Egyptian Art History
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Egyptian arts consist of unique architecture, paintings, and sculptures. Egyptian kings and rulers produced these arts in between 3000 BC to 100 AD. Most of these sculptures and paintings were designed to preserve the memory of the past. Egyptian art is popular for its unique design and style. It presents the landscape of highly developed ancient Egypt, its culture, and royalty. The following paper analyses different Egyptian art works and illustrates their function, style, technique, and iconography. Moreover, it explains how art and architecture reflect the ancient civilization of Egypt. Also, it describes rituals and beliefs of ancient Egyptians.
Art and architecture reflect ancient ideologies, cultures, and rituals of a society. The ancient Egyptian arts describe lifestyles of pre-Islamic Africa. Moreover, symbolism played a great role in describing a specific sense of order. It contains various symbols, including Egyptian gods, goddesses, animals, and some instruments. Besides, artists added expensive colors to their paintings to make them more realistic. Skin colors of paintings symbolize lives of people. For example, artists used red skin colors to indicate hard working people and yellow skin color for middle-aged men and women. Furthermore, they painted divinely figures with golden or blue color. Some of the famous Egyptian art works are Narmer palette and Khufu’s statue.
Narmer palette is one of the most famous hieroglyphic inscriptions of the ancient Egypt. During the ruling of king Narmer, some artist designed it to unify the Lower and Upper Egypt. On one side of the palette, the king is represented in a white crown of Southern Egypt, which is also popular as Upper part. On the other side, the king is wearing a red crown of Northern Egypt. The palette defines various ancient and classic conventions of Egyptian arts.
Usually, Egyptian people used palettes to grind cosmetics or herbs, but the Narmer Palette is too heavy and large. So, experts believe that it was used to perform rituals and as a votive object. It may have been used as a specific tool for donation in temple. Moreover, a theory explains that the palette was used to grind cosetics to decorate statues of ancient gods.
The Narmer Palette is 63 cm tall and it has a carved shield shape. It is made of dark gray siltstone. Both sides of the palette are designed with symbols of curved horns and the phonetic name of king Narmer. Some symbols represent cow goddesses. Furthermore, it shows the convention of old important figures. The smiting side of the palette shows that king Narmer is wearing the crown and is going to strike a prisoner who is knelling down on the right side. Above the prisoner, a falcon is sitting on the set of papyrus flower. The flower represents marshes of Lower Egypt. On the left side, a man is bearing sandals of the king. Below the king, two naked men are trying to run away. Moreover, the other side of the palette shows the god-like status of Narmer when he appears in a procession. Below the procession, two men are holding two mythical animals and there is a bull in the bottom. Such art symbols describe the ancient ruling of the king and his punishment of prisoners. Moreover, it elaborates records of actual past events.
Khufu’s statue is famous for its significant artifacts. It was discovered in 1903 and it represents ancient Egyptian king or Pharaoh Khufu. He was a member of the Fourth dynasty. He took part in the construction of the great pyramid. Some experts believe that it belonged to the 26th Dynasty. Research shows that it was a part of a traditional statue cult, which helped ancient people to worship the king.
Khufu’s statue is about 7.5 cm tall and 2.6 cm wide. The statue is partially damaged while its outer surface is polished and smooth. It represents the king in a red crown. The king is sitting on a large and undecorated throne. Khufu’s right hand is placed over his chest and his left arm is resting on his thigh. Some parts of the statue are already broken. For example, the red throne is damaged and the feet are broken. Khufu’s head is a bit over-proportioned as compared to his body. Furthermore, he is not wearing the ceremonial beard in the statue. Moreover, the king’s upper body is without any cloth. Researchers believe that Khufu’s statue was used in spiritual practices.
Egyptian arts and visual records depict the culture and traditions of ancient Egypt. Egyptian kings constructed various monuments and paintings to circulate their integrity. Moreover, some rulers constructed sculptures to honor their ancestors, gods, and goddesses. Most of the works show the rich culture of the nation. They also show the great love and respect of Egyptians to their kings.
In addition, these works display ritual practices and beliefs of two different cultures. For example, the Narmer Palette presents two different cultures of Egypt. It illustrates lives of lower and upper class people. Usually, the lower class practiced various rituals that showed gratitude to the god for their achievements. For example, in a specific ritual, poor laborers were encouraged to show gratefulness to the god for the gifts they got such as fingers, arms, or legs. The ritual helped them to understand that god gifted them with hands, which helped them to harvest field crops. They also supposed that negative thinking was a great sin. Hence, they practiced positive behaviors in their day-to-day lives.
In conclusion, Egyptian arts consist of various paintings, sculptures, and monuments that guide people when learning about the ancient civilization. These arts have unique styles and designs that draw people’s attention. Moreover, statues and monuments helped people to worship their gods and goddesses in ancient times. Most sculptures have symbols of past kings and their ancestors. The pre-Islamic African rituals supposed that these arts helped people to practice their religious traditions. They also helped ancient people to show gratitude to gods for their achievements. Moreover, the arts have different colors, symbols, and drawings that indicate lifestyle of specific communities. Artists used different colors to paint different classes of people. The famous art works, Narmer palette and Khufu’s statue, display a civilized life of ancient people. These works also help the audience to understand past records of various territories. Some symbols of these works indicate power and achievements of King Narmer and King Khufu. Besides, these art works show that kings used to punish people who broke laws of the society.
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