Description of the 18. Dynasty Temple -
|The floor plan above shows the parts of the small temple of
Amun which were built during the reign of Hatshepsut or Thutmosis III. The red
lines (I-----I) along the walls of the chapels
built by Hatshepsut mark the parts which had been decorated by Hatshepsut - all
other parts of the walls (I-----I) were either
decorated by Thutmosis III or sketched by Hatshepsut but carved for Thutmosis
III (according to Hölscher.
|The designation of the inner sanctuaries with capital letters
is based on Lepsius and continually used by Hölscher. Lepsius (Denkmäler, Texte
III, p 150) assigned the letter L to the 1st central chamber, the adjacent
chamber to the north was given the letter M and the room to the south was given
the N. He used the same procedure to assign letters to the western row of rooms,
respectively: O, P, and Q.
|Porter and Moss (P&M II, Plan XLV) employed roman numerals
using roman I for the 1st central chamber (L) then the following numerals
were assigned in clockwise rotation (N = II, Q = III, O = IV, P = V, and M = VI).
|Neither scheme reflects the relation of each chamber to its
|In the most recent publication the "Epigraphic Survey, Oriental
Institute, Chicago" introduced names for the rooms which refer to the ritual
context and relief decoration of the appropriate room (OIC Publications 136. Medinet Habu -
The Eighteenth Dynasty Temple I, The Inner Sanctuaries. 2009). These names have been
also included here in the brackets.
Above a reconstruction of the small temple of Amun after the temple had
been extended by Thutmosis III (Hölscher, 1930)
|All in all the 6 cult chambers have so been preserved as they were
established by Hatshepsut. On the door frame of the southwest chamber the
dedication inscription is reads:
|The Good Goddess, Lady of The Two Lands, King of Upper and
Lower Egypt, Maat-ka-Ra, beloved of Amun-Ra, King of the Gods,
daughter of the Sun, of his body, his beloved, Khenemet-Amun Hatshepsut, (she)
has made it as (her) monument for her father to Amun, Lord of the Thrones
of The Two Lands, Lord of Heaven, he may give her all life and
duration like Ra, for ever."
|The central chamber L (P&M Room I; Dyad Chamber) in the first (east) row is larger and higher than the others rooms and it is the only
one which received light through an opening in the roof. At the time of
Thutmosis III a colossal dyad made of granodiorite stood in the center of
chamber L. Hölscher found 3 major pieces of the 3 m high statue, the part
with the heads, larger sections of the knees of both figures, and most of
the front of the base. Based on these fragments he tried to reconstruct the dyad
(see drawings below).
The two illustrations show the reconstruction of the dyad by Hölscher (1930).
|The photo shows the dyad in Room L. Facing the dyad it showed on the right probably Amun and on the left
(as indicated by the cartouche on the belt) Thutmosis III seated side by side.
With the exception of the cartouche on the belt of Thutmosis III. and the symbol
of the unification of the Two Lands on both sides of the seat the statue does
not show further inscriptions.
During their recent work the team of the Oriental
Institute, Chicago, has found a large number of additional pieces,
reconstructed the dyad and re-erected it in chamber L (see photo above).
Because the colossal dyad was larger
than the door opening, it was necessary to erect the front (east)
wall of the chamber after the dyad had been put up. Furthermore, the
colossal dyad completely hides the door which leads from from room L into
room O. The dyad must have been very important because in contrast to all
other statues erected in the cult chambers it was directly illuminated by means
of a small light well cut into the ceiling.
|During the coregency of Hatshepsut and Thutmosis only the
western wall of room L had been decorated (see photo above and following photo), while all other walls were
carved during the sole reign of Thutmosis.
|However, trace of her cryptogram on
the upper western part of the north wall indicate that the decoration had been
started during her reign but her decorative scheme had been suspended by
Thutmosis (who employed a Xkr-frieze).
|Furthermore, also the inscriptions on this wall still show traces of the decoration done under Hatshepsut,
i.e. in the cartouches as well as in among the titles were one can still read "Nfr nTr.t = Good goddess"
This photo shows a view into room L (taken through a hole in the door). On
the right it shows a part of the dyad, the scene in the left corner Thutmosis III
welcomed and given "life" by Amun. The doorway to room O is completely hidden by the dyad,
only the door jambs with cartouches can be detected. Right of the doorway there
is a similar scene (see photo of the dyad above).
The eastern wall of room L is decorated on both sides of the doorway by a
scene in which Thutmosis III is embraced by Amun.
The decoration of the southern wall shows (west of the doorway to room N)
Thutmosis III presenting a heap of offerings to an enthroned Amun.
The northern wall is decorated with two scenes: the eastern scene shows
Thutmosis III. censing and pouring a libation before the ithyphallic Amun, the
western shows the king presenting offerings to the enthroned Amun.
Like all three western rooms about half of room O (P&M Room IV; Sanctuary
of Amun) was decorated by
Hatshepsut. According to Hölscher here only the names were changed beneath the
doors by Thutmosis III (to Thutmosis I. or II).
The east wall of the room O had been decorated to both sides of the
entrance with one scene each.
On the northern side Thutmosis III. is embraced by Amun and is given "Life",
name and figure of the king are original.
On the southern side (see left; drawing from: OIC Publication 136. Medinet Habu -
The Eighteenth Dynasty Temple I, The Inner Sanctuaries. 2009; plate 33)
originally Hatshepsut was embraced by Amun and was given "Life": However, the
figure of the queen was erased and replaced by an offering stand with flowers.
Also the name of the queen was deleted under Thutmosis. Nevertheless figure and
name are clearly recognizable.
The west wall shows two symmetrical representations of an Amun seated before
offerings. Above of these scenes there is a frieze with Hatshepsut cryptograms
and in the center of this frieze a cartouche of the queen has been preserved (i.e.
the signs had been chiseled out but are still readable).
On the left (southern) wall 2 scenes are found: 1st, on the left (southern) side
the king, followed by his Ka, is shown offering pellets of natron (= bd-natron) to Amun,
2nd, on the right (northern) side originally Hatshepsut was depicted offering
nTrw-natron to Amun.
On the right (northern) wall there was only space for one left of the
passageway to room P: originally Hatshepsut (figure erased and
replaced by a pile of offerings; text erased) was shown giving pellets of
incense to Amun.
|Even if no remains were found, a cult statue
of Amun might have stood in the center of this room - according the
representation on the west wall and the inscription between the symmetrical
representations of the enthroned Amun this was probably a seated statue of Amun,
the " King of Gods ".
Room P (P&M Room V; Naos Chamber) which is only accessible from room O is likewise decorated
with offering scenes before Amun, but according to Hölscher the decoration
does not suggest the a statue had been erected here.
|A double scene on the
western wall shows the king censing before Amun (southern, left scene) and
performing the ritual "jrt wSA Saj = Pouring out sand
(Hannig, Deutsch-Ägyptisch, S. 1083)"
before the ithyphallic Amun (northern, right scene; OIC Publication
136, plate 49).
|The southern wall shows
the Thutmosis III offering milk to Amun.
|The northern wall contains two scenes: the western (left) scene
showed Hatshepsut (replaced by an Ankh and two offering tables with flowers)
"pouring water" over Amun and the eastern (right) scene showed Hatshepsut
(replaced by an Ankh), followed by her Ka, "pouring water" over the
wall (rear wall of room M) shows two scenes: the southern (right) scene shows
Thutmosis III clothing the ithyphallic Amun; the northern (left) scene showed
Hatshepsut (replaced by an offering table) before Amun.
Among the inner sanctuaries of the Small Temple of Amun the decorations of the
walls in room P appears to be very special.
In all other room the king is depicted facing consistently inwards and
culminating with the center of the ritual focus on the west walls of the rooms
and Q, where in each case the king stands twice before a symmetrically
depicted enthroned Amun (room O) or, respectively, before a symmetrically
depicted ithyphallic Amun (room Q) .
However, in room P the direction of the cult actions turn out to be different as
expected. The action of the king does not culminate on middle of the western
wall, but in the northwest corner opposite the entrance. There, an ithyphallic
Amun (facing south) is shown on the western wall back to back with a striding
Amun (facing east) depicted on the northern wall.
Since only the northern (and half of the eastern) wall had been decorated during
the reign of Hatshepsut this direction must be attributed to Thutmosis III.
|Today room P contains an unfinished,
undecorated cult shrine (Naos) made of pink granite, which was probably brought
in after the 4th century BC (see page "Medinet Habu - later extensions").
Room N (P&M Room II; Vestibule) was decorated almost completely by Hatshepsut, and also completely
altered by Thutmosis III. Only one cartouche of Hatshepsut has been preserved on
the eastern side as a part of the frieze. The frieze itself consisted, like
always when it was decorated by Hatshepsut, of her cryptogram - here again the
Kas were destroyed. While rooms O and P had been dedicated to
Amun, in rooms N and Q the ithyphallic manifestation of Amun was worshipped here. All
scenes in room N show one of the three Thutmoside kings, I to III, always
offering before Amun. In the passageways already cartouches of Amenhotep II are
|The eastern wall shows two scenes: on the northern (left) side
Hatshepsut (name and text changed to Thutmosis II) was shown presenting a loaf
to Amun, on the southern (right) scene Hatshepsut (name and text changed to
Thutmosis II) was shown censing and pouring a libation before the ithyphallic
|The southern wall of room N shows totally 4 scene, in all of
them the name of Hatshepsut and accompanying text had been changed. From
left (east) to right (west) the scenes show: Thutmosis III offering to vessels
with water before Amun, Thutmosis I presenting a nms.t-jar before
the ithyphallic Amun, Thutmosis II offering Sa.t-bread before Amun, and
Thutmosis II presenting lettuce to the ithyphallic Amun.|
|The original decoration in the name of Hatshepsut was
repeatedly changed and was
supplemented. As can be proved Thutmosis III has replaced
representations of Hatshepsut - like in many other buildings - by his person or
with other representations, e.g., offering tables with gifts. For instance, in
the picture shown above - first scene on the southern wall of room N - Thutmosis III offers before
Amun (photo: Oriental Institute, Chicago).
|The northern wall of room N shows tow scenes: the left
(western) scene showed Hatshepsut (name and text changed for Thutmosis II)
giving mild to Amun, the right (eastern) scene showed Hatshepsut (name and text
altered for Thutmosis I) offering wine to the ithyphallic Amun.|
|Doorway from room N to room Q.
Both sides of all entrances to the 6 inner sanctuaries are decorated in a
similar way. Depending upon the available space 3 or 4 horizontal registers are
used above the door. The highest register always shows in the center the winged
sun disk with two hanging uraeus. On the right of and left of the winged sundisk
follows a text with a reference to " Great God, the Behedeti".
|Below this register at least two registers follow which
contain symmetrically arranged to an anx-sign possible the Horus-name,
but always the throne and birth name of - oppositely arranged - two kings (here
on the left: Thutmosis II, on the right of Thutmosis I, which both replace here
the original names of Hatshepsut.
|The left door jamb bore originally the names of Hatshepsut,
but were recarved with those of Thutmosis II, the right jamb bears the original
names of Thutmosis III.
|Right and left the doorframe is flanked with piles of
offerings. Each pile is surmounted by a Heaven-sign.
Most likely, room Q (P&M Room III; Sanctuary of the Ithyphallic Amun) contained a statue of the ithyphallic Amun although
no remains have been found. Half of the room was decorated by Hatshepsut as
indicated the frieze with her cryptogram. Here on the west wall also her
cartouche has been preserved. As in all other rooms Thutmosis III has finished
the decoration and has altered the already existing scenes.
|The west wall shows a symmetrical representation of the ithyphallic Amun
embraced by Thutmosis III (northern, right side) and Thutmosis II (southern side) who
replaces Hatshepsut. Behind every king his Ka is depicted.
The south wall shows an interesting composition. On the eastern (left) side of
this wall the king sacrifices clothes to the ithyphallic Amun (see photo below). Behind Amun one
recognizes that a part of the relief has been chiseled out - i.e. originally
Hatshepsut had been shown here. Further west (right) one recognizes a pile of
offering raised before the enthroned Amun (next but one photo below).
|This was a rather "intelligent" way to remove Hatshepsut, because now
after the removal of her figure Thutmosis III stands before both manifestations of Amun at
the same time!
|The northern wall of room Q shows two scenes: the left
(western) scene originally showed Hatshepsut (name and text altered for
Thutmosis II) with a pile of offerings before the enthroned Amun, the right
(eastern) scene shows Thutmosis III offering +sr.t-beer to the
|On closer examination the decoration of the inner sanctuaries
indicates that the temple is provided with two separate ritual axes, each devoted to
different aspects of Amun.
|Along the central axis, which consists of the two rooms L and O,
the striding or enthroned Amun is in the most scenes the recipient of the offerings.
The ithyphallic Amun is shown only once in these two rooms.
|In contrast, in the two southern rooms N and Q the primary addressee
of the ritual suites is the ithyphallic Amun who appears in room N in four of
eight and in room Q in four 4 of six scenes.
Room M (P&M Room VI; King's Chamber) is separated from all other
rooms. The room was decorated for Thutmosis III.
walls show on the side of the door (eastern part of the wall) offering bearers, in front of them in each
case the god Iunmutef is depicted. Opposite to Iunmutef (in each case on the western side of
the wall) the enthroned Thutmosis III is shown and behind - standing - him Meretre-Hatshepsut (the
mother of his successor Amenhotep II). According to the inscription the god Iunmutef
performs the royal offering four times for the Ka of King Men-kheper-Ra, while before Thutmosis and Meretre-Hatshepsut
priests (depicted below the list of offerings) prepare a ritual meal. Since the
Iunmutef is offering to the Ka of the king here stood presumably a Ka-statue of
the king (Waitkus, 2008).
The south wall is shown on the following drawing (taken from: OIC Publication 136. Medinet Habu -
The Eighteenth Dynasty Temple I, The Inner Sanctuaries. 2009; plate 87).
The western rear wall shows 2 symmetrical scenes in which Thutmosis III offers
cool water (southern side) or wine (northern) to the enthroned Amun.
The fact that the cult is performed by the god Iunmutef shows unambiguously
that the king, or his statue, was worshipped here.
It is quite notable to find a representation of Amun on the west wall of the
chapel because he is not participating in the benefits of the cult in this room.
Perhaps, a statue of Amun was mounted here in addition or Amun, as the "Lord of the
House", was, so to speak, a guest while the king was worshipped in his house?
|The doorway to room M has been obviously established later than
the other walls.
|The eastern exterior of the chapels shows from left to right
|- left of the entrance to the chapels two scenes (see photo
below, composed from 3 single shots) are shown: in the left (southern) scene Thutmosis III is led by Atum
and Month from the left to the right, in the right scene Thutmosis III is embraced by Amun.
|- right of the entrance to the chapels (located between the doors to room L
and M) Atum, coming from right,
leads Thutmosis III to Amun.