The Colonnade of Tuthmosis I and the Vestibule and Antechamber of Tuthmosis III Between the Fifth and Sixth Pylons at Karnak

The Colonnade of Tuthmosis I
and the Vestibule and Antechamber of Tuthmosis III
Between the Fifth and Sixth Pylons at Karnak

by Jimmy Dunn

South Doorpostsfor the Doorways of the

In the Temple of Amun proper at Karnak in ancient Thebes (modern Luxor), beyond the small Hypostyle Hall situated between the fourth and fifth Pylons is a vestibule and antechamber that lies between the fifth and sixth pylons. This is a relatively narrow, symmetrical space divided by a doorway in the name of Tuthmosis III that divides a colonnade of Tuthmosis I.

On the outer walls of this doorway, to the north we see the king wearing the red crown and in the south, the white crown. Just beyond this doorway is that of the sixth pylon, where the king once again wears the white and red crowns corresponding to the direction he faces.

Originally, this whole space was a colonnade built by Tuthmosis I, but Tuthmosis III divided the space with a wall made of granite blocks, pierced by a doorway with sandstone doorposts. Hence, it forms a sort of vestibule, closed on the north and south, that provides access to the antechamber of the sixth pylon. This antechamber opens to provide access to the columned wings to the north and south.


The "royal ascent" is depicted on the two granite doorposts that frame the vestibule door that provides access to the antechamber. Normally, this scene would show the king framed by Montu and Atum, going towards Amun, but here, the scene is separated into two tableaux. On the north, the king, wearing the red crown, is led by Atum of Heliopolis, while on the south he wears the white crown and is led to Amun by Montu of Thebes. These two half-scenes are directed toward the south instead of being oriented to the general axis of the temple.

Within the antechamber, on the west doorpost of the northern door is a scene upon which the king can be seen wearing the red crown. There is a granite statue in the corner. On the eastern doorpost he wears the white crown. When Tuthmosis III built the vestibule and antechamber here, he included within the thickness of the walls two of Tuthmosis I's portico columns. Here, a sixteen sided polygonal column of the northern sector can be seen. It carries the titles of Tuthmosis I on the middle of the east side. The king, wearing the red and white crowns, is repeated on the southern door of the antechamber. The king is holding in one hand the makes cane and the white hedj club and is extending his other hand toward the entranceway.

Antechamber of Tuthmosis III, South Doorway

The doorway gives access to the peristyle court of Tuthmosis I, where the remains of the shafts for sixteen-sided polygonal columns can be seen. Within this courtyard, on the northern wall is a curious representation of Amun carved in light relief. Actually, the entire profile of the head is deeply carved, perhaps to receive the face and headdress of precious gems and metals. On the extension of the throne's pedestal, Queen Ahmose-Nefertari (the well known wife of Ahmose, founder of the 18th Dynasty and hence, Egypt's New Kingdom), also sculpted in relief, presents the god with a sistrum and the menat. Behind her, Ramesses III, who is carved in sunk relief, offers Ma'at to the god. What is interesting about this depiction is that the outline of Amun and the deified queen are very light, giving the god a phantom appearance in comparison to the king, emphasizing the spiritual nature of Amun.


The granite doorposts of the sixth pylon is adorned on both sides with sandstone curbing upon which are carved five horizontal lines of prisoners mentioning the nineteen cities conquered during the course of the famous military exploits of Tuthmosis III. that are recounted in the "chamber of the Annals". Those on the north wing are towns conquered in Syria and Palestine, while those on the south represent towns in Nubia. Above, a scene of "ritual massacre" can be discerned. In his "Text of the Youth", Tuthmosis III says that he built for this pylon:

A great panel fashioned from new cedar, worked with gold mounted in true black copper and ... copper. The great name above it is in electrum, gold that has been twice refined, and black copper".

The "great name" he refers to is the "August gate Menkhe Perre beloved of Amun Mighty with prestige". The doorway of the Sixth Pylon leads through to the Naos of Philip Arrhedaeus.

Floorplan of The Colonnade of Tuthmosis I and the Vestibule and Antechamber of Tuthmosis III

Floor plan of The Colonnade of Tuthmosis I and the Vestibule and Antechamber of Tuthmosis III

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Reference Number

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