Egypt : Third Pylon, Pavilion of Sesostris I, Central Court - Complex of Karnak part VI

At the rear of the hypostyle hall is the reconstructed third pylon buill by Amenhotep III.It certainly needs more than a little imagination to reconstruct in the mind's eye the gold and silver inlay, the flagstaffs and splendour of this one-time entrance to the temple. When Amenhotep III was constructing it he was simultaneously finalizing plans for the colonnaded hall at the Luxor temple. Together they formed his most impressive architectural
achievements. Some years ago when soil drain age was being checked to avoid the crumbling of columns from undermining, the pylon was found to contain in its core the ruins of temples and shrines of earlier periods. The task of extracting the inscribed or painted blocks deep in the pylon's foundation , whilst propping up existing walls prior to reconstruction, was and still is, an exacting one. And the matching of the extracted pieces with their partners in pattern and history has been extremely time-consuming. But with the successful removal and complete reconstruction of some of the lost master-pieces, these labors have received their supreme reward. The Pavilion of Sesotris I, a 12th Dynasty structure erected for the Jubilec of the Pharaoh, is the earliest structure at Karnak today. Its blocks were rescued from obscurity and reassembled just north of the main temple to Amon within the girdle-wall, where it can be seen by special permission. The walls of the pavilion are made of fine limestone, and the reliefs, minutely and precisely carved in high relief, are amongst the finest to be found in Luxor. They show the restraint and austerity typical of the Middle Kingdom when the work was unencumbered by too much detail.The simple shrine consists of twenty-four columns and the pedestal on which the Amon barge was placed to let the priestly bearers rest. It has been decided that the original site was on one side of the paved thorough-fare leading from Karnak temple to Luxor temple.A shrine which can be traced to the reigns of Amenhotep I, Thutmose II and Thutmose IV was also found in the third pylon and has been reconstructed immediately to the north of the Pavilion of Sesostris. It is made of alabaster. Since this was a medium used mainly for statues and offering-tables it is not often that we find a shrine or temple in alabaster. It is small, simple, of beautiful proportions and in nearly perfect condition. On the right-hand of the inner wall is a particularly lovely representation of the Pharaoh kneeling before a table of offerings.
Also extracted from Amenhotep's third pylon are finely inscribed granite blocks that must once have been a dramatic structure in red and black, built by Queen Hatschepsut. Her figure, carved in low relief, has not been defaced.

One cannot help wondering why temples and shrines were dismantled and used for new constructions. Akhenaten's temple to Aten is easily explained because with his passing the worship of Amon was reinstated and reference to sun-worship was obliterated. But why should the exquisite temple of Sesostris have been hidden in a pylon? And the temple of Hatschcpsut? Because she was a woman and not recognized as a Pharaoh of Egypt, despite her beard, male dress and attempts to prove her divine origin? Then why should the small and exquisite alabaster shrine have been destined for the same fate? The illustrious Amenhotep the Magnificent could hardly have been short of raw material.
In the Central Court of the temple is the last survivor of four obelisks erected in pairs by Thutmose I under the faithful guidance of his chief architect, Ineni, who brought them from the granite quarries of Aswan. There are three vertical inscriptions on each face of this obelisk: the central one dedicated by Thutmose I himself, the other two additions by Ramses IV and VI.

Egypt : Third Pylon, Pavilion of Sesostris I, Central Court - Complex of Karnak part VI

At the rear of the hypostyle hall is the reconstructed third pylon buill by Amenhotep III.It certainly needs more than a little imagination to reconstruct in the mind's eye the gold and silver inlay, the flagstaffs and splendour of this one-time entrance to the temple. When Amenhotep III was constructing it he was simultaneously finalizing plans for the colonnaded hall at the Luxor temple. Together they formed his most impressive architectural
achievements. Some years ago when soil drain age was being checked to avoid the crumbling of columns from undermining, the pylon was found to contain in its core the ruins of temples and shrines of earlier periods. The task of extracting the inscribed or painted blocks deep in the pylon's foundation , whilst propping up existing walls prior to reconstruction, was and still is, an exacting one. And the matching of the extracted pieces with their partners in pattern and history has been extremely time-consuming. But with the successful removal and complete reconstruction of some of the lost master-pieces, these labors have received their supreme reward. The Pavilion of Sesotris I, a 12th Dynasty structure erected for the Jubilec of the Pharaoh, is the earliest structure at Karnak today. Its blocks were rescued from obscurity and reassembled just north of the main temple to Amon within the girdle-wall, where it can be seen by special permission. The walls of the pavilion are made of fine limestone, and the reliefs, minutely and precisely carved in high relief, are amongst the finest to be found in Luxor. They show the restraint and austerity typical of the Middle Kingdom when the work was unencumbered by too much detail.The simple shrine consists of twenty-four columns and the pedestal on which the Amon barge was placed to let the priestly bearers rest. It has been decided that the original site was on one side of the paved thorough-fare leading from Karnak temple to Luxor temple.A shrine which can be traced to the reigns of Amenhotep I, Thutmose II and Thutmose IV was also found in the third pylon and has been reconstructed immediately to the north of the Pavilion of Sesostris. It is made of alabaster. Since this was a medium used mainly for statues and offering-tables it is not often that we find a shrine or temple in alabaster. It is small, simple, of beautiful proportions and in nearly perfect condition. On the right-hand of the inner wall is a particularly lovely representation of the Pharaoh kneeling before a table of offerings.
Also extracted from Amenhotep's third pylon are finely inscribed granite blocks that must once have been a dramatic structure in red and black, built by Queen Hatschepsut. Her figure, carved in low relief, has not been defaced.

One cannot help wondering why temples and shrines were dismantled and used for new constructions. Akhenaten's temple to Aten is easily explained because with his passing the worship of Amon was reinstated and reference to sun-worship was obliterated. But why should the exquisite temple of Sesostris have been hidden in a pylon? And the temple of Hatschcpsut? Because she was a woman and not recognized as a Pharaoh of Egypt, despite her beard, male dress and attempts to prove her divine origin? Then why should the small and exquisite alabaster shrine have been destined for the same fate? The illustrious Amenhotep the Magnificent could hardly have been short of raw material.
In the Central Court of the temple is the last survivor of four obelisks erected in pairs by Thutmose I under the faithful guidance of his chief architect, Ineni, who brought them from the granite quarries of Aswan. There are three vertical inscriptions on each face of this obelisk: the central one dedicated by Thutmose I himself, the other two additions by Ramses IV and VI.

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