Maat-ka-Ra Hatshepsut

last update: 03.01.2012

Karnak - 8th Pylon


Statues in front of the South Side of the 8th Pylon


In front of the 8th Pylon six colossal statues, among them two seated giant statues made of limestone (one before each wing of the pylon) had been erected in antiquity. Today, only the remains of three statues in front of the west wing and one statue together with two basis in situ in front of the east wing have been preserved (s. a. Porter&Moss II, 1994, p. 176 and plan XIV).
Here in front of the left wing the following statues (localization and identification after Porter, Moss, 1994) had been erected:

- on the left, statue M, Amenhotep II, with a restoration text of Thutmosis IV., beside its right leg there is a small statue of the queen Tia, the mother of the Thutmosis IV.

- in the middle, statue N, made of limestone (H: 884; W:222; D:429 cm), showing the cartouche of Amenhotep I (Djoser-ka-Ra) and a "restoration text" dating to year 22 of the reign of Thutmosis III

- on the right, the statue O, quartzite, inscribed with Thutmosis II (Aa-cheper-en-Ra) and a "renewal text" dated from regnal year 42 of Thutmosis III; on the exterior directly besides the right leg there is a small statue of the "Sister of the King" Mut-nefret, mother of Thutmosis II.

Above the right wing viewed from the south side of 8th Pylon with the remainders of statue P made of limestone (after Porter, Moss, 1994; H: not measurable, W: 213; D: 420cm), inscribed with Thutmosis II and a "renewal text" dating from year 22 of Thutmosis III. A part of the head (see photo below) of this severely destroyed statue lies directly at its feet - one easily recognizes the right ear and the nms-headdress.

As far as it can be decided from the condition of the statues all of them wear a pleated kilt of different length, the royal apron and the hands are laying flat on the thighs, only statue N is holding a cloth in the right hand (see below).

Loeben (2001) examined the statues and described the inscriptions in his thesis. The statue N before the left, western wing of the pylon has survived in a much better condition. The statue (see left photo below) shows a seated king, both hands on the lap. The right hand is clenched to a fist and holds a cloth, the left hand is put flat on the thigh. With exception of the face the statue is still in a good condition. The rear column of the statue is not inscribed, on the other hand there are inscriptions on the buckle of the belt  and along both legs (Loeben, 2001).

The right photo shows parts of the inscriptions beside the left leg. The cartouche of Thutmosis III is to be seen quite well in the outside register (see arrow).
The left register shows another cartouche which is to be detected above that of Thutmosis III (direction north-northwest). However, due to the structure of the stone the signs are hardly to be deciphered. During my inspection of the statue in January 2002 I could detect the characters of Ra and Ka (the "Djoser" was not recognizable any longer).

Investigations by Loeben resulted without any doubts that the text inscribed into the belt of statue N has been modified in antiquity and that the original text was completely replaced. Further modifications were done in the Amarna period and during the restorations thereafter.

The "renewal text" beside the left leg (shown above) ,- the texts on the front side of the throne are obviously identical -  reads (after Loeben):

"Beloved by Amun, Lord of the thrones of the Two Lands (= Theben), (is) the Perfect God, the Lord of the Two Lands,  +Sr-kA-Ra,  bodily son of Ra, Amenhotep (I).

Now, this statue was made perfect in the regnal year 22 under the majesty of the king of Upper and Lower Egypt, Men-cheper-Ra (= Thutmosis III), who may live for ever."

Due to Loeben, the new realization that the text on the buckle of the belt does not represent the original inscription, throws new light also on the inscriptions on the front of the throne, i.e. the "renewal inscriptions". According to Loeben the use of the phrase "make perfect" (instead of "restoring  or renewing") is quite remarkable, its use is limited to the restoration of statues at the 8th Pylon, where all statues exhibit an appropriate note. With regard to the two limestone statues N and P, Thutmosis III claimed the responsibility  for "making perfect [them] in the year 22" for himself.
In both statues Loeben sees original representations of Hatshepsut which were preserved by Thutmosis III because of their impressing appearance. Instead of destroying the statues Thutmosis III re-inscribed or "made them perfect" by dedicating them to his ancestors.

Based on the investigations of Loeben Eaton Kraus (1998) interprets the "restoration texts" of year 22 (that is the first year of his autocracy) as the earliest date of the persecution of Hatshepsut.
Loeben himself does not agree to this conclusion. He points out that it is quite possible, that Thutmosis III "has antedated" the action of "making [them] perfect". Furthermore, Loeben points to the possibility that the work (with exception of the restoration done in year 42) might have been executed by the successor of Thutmosis III, Amenhotep II, who then "antedated" the "restoration" into the reign of his father - just to honor him. This is quite plausible since the decoration shows that Amenhotep II has focused his attention to the 8th Pylon.

The is a lower part of a smaller statue standing on the right side of giant statue N. This small statue shows besides the left leg and above a cartouche which is not readable anymore the title of a "God's Wife" (see photo above, red arrow). If the reading applies, its results inevitably the question, which "God's wife" is meant here - perhaps Neferu-Ra (if the giant statue left is that of Hatshepsut).
Porter&Moss (1994) assigns the small statue of the Merit- Amun II, the daughter of Thutmosis III and Merit-Ra Hatshepsut, and wife of the Amenhotep II, who - due to Sander Hansen - actually carried the title of a "God's wife".
Since this small statue stands directly beside that of Hatshepsut (statue N), which was re-assigned to Amenhotep I, this small statue may represent also his mother Ah-mose- Nefertari - who was not only one of the first "God's wives", but one admired in later time almost as a "prototype" of all "God's wives". Furthermore,  Ah-mose- Nefertari became deified together with her son, Amenhotep I. Today, the upper part is exhibited in the British Museum and there the small statue is assigned  to Ah-mose-Nefertari  to (a photo of the upper part is presented on the page about the history of the God' wives).

East (right) of statue N another colossal statue (statue O; below left photo) had been erected on the western wing of the pylon which shows again an enthroned king. Only the lower part of the statue made of quartzite has survived. The statue is dedicated to Thutmosis II (see below, right photo) and bears a restoration text of Thutmosis III dated into year 42 (see also Porter&Moss II, 1994, p. 176).

  Beside the right leg of the enthroned king there are the remains (feet) of a small figure which is identified by the inscription left of the body as "sAt nswt mrt=f = the beloved daughter of the king,"  Mut-nefret (= Mut-nofret).
The representation of Mut-nefret and the fact that the statue bears a "restoration text" suggest that the statue did not originally show Thutmosis II and his mother but Thutmosis I and his queen.

In the course of the persecution of Hatshepsut her statues were re-assigned.

Copyright: Dr. Karl H. Leser (Iufaa)