Maat-ka-Ra Hatshepsut

The Upper Chapel of Anubis (Chapel of the Parents) on the 3rd Terrace of the Temple Djeser djeseru

update: 07.10.2010

The so called Upper Chapel of Anubis is located on the northern part of the 3rd terrace in the Complex of the Sun Cult. The chapel had been partly cut into the rock and is, therefore, to be classified as a "rock-temple (= speos)" (Witkowski, 1990).
The entrance to the Chapel of Anubis lies in the northern wall (see photo below). Originally a 3rd niche had been built here. The remains of the niche have been discovered during the excavation and restoration work, i.e. the chapel did not belong to the original architect's plan of the temple. When Hatshepsut added the Upper Chapel of Anubis Obviously, the 3rd niche had been dismantled or altered into the entrance of the chapel (Szafrański, 2001 and 2010). The entrance revealed traces of an erased inscription of Senenmut  (= Witkowski, 1990).

Above the Complex of the Sun Cult with the altar seen from the vestibule. On the right side the entrance of the Upper Chapel of Anubis, opposite on the western wall and on the left wall the two niches.

Floor plan of the Upper Chapel of Anubis (modified according to Witkowski, 1990). The roman numbers identify the scenes published with corresponding numbers by Naville.

In contrast to the Lower Chapel of Anubis which consists of a pillared hall, a vestibule, and two rooms the Upper Chapel has only two rooms (pillared hall and vestibule are missing). The decoration in this two rooms is nearly identical with the decoration of the corresponding two rooms of the Lower Chapel of Anubis (Witkowski, 1989).
In both rooms the decoration has been partly destroyed in antiquity, however, what has survived shows that the decoration is a masterpiece of the age. The figures of the gods had been coarsely destroyed during the reign of Akhenaten, while the figures of Hatshepsut were precisely chiseled away after her death, most likely during the reign of Thutmosis III. (Szafrański, 2010). Thus, the time of destruction can be clearly distinguished by the different techniques of chiseling away the figures.
The following photo taken from Arnold, Tempel Ägyptens, 1996, shows the sanctuary of the upper shrine.

Photo by Arnold "Die Tempel Ägyptens", 1996

Scene on the rear wall of the first room (part of a picture 5 taken from: Szafrański2010).

The scene at rear wall (north wall) of the first room of the Upper Chapel had been arranged very similarly to the rear wall in the first room of the Lower Chapel. The scene showed Hatshepsut, followed by her father, standing on the right side before the jmj-wt fetish, which is depicted in a shrine on the left side of the scene. However, in the Upper Chapel the images of Hatshepsut and fetish had been destroyed (in the Lower Chapel the fetish is preserved). The scene is completely superimposed by the sign of the heaven and a winged solar disc with two uraeus.
The tympanum above the scene shows right and left of a cartouche of Hatshepsut a sitting jackal each holding an anx-sign above the cartouche. The right (eastern) one is identified by the accompanying inscription as  "jmj-wt Tpj-Dw-f = Imiut on his mountain". This scene is again superimposed by a - curved - sign of the heaven and a winged solar disc with two uraeus (see following illustration).

Decoration of the tympanum, northern wall of the first room (from: Naville, The Temple of Deir el-Bahari I.1894-1908, plate IX).

On both sides the sign of the heaven is supported by one of the heraldic plants of Egypt (a Papyrus-plant on the left and a Lotus-plant (lily) on the right side). However, since this is the north wall the of the room usual assignment of Papyrus = Lower Egypt (north) and Lotus = Upper Egypt (south) can not applied here. On the north wall all scenes are separated from the side walls and the ceiling by colored bands.

A bench extended over the entire lower range of the north wall which probably had been used to put up gifts for the god.

Both side-walls of the first room show Hatshepsut performing rites in front of different gods. The eastern wall is covered with 5 scenes showing Hatshepsut presenting gifts to Amun-Ra (incense balls), Anubis (incense balls), Osiris-Chontamenti (4 vessels with water), Sokar (a mug with water that is poured over the head of the god) and "taking away the clothes / veil from Ptah".
The western wall is covered with three scenes, in two scenes Hatshepsut is presenting gifts to Anubis (1st scene, holy oil, 2nd scene, cake), in the 3rd scene she is burning incense before Amun.
The scenes are on both walls separated from the vaulted ceiling which is decorated with stars by (bottom up) a band with stars, a colored band, and a row of Hatshepsut-cryptograms (latest version see: Sankiewicz, M., Cryptogram Uraeus Frieze in the Hatshepsut Temple at Deir el-Bahari. Études et Travaux XXII, 2008, p. 200-214). The colored Uraeus-frieze is with the exception of the destroyed Ka-signs nearly perfectly preserved (see next but one photo).

The west wall of the first room - after approximately 5 ms - a smaller room goes off to the west.
The scene on the front wall (west wall) showed on the left side Hatshepsut (figure destroyed) standing before the god "Anubis on his mountain" (right, destroyed). Anubis holds in one hand an anx-sign to her nose, with the other one he take the hand of the queen. The whole scene is covered by the sign of the heaven which is decorated with stars (see photo below).
The tympanum shows the cartouche of Hatshepsut in the center, framed on both sides by "Dj anx-f". The cartouche is protected by a winged sun-disk with two pending uraeus (= BHdtj). Again the whole scene is covered by the sign of the heaven which is decorated with stars. The heaven-sign is carried on both sides by a "wAs"-sign. The whole scene is enclosed by a colored band and a chain of cartouches.

Scene on the western wall of the second room: Anubis welcomes Hatshepsut and gives "life" to the queen (from: Naville, The Temple of Deir el-Bahari I. 1894-1908, plate XII).

The tympanum above the eastern door shows (according to what has been preserved) the same picture as the tympanum on the western wall.

Inner side of the door leading into room 2 (part of picture 9 taken from: Szafrański 2010). The little black triangle points to the hole through which the cord was pulled to fix the door.

The north wall of the showed on the western part the enthroned jackal-god (figure destroyed) facing east to tables with gifts. Thutmosis I. and his mother, Seniseneb (see following picture of plate XIII taken from Naville) are depicted standing on the eastern part of the scene facing the god and the tables of offerings.

Seniseneb, mother of Thutmosis I, depicted on the north wall of the 2nd room (painting by H. Carter from: Naville, The Temple of Deir el-Bahari I. 1894-1908, plate XIII).

The southern wall showed on its western part an enthroned Amun-Ra (figure destroyed) facing east towards tables with gifts and Hatshepsut (figure destroyed) followed by her mother, the "Sister of the King, the Great Royal Wife, the Mother of the King" Ahmes, both standing before the tables (see below).
Both, Hatshepsut as well as her father Thutmosis I are presented in the company of her mothers, not their fathers.

Southern wall of the 2nd room shows the enthroned Amun-Ra (right) facing Hatshepsut (erased), followed by her mother, Ahmose (= Ahmes), both are standing (left) before tables with gifts (from: Naville, The Temple of Deir el-Bahari I. 1894-1908, plate XVI).

Interesting are the inscriptions on the vessels of the second table (see above): according to the cartouche the left container is a gift of Thutmosis III, the right container a gift of Ahmose-Nefertari.

On both side-walls the scenes are separated from the vaulted ceiling which is decorated with stars by the sign of heaven, decorated with stars and a colored band (see photo above).

Directly beside the entrance on the left side (south wall) of the room there is a drawing of the kneeling and worshipping Senenmut. The drawing was never reworked into a relief, which led to the assumption that this room has never been finished.
In contrast to numerous other representations of Senenmut, e.g. in the niches of the upper terrace, this figure was not  covered by the door which opened into the room. Due to its axis of rotation the door opened the north side of the entrance, i.e. the door swung to the right (to the north wall). A small hole in the southern (left ) door-jamb allowed to fix the closed door with cord (Witkowski, 1990).

The fact that Thutmosis I and his mother, Seniseneb, are depicted on the northern wall of the second room may have led Naville (loc. cit.) to the conclusion that the Upper Chapel of Anubis had been built as a mortuary chapel of the king. Witkowski (1989) stated that the occasionally used designation "Chapel of Thutmosis I" is as incorrect as the designation "Chapel of Parents of the Queen" (because both her father Thutmosis I. and her mother Ahmose were depicted in the room).

Witkowski (1989) has made the point that the Lower Chapel of  Anubis - in contrast to the Upper Chapel of Anubis - contained all functional elements of an independent temple. Furthermore, he noted that the decoration in the two rooms of the Upper Chapel is nearly identical with the decoration of the corresponding two rooms of the Lower Chapel of Anubis. This raises the question why Hatshepsut had added an Upper and Lower Chapel of Anubis to the temple.
Witkowski wrote (1993): "En fait, ce redoublement est un phénomène unique dans toute l'histoire de l'Egypte pharaonique, phénomène d'autant plus attrayant que dans les temples de Millions d'Années postérieurs au règne d'Hatchepsout, les chapelles d'Anubis disparaissent et sont très probablement remplacées par les complexes des Sokar".
These doubled Chapels of Anubis are a unique phenomenon in the Pharaonic history of Egypt -  according to Witkowski (1993)  the Chapels of Anubis disappeared from the Temples of a Million Years after the reign of Hatshepsut and were replaced by chapels dedicated to Sokar. According to Ullmann (2002) only for three kings (Amenemhet III., Sobekhotep IV., Ahmose)" Houses of Millions of Years (= @w.t n.t HH.w m rnp.wt) " are attested before the reign of Hatshepsut. However, these temples are only attested by inscriptions, none could be so far located or be identified with well-known buildings of these kings. Thus, a statement about the existence of chapels dedicated to Anubis in these "Houses of Millions of Years" is not possible for the time before Hatshepsut.
Parts of an inscription which survived on a block found on west bank of the Nile (Thebes) mentions a further "Houses of Millions of Years" built by Hatshepsut (Ullmann, 2002). Up to now it has not been possible to assign the block to one of the numerous buildings which Hatshepsut had built on the west bank of the Nile. Thus, we do not know whether this "Houses of Millions of Years" also had chapels dedicated to Anubis.
Her direct successor, Thutmosis III., had built three "Houses of Millions of Years" at Thebes, two temples on the west bank (the mortuary temple at the edge of the green land named @nk.t-anx, the temple at Deir el-Bahari named +sr-Axt) and the Ax-mnw (Festival temple) at Karnak. The two temples on the west bank of the Nile are in a very bad condition, both are excavated today. Thus, no statements can be made about whether they contained chapels dedicated to Anubis. The Ax-mnw contains a Sokar-complex, but no chapel(s) of Anubis (Porter & Moss II mentions only one scene which shows Anubis in the so-called sanctuary of Alexander, room XXIX).
The singularity of the doubled Chapel of Anubis in the temple +sr-Dsr.w may be based on the fact that numerous "Houses of Millions of Years" have not been discovered or identified yet.

Conspicuous is of course the fact that in contrast to other areas of the temple the Upper Chapel of Anubis was never restored after the Amarna-period by Horemheb or the first kings of the 19th Dynasty. Szafrański assumed (2010) therefore that the Upper Chapel of Anubis was of no importance for her successors - thus, there was no need to restore the chapel.

3rd Portico and Upper Terrace

Main Chapel of Amun-Ra

Cult Chapels of Hatshepsut and Thutmosis I


Southern Chapel of Amun-Ra

Northern Chapel of Amun-Ra


Lower Chapel of  Anubis


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

Description of the Monument

Copyright: Dr. Karl H. Leser (Iufaa)