Maat-ka-Ra Hatshepsut

1. Portico - Hall of Obelisks

update: 03.01.2012

The short southern wall shows the scene "Smiting the Enemies" by the king which is also depicted on the  pylon of several temples. The left side shows the southern enemies led by the nubian god Dedwen before the king. The right scene shows the king, however, only  the feet have been preserved. Nevertheless, the representation of the feet in the typical position of the "Smiting the Enemies" scene allows the identification of the scene.

Dedwen is shown leading the bounded southern enemies before the queen.
"Smiting the Enemies" by the queen. Only the feet have been preserved (green arrows) indicating the posture.
Detail of the 1st photo showing one of the bounded southern enemies and the glyph with the town-name.

The Hall of Obelisks reports on the western wall from south to north (or from left of to right) mainly about the production of 2 obelisks of Hatshepsut, their transport on ships and afterwards about their erection at temple of Karnak. The two obelisks were cut off the stone at Aswan in the record time of 7 months.
The two photos below show the transport of the obelisks. On the original, upper,  photo one recognizes on the right the rowers in their boat, the obelisks on the left ship can only be guessed. In the lower photo contrast and color of the original were changed and numbers drawn in for better overview.

1 and 2, the two obelisks, 3 rower, 4 fixation of the upper obelisk, 5 observer at the bow of the ship which carries the obelisks, 6 transport ship

When Naville excavated the temple around the turn of the next to last century (1894 -1908) the relief were clearly in a better condition than today. This is demonstrated by the drawings of his publication, a photo of the corresponding drawing shows the transport of the obelisks in a clarity which a today's visitors does not find any longer.

The two obelisks from Aswan were transported on a double-ship that was pulled to Karnak by 3 x 9 ships with probably 864 rowers. The picture in Deir el-Bahari probably shows the arrival of the obelisks at Karnak from the view of the artist.

Wirsching (Wirsching, 1999) has grappled with the technology of the transport on double-ships and also with the way of putting up the obelisks.
The technical solutions proposed by Wirsching for both problems in his publications are summarized on an own page "Techniques".

Above the presentation of the two obelisks donated for the temple of Karnak ; the photo left shows the today's situation, without a treatment of the photo hardly something is to be recognized, the photo right originates from the publication by Naville (1894 - 1908), even the restoration text of Ramses II directly in front of Amun is identifiable without difficulties.

The above detail from the relief in the Hall of Obelisks shows the erection of the obelisks in the temple of Karnak. Altogether, Hatshepsut let put up two pairs, one pair in her regnal year 2 at Karnak-east (behind the "Festival Hall (Akh menu)" of Thutmosis III; there, only the bases are preserved) and second pair in year 16 between pylons 4 and 5 (one of the two is still standing, the other has fallen down and is broken into pieces, the upper part is mounted near the holy lake). Furthermore, Hatshepsut probably let put up the pair of obelisks donated by Thutmosis II. Totally, the relief shows 4 obelisk erected at Karnak, the left pair represents most likely the pair erected in year 2 by Hatshepsut at the eastern side of the temple, the right pair the obelisks of Thutmosis II.

Then to the north a remarkable ritual scene shows the king doing a "ritual run" before the ithyphallic Amun. In his right hand the king carries a scepter, however, what he holds in the his left hand cannot be identified anymore.

According to the inscription the scene shows the "Giving the field, 4-times" - dw sxt sp 4 - (Naville, in 1894 - in 1908). According to Kees (1912) this inscription identifies the scene definitely as the "heb-sed-run" of the king.  Between the king and Amun the goddess Meret is depicted, but much smaller than both figures. She stands on the sign of the "House of Gold" Hwt-nbw, and shouts towards the approaching king to " Come and bring. Come and bring." (see following photo).

The next two scenes belong to the foundation ceremony of the temple, the complete ceremony which consists usually of 5 scenes was summarized here in the first and the last scene. From south to north (i.e. left to right) the west wall shows first the scene "Stretching the Ropes", thereafter the consecration of the temple to Amun.
From the scene "Stretching the Ropes" only the goddess Seshat who stands opposite to the queen on the right side of the scene has been preserved - the queen and the major part of the scene between the two figures had been deliberately destroyed.
The next scene shows the consecration of the temple before Amun. From this scene only a  representation of the temple enclosed by a cartouche has survived (see following photo).

The decoration of the west wall ends up with an offering scene before the ithyphallic Amun. Here again the representation of the queen has been destroyed, only 4 sacrificed bulls and the figure of Amun are still discernable.

The decoration of the southern hall of the 1st portico ends up on its northern sidewall at the ramp with a representation of the queen as a sphinx which is trampling on the enemies of Egypt. A similar scene is shown on the southern sidewall of the northern hall of the portico - but much better preserved than here in the southern hall.

The relief has been widely destroyed, however, a closer look reveals the outline of the back and the erected tail of the sphinx which is walking to the right.

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Description of the Monument

Copyright: Dr. Karl H. Leser (Iufaa)