The sanctuary at Luxor (according to their creation myth) rested upon the original mound of creation that rose out of nun
, the primeval waters of chaos.
During the Ceremony a statue of Amun was carried about a mile and a half upstream from Karnak to Luxor. Either by priests or by boat. Along the way people cheered the procession onwards and towards the Pharaoh at Luxor.
Most of the information that we have about the opet festival comes from the inscriptions on the walls leading to the inner sanctum of the temple at Luxor (I have seen them with my own eyes). There are Nubian musicians, acrobats, and dancers awaiting the arrival of Amun's barque; decorated with djed-pillars and ankhs.
Many boats accompany the barque (some being frantically rowed against the current, others being towed from the river bank), and several royal chariots are alongside the Pharaoh; in this case Tutankhamun and his wife Akhesenamun. Finally at the very end Tut himself is shown offering two ceremonial gourds to the gods, who then depart on the next wall, as the procession returns to Karnak. Most of the other nearby inscriptions deal with the repairs that Ramesses II made to the temple later on, and there is not much more (to my knowledge) on the Opet-festival.
I can find no proof that the part of the festival that you described ever took place. These carved hands? If they form the Ka symbol then this was a common. I expect you know all about it. If the cow's horns have the solar disk in the centre (see picture) then it may refer to Hathor, but this seems largely irrelevant. Other gods who have headresses with horns on include Re, Tatenen, Isis, Ipy (also worshiped at Thebes), Mandulis (a Nubian
god) and sometimes Khnum. Whether this is relevant I really don't know.
Also, I don't really understand what you mean by Nubia paid homage to Egypt- Nubia was part of the Egytian empire, it was controlled by the rulers of Egypt, although in the 8th and 7th centuries an independent kingdom arose that conquered Egypt and ruled as the XXV Dynasty, I think? (712-663).
In answer to 3# I would say that everything on the walls at Luxor is at least symbolically true. I agree with you though- you cannot trust everyone! I congratulate you for not being satisfied with what you find in a book, and instead discovering for yourself what the Ancient Egyptians were really like.
Remeber though, ideas about the Egyptians do change frequently and it is not incredible to suggest that the info in your book is dated or needs revision.
If you are still unsatisfied then I am happy to answer another question, even though my answers may be a little hazy. Otherwise you could try e-mailing a head of Egyptology or someone who really knows what they are talking about. I have e-mailed Aidon Dodson of Bristol several times, and he has proved invaluable, and his knowledge far exceeds most of the people who write here. His e-mail is 'Aidan.Dodson@bristol.ac.uk
I have just realised how much I have written- I started typing and only just realised that I have written an entire essay on the subject!
Anyway, I am not sure that I have really answered your questions, but I gave it a go. Perhaps you could give me a bit more info, or talk to Aidan. Try to keep this thread going. Perhaps you could ask a whole new question! I hope I have been of help
- Psusennes I
Picture of the Ka glyph
Mandulis, sun god of Nubia