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AKHENATEN

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Bianca
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« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2007, 06:43:45 am »








HIS FATHER'S POLICIES                                                                                continued



Amenophis III was one of the greatest builders in the history of Egypt. 

Witness to this is borne especially by the temple of Luxor, by the double temple of
Soleb and Sedeinga in Nubia and by his mortuary temple on the west bank of Thebes;
the latter exceeded all its predecessors in size, but it was soon severely damaged by
an earthquake.  Where the monumental entrance to the temple once stood, now only
the two huge Colossi of Memnon (below), each more than 65feet in height and weigh-
ing 720tons, testify to the temple's original size, as well as to the king's tendency to
megalomania.






This latter stamped out not only his architecture and royal statuary, but other objects
as well; never had such large 'shawabtis' and scarabs been made.

The officials of the royal court followed the king in this tendency, as shown by the huge,
though uncompleted, tomb of the vizier Amenhotpe on the Asasif.

The tendency to the colossal was complemented by a turn to unusual building material.

In a dedicatory inscription at the temple of Montu in the Karnak complex, the king men-
tions precious materials such as gold, silver, lapis lazuli, jasper, turquoise, bronze and
copper, which he used in its construction and decoration, noting with pride the exact
weights of each.

He attempted thus to capture, quite literally, the "weight of this monument," as the capt-
ion to another list on the Third Pylon at Karnak puts it.
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« Reply #16 on: September 09, 2007, 06:45:32 am »








T H E   R E L I G I O U S   B A C K G R O U N D



THE ROYAL "SED" - FESTIVAL



There seems to have been a "sed"-festival for as long as there was a pharaoh.

Representations of the king running the festival's course or sitting enthroned in its
chapel occur on sealings from the beginning of the pharaonic period, c. 3000BC.
These were two of the festival's most important rites, and they would be depicted
again and again in later times.

The object of the festival was a renewal of the reigning monarch, whose power
had become depleted over time, thus endangering the continued existence of the
state.

Instead of killing him and replacing him with a new ruler, it was considered sufficient
to effect a symbolic burial of the 'old' king in the form of a statue and accord him the
opportunity to repeat his coronation and continue to reign as a 'new' king.

The ritual course he ran before all the deities of the land also symbolized the conti-
nued strength that qualified him for the renewal of his rulership.





                             Amenophis III's Sed Festival Temple



In the Middle and New Kingdoms, this festival of renewal was celebrated before the
end of the thirtieth year of rule and then repeated at briefer intervals of three or four
years; in the case of Ramesses II, with his extremely long reign of over 66 years, we
know of a dozen repetitions.

In Egypt, 30 years was a round number signifying a generation, though our sources do
not as yet permit a confirmation of this criterion for the Old Kingdom and the Late Period.
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« Reply #17 on: September 09, 2007, 06:47:15 am »








T H E   R E L I G I O U S   B A C K G R O U N D



THE ROYAL 'SED' FESTIVAL                                                                        continued



ONE OF THE BIGGEST AND BEST PRESERVED 'SED' ECLOSURES - IN FRONT OF THE STEP PYRAMID



Amenophis III, though, affords us the most abundant attestation of an actual
sed-festival in the thirtiesth regnal year, for many dated inscriptions are pre-
served on vessels from his palace at el-Malqata, on the west bank of Thebes.

These were part of the deliveries of supplies for the king's sed-festival and its
repetitions.

Akhenaten, who ruled less than thirty years and evidently celebrated his festi-
val shortly after the beginning of his reign, is one of the few exceptions to the
usual rule; this unusual celebration might have been connected with the theo-
cracy of the Aten.  In any case, this does not seem to have been a fictitious
festival.
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« Reply #18 on: September 09, 2007, 06:48:42 am »








T H E   R E L I G I O U S   B A C K G R O U N D



THE ROYAL 'SED' FESTIVAL                                                                                         continued




DJA - RUKHA
   
Dja-rukha, the residential palace complex built by Amenhotep III early in his long reign is located at Malkata (Malqata) on the West Bank of the Nile River at Thebes. It was here that Akhenaten spent his youth and where he may have ruled as co-regent, where Amenhotep III celebrated his three jubilee sed-festivals and where his reign came to an end. Over three and a half thousand years later, Dja-rukha lies in ruins, its once beautifully decorated mudbrick buildings transformed into colourful rubble easily crushed underfoot.

Known in Amenhotep’s time as pr Haj or ‘House of Rejoicing’ and also as the Palace of the Dazzling Aten, Dja-rukha was the king’s permanent Theban base. Covering over 80 hectares, the complex included four palaces, accommodation for relatives of the king and their large retinues, accommodation for the vizier and other high-ranking officials, three audience halls, parade grounds, a temple of Amun, an administrative section (the West Villas), at least two village areas for palace workmen and other buildings. His mortuary temple, no longer in existence, lay about a mile south-west of the complex. Dja-rukha was used by Amenhotep on an intermittent basis until the king 'retired' there in regnal year 29 ten years before he died.
 
The residential palace was serviced by its own large artificial harbour now known as the Birket Habu, a 200,000 square metre harbour basin, built by Amenhotep to enable easy passage to Waset across the Nile. The artificial hills still in existence around the Birket Habu are evidence of the massive undertaking to create it. The harbour also formed the part of the setting for Amenhotep’s Sed-festival which was celebrated three times in his reign, the first of which marked his newly deified state as Aten Tjehen or the Dazzling Aten. The desert altar at Kom al-Samak, which was probably connected to the residential palace by a causeway, was integral to the king’s Sed-festivals.



                  RUINS OF AMENOPHIS III'S DJA-RUKHA PALACE

Dja-rukha’s location on the West Bank was probably a strategic one. Unlike other rulers who had taken up temporary residence in courts connected with Karnak when festive and sacred occasions required their attendance, Amenhotep went against established custom by building a permanent residence across the river. Its location may have signified a calculated move to distance himself from the interference in his affairs by the increasingly powerful sect of Amun.

Due to Amenhotep’s practice of marrying foreign princesses to consolidate Egypt’s relations with its neighbours, the court would have been a relatively cosmopolitan one. Wives of royal birth such as the Mitannian princesses Gilukhepa and Tadukhepa brought with them hundreds of attendants. In addition, artisans from the Aegean islands who left a lasting legacy in the new stylistic conventions evidenced in the palace’s elegant murals must have brought with them other cultural influences. Combined, these things may have contributed to a polyglot domestic environment that affected the nature of the court at Dja-rukha in many subtle ways.

Built of painted mudbrick with wooden columns and roof beams, with stone used sparingly for the flooring of baths, column bases and door sills, the palace featured plastered walls that, in some rooms, were painted with murals depicting plants, animals and decorative motifs, their naturalistic style suggesting a direct Minoan influence. Existing fragments of the brilliantly coloured decorative murals that once graced the walls and now-fallen ceilings of the palace still suggest its beauty and elegance. Spiral patterns, rosettes and other repeating motifs hint at the Egyptian love of pattern and order.

Known in Arabic as the ‘place of debris’, the Malkata site was relatively intact until 1888. Poorly handled excavations at that time and the removal of much material between 1910 and 1920 by New York’s Metropolitan Museum seriously impoverished the site. Further excavation occurred in the 1970s under the aegis of the University of Pennsylvania. From the mid 1980’s, a team from Waseda University in Japan re-excavated a number of the rooms including the Pharaoh's bedchamber in the main palace. Some sections of the site are still to be investigated. In time no doubt others will come to prise yet a little more information from the dust and the cracked mud remains.
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« Reply #19 on: September 09, 2007, 06:50:30 am »








 T H E   'S E D' - F E S T I V A L



RENEWAL OF THE KING'S RULE AND HEALTH

by Jimmy Dunn
 

One of the most important festivals related to kingship was the heb sed Festival, also frequently referred to as the royal jubilee or simply the Sed-festival. This significant celebration was a ritual during which the king's right to rule and his royal powers were renewed. There are many representations of this festival, which normally depicts the king running alongside the Apis bull in order to prove his fitness to rule.

A very ancient jackal-like god, who may have been an independent deity or, alternatively, related in some way to the jackal god Wepwawet, was closely related to kingship ideology, and the ancient Sed-festival. Sed was also associated with Ma'at in certain ways and may have been viewed as a champion of justice similar to Ma'at herself.

Usually, this festival officially occurred after the king had held the throne for thirty years, but there is evidence that suggests that some kings, including those with relatively short reigns, celebrated their jubilee earlier. There is some evidence that seems to indicate that the king could, upon failing health or for other reasons, alter the normal span between such festivals, particularly after the first jubilee. 

We really do not know the origin of the Sed-festival, though there is some evidence to suggest that it was held from the very beginning of Egypt's recorded history and probably took place even in Predynastic times. The oldest possible example of this Sed-festival is believed to have been found on the decoration of the ritual mace head of Narmer, which is taken by some to be an indication that this king ruled for at least 30 years. However, it is possible that the decoration on this mace head does not represent the Heb Sed at all. What is clear is that evidence form of a small ebony label once attached to a jar of oil from the tomb of King Den at Abydos, on which is depicted a tiny stick-man figure of the king running around a clearly defined course and carrying the heb sed insignia. To the left of the figure is a platform approached by a short flight of steps, on which a double shrine has been erected. The king is once again depicted in the shrine, sitting on a throne and wearing the Double Crown of Upper and Lower Egypt.



AMENOPHIS III


The ritual continued to be practiced throughout Egypt's pharaonic history. At Karnak there are blocks from the reconstructed Red Chapel that show queen Hatshepsut as king, running with the Apis bull between the markers. On the inner walls of the hypostyle hall in the Temple of Amun at Karnak, there are also scenes depicting Ramesses II in one of his Jubilees, and the ceremony is also shown in the mortuary temple of Amenhotep III at Thebes. However, this latter king seems to have somewhat altered the ritual and its usual setting . He celebrated three Sed-festivals (years 30, 34 and 37) and descriptions of he ceremonies say that they took place on the great artificial lake he built at Malkata. He seems to have filled his mortuary temple, which was still under construction, with numerous odd animal sculptures that have recently been suggested as forming part of a massive astronomical tableau. Apparently, he and statues of various deities sailed along in barges in order to symbolically recreate the voyage of the sun god through the underworld. However, this also reminds us of a limestone relief now in the Petrie Museum in London that depicts Senusret I celebrating his Sed-festival, holding an oar. An inscription on this artifact reads, "hastening by boat to Min, the god in the midst of the city".

Even during the reign of the 18th Dynasty heretic king, Amenhotep IV (later Akhenaten), the heb sed festival was depicted in the colonnaded court of the Temple of Aten at Karnak. However, in this instance, and perhaps not so surprisingly, his wife Nefertiti and even the royal daughters seem to have taken part in the ceremony. Remarkably, the Aten is also seen taking part in a Sed-festival of its own. Gods were usually seen to give Sed-festivals to the king and were never, outside of these depictions, shown taking part in the ritual themselves. Amenhotep IV seems to be pointing out that because the god is king, so the king is also god. In this instance, the king apparently celebrated the Jubilee very early in his reign, perhaps around year two or three, even before he made the move to his new capital at Akhetaten (Amarna).

The festival continued through the very end of the pharaonic period. This is confirmed by scenes from the Temple of Bastet at Bubastis, where the 22nd Dynasty king, Osorkon II, is sown seated in his heb sed kiosk, wearing the typical robe of for the ceremony. Lasting into the Greek Period, at Kom Ombo, carved reliefs show Ptolemy VIII receiving heb sed symbols from the god Horus. 

There is also evidence that the Sed-festival was thought to continue after the physical death of the king. In the Step Pyramid complex of King Djoser at Saqqara, there were provisions for this ceremony to be eternally re-enacted. Within the Great Court are markers that indicated the course the king would have to run. This course may have represented the frontiers of Egypt and symbolized the extent of the king's dominion. The figure of the running king can be seen in the low relief in the chambers below the Southern Tomb and beneath the pyramid. On a beautiful alabaster vase that was discovered in one of the chamber beneath the pyramid is carved a figure of a man with arms upraised, holding aloft a square object, perhaps a canopy, although Jean-Philippe Lauer suggests that it is a platform on which the double shrine and two thrones would have been set up. Decorating the handles of this vase or reliefs of the thrones of the Two Lands. The figures represents the hieroglyph for millions of years and the thrones are those used by the king at his Sed-festival.



KING SOBKEMSAF IN THE 'SED'FESTIVAL SPECIAL GARMENTS

One of the best preserved cycles of scenes is preserved from the Sun temple of King Niuserre in Abu Ghurab. The reliefs from the temple are now in different collections, some in the Petrie Museum (see the link below the following pictures). However, while it is tempting to consolidate our understanding of this festival from combined sources such as this and others from all period in order to create a comprehensive explanation for this particular ritual, it is very likely that how it was conducted changed over time, and the nuances of its meaning probably did as well. Yet, several aspects seem to have characterized the Sed-festival more than any other. The typical clothing for the king is was a short cloak which reaches the knees and leaves the shoulders almost free. He sits on a special dais provided with two thrones for an appearance as King of Upper and Lower Egypt. The thrones are normally shown back to back, but this may be an artistic device for rendering a pair which were actually side by side.

More elaborate scenes, later than the Early Dynastic Period, give as the setting for this ceremony a series of shrines pictured as constructions of wood and matting. This form of shrine probably originated as a type of temporary building, and in this context represented another pair of dual symbols, with one design for Lower Egypt and the other for Upper Egypt. Sometimes they were specifically for the cobra-goddess Wadjit of the Delta town of Buto, and the vulture goddess Nekhbet of el-Kab, but they were for other deities as well. There was hence a gathering of provincial images of deities in a series of temporary shrines beside the double throne of the king.

In the open space between the two rows of shrines, the king, attired alternately in the insignia of Upper and Lower Egypt, ran a ritual race around a course which was called "the field". The king would round the boundaries of the field four times as the ruler of Upper Egypt and four times as the ruler of Lower Egypt.

Other ceremonies also took place during the Sed festival, such as the act of homage to the king by the "Great Ones of Upper and Lower Egypt". This festival was also an occasion for the issue of commemorative objects, including stone vases bearing the king's titulature.
 




PANEL FROM THE 'SED'-FESTIVAL CHAIR OF TUTHMOSIS IV
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« Reply #20 on: September 09, 2007, 06:51:44 am »








T H E   R E L I G I O U S   B A C K G R O U N D



THE ROYAL SED FESTIVAL                                                                     continued


In many cases, mention of a sed-festival does not constitute evidence for an act-
ual celebration.  Every pharaoh hoped to complete 30 years of rule and to be re-
generated in a sed-festival, often articulating this wish in formulaic expressions from
the very beginning of his reign; real celebrations of the festival cannot be inferred
from such statements.

Kings especially counted on continuing their festivals of renewal after their deaths -
thus, for example, the young Tutankhamun was wished "millions of years and hund-
reds of thousands of sed-festivals" - and inscriptions containing such wishes were
often carved on buildings dedicated to their continued existence.







FRESCO OF AMENOPHIS III' S SED-FESTIVAL



Pharaoh wore a special vestment during most of the ceremonies of the festival, a
mantle-like garment that also distinguished statues prepared for the sed-festival
from other statues.  Akhenaten affords the earliest example of a god who was also
able to celebrate a sed-festiva; later Osiris, in particular, was included in its sybol-
ism, for the desired regeneration played a special role in his case.

Otherwise, however, the festival was a renewal of rulership, a purely royal festival.

Officials participated as supernumeraries, but they could celebrate no sed-festivals
of their own.
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« Reply #21 on: September 09, 2007, 06:53:02 am »








T H E   R E L I G I O U S   B A C K G R O U N D



THE FESTIVAL OF THE ELDER KING



In spite of everything, Amenophis III was not an "enlightened" and irreligious monarch;
rather, he was deeply rooted in traditional piety.

His last decade was characterized by multiple celebrations of the great royal festival of
renewal, the "sed"-festival, which was supposed to revive and ritually renew the waning
powers of a king after 30 years of rule; it was then repeated at briefer intervals of three
years each.

Since he ruled a full 38 years, Amenophis III was able to celebrate two repetitions before
his death.  All three celebrations took place in his palace at el-Malqata on the West bank
of Thebes, and they are richly attested through deliveries that arrived there in inscribed
and, often, dated jars. Japanese excavations have even uncovered a podium for a throne,
whose 30 steps stand for the 30 years that had gone by; representations from all periods
show that, at the midpoint of the festival, Pharaoh sat enthroned on such a podium, thus
repeating his coronation.

While a specific deification of the king was connected with the festival, every pharaoh was
already divine.

In the New Kingdom, this divinity was viewed above all as solar; the king not only was the
SON OF RE, but was himself the SUN, lighting the world and playing the role of the Sun God
on earth through his deeds.

Quite like Ramesses II at a later date, Amenohis III went a step further and had statues
erected in which he was revered as a god - specifically, the SUN GOD - during his lifetime;
thus, there exist cult scenes in which the king is portrayed praying or making offerings to
his own image!



   


    TEMPLE OF AMUN-RA BUILT BY AMENOPHIS III


Amenophis fell back on ancient models for the celebration of his festival, but he took special
care to raise it to new splendor.  The ritual rejuvenation of rulership it was supposed to
effect is documented by statues from the end of his reign which depict him with pronoun-
cedly youthful features.

He called himself the Dazzling Sun, while at his side his chief wife, Teye, played the role of
Hathor, the companion of the sun god who stood for all aspects of regeneration.

The important role played by the royal family in the late years of Amenophis III calls to mind
the prominence it would have in the Amarna Period, though the relaxed intimacy of the
scenes from the latter period are missing from the art of Amenophis.

It is striking, though, that the later "Heretic King", who became the successor to the throne,
upon the premature death of his older brother Tuthmosis, played no prominent role; he is
mentioned only once, on a delivery for the 'sed'-festival of his father.
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« Reply #22 on: September 09, 2007, 06:54:47 am »








 T H E   R E L I G I O U S   B A C K G R O U N D



THE SEARCH FOR NEW INTERMEDIARIES



The times were filled with a quest for a new closeness to the divine and for new inter-
mediaries between the human and the divine realms

This is clear in the prominence of animal worship, the evidence for which increases
under Amenophis III.

The burials of the Apis bulls in the crypts at Saqqara began with him, and the croco-
dile sanctuary at el-Rizeiqat, south of Luxor, stems from his reign.

There are also numerous monumental representations of animals, such as the baboons
of Hermopolis and the scarab at Karnak, and there is also the sarcophagus for a cat
dedicated by the crown prince Tutmosis.

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« Reply #23 on: September 09, 2007, 06:56:59 am »








"The Apis Bull", wrote Herodotus, "is the calf of a cow which is never able after to have another. The Egyptians believe that a flash of lightning strikes the cow from heaven, and thus causes her to conceive the Apis. It has distinctive marks. It is black, with a white diamond on its forehead, the image of an eagle on its back, two white hairs on its tail and a scarab-beetle mark under its tongue".


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« Reply #24 on: September 09, 2007, 06:59:25 am »








T H E   R E L I G I O U S   B A C K G R O U N D




THE SEARCH FOR NEW INTERMEDIARIES                                                      continued



The renewal that the sed-festival was supposed to effect was urgently needed,
for the king was evdently seriously ill in his later years.

This was known abroad, and his son-in-law Tushratta, the king of Mitanni, sent
him a healing statue of the goddess Ishtar as a means to recovery.
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« Reply #25 on: September 09, 2007, 07:00:53 am »








  T H E   R E L I G I O U S   B A C K G R O U N D



THE SEARCH FOR NEW INTERMEDIARIES                                                     continued





But the aged king set greater store by the Egyptian Sakhmet, the dangerous
lion-headed goddess who was able to dispense illness as well as its cure.







He had an apparent total of 730 statues of the goddess set up in various temples
at Thebes - a litany in stone, in which the mighty goddess was invoked in all her
names and cultic forms, to protect the king every day and every night of the year.



He died before the third repetition of his 'sed'-festival and his son, Amenophis IV,
began his rule.
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« Reply #26 on: September 09, 2007, 07:02:26 am »








 A K H E N A T E N   A N D  T H E   R E L I G I O N   O F   L I G H T



THE FIRST STEPS







...........There, at Karnak, arose the new king's first sanctuary. 

It was not dedicated, however, to the actual lord of the temple complex, Amun-Re,
King of the Gods, but to the sun god.

The latter was still represented with a falcon's head in the traditional manner, but in
addition to Re-Harakhty, he was also called ATEN, a designation that had previously
indicated the physical manifestation of the sun and only now enjoyed divine worship.

Early inscriptions of the new king in the sandstone quarries of Gebel el-Silsila, where
the blocks for Karnak were extracted, are concerned with the great construction pro-
ject for Re-Harakhty-Aten. 

There, the king still appears before Amun-Re in the traditional manner, even though
his building project was intended for Re-Harakhty.
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« Reply #27 on: September 09, 2007, 07:07:27 am »








THE FIRST STEPS                                                                                    continued



Though the king is designated as the one "whom Amun-Re chose from among millions"
on a scarab in the BritishMuseum, his reign clearly betrays, from its very beginning,
a bias against this heretofore preeminent god.

And while Egyptian kings normally endeavored to effectuate a comprehensive program
for their reigns, immediately upon ascending the throne, showing themselves to be
creator gods by means of construction works and military campaigns, repelling enemies
and "lighting" the world with their monuments, in the case of Akhenaten, we note curious-
ly little activity aside from his building project at Karnak.

One senses that he was expending all his energy on the formulation of his "teaching,"
his attempt to remodel the world.
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« Reply #28 on: September 09, 2007, 07:10:11 am »








  A K H E N A T E N   A N D   T H E   R E L I G I O N   OF   L I G H T









THE ORIGIN OF A GOD


For the first time in history, we have a close-up view of how a deity originated.

It is as though the Aten suddenly emerged from the traditional form of the sun god
and then, quickly, shed the last vestiges of his origin.

At the beginning, he conformed to the traditional mixed form of a man with the
falcon's head of the solar deity  Re-Harkhty.

The falcon-headed god was at first still used as a hieroglyph in the throne name
of the king, and we can see that, in general, the king preferred the falcon as a
tutelary power.

From an altar to the sun at Karnak stems the first known representation of Pharaoh
in the company of the solar baboons and the animal-headed powers of Buto and
Hierakonpolis!

Later, however, the thriomorphic aspect of deities was discredited; only the uraeus
and the falcon continued to be tolerated, while the king remained a bull in his titu-
lary (every pharaoh of the New Kingdom was "a mighty bull" in his Horus name).
The ever-more dogmatic name of the god, which was enclosed in two cartouches,
clearly followed the model of the royal titulary, which also entailed two cartouches.

By the late Middle Kingdom, certain divine names could be highlited by placing them
in a cartouche, and in the New Kingdom, Amun-Ra was styled "king of the gods," but
until this time there had never been such a rigorous systematization of the royalty
of a god.
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« Reply #29 on: September 09, 2007, 07:12:16 am »








THE ORIGIN OF A GOD                                                                            continued



Nefertiti's religious role surpassed that of Teye with Amenophis III.  In group statues
she appears striding at the king's right, which was highly unusual for a queen.

She assisted the king in all his cultic activities, even the smiting of enemies and she,
herself, was even depicted in this triumphal pose.
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