Bubastite Portal

Related Features

Originally built by Shoshenq I – 945 BCE to 924 BCE

Other works initiated by Shoshenq I:

Western Processional Way, Bubastite Portal, Shoshenq I Court


The temple’s first court was located between the first and second pylons. A small doorway leading off of this court, between the Ramesses III Temple and the second pylon, is today known as the “Bubastite portal” (Bubastis was the home city of the king responsible for the construction of the doorway). Inside the court, two closed papyrus columns marked the portal.
Measurements: The door is just slightly less than 5m wide.

Phases of Construction

Shoshenq I

The exterior face of the “Bubastite portal” was marked by a series of relief scenes commemorating the great military victories of king Shoshenq I in Syro-Palestine. The scenes depict the king smiting his enemies while the god Amun and the goddess of Thebes hold cords that bind the hands and throats of the captives. One hundred fifty-six “name rings” (symbols of bound captives with the names of ancient towns or peoples inside) decorate the wall and act as a list of the tribes and towns Shoshenq I claims to have defeated.

Construction materials: sandstone

About the reconstruction model of Shoshenq I

Photographs taken at Karnak of the southern side of the “Bubastite portal” were placed directly onto the model. The images show how the portal appears today. No attempt was made to repair any of the broken or damaged areas of the relief.

The design of the columns on the model were based on axial drawings by Carlotti (1995: pl. XXVII); the plan of the courtyard was developed from the detailed plan of the overall temple by Carlotti (2001: pl. 1). The exact height of the doorway could not be determined, so photographs of the door at Karnak were used to aid in the design of its size on the model.

Modern Site Photos


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.

Carlotti, Jean-François. (2001),L’Akh-menou de Thoutmosis III à Karnak : etude architecturale. Paris: Recherche sur les civilisations

University of Chicago Oriental Institute Epigraphic Survey. (1954),Reliefs and inscriptions at Karnak: The Bubastite portal. The University of Chicago Oriental Institute Publications. Chicago: University of Chicago Pressvol. III

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