Maat-ka-Ra Hatshepsut

1. Portico - Hall of Hunting

update: 03.01.2012

The northern portico shows several ritual scenes among them the hunting of water fowl with clap-net, which may have given the hall the name "Hall of Hunting".

The ritual scenes start on the southern sidewall (at the side of the ramp) with a severely destroyed (chiseled out) scene showing the "Destruction of the enemies". However,  instead of the usually standing king who is smiting the enemies Hatshepsut is shown here as a sphinx with a human head who tramples on the enemies. Opposite to the queen two gods are depicted one above the other, the name of the upper one is destroyed, the lower one is the god Sopdu ( = %pdw).
In spite of the strong destruction of the scene Naville could read that both gods "gave the queen the power over countries, the upper one over the Land of the Anu of Nubia, the lower one over the Land of the Mentu of Asia" together with the usual promises of long life, health, and happiness. The partly destroyed inscription before the face of the sphinx mentions in addition the "Fenkhu" (of Asia).

The drawing above was taken from Naville (1894-1908; Tafel CLX), the following photo shows the sphinx today.

The first scene on the western wall shows an enthroned Amun-Ra in front of a restoration text of Ramesses II (see below). Directly right of this restoration text the symbols protecting the king a lined top down (an anx holding a fan, two hinges with a shen-ring, a post holding a scorpion, and the Djed-pillar raising a ring surrounding a n-sign). Most likely, the original decoration showed a queen embracing a striding Amun.

The 2nd scene on the western wall shows the king "Driving the 4 Calves", here before the ithyphallic Amun.

The next (3rd) scene is nearly completely destroyed (see photo below). It is still possilbe to identify the figure of the queen who probably was dresses with an Atef- or an similar crown as indicated the the band which branches off to the right at the level of her shoulder (see arrow). However, it is impossible to identify the action of the queen.

The following scene (see drawing from Naville below) presumably shows the offering of 5 statues of ancestors(3 statues in the lower register, 2 in the upper one), Naville identified in the lower register (the upper one is only incompletely preserved) two representations of Hatshepsut, in each case with the crown of Upper or Lower Egypt, and one of Thutmosis III.

The next scene to the north is again largely destroyed.

The last scenes on the western wall show the boating in the papyrus jungle using a papyrus boat, thereafter the hunting of water fowl with a clap-net pulled by the king in cooperation with a god and above that men are shown fishing.

The boating in the papyrus jungle shows the ritual pulling (out) of Papyrus by the king who stands on a papyrus boat. Six scenes which have survived at least in parts had been published by J. Dittmar (1983). Obviously, she did not know the scene in the temple of Hatshepsut, as the oldest example she mentioned the remains of a scene in the temple of Karnak most likely showing Thutmosis III. The best preserved scene is to be seen in the temple of Kom Ombo. Since the scene at Deir el-Bahari is markedly damaged and a survey photo give only a low-contrast picture, the drawing of the scene from Kom Ombo is used here as a model.

Ritual pulling (out) of Papyrus by Ptolemaios IX. Euergetes II. before Min-Amun-Ra-Kamutef (Kom Ombo, taken from: Dittmar, loc. cit.)

As shown in the drawing above the ritual pulling (out) of papyrus is performed before an ithyphallic god of which, however, only the basis and the closed feet have survived at Deir el-Bahari (see below). The accompanying inscription is destroyed but since the temple is dedicated to the Amun of Djeser djeseru it may be a reasonable assumption that the god depicted in this scene has been  an ithyphallic Amun.

From left to right: the ithyphallic god standing on a basis, right of it restoration remark from the time of Ramesses II, and far right the bow (shaped in form of an open Papyrus umbel) of the Papyrus-boat. The background shows Papyrus plants. A Nile goose (smn), a symbol of Amun, is depicted standing at the bow.
The following photo shows the Nile goose in more detail. The chisel strokes of the Amarna-iconoclasts  around the goose show that the original figure was larger than the goose restored under Ramesses II.

On the stern which is also shaped as an open Papyrus umbel two figures are depicted which can not be identified anymore (see photo below). One figure stands at the far of the boat, the other is shown in front of it grasping Papyrus umbels. The figure at the end of the boat most likely carried an offering-tablet from which an open papyrus umbel and a wAs-sign are shown hinging down (for comparison see drawing of the scene from Kom Ombo).

In the center of the boat and much larger than the two figures behind him the king is depicted but only his feet and lower legs have survived as traces of chisel strokes (the red arrows in the photo above point to the feet).

Especially impressive are many details of the scene. The following photos show several details.

The part of the scene above shows a cat-like predator most likely an Egyptian Mongoose = Ichneumon (= Herpestes ichneumon) hunting in the Papyrus jungle. Below the predator a dragonfly (details see below) rests on a Papyrus stem. The head of the predator is shown enlarged on the next photo.

The photo above shows another cat-like predator most likely a Common Genet (= Genetta genetta.) also hunting in the jungle.

A dragonfly resting on a Papyrus stem.

Birds are shown hatching on Papyrus umbels, in the center of the picture a bird's nest, right above young birds.

The last scene which is partly preserved shows how men try to catch water fowl which have settled on a pond with a clap-net (see below). One clearly recognizes on the drawing of Naville (1884-1908) the frame with which the net snaps over the birds.

The following photo shows a detail of the relief namely the part in the lower right corner of the drawing of Naville. Clearly recognizable is the head of the heron who just has caught a fish.

The next photo shows the right corner of the clap-net (see also the drawing of Naville).

Naville did not mention that the clapnet is closed be three figures pulling the rope -  the god Horus in front, followed by the queen, and then be the god Khnum (see following photos). The first god has been preserved up to its neck, the 2nd god only up to his hips - however, it is still between both figures grasp the rope at least with one hand an arm, the shoulder and the feet of the erased queen can still be detected (see red arrows).


Above the scene showing the hunting of water fowl another part is showing fishing.

The fish shown in the middle of the scene above is most likely a sheat-fish (Synodontis spec.).

The scene above obviously shows a fisherman collecting or gutting a fish.

Above fishing and fowling Karkowski (2001) reconstructed a scene showing Hatshepsut and behind her Thutmosis III (see drawing below) in a Heb-Sed-robe.
The blocks preserved show a Heb-Sed-pavillion placed on a mAat-podium. Inside both kings are enthroned wearing the Heb-Sed-robe and facing left. Both are shown wearing the Red Crown. From the blocks showing Hatshepsut only few have survived and on these her name and her had been destroyed. The 2nd figure of Thutmosis III has been completely preserved.

Reconstruction of the scene with Hatshepsut and Thutmosis III in a Heb-Sed-robe (according to Karkowski, 2001)

The investigation of the blocks ascribed the scene to the northern wing of the 1st portico where it has to be placed in the uppermost register of the west wall, i.e. above the fishing scene. However, the total height of the 1st portico was not reconstructed in the right way, so that a lot of blocks belonging into the uppermost register could not be installed.
At least one of the blocks is lying - among others - inside the hall on the floor.

The photo shows one of the blocks from the scene inside the 1st portico. According to the drawing of Karkowski (see above) it shows head and cartouche of Hatshepsut. Karkowski reconstructed the text in front and above the head as follows: "nTr nfr nb tAwy nb irt-xt nsw-bit MAat-kA-Ra di anx Dt = [The] Good God, Lord of the Two Lands, Lord of the Rites, king Maat-ka-Ra, may she given life for ever".

The following block shows the lower part of the body of Thutmosis III (see drawing above). This block is also lying on the floor of the hall whilst the head of the king is according to Karkowski in a museum at Edinburgh.


According to Karkowski (2001), the short northern side wall of the north wing of the 1st portico had been decorated with a scene, in which, as on the opposite southern side wall of the south wing, Hatshepsut was shown smiting the enemies of Egypt.

Nearly nothing is to be recognized on that wall. However, Karkowski reconstructed the scene shown above (taken from: Pawlicki, F., Polnische Arbeiten im Tempel der Königin Hatschepsut in Deir el-Bahari. in: Geheimnisvolle Königin Hatschepsut, Katalog zu Ausstellung, Warschau 1997). Well preserved are only a few blocks on the right, blocks in grey are present but their decoration has been destroyed, everything else is missing.


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Copyright: Dr. Karl H. Leser (Iufaa)