Hatshepsut – Holy Sites – SOURCES

The most important religious site of Hatshepsut’s day was probably Amun’s Temple of Karnak in Thebes, which was the centre of the cult of Amun that Hatshepsut was head priestess (God’s wife) of. Karnak was the centre of many large-scale building projects by many pharaohs, including the famous obelisks that Hatshepsut was known for raising, one of which still stands today. Luckily for us, Karnak has been reconstructed by digital means via the Digital Karnak project, so it’s fairly easy to get a good grasp of who build what and when.

  • We actually don’t really know what was painted on much of Karnak’s walls, but it’s safe to assume that it was mostly of Egyptian gods and other such inscriptions. Parts of Karnak was always being demolished and rebuilt by successive pharaohs, so even the ruins of Karnak nowadays don’t necessarily much resemble what they looked like in Hatshepsut’s time.
  • The panel in the top right hand corner depicts the purification baths Hatshepsut would have bathed in before she conducted her duties as God’s Wife of Amun. Unfortunately, they were based off roman-era (Ptolemic) baths that were built near Karnak some centuries later, recently discovered, meaning that Hatshepsut’s baths probably didn’t look like that. However, they were the only source material I could find of what the baths may have looked like.

A computer-generated model of what Karnak might have looked like in Hatshepsut’s time. This is BEFORE she had built her first pair of obelisks. SOURCE: Digital Karnak

Roman-era baths uncovered near the temple of Luxor. SOURCE: World Archaeology

These are the first pair of obelisks Hatshepsut raised, which was commissioned during the reign of Thutmose II and located near the front gate of Karnak. Her obelisks were gold-plated and full of inscriptions, and you may notice a smaller, shorter pair of obelisks behind them. Those pair of obelisks were raised by her father Thutmose I, and while they were probably gold too, I decided to make their colour duller because otherwise there would appear to be four obelisks when the text clearly states there were two. Either way, there are still four obelisks in the picture; just understand that Hatshepsut raised the taller ones only. One of her obelisks still stands today.

A clearer look at the front gate of Karnak, showing the twin obelisks of Thutmose I, but not those raised by Hatshepsut. Hatshepsut would raise her larger ones in front of her father’s. SOURCE: Digital Karnak

Hatshepsut built an untold number of temples to Egyptian gods and goddesses, and a few of them remain today in all their (faded) glory. She was one of the first pharaohs to build extensively in stone, which meant her buildings lasted a lot longer than those that came before her.

  • Top left panel:  Depicts a temple she dedicated to the lioness-headed goddess of war Pakhet, which the Greeks equated to their goddess of the hunt Artemis. It’s referred to nowadays by it’s Greek name Speos Artemeidos. Once again, I imagined it as brightly-painted in its heyday.
  • Top middle panel:  The red chapel, made of red granite, would have been a beautiful building had it been left standing. Sadly, it seemed that Hatshepsut never got got finish building it and Thutmose III possibly had to finish it for her, since the top level inscriptions were all inscribed with Thutmose III’s name. He later dismantled it completely to make way for his other building projects. It was originally built as a barque shrine, which is waystation for a god to rest in when his/her statue is being carried around on a barque, a ceremonial boat that the god “travels” in.
  • Top right panel:  Hatshepsut commissioned a number of sphinxes in her time, many as statues lining the way to Karnak’s entrances. Thutmose III would replace them with his own sphinxes, but you can still see some of Hatshepsut’s more feminine-looking sphinxes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Many people aren’t aware that sphinxes were brightly-painted in their time as well.
  • Bottom panel:  Hatshepsut’s mortuary temple of Djeser-Djeseru (‘Holiest of Holies), which is not her tomb, as it is dedicated to Amun. Her funerary cult didn’t last long after her death, but the temple was being used by various other religious cults for centuries after, until it became unsafe. The most important thing about this rendition of Djeser-Djeseru is that it includes another mortuary temple to its left, the mortuary temple of Mentuhotep II. This means that the structure you see with the pyramid is actually not part of Djeser-Djeseru, but it was already there when Djeser-Djeseru was built right next to it. Mentuhotep II’s temple didn’t survive the ages, which is why the real image of Djeser-Djsesru below doesn’t have it. A third temple to Amun was built by Thutmose III between and to the back of these two temples, but it also didn’t survive. Obviously, since the Thutsmose III-built structure didn’t exist during Hatshepsut’s lifetime it’s not depicted here.

This temple dedicated to Pakhet, the lioness-headed goddess of war was also called Speos Artemidos (Grotto of Artemis) by the Greeks. SOURCE: Wikipedia

Hatshepsut’s most famous building, her mortuary temple of Djeser-Djeseru, which still stands today. SOURCE: Wikipedia


A rendition of Amun’s barque being carried by his priests. There weren’t many opportunities for the gods’ barques to make an appearance in this story, but nearly all gods had barques and followers who carried them around before the public in festivals.

This is a relief from the Red Chapel of Amun’s barque being carried by his priests. The figurehead of the barque (on both prow and stern) are ram’s heads because they’re sacred to Amun.

Visual Sources

Hatshepsut – Palace – SOURCES

This is from my “Greatest Queens of History: Hatshepsut” story, which is 30 pages. I spent a fair amount of time doing research on Egypt, the New Kingdom (18th Dynasty, which is approx 1550BC – 1292BC) and Hatshepsut herself, so I’ll list my sources below and what I had to consider when I put this picture together.

It’s difficult to reconstruct the Egyptian royal palace from the time of Hatshepsut, because none of it remains.

  • Egyptian palaces were built using unbaked Nile bricks, with only things like columns, toilets and doorway bases made of stone, so much of it is destroyed.
  • The above is an artist’s impression of Malkata palace, but whose image credit remain unknown since the websites I cribbed the picture off does not accurately credit the picture’s artist or origins. The Malkata palace is the only known 18th Century Egyptian palace that has any ruins remaining – however, it was built by Amenhotep III, which means that it comes several generations after Hatshepsut, and thus is not necessarily representative of Hatshepsut’s palace.
  • On the other hand, this artist’s depiction is not an inaccurate depiction of an Egyptian palace. Egyptian palaces were often built along the Nile, with ramps (Egyptians didn’t really do stairs) that allow the pharaoh’s boat (and entourage) to dock.
  • Pharaohs in Hatshepsut’s time had traveling courts and multiple palaces along the Nile in which the pharaoh can dock and perform rites and hold court, though Hatshepsut herself probably didn’t travel as much as Thutmose III did, since he was younger and fitter.

Likewise, we don’t know much about the exact inner decorations of an Egyptian palace.

  • However, it’s probable that Egyptian palaces were painted white, with walls filled with colourful drawings of Egyptian flora and fauna. You don’t see this as much in my depiction, because the pictures became mind-boggling busy when I added flora and fauna to the walls of the palace, and so I removed them because otherwise it becomes too visually dense.
  • One thing we do know is that Egyptian windows were typically high, and close to the ceiling. This is because Egypt is a sandy place, and had the windows been closer to the floor, the palace would very quickly fill up with sand and dirt blowing in by the wind.
  • Likewise, we also know that the palace probably had blue floor tiles, with some of it depicting the Nile river and the fishes and marine life that lived in it. Again, I removed the marine life because it would otherwise make the images too busy.

There are various tools, implements, jewellery and minor details scattered through the illustrations that I borrowed from either wall reliefs in tombs, or from funerary items found. A good number of them can be found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which hosts a large collection of Hatshepsut items.

Visual Sources

  • Cooney, Kara. “The Woman Who Would be King: Hapshetsut’s Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt”. USA: Crown Publishers, 2014.
  • Roehrig, Catherine H. et al. “Hatshepsut: From Queen to Pharaoh”. USA: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2006.
  • Hill, J. “Malkata (Malqata) Palace”. Ancient Egypt Online, 2010. Web. 31 Nov 2017. Retrieved from http://www.ancientegyptonline.co.uk/malkatapalace.html
  • “The Ancient Palace of Malkata, Egypt” (2015). Lateet: A Small Dose of Interesting. Web. 31 Nov. 2017. Retrieved from http://www.lateet.com/the-ancient-palace-of-malkata-egypt/

Hatshepsut – Throne Room, Clothing & Children – SOURCES

This is from my “Greatest Queens of History: Hatshepsut” story, which has been scripted to be 30 pages. I spent a fair amount of time doing research on Egypt, the New Kingdom (18th Dynasty, which is approx 1550BC – 1292BC) and Hatshepsut herself, so I’ll list my sources below and what I had to consider when I put this picture together.

Note: Much of my visual sources are not from Hatshepsut’s reign itself, because her tomb and the tombs of Thutmose 1-3 has been grave robbed, and no funerary items from it survive. So when I draw on visual sources for this story, I tried to use sources from the same 18th Dynasty, A fair amount of it came from the tomb of King Tutankhamun, or Amenhotep III.

  • Hatshepsut and Thutmose II are depicted here as Pharaoh and Pharaoh’s Great Wife, both in ceremonial dress for this part of their coronation ceremony. The coronation ceremony is a long, ritualistic affair that takes days, and none of this is depicted here because we know very little about it. They ascended to the throne young, so they’re depicted as children here.
  •  Thutmose II is wearing the Pharaoh’s Nemes headdress, false beard and holding the symbolic crook and flail, while Hatshepsut is wearing the Great Wife’s vulture headdress. Both are also wearing the broad collar necklace, which like the headdresses is a ceremonial thing. Neither of them would have wandered the palace dressed in this manner on a normal day. Both would have worn eyeliner though.

Thutmose I and his mother. Wall painting from the upper Anubis chapel of Hatshepsut’s temple at Deir el-Bahri, early 18th Dynasty. Source: Roehrig, Catherine H. et al. “Hatshepsut: From Queen to Pharaoh”. PG 8.

King Tutankhamun’s death mask, which has the unusual double uraeus of a cobra and a vulture. Typically, it’s just a cobra.Source: Wikipedia

  • The two throne are based off the throne of Tutankhamun for Thutmose II, and the throne of Princess Sitamun, daughter (and eventual wife) of Amenhotep III. Both of these are funerary items, but it’s safe to assume that they were used in the Pharaoh’s life, though funerary items aren’t necessarily everyday items for Ancient Egyptians.

Replicas of Tutankhamun’s throne on the left, and Princess Sitamun’s throne on the right. Souce: Wikipedia

  • The throne is on a raised dais which has several steps, which can’t be seen here. The dais has a kiosk thing over it, which is depicted here – it should have cartouches of the Pharaoh’s name and scarab beetles on it, though we can’t know for sure.
  • The servant holding the ostrich feather fan has real hair. Servants were not allowed to shave their hair and wear wigs – that was reserved for the upper classes. Hatshepsut may well have been bald because she would have worn elaborate wigs.
  • The wall paintings are of waterlilies, which grow along the Nile River. Since the palace from Thutmose I’s time didn’t survive, we have little idea of what the throne room would have been like. It’s safe to assume that the walls are white-washed, and painted with images of Egyptian flora and fauna. In this instance, I thought it best to keep the throne room neutral, with references to the Nile (considered the source of all Egyptian life) rather than to any fauna, since different animals have different connotations in Egypt.

This is from the tomb of Nakht, which is known as Theban Tomb TT52, part of the Theben Necropolis. This appears to be an Egyptian official, and I copied the background from this tomb image. Source: Wikipedia

This is Page 1, Panel 3, showing the group of children from Thutmose I’s harem. To be honest, these children should all be naked, since it’s considered perfectly acceptable for Egyptian children of a certain age, whether male or female, to run around naked. I don’t feel comfortable depicting naked children though, so I thought I’d put generic clothes on them. The girls are wearing diadems and girdles, and both boys and girls have shaven heads with locks of hair on the side, which is to prevent lice.

Two young princesses, Nefrure and Nefrubiti, wearing elaborate sets of jewelry, including diadems and girdles. Painted reliefs from Hatshepsut’s temple at Deir el-Bahri, early 18th Dynasty. Source: Roehrig, Catherine H. et al. “Hatshepsut: From Queen to Pharaoh”. PG 202.

  • Here’s Thutmose III in his blue war crown and pharaoh’s war armour. Thutmose III was unlikely to have strutted about his palace in that outfit, which is why he later switches to a plain kilt and diadem when playing field hockey.
  • The above relief is from temples built by Ramesses II at Beit-el Wali, and shows Ramesses II, also known as Ramesses the Great, charging the Nubians. He was a 19th Dynasty pharaoh who came after Hatshepsut, but the pharaoh’s blue war crown, armour and chariot depicted is unlikely to have changed much from earlier times.

Visual Sources

  • Cooney, Kara. “The Woman Who Would be King: Hapshetsut’s Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt”. USA: Crown Publishers, 2014.
  • Hope, Colin A. “Gold of the Pharaohs”. Australia: Museum of Victoria, 1988.
  • Roehrig, Catherine H. et al. “Hatshepsut: From Queen to Pharaoh”. USA: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2006.
  • Galford, Ellen. “Hatshepsut: The Girl Who Became a Great Pharaoh”. United States: The National Geographic Society, 2005.
  • Shaw, Garry J. “The Daily Life of a Pharaoh”. Dr Gary J. Shaw. Al Rawi: Egypt’s Heritage Review, issue 5, 2013. Web. 7 Sep. 2017.

Famous Women: Rumiko Takahashi

For Women’s History Month, I’m going to give a blanket recommendation to the work of a remarkable female manga artist (Japanese comic artist), one whose work was paramount in starting the manga/anime movement in the west. Her name is Rumiko Takahashi, and for those in the community, she needs no real introduction. I first started reading her first published work “Urusei Yatsura” (Those Obnoxious Aliens) at the age of three, and since then has followed her through “Maison Ikkoku”, “Ranma 1/2”, “Inuyasha”, and her various short stories in “Rumic World”. I haven’t been following her latest work “Rin-ne”, but the aim of this post is to chart her influence on me as a manga artist.



Rumiko is somewhat unique in the manga publishing world. She’s a best-selling female manga artist who draws mostly for a male audience (though she has female fans too), and she draws in a gender-neutral style that nonetheless is skilled, expressive and interesting. Above all that, she started off in the genre of comedy, which is never easy to do. She’s since branched out into horror, dramady, action-adventure and small-scale domestic drama, but she’s flexible and malleable enough that I don’t doubt she’ll go on to tackle other genres. Overall, her work is highly-recognisable and has a very strong sense of personality – you’ll always be able to pick a Rumiko Takahashi story at a glance.



I also have to mention her female characters. As a manga artist who started in the 70s in a magazine aimed at teenage boys, I imagine she must have gotten her fair share of pressure from the editors to make her female characters sexually-appealing. There’s no doubt Rumiko’s women are that, but they’re also slyly subversive in their personalities and the way they’re depicted. For a country that is known for its shy, submissive women (at least in manga and anime), Takahashi’s women are frequently loud, violent and filled with character flaws. All of them are as interesting as her male characters, and while everyone’s character defects are played for laughs, it’s wonderful to see such gender parity – and they’ve been depicted that way right from the start.



All in all, Rumiko Takahashi has a unique voice, one that has remained unique and recognisable for the past thirty years (and counting). If you haven’t read her work, you really should. If being the world’s best-selling female comic book artist doesn’t convince you, then being a wonderful comic book artist certainly should.



I have a list of her work here, many of which have been translated into English. My #1 pick for the uninitiated would be “Maison Ikkoku”, since it’s a more down-to-earth story about a poor ronin (failed university student) who is trying to win the heart of a young widow. Conversely, you may try her more zany comedies, like the slapstick earthling-meets-alien “Urusei Yatsura,” or the gender-bending martial arts comedy “Ranma 1/2.” Those who prefer action-adventure and medieval Japan can read “Inuyasha”, or “Mermaid Forest if you like horror. Her short stories in “Rumic World” is also one of my favourites.


Spotlight On: The Crusades (Final – Part 8)

In 1291, the Crusader-held city of Acre fell to Muslim forces. It was the last stronghold of the Crusaders, and soon after all the smaller cities held by the Crusaders were abandoned. There would be no further major attempts by the Crusaders on the Holy Lands. The Crusader Spirit, with its fervent desire to reclaim the glorious city of Jerusalem (and gain some of that Muslim wealth as well), simply faded away. In place… was the Inquisition; as the Roman Church stopped persecuting Muslims and Jews so they can start persecuting suspected heretics. This was later to have unpleasant effects for the people living in a large land mass to the west of Europe.


Positive Effects of the Crusades
Medicine, Science, Mathematics, Art, Poetry, Astronomy, Physics, Chemistry… the list goes on. These were all the things brought back from the Islamic Empire that would later spearhead the Renaissance in Europe. Even things like chess and chivalry were not native to Europe (though chess was originally Indian). It was no mistake that the Renaissance first began in Venice, where the populace was generally more worldly, cosmopolitan and exposed to the sophistication of the Muslims through their trading networks. And it was through these trading networks that many other ideas and technologies arrived to Europe from China and Indian.

At first, the Venetians and the Knights Templars held these routes in an iron grip – even though their terms were dictated by the Muslim traders. After the Knights Templars were eliminated, they were replaced only by similar organisations, and trade to Europe flourished. This was because of Europe’s integration into the Silk Road, that expansive trade network (which includes both land and sea routes) stretching from one end of Eurasia to the other. It can be said that the Silk Road was civilisation’s first instance of globalisation. Along this road came silk, spices, paper, printing, banking, paper money, gunpowder, guns, the compass, the sternpost rudder, the lanteen sail, crossbows, advanced agricultural tools, the horse collar, the telescope, matches, chess, playing cards, spinning wheel, china, toothbrushes… and many other inventions. Through these cultural transmissions, Western Europe came to learn of other advanced civilisations to the east of the Islamic Empire, namely a country called Cathay (aka China).


Negative Effects of the Crusades
While the European states wanted to get in touch with these distant lands (not least to spread Christianity around to counter the Muslim “threat”), they were unable to do so through the Islamic Empire. The goods the nobles craved from India and China were all sold to them via Muslim terms, which at times could be quite steep. The European states needed to find new ways to Cathay and the Spice Islands, and it seemed that sailing west would be the only alternative. Or so a guy called Christopher Columbus believed. It is from then onwards that certain peoples had a nasty time at the receiving end of the Spanish Inquisition.

It must be said that the Crusades did not have much effect on the development of the Islamic Empire. However, the process in which Europe forged its own identity in the world stemmed directly from the Crusades; almost entirely on how they related to the Islamic Empire. To the Europeans, Christianity was the one true religion, and Europe was locked into an eternal struggle with the Evil Forces of Islam. The good, true denizens of Europe, with their Christian ways and white skin, were vastly superior to the cruel, vulgar Saracens with their brown and black skin. The one true bastian of faith, Europe, must henceforth set out on another Crusading mission – to spread the One True Word to the lands beyond the Muslim world, where people has not yet had the good fortune to hear the Word of Christ (if indeed they are PEOPLE, as there was genuine doubt during the Spanish Inquisition over whether American Indians were the same “creatures of God” as the Europeans).

This attitude was to have enormous consequences on the way Europe later saw itself and its place in the world. It reached its peak in the racist Imperialist foreign policies of France and Britain during the Industrial Revolution, and puttered out with the genocidal ideas of Adolf Hitler and his attempts at engineering the perfect Aryan race. And it can be said that even though there are no more thuggish Christian knights attacking Muslim cities (woah, wait a minute), the legacy of the Crusades were more far-reaching and devastating than it would initially seem. Luckily, the world has gone past that and the Crusades are now only a historical relic to be learned from, by both Christians, Muslims and and anyone with an interest in the subject.


This concludes the 8-part “The Crusades” series”.