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Selected photos of existing state

Image resource: Photograph of Amenhotep I Calcite Chapel, by UCLA
Image resource: Photograph of Amenhotep I Calcite Chapel, by UCLA
Image resource: Photograph of Amenhotep I Calcite Chapel, by UCLA
Image resource: Photograph of Amenhotep I Calcite Chapel, by UCLA
Image resource: Photograph of Amenhotep I Calcite Chapel, by UCLA
Image resource: Photograph of Amenhotep I Calcite Chapel, by UCLA

Archive

Model renderings: 5
Photographs: 81
Archival images: 0
Videos: 0
Object catalog: 0

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Introduction

The chapel of Amenhotep I was a roofed rectangular structure made of large blocks of calcite with access doors on its short sides. The interior relief scenes are the oldest surviving depictions of the sacred bark of the statue of the god Amun-Ra of Karnak. Each of the chapel's exterior sides were decorated with a single scene related to temple festivals. The chapel has been reconstructed in modern times in the "open air museum" at Karnak.

Measurements: The chapel is 3.6m across, 6.75m deep, and 4.5m high.

Phase: Amenhotep I

Amenhotep I built the chapel as a ritual space to house the bark of Amun-Ra. Wooden doors on the shrine's short ends could be closed to protect the sanctity of the god. Left incomplete by Amenhotep I, the decoration on the chapel's south wall was finished by Thutmose I. The chapel may have stood in the so-called "Middle Kingdom Court," serving as the main bark shrine for the portable bark of Amun-Ra.

Construction materials: white calcite ("Egyptian alabaster"), wood

About the reconstruction model of this phase

Image resource: Rendering of Amenhotep I Calcite Chapel, by UCLA
Image resource: Rendering of Amenhotep I Calcite Chapel, by UCLA
Image resource: Rendering of Amenhotep I Calcite Chapel, by UCLA
Image resource: Rendering of Amenhotep I Calcite Chapel, by UCLA
Image resource: Rendering of Amenhotep I Calcite Chapel, by UCLA

The digital model of the chapel was created based on the reconstruction drawings of Carlotti (1995: pl. XI).

The chapel's position in the center of the "Middle Kingdom Court" is based on the traditional assumption that the chapel functioned as the main bark shrine for the temple under Amenhotep I (Graindorge (1999: 173-175, Fig. 1; Blyth 2006: 34-36).

Photographs of the chapel in the "open air museum" in Karnak were used to recreate the appearance of the interior and exterior walls of the structure. A plain calcite stone pattern was used to decorate the roof.

An alternative interpretation for the location for the calcite chapel is given by Graindorge in her more recent reconstruction of the early Amenhotep I form of Karnak (2002: fig. 4). Graindorge now argues that the calcite shrine may have stood in the temple forecourt, west of the later 4th pylon. A wooden chapel (no longer extant) would have served as the main shrine.

(page updated 2010)

Phase: Hatshepsut

Hatshepsut may have moved the bark from the central area of the temple to a position along the southern festival processional, just south east of her new pylon (pylon seven). In its place she erected her own bark shrine, the "red chapel."

Destruction: Thutmose III

Thutmose III may have dismantled or moved the shrine, building an identical calcite chapel near the seventh pylon. The king gave his new shrine the same name as the shrine of Amenhotep I. Where the Amenhotep I chapel was placed at this time is unknown.

In the reign of Amenhotep III, the calcite chapel was used as fill in the king's construction of the third pylon.

About the reconstruction model of this phase

If the calcite chapel did not function as the main shrine of the temple during the reign of Amenhotep I, the construction of the "red chapel" in the "Middle Kingdom Court" of the temple would have replaced Amenhotep I's wooden shrine, not the calcite chapel. The calcite chapel may therefore have remained in a forecourt of the temple, west of the 4th pylon.

(page updated 2010)

Bibliography and Sources Used for Model Construction

Carlotti, Jean-François (1995), “Contribution à l' étude métrologique de quelques monuments du temple d'Amon-Rê à Karnak.” Cahiers de Karnak, vol. X, 65-127.

Graindorge, Catherine (2002), “Der Tempel des Amun-Re von Karnak zu Beginn der 18.Dynastie,” in Ägyptologische Tempeltagung: Würzburg, 23.-26. September 1999, vol. 5. : , 83-90.

Graindorge, Catherine and Philippe Martinez (1999), “Programme architectural et iconographique des monuments d'Amenophis I a Karnak.” Annales du service des antiquités de l’Égypte, vol. 74, 169-182.

Further reading

Blyth, Elizabeth (2006), Karnak: evolution of a temple. London: Routledge.

Graindorge, Catherine and Philippe Martinez (1989), “Karnak avant Karnak.” Bulletin de la Société française d'égyptologie, vol. 115, 36-55.