solar barque


Among other things, Hatshepsut, the woman who would be king (she gave the royal scribes all manner of headache, since “pharaoh” required the masculine form, but she was female, something along the lines of “Her Majesty, King Hatshepsut,” poor chickens), effected this lovely solar barque to be built (and thereafter commemorated in stone) (and much thereafter postally commemorated!) during her reign as pharaoh in the Eighteenth Dynasty, New Kingdom, Ancient Egypt.  Issued for the Congrès International de Navigation, held in Cairo in 1926, these stamps show a ship from Hatshepsut’s fleet, sailing to the Land of Punt for trade.  [The Land of Punt……well, it’s either along the Horn of Africa, or along the Arabian Peninsula, or it encompasses both, or it’s somewhere else altogether……]  [In the original relief, the water is populated by fishes so well-documented that their species are easily identified by any decent Nile/Red Sea inhabitant worth his or her reeds/salt.]  After her death, Hatshepsut’s name was erased from the official record, her temples were destroyed, and her successor (Thutmosis III) attempted to exact upon his stepmama the fate that all Ancient Egyptians feared and reviled above any other–to have one’s name forgotten.  Luckily, Thutmosis III (as in most things) wasn’t as efficient as he could have been and we still get to dream about Hatshepsut, “the first great woman in history of whom we are informed,” as Breasted used to say.

Stamp details:
Issued on: December 9, 1926
From: Cairo, Egypt
MC #109-111