Medieval to Renaissance paintings
incorporating the Henu Barque?

(each composition will be given its own page linked from here shortly)

Leading from


The trail that runs through St Catherine's Monastery in Sinai, Egypt

What can be said, one of the earliest pieces of artwork which appears to secretly incorporate the Henu Barque appears to have been created around the 7th Century at the Monastery of St. Catherine in Egypt which was built by order of Emperor Justinian I (reigned 527-565) during the Roman occupation of parts of Egypt lasting until 641 and is believed to enshrine the burning bush from which God first revealed himself to Moses. 

That might be a clue about how it was introduced into Western art and perhaps it came out of same need for early Christian artists to adapt early Roman motifs to give new meaning to what had been pagan mythology.

Perhaps because of the compositional possibilities that it offered the Henu Barque would become an interesting template that would catch on, often being used for mosaics and paintings of the resurrection of Christ for hundreds of years to come. 

The Monastery of St. Catherine in Sinai, Egypt

This group of paintings appears to reference a Henu Barque of the same type as that found on the Papyrus of Ani, and not much about that papyrus is known before it was stolen from an Egyptian museum and given to the British Museum, other than it was found in the tomb of Anu. 

If it wasn't from his papyrus, perhaps there is another papyrus somewhere with a depiction of the Henu Barque created in near enough the same way.


http://alienexplorations.blogspot.co.uk/1979/01/examples-of-depictions-of-sokar.html
The Henu Barque from The Papyrus of Ani

Once modern Western artists came to learn about the Egyptian book of the dead and how to translate Egyptian hieroglyphs around the nineteenth century, they would have been able to appreciate the Henu Barque more as something with a mythological and symbolic value.


 
The Nativity icon, St Catherine's Monastery, South Sinai Governorate, Egypt, approximately 7th century AD.

Does this Nativity icon references the Henu Barque configuration?
 

The barque becomes the cradle of the baby Jesus.
 

The three rudders become the there wise men.
 

The lower kestrel head becomes the head of the baby Jesus and so the animal heads are the other white spaces.

(The little donkey head reminds me of the bull head to be found behind the Oryx head)
 

Semi circular loops beneath the barque become the arched legs of the cradle

The oryx horns and the fan become the virgin Mary as well as the roof of the mound above her


The Nativity icon, St Catherine's Monastery, South Sinai Governorate, Egypt, approximately 7th century AD.

Mosaic of the resurrection at San Marco, Venice (11th Century)

The papyrus of Ani's Henu Barque is a good example of the image to compare it with.
 

Three rudders turned into three men on the right, two of whom are crowned.
 

The straps and metal looks anchoring the barque down become keys.
 

The head of the falcon at the top becomes Christ's head.
 

The horns of the Oryx becomes he floating piece of material extending from the left arm of the Christ.
 

The kneeling figure becomes the half kneeling figure on Christ's left.
 

I accept that the likelihood that there's any connection is rather small, and it's also a case of cherry picking amongst the results on Google, but it's worth exploring.

Mosaic of the resurrection at San Marco, Venice
(11th Century)
The Resurrection—The Descent into Hell (The Anastasis) - Hosios Loukas, Phocis . 11th Century AD references Mosaic of the resurrection at San Marco, Venice (11th Century) ?
The Resurrection—The Descent into Hell (The Anastasis) - Hosios Loukas, Phocis . 11th Century AD

Risen Christ, Pala d'Oro (Golden Pall) altarpiece, Saint Mark's Basilica, Venice, goldsmith art, Italy, 12th-14th century, references the Mosaic of the resurrection at San Marco, Venice (11th Century) ?
Risen Christ, Pala d'Oro (Golden Pall) altarpiece, Saint Mark's Basilica,
Venice, goldsmith art, Italy, 12th-14th century, detail



Nativity scene (late 13th Century) Church of Agioi Theodoroi

Nativity scene uses the Henu-Barque configuration ?

Three rudders become the three wise men.

Three pillars become angels.

Top falcon head becomes star of Bethlehem, and the pillars become angels. 

The skirted man becomes a pipe player in a red robe.

The barque becomes the sides of the manger.

The white pillow life forms become the ox and donkey.

The lower falcon head becomes the baby Jesus.

The bull horns become Mary's head and the Oryx horns become her halo.

Nativity scene
(late 13th Century)
Church of Agioi Theodoroi

Birth of the prophet Muhammad (detail) Iranian ms, (c. 1314–15 CE)

Is this illustraton based on the Henu Barque type configuration?

Three rudders become three women. 

Fan and oryx horns become angel wings. 

Kneeling man become angel holding baby. 

Left kestrel head becomes left figure behind Mohammad's mother.

Pile of sand becomes right figure behind Mohammad's mother. 

Of course, there's no certainty about anything but it's an interesting to suggest it.

Birth of the prophet Muhammad (detail) Iranian ms, (c. 1314–15 CE)
Resurrection of Christ at Church Santa Maria in the monastery of Santes Creus (1407)

The horns become the flag.

The outer part of the fan becomes the long beard of the man on the right.

The upper kestrel head becomes Christ's head. 

The barque itself becomes the upper part of Christ's robe.

Resurrection of Christ at Church Santa Maria in the monastery of Santes Creus (1407)

Resurrection of Christ (1426) by Master Franke

In this case, fan of the Henu Barque becomes the tomb lid.

The swallow tailed flag serves its usual purpose

Resurrection of Christ (1426) by Master Franke

Comparison to The Lamentation (1455-60) by Petrus Christus


The Lamentation (1455-60) Petrus Christus

The boat becomes the funeral shroud. 

The bull horns and beaded rope become the tree behind the the left man, and also become the dagger and the metal oval item (a clasp?) next to it.

The The Oryx head's eye becoming the blue jewel in the metal oval. 

The Oryx horns become the hill to the left of the man on the left.



"The Resurrection" from a tryptich at the Ducal palace in Urbino (15th Century)

"The Resurrection" from a tryptich at the Ducal palace in Urbino (15th Century)



Resurrection (second half of 15th century) by Hans Memling

Well, perhaps the three rudders become the three women (of Mark 16 in the bible) behind the fence. 

The frame with three pillars becomes the half open doorway.

The oryx horns becomes the flag with tails and the bull horns becomes the angel wings.

The fan and the oryx horns becomes the aura around the Christ as well.

Resurrection (second half of 15th century) by Hans Memling

La Resurrezione di Cristo (1475 - 1479) by Giovanni Bellini

Nativity (1492)  by Domenico Ghirlandaio

Appears to reference the Henu Barque once more with the grey haired Joseph's head being in place of the kestrel head to the left of the pillars. 

The Oryx head might well be where the sheep are grazing to the top left. 

The man's black hair or wig may have been turned into the archway on the upper left, and the beaded rope coming from the bulls horn becomes a column on the arch. 

The pillars that hold up the barque, Ghirlandaio reduced to two pillars in his painting either side of the ox and donkey.

Nativity (1492)  by Domenico Ghirlandaio

Resurrezione di San Francesco al Prato (1499) by Pietro Perugino

Black wig of crouched man and helmet of man with ear spaces.  

Plinth with runner and pole and tomb with lid seen from angle. Oryx horns and flag tales. miniature ox horns and angel sleeves. 

Also the curves of the cocoon that the Christ figure appears to be in might be based on the Oryx horns. 

Having said that, what if the Ox horns have become the flag tails or a mixture of the two.


Resurrezione di San Francesco al Prato
(1499) by Pietro Perugino
Resurrection (1502) by Pietro Perugino


Resurrection (1502) by Pietro Perugino


 See: Mona Lisa incorporates the Henu Barque?



See: Mona Lisa/ La Gioconda ( c. 1503–06, perhaps continuing until c. 1517) 
by Leonardo Da Vinci.


See: The demon sitting on a high chair from The Garden of Earth Delights (1503-1515) by Hieronymus Bosch references the Henu Barque?


Adoration of the Magi (1503 approx) by Albrecht Dürer




The Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane by El Greco in 1590s
 
Does it use the Henu Barque configuration?
 

The three rudders become the three spear heads held by the soldiers in the background on the right.
 

Oryx horns become an angel's wings, the head becomes its bent arm.
 

The bull horns becomes the upper part of a chalice held by the angel.
 

The crouched man's upper body and arms becomes the people sleeping in the cave.
 
The Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane by El Greco in 1590s

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