Egypt: Temple of Dendera - paulsmit
[EGYPT 29553]
'Astronomical ceiling in Hathor Temple at Dendera.'

	Looking up in the outer hypostyle hall of the Hathor Temple at Dendera gives you a dazzling view of the astronomical ceiling. It is a mysterious world inhabited by star gods and zodiac  signs but also by weirder creatures such as snakes on tall legs and birds with human heads. 
The astronomical ceiling consists in total of seven separate strips, which are conspicuous by their bright blue colour. Here we see, just above the middle of the picture, the central ceiling strip, where the layer of black soot, that until recently covered the entire ceiling, has only been partly cleaned away. Above that we see part of the first and second strip west from centre. The lower half of the picture is filled with parts of the three strips east from centre.
The first strip east from centre we see most clearly in this picture, as it is not obscured by columns. It consist of three registers. The middle register  deals with the daily voyage of the sun god across the sky. For every one of the twelve hours the sun is depicted in its bark, with a goddess, crowned by a sun disk, standing in adoration before its bow. The lower and upper registers of this ceiling strip are inhabited by deities who protect the sun during its voyage, which progresses from left to right. For a more complete overview of this ceiling strip see picture 29552.
For an overview of the entire astronomical ceiling see picture 29525.
This part of the Dendera Temple was built during the Roman period (first century AD). Photo Paul Smit.