Carnac - The Great Hall etc, from the Salt Lake

View from the shore of the sacred lake across the water towards the hypostyle hall of the temple complex of Karnak in the background, to the left, and, to the right, the remains of the forth and fifth pylons with the obelisk of Hatshepsut (1473-1458 BC) and that of Thutmose I (1504-1492 BC). Local men are next to the shore of the lake in fore and middle grounds. Karnak, near modern Luxor, is a large complex of religious buildings covering an area of over one hundred hectares. It consists of three major sacred precincts dedicated to Amun-Re (the largest of the three), Mut and Montu, but it also includes other structures built both inside and outside the various precincts. It was built and continually extended and embellished by Egyptian rulers from at least the Middle Kingdom (2055-1650 BC) until the Roman period (30 BC-AD 395) but most of its surviving structures date from the second half of the second millenium BC, resulting in Karnak being the largest and best-preserved temple complex of the New Kingdom (1550-1069 BC). A sacred lake is an artificial expanse of water present in many precincts of Egyptian temples. This is one of the most common type: a stone-lined reservoir, rectangular in shape, with stone stairways. They were used as a setting for the sailing of ceremonial barks, they provided an appropriate habitat for some sacred animals, such as crocodiles or geese, and they also provided water for ritual ablutions and libations connected with the temple daily life.

Object Details

Carnac – The Great Hall etc, from the Salt Lake

Francis Frith



Albumen print

15.7 x 20.5 cm

Acquired by King Edward VII when Prince of Wales