Egyptian Hall
Click here to see a larger view.
 Egyptian Hall
Egyptian Hall, finished in 1889, is decorated in the style of the Nile Valley, and in all of the Ornamentations, accuracy was of the utmost importance.

Twelve huge columns stand on the four sides of the room, surmounted by capitals peculiar to the Temples of Luxor, Karnak, Philae and other ancient edifices. Each column has an original in Egypt. The sections of the columns have borders of reeds and rushes, a fluted frieze, the flying sun-disk, the Uraeus, and other symbolic motifs. Lotus flowers twine around the base of each column; reed decorations are on the cornice; and pyramidal designs complete the panels. Uraei, or sacred asps with extended heads, encircle all sides of the Hall.

The furniture also is in Egyptian style. The Worshipful Master's throne is gilded ebony; the pedestal is flanked by sphinxes.

The pedestals of the Senior and Junior Wardens are also similarly decorated.

The scenes of domestic life on the walls were taken from the hypogea (underground chambers) of the Old Empire. Other scenes were taken from sepulchral chambers.

The ceiling is blue, indicative of the heavens. A solar disk is placed in the East. This is the symbol of Aten, the Sun, the god of Akhenaten. From it emanate rays tipped with the ancient sign of fertility, the Ankh. At various points, the seven planets are indicated by stars. The symbolic representation of the twelve months was copied from the Temple of Rameses at Thebes. The crossbeams of the ceiling are treated with motifs taken from ancient decorative forms; and the intersections have ancient mason-marks.

The frieze of the cornice represents the seasons and the twelve hours of the day, as found at Edfou. The appropriate goddess stands in the prow of a boat. She has a star in a circle over her head. The soffits of the lintels over the columns are alternately figures of Uati, the goddess of the north and south, and Nekhebt, identified by the Greeks with Elithya, the goddess of birth.

East Wall

On the east wall, the cornice of the pylon contains as its central figure the all-seeing eye of Horus. The sloping jambs of the pylon represent the adoration of a Theban deity by Egyptian kings. The panel above the door depicts the goddess having jurisdiction over the east bank of the Nile. The soffits of the pylon contain the names of the principal gods.

The twelve columns and fourteen panels, numbered from the Worshipful Master's right and running counterclockwise, are as follows. Column No. 1 is divided into two parts: the upper, representing the sovereign and his family adoring the sun, and the lower, Horus and Thoth purifying Amenophis II. Column No. 12, to the Worshipful Master's left: the upper panel is the Judgement of the Dead, and the lower, Horus to Osiris, by his mother, Isis. The four panels on this wall represent four great deities: Panel No. 1, Osiris; Panel No. 2, Horus; Panel No. 14, Isis; and Panel No. 13, Ammon-Ra.

North Wall

On the north wall, Column No. 2 represents King Sheshonk worshipping the great triad of Memphis: Ptah, the lioness-headed Sekhet, and Imhotep. Column No. 3 represents Rameses II praying to the Theban triad Ammon-Ra, Mut, and Khonsu. The latter was worshipped as moon-god. Column No. 4 represents Amenophis II offering floral tributes to the gods of Elephantine and the Cataract, Khnum, and his two female companions, Satit and Anuket. Column No. 5 represents King Seti making a milk offering to Osiris, Isis and their son, Horus, the god of Abydos. Panel No. 3 depicts King Amenophis, as a child sitting on the lap of a goddess (from a tomb at Gournah). Panel No. 4 has a man, his wife and their household (from the stele of the Eleventh Dynasty, Abydos-Boulak). Panel No. 5 shows hunting in the marshes (from the tomb of Ti). Panel No. 6 shows Seti I striking war prisoners with a mace (from Karnak). Panel No. 7 depicts Harper (from the tomb of Rameses III, in Thebes).

West Wall

The pylon on the west wall is dedicated to the industrial arts, as found upon the hypogea at Abydos and Bab-el-Moluk. Column No. 6 has the figures of the goddesses Selk and Hathor, lady of the West; Seb, husband of Nut; and the crocodile-headed Sebek, the god of Fayum. Column No. 7 represents Thoth, goddess of Ratui. At Erment she was worshipped as the wife of the hawk-headed Theban sun god Mentu. In the panel above the chair is a bronze relief of Brother Thomas R. Patton, former Right Worshipful Grand Treasurer and benefactor of the Thomas Ranken Patton Masonic Institution for Boys, now the home of the Pennsylvania Youth Foundation .

South Wall

On the south wall, Column No. 8 is dedicated to Neith and Tanen a form of the god Ptah. Column No. 9 is consecrated to Maat, the goddess of truth; Thoth and the goddess Sefekh, mistress of the records. Column No. 10 represents a form of Horus and Set, son of Nut. Column No. 11 represents Osiris, Isis, and the jackal-headed Anubis, guardian of Necropolis, and son of Osiris by Nephthys. Panel No. 8 is Harper (from the tomb of Rameses III). Panel No. 9 shows Rameses in his war chariot. Panel No. 10 shows the bari, or sacred boat (from the Temple of Elephantine). Panel No. 11 depicts Rameses II celebrating a festival. Panel No. 12 has Anubis presiding over the dead, which the soul revisits in the shape of a human-headed hawk, holding the symbol of life in one hand and a sail, emblematic of breath, in the other.

Egyptian Hall is fifty-one feet long, forty-three feet wide and twenty-two feet high.


Copyright© 1996-2011 Grand Lodge Of Pennsylvania