Interim Report on the Malqata Palace Project UPDATED

Click here for Japanese version
Click here for Japanese version


This page is compiled excerpts from the publication entitled "Research in Egypt 1966-1991", published by the Institute of Egyptology at Waseda University in 1991, and Takeshi Nakagawa et al. eds.: "Studies on the Palace of Malqata; Investigations at the Palace of Malqata, 1985-1988", Chuo Koron Bijutsu Shuppan Ltd (Tokyo 1993), together with the latest results of the study.

The Palace of Malqata

Painted mud fragments found at Room B Painted mud fragments found at Room B

A heavily ruined palace-city founded by Amenhotep III is preserved at Malqata. It consists of various structures in the desert; several residential palaces, a temple of Amen, a festival hall, elite villas, houses for the relatives of the King, apartments for attendants, and a desert altar termed the "Kom al-Samak"; All of which were constructed by mud bricks. The trace of a vast artificial harbor called "Birket Habu" is also still visible to the south-east of the palace-city, marked by continuous heaps of sandy soil. Excavation works at this large site, which is originally some three square kilometers in area if the "Kom al-Samak" is included, were begun by J. Daressy in 1888. After this partial excavation, R. de Tytus explored it and published a private preliminary report. Subsequently the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York denuded much of the site in 1910-1920. In the 1970's, the University Museum of Pennsylvania resumed its excavations.

From 1985 this area became a concession of the Waseda University Mission. A number of the rooms in the main palace, including the Great Columned Hall which named "Room H" by Tytus, a suite of "Room K5", "Room L5", "Room N5" and "Room B5", along with the King's bedchamber were re-excavated in the following year under the direction of Dr. Prof. Yasutada Watanabe, the Department of Architecture at Waseda University.

Numerous fragments of the paintings on walls and ceilings have been recovered from each room. Among the motifs on the painted fragments, spiral pattern and rosettes occupied the major part, although other motifs have been infrequently included. Careful analyses of the pieces led to the identification of several ornamental patterns. One of the most remarkable motifs is a succession of great vultures representing the Goddess Nekhbet outspreading the wings, under each of which the names and titles of Amenhotep III are depicted. The succession of vultures is surrounded by geometrical patterns on each side. This motif has been found at Rooms B, G, H, and the King's bedchamber in the Main Palace. On the basis of the actual painted fragments discovered from the above mentioned rooms, the ceiling paintings of each room has been restored, and color drawings have been made.

Plan of the Main Palace at MalqataPlan of the Main Palace at Malqata

Fragments of the painted Nekhbet figure found at Room HFragments of the painted Nekhbet figure found at Room H

Scroll pattern excavated at Room HScroll pattern excavated at Room H

Room H, right wing-tip of Nekhbet and hieroglyphs 'djet'Room H, right wing-tip of Nekhbet and hieroglyphs 'djet'

Room H, fragment showing the traces of repainting, detailRoom H, detail of the above fragment, showing the traces of repainting

Room H, reconstruction of the ceiling painting, the first phaseRoom H, reconstruction of the ceiling painting, the first phase

Room H, reconstruction of the ceiling painting, the second phaseRoom H, reconstruction of the ceiling painting, the second phase

Several geometrical decorative motifs have been reconstructed in the cases of Rooms K5, L5, N5, and B5. It would be remarkable to change the motif in each room, cf. Shin-ichi Nishimoto: "The Ceiling Paintings of the Harem Rooms at the Palace of Malqata", in Goettinger Miszellen 127 (Goettingen 1992), 69-80.

Room L5, reconstruction of the ceiling paintingRoom L5, reconstruction of the ceiling painting

Room N5, reconstruction of the ceiling paintingRoom N5, reconstruction of the ceiling painting

Room B5, reconstruction of the ceiling paintingRoom B5, reconstruction of the ceiling painting

In the King's bedchamber, the floor of the innermost part is raised where the king's bed had been placed. It was come to light that the ceiling of this upper level is drawn more elaborate than that of the lower level; The inscriptions is slightly longer, and the color of the center circle of rosettes is also changed from red to green.

King's bedroom, general viewKing's bedroom, general view

King's bedroom, detail of mural paintingKing's bedroom, detail of mural painting

King's bedroom, reassembled ceiling fragmentsKing's bedroom, reassembled ceiling fragments

King's bedroom, rosettes and checker patternKing's bedroom, rosettes and checker pattern

King's bedroom, right leg of Nekhbet and hieroglyphic signs of mri.f with white border and rosettesKing's bedroom, right leg of Nekhbet and hieroglyphic signs of mri.f with white border and rosettes

King's bedroom, reconstruction of the ceiling paintingKing's bedroom, reconstruction of the ceiling painting

Approximately 2,000 pieces of the painted mud fragments were recovered at Room B by the clearance in 1988. Recent study has been focused on the restoration work of the various architectural decorations in Room B. 36 photographs are shown here, but some pieces were already reported briefly in "Studies on the Palace of Malqata; Investigations at the Palace of Malqata, 1985-1988", eds. by Takeshi Nakagawa and Shin-ichi Nishimoto, published by Chuo Koron Bijutsu Shuppan Ltd (Tokyo 1993). Detailed publication of the results of the investigations is planned in a series of volumes. The first volume entitled "Painted Mud Fragments found at Room B" will be published till the end of 2003.

ROOM B: CONTENTS



All correspondence should be sent to: Institute of Egyptology (institute-egyptology@list.waseda.jp), or editor of this page, Shin-ichi Nishimoto, Associate Professor at Waseda University (nishimot@mn.waseda.ac.jp) .


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(First drafted: 10 March 1996)
(Last revised: 17 February 2003)