Central Bark Shrine

Related Features


From the reign of Hatshepsut, Karnak’s central bark shrine was located within the Palace of Ma’at in the core of the Amun temple. Today, only the two-room shrine built by Philip Arrhidaeus remains in-situ.
Measurements: Philip Arrhidaeus’s two–room shrine was 6.34m wide, 17.83m deep, and 6.85m high. Thutmose III’s two-room shrine was 6.37m wide and 14.08m deep.

Phases of Construction

Thutmose III

Thutmose III removed the original shrine within the Palace of Ma’at, constructed by Hatshepsut, after the death of the queen. See the webpage for the Red Chapel for more information on this shrine. Some time around year 46 of his reign, the king replaced the “red chapel” with a similarly shaped shrine of his own.

Very little is known about the Thutmose III bark shrine. A few inscribed fragments from its north wall were found at Karnak during excavations around the area of the later Philip Arrhidaeus shrine.

Images of the god Amun-Ra that formed part of the shrine’s original decoration were removed during the Amarna period. The relief scenes show signs of later repairs during the reign of Sety I. The shrine may have been damaged again during the Assyrian or Persian conquests of Egypt.

Construction materials: red-gray granite

About the reconstruction model of Thutmose III

The Thutmose III shrine was modeled on the later Philip Arrhidaeus shrine, but the dimensions were changed slightly to follow the suggestions of Grimal and Larché (2007:42) who report that a recent study of the blocks have provided more information on the original structure’s dimensions.

The Thutmose III shrine was given a simple red-gray granite pattern.

Philip Arrhidaeus

In an inscription on his bark shrine at Karnak, Philip Arrhidaeus claims he made a faithful copy of the Thutmose III shrine his replaced. The Macedonian shrine was cut from a single piece of rose granite, decorated on the interior with a painted ceiling of red, white and blue stars. The south exterior wall depicted the sacred bark on its processional routes both leaving and returning to the temple.

Construction materials: rose granite

About the reconstruction model of Philip Arrhidaeus

The model of the Philip Arrhidaeus bark shrine was based on the drawings and axial plans of Carlotti (1995: pl. XVI). Photographs of the Philip Arrhidaeus shrine were used to mimic the color and appearance of its rose granite stone. The bark’s starry ceiling was also recreated using photographs from Karnak today.

Modern Site Photos


Grimal, Nicolas. (2007),Karnak, 1998-2004. Cahiers de Karnak. vol. XII , 7-59.

Van Siclen, Charles. (1984),The Date of the Granite Bark shrine of Tuthmosis III. Göttinger Miszellen: Beiträge zur äegyptologischen Diskussion. vol. 79 , 53.

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

Lacau, Pierre and Henri Chevrier. (1977),Une chapelle d’Hatshepsout a Karnak. Le Caire: Institut français d’archéologie orientale du Caire, 402-412.