Maat-ka-Ra Hatshepsut

The Chapel of Hathor - Facade, Columns, Access

update: 29.08.2010

Above the floor plan of the Chapel of Hathor with the location of various scenes.
1 Hathor-Cow inside a shrine is suckling the royal child;
opposite wall:
Hathor-Cow in a shrine is suckling and protecting the royal child
2 Procession of Hathor with barques and soldiers; in the northwestern corner Thutmosis III is shown with an oar before Hathor
3 from left to right, left (south) of the entrance:
ritual run with bird before Hathor,
Hathor-Cow licking the hands of the queen;
right (north) of the entrance:
Hathor-Cow licking the hands of the queen,
ritual run "Seizing the Oar".
4 Pillars with Hathor-standards, columns with Hathor-heads
5 Weret-Hekau offering a menat to Amun
6 Hatshepsut before Hathor
7 Royal titles on lintel and jambs, on both sides two Hathor-standards (see photo below)
8 Portraits of Senenmut
9 Hatshepsut (replaced by Thutmosis III) embraced by Hathor, both before Amun
10 Hatshepsut (replaced by Thutmosis III) playing ball before Hathor
  According to Wysocki (1992) the purpose of the small room south of the Chapel of Hathor is not known.


Left (south) front of the Chapel of Hathor.

Right (north) front of the Chapel of Hathor.

On both sides of the front the Hathor-Cow is depicted, followed of Anubis, licking the hand of the queen, who is sitting under a canopy on a throne. The cartouche of the queen had been changed in both cases to the throne name (Aa-kheper-en-Ra) of her husband, Thutmosis II. The canopies are decorated with an uraeus-frieze and supported with Lotus-columns.
The representation of the queen differs according to the crowns, on the south side of the entrance she carries a double feather-crown supplemented with a sun-disk and horns, on the north side an atef-crown.
The direction of motion is deviating from the usual representation, in which the king is moving into the temple to meet the God: Here in reverse - and this is the case in all scenes showing the Hathor-Cow licking the hand of the queen - the cow moves into the chapel towards the king who is already inside the chapel.

Columns and Pillars
Between the two front walls four pillars form the entrance to the following vestibule with eight 16-sided (proto-doric) columns and 4 pillars, which were established directly along the east-west-axis of the chapel. Behind the vestibule a hypostyle follows with twelve 16-sided (proto-doric) columns.
In the hypostyle the columns along the central east-west-axis are surmounted with Hathor- capitals showing two faces of the goddess, one looking to the east and the other turned to the west. In this way Hathor welcomed the rising sun and said farewell to it when the sun set behind the rocks of the valley of Deir el-Bahari.

Column from the hypostyle with Hathor-Head -
above, east-side of the column surmounted by a sistrum-like shrine with two uraeus inside
below, north-side of the column with part of a lotus-flower surmounted by an Osiride figure.

Each of the two uraeus carry a sundisk and is sitting inside a Ka-sign - i.e. two full cryptograms of Hatshepsut are shown here - however, as in many representations of her cryptograms the Ka-signs have been chiseled out.
Above and below different views of the pillars and columns of the portico of the Chapel of Hathor. The picture above shows a Hathor capitals.

The photo above shows the sequence of pillars and columns of vestibule and hypostyle along the central east-west-axis of the Chapel of Hathor.

Frequently overlooked are the Hathor-heads mounted on standards aligned on the first three pillars of both sides of the processional way (see following photo). While the Hathor-heads on the following columns welcomed the rising sun and said farewell to it (see above) these standards are directed to the processional way and escorted the procession into the chapel.
The other sides of the pillars are decorated with a Horus, who carries the double-crown, and a sun disk with an uraeus carrying an Ankh-sign.

Each Hathor-heads of these standards carries a small sistrum in which the queen is depicted performing a cult run (see the following photo). All of these fields are also directed to the processional way so that the queen is moving into the chapel. Most of these fields are destroyed, probably show the representation shows a heb-sed-run.

Inside the vestibule as well as inside the hypostyle there are still remains of the cryptogram of Hatshepsut (see also the paragraph "Fragments" on the page Other Monuments) to be seen at several locations. In contrast to the Lower Chapel of Anubis the Ka-figures had not been destroyed in the Chapel of Hathor. The photo above shows the remains of the fries on the western wall of the portico, the photo below shows remains on the eastern wall of the portico.

The Chapel of Hathor was accessible by an own ramp (see also: History of its erection). The southern retaining wall of this ramp had been built above an old limestone enclosure wall of the temple of Mentuhotep Nebhepetra. The layers of the old limestone wall built by Mentuhotep have been preserved up to a height of about 220 cm. On its northern side the ramp lent against the retaining wall of the main temple. The southern retaining wall of the ramp to the Chapel of Hathor does not run parallel to the retaining wall of the main temple - from the head of the ramp at the Chapel of Hathor down to the edge of 1st. portico the width increases by about 2 ms.

The remains of the southern retaining wall of the ramp which had led to the Chapel of Hathor; on the right side the photo shows the retaining wall of the 2nd terrace: The southern (left) retaining wall was built over the remains of an enclosure wall of the temple of Mentuhotep. Straight forward, between the retaining wall of the ramp and the retaining wall of the 2nd terrace there are the remains of another mud-brick enclosure wall of the Mentuhotep-district. This mud-brick wall was covered by the ramp to the Chapel of Hathor and the 2nd terrace.

Djeser djeseru Location of the Monument History Djeser djeseru - the times after

Copyright: Dr. Karl H. Leser (Iufaa)