|Amunet in hieroglyphs|
"the Hidden One"
"the Hidden One"
|Bas relief of Amunet in Luxor|
Her name, jmnt, is a feminine noun that means "The Hidden One". She is a member of the Ogdoad of Hermopolis, who represented aspects of the primeval existence before the creation: Amunet was paired with Amun — whose name means "The Hidden One" too, with a masculine ending (jmn) — within this divine group, from the earliest known documentation. Such pairing of deities is characteristic of the religious concepts of the ancient Egyptians, being the Ogdoad itself composed by four balanced couples of deities or deified primeval concepts.
It seems likely that Amunet may have been artificially conceived by theologians as a complement to Amun, rather than being an originally independent deity. The Pyramid Texts mention the beneficent shadow of Amun and Amunet:
O Amun and Amunet! You pair of the gods, who joined the gods with their shadow.— PT 446c
By at least the 12th dynasty (c. 1991–1803 BC), Amaunet was superseded as Amun's partner by Mut as cults evolved or were merged following Mentuhotep II's reunification of Egypt — but she remained locally important in the region of Thebes, where Amun was worshipped. There she was seen as a protector of the pharaoh, playing a preeminent role in rituals associed with the coronation of the pharaoh (khaj-nisut) and Sed festivals (heb-sed). In the Festival Hall of Thutmose III (c. 1479–1425 BC), Amaunet is shown with the fertility-god Min while leading a row of deities to visit the Pharaoh in the anniversary celebration. In spite of Amaunet's stable position as a local goddess of Egypt's most important city, her cult had very little widespread following outside the Theban region.
At Karnak, Amun's cult center, priests were dedicated to Amaunet's service. Amaunet was depicted as a woman wearing the Deshret "Red Crown of Lower Egypt" — as in her colossal statue placed in the Record Hall of Thutmose III at Karnak during the reign of Tutankhamun (c. 1332–1323 BC) — and carrying a staff of papyrus. The exact reason for this iconography is uncertain.
In some late texts from Karnak she was syncretized with Neith, although she remained a distinct deity as late as the Ptolemaic Kingdom (323–30 BC): she is carved on the exterior wall of the Festival Hall of Thutmose III in Karnak suckling pharaoh Philip III of Macedon (323–317 BC), who appears, immediately after his own enthronement, as a divine child.
The Temple of Amun at Karnak was the most important cult center of Amaunet.