As ancient Egyptian arts spans a vast time frame, a thematic technique is advantageous to conceptually attach the wide selection of objects that will be viewed throughout the lecture. An icebreaker to begin the lecture could be to just ask what student associate v the art of old Egypt. This have the right to lead come a discussion of how museum exhibitions, Hollywood films, and the media form perceptions of specific cultures that might or might not correlate with historical truths. Early stage discussions can likewise build off of regional museum collections (if available), through students considering exactly how objects in the museum differ from the objects in their original contexts. For example, what go it median to see funerary objects in a museum, together opposed to in ~ sealed burial places that were never meant come be checked out by the public?

At the time of uploading this content, newspaper headlines reflect the state that civil chaos in present-day Egypt. When the class looked at objects and sites native Prehistory and also the old Near East, they might have questioned architecture and also design as statements that power and also control. Ancient leaders used art and also architecture to demonstrate their dominance, together did more modern-day figures likes Saddam Hussein in the 1980s during Iraq’s border wars v Iran. During the Arab Spring, and also in its still-unstable aftermath, the role of the artist is tho important, providing voice to politics opinion and also potentially stabilizing or subverting power.

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You might begin the great by questioning the college student what lock know around the Arab spring or around the activities in Tahrir Square. The college student will have actually seen prehistoric cavern paintings by this point and could look at wall paintings in the inner of mastabas and also pyramids during this lesson. Compare and contrast ancient motivations for creating visual imagery on walls (communication of ideas, ritual, tradition, commemoration, status) with, for example, Arab spring graffiti (and further examples from the occupy movement) to show that wall surface art continues and still means some of the same things.

As this article on artist in the middle of polite unrest suggests, “prior come the uprising, graffiti wasn’t lot in proof in … The wall was no for civilization …. The simple reclaiming of this public surfaces to be an action of defiance in itself against the government. This public space wasn’t public and that’s why graffiti appeared so quickly after the revolution, due to the fact that people want to occupy the space.”


You can want to use your inspection textbook, and one of the comprehensive education guides from the Met Museum. The Met’s guide cuts to the chase and also highlights key images with short, explanatory texts on each one. Egyptologist Kara Cooney describes in a nutshell why we room all still fascinated with old Egypt today.

Other resources include Smarthistory’s excellent Ancient Egypt section, in specific the opened essay, i m sorry highlights few of the an essential themes because that this content area: longevity, constancy and also stability, geography, and time. Over there are more at-home readings for students in the AHTR online syllabus.

Málek, Jaromír. Egyptian Art. London, England: Phaidon Press, 1999.

There room a selection of video resources obtainable on ancient Egypt that have the right to be selected and also customized based upon the understanding of your class as well as the museums in her area. Consisted of in the PPT is a brief video clip by history Channel on how to do a mummy.

Other online resources include:


Palette of Narmer, Pre-Dynastic Period, c. 3000–2920 BCE, slate, 2’1’’. Basic concepts: art as offered to to express power and authority/relationship between art and also politics/idealization versus naturalism/art and also social hierarchiesTi watching a hippopotamus hunt, native the mastaba that Ti, Saqqara, Old Kingdom, c. 2450–2359 BCE, painted limestone, 4′ high. Basic concepts: Conventions in art: canon of proportions (idealization), composite view, hieratic scale/art and the afterlifeGreat Pyramids, Gizeh, 4th Dynasty, Old Kingdom. General concepts: Art/architecture together a enjoy of a culture’s central belief systems and social hierarchies/art and the afterlifeMenkaure and his wife, native Gizeh, fourth Dynasty, Old Kingdom, c. 2490–2472 BCE, 4’6” high; Museum of well Arts, Boston. General concepts: Idealization matches naturalism/art and also social hierarchies/conventions in art/art and also the afterlifeSeated Scribe, native Saqqara, 4th Dynasty, Old Kingdom, c. 2500 BCE, 1’9” high, painted limestoneCompared through Khafre Enthroned, Gizeh, 4th Dynasty, Old Kingdom, c. 2520–2494 BCE. General concepts: Funerary monuments/idealization matches naturalism/conventions in art/art and the afterlife/art and also social hierarchiesMortuary holy place of Hatshepsut, Deir el-Bahri, 18th Dynasty, new Kingdom, c. 1473–1458 BCE, red granite, 8’ 6” high; metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, reconstructedHatshepsut with supplying jars, from the top court of she mortuary temple, Deir el-Bahri. General concepts: depictions of power and also authority/relationship in between art and also architecture/representations of women in art/conventions in artTemple that Ramses II, Abu Simbel, new Kingdom, c. 1290–1224 BCE, sandstone, Colossi= 65’ high. General concepts: depictions of power and authority/relationship in between art and also architectureAkhenaton, from the holy place of Aton, Karnak, Amarna Period, c. 1353–1335, sandstone, 13’ high. Basic concepts: Why execute conventions in art change?/the person body in art


Pre-Dynastic and also Early Dynastic periods (c. 3500–2575 BCE)Old Kingdom (c. 2575–2134 BCE): the “age of pyramids”Middle Kingdom (c. 2040–1640 BCE)New Kingdom (c. 1550–1070 BCE)

Glossary:Canon that proportionsComposite viewHieratic scaleIdealizationKa: the immortal soul of the deceased, in Egyptian religion.Mastaba: a key term introduce to the traditional tomb form in early on Egypt characterized by a rectangular stone or brick framework with sloping sides and also a level top end an underground funeral chamber.Register

General concepts:

Although the photos are ordered mostly by chronology, they can be offered to resolve a selection of themes throughout the class to guide discussions and also related assignments.

Thematic ideas include:

Conventions in old Egyptian art: This theme focuses on how certain conventions persisted over hundreds of years. Consider why details conventions were used for such long periods of time, likewise discussing why certain conventions adjusted over time. If girlfriend have already covered the art of the old Near East, comparisons can be made in between the conventions of ancient Egypt and also those that the old Near East.Idealization matches naturalism: perhaps stemming indigenous a consideration of hieroglyphs, students deserve to see just how visual photos are regularly abstracted and standardized to emphasize details symbolic meanings, in contrast to mirroring objects and people together they would appear in actual life. Exactly how does idealization relate to social and also political structures? questioning students come compare v our own standards of portraying leaders in the media.The relationship in between art and also a culture’s belief systems and/or social hierarchies: Why was arts in ancient Egypt created, and also for whom was it made? The art of old Egypt was largely developed for elites, v visual conventions expressing constant ideals. A persistent worry with death, burial, and the afterlife were likewise driving pressures of Egyptian intuitive culture.

You can start discussion approximately the an initial object through asking your students exactly how we prepare for significant life events, posing the adhering to questions come them:

How numerous of you prepare for going the end on a weekend night (getting pull on up, inviting girlfriend over, deciding where to go out)? opportunities are, many of her students will be able to relate to this.

How many of friend prepare for her birthday or assist prepare for the date of birth of a great friend or household member (getting a cake, candles, gifts, arranging a party)? Again, it’s very probable that many students will have actually planned a birthday event.

How plenty of of you have made plans for as soon as you die, your funeral, and your trip right into the afterlife (having a dig or coffin built, deciding what to have buried with you, figuring out what the afterlife might look like)? the is less probable—although not totally unlikely!—that her students will have provided this major life occasion much thought.

Ancient Egyptian society was predicated in big part ~ above a very close connection to death, and to understand much of the material society in this lesson, students require to recognize from the start that ancient Egyptians thought around death and what occurred after death in a radically different method than we perform today. Death was constantly immanent for the individuals of the ancient Near East, as there was so much civil unrest. The was quite the the opposite in old Egypt, wherein the ruling empires of kings and also pharaohs created a stable atmosphere where world could arrangement for the finish of their lives and also their afterlife, lot the same means some world have 401Ks and retirement plan today.

Our chronology because that this content area begins approximately 3000 BCE with the start of this “dynastic period” under King Narmer. The Narmer Palette, c. 2950–2775 BCE, is a great place come start discussion in a class on old Egypt together it highlights some crucial ideas: the political and social hierarchies (Narmer is vast = hieratic scale = leadership and also status); society (this thing visualizes and also commemorates the marriage of Upper and Lower Egypt, and the beginning of Dynastic Egypt); and Ancient Egyptian visual conventions (separating room using registers and depicting human numbers using streamlined contours and also twisted perspective). The palette was uncovered in Hierakonpolis, the old Pre-Dynastic funding located in the southern of Egypt, by a British excavator in the late nineteenth century. The Pre-Dynastic period just way the Neolithic settlement era in Egypt before Narmer come along and also unified it approximately 3000–2950 BCE.

The palette of Narmer provides wonderful starting allude to comment on how art in old Egypt was developed by and also for elites. Often, together it is in this case, a pharaoh i was delegated artworks in order to proclaim his divine power and absolute authority through collection visual conventions. The unnatural and also stylized human figures in the color pension of Narmer introduce plenty of of the standard methods of illustrating the human being body consisting of hieratic scale and the composite view. Rather than seeking come represent human beings as lock look in actual life, body in old Egyptian arts are frequently idealized and also abstracted follow to a details canon that proportions. The depiction of the pharaoh together an idealized, youthful, and also athletic figure likewise reinforces the political blog post of the artwork, through the ruler appearing much more eternal and divine than human.

The majority of the images showing up in this lecture space from the Old Kingdom, i m sorry is considered a period of immense development of Egyptian art, lot of which was produced with a concern for keeping life ~ death. Ti city hall a hippopotamus hunt is typical of wall reliefs that were well-known with well-off patrons at the time. Choose in the palette of Narmer, he number of Ti is shown in hieratic scale, definition he is much bigger than climate hunters approximately him, illustrating his elite status. Back Ti was no a pharaoh, he to be a government official that was wealthy enough to have actually a lavishly decorated tomb. This images, carved onto the walls of his tomb, were supposed to for sure his everlasting success in the afterlife.

This overwhelming problem for the afterlife is apparent in the many canonical Egyptian Monuments, the good Pyramids. Pyramids arisen from the smaller sized mastaba tomb form. The intermediary architectural kind was the stepped pyramid, exemplified through the Stepped Pyramid of Djoser.

The Great Pyramids at Gizeh take it these architectural creates to the next level. Lock were produced during the Fourth empire of the Old Kingdom, i beg your pardon is frequently referred to together the “age the pyramids.” The difference in scale and impact can be instantly noticed, and can lead to a conversation of the change in the social standing of pharaohs throughout the Old Kingdom. Each pyramid has a funerary temple beside it v a causeway causing the Nile; as soon as the pharaoh died, his body was ferried throughout the river. The pyramids themselves have elaborate internal plans v false passageways and corridors to thwart potential grave robbers. While numerous questions still remain about how the pyramids were built, they likewise remain together monumental proof of the progressed engineering ability of the ancient Egyptians, their capacity to mobilize a massive labor force, and also again, the overwhelming prestige of the afterlife.

Although they space still constructed within enormous tomb complexes, every pyramid serves together a lasting monument come the individual pharaoh that developed it. (See PBS’s NOVA: ancient Egypt because that interactive 360-degree views). Originally challenged in white limestone, the pyramids would have been spectacular, showing the hot desert sun. This association with the sunlight was no accidental, in fact, the form of the pyramids themselves was intended to echo the suns rays shining under on earth, emphasizing the id that deceased pharaohs climbed up the rays to sign up with the sunlight god Ra. If ziggurats have already been discussed, castle could carry out a fruitful comparison to look at just how architectural forms refer to their sacred content and also strive to affix with the heavenly realm. This is a principle that deserve to be changed to as soon as looking at the breakthrough of Gothic basilicas later in the semester.

Along v the treasures and also objects in ~ the tombs, the interiors of pyramids to be filled with statuary, relief sculpture, and wall surface paintings such as those discovered in the tomb that Nefertiti, the an effective wife the the new Kingdom pharaoh Akhenaton. All of these objects and also images were meant to ensure the survival of the deceased in the following world. An image depicting an giving being made come the dead, because that example, would ensure the the stood for items would be accessible in the next world.

The lavish burial practices of the old Egyptians additionally involved the routine mummification the the bodies of the deceased, which to be dried out through salts and also wrapped in linen strips and also sheets soaked through resin, so that they would remain unchanging and also whole forever, giving a kept resting place for the heart of the deceased. Although he passed away at age 18 and was a minor ruler, King Tutankhamen is famous for his splendid tomb that was discovered in 1922 through the British excavator Howard Carter. Such completely intact tombs were rare because of rampant tomb robbing, making the tomb’s remaining treasures exceedingly precious, through the most valuable find being the fully enshrined human body of the pharaoh. The innermost coffin to be made of end 240 pounds the gold extended with glass and semi-precious stone inlay.

Funerary statues were also main to interment practices. Quite than serving as realistic portraits of your patrons, Egyptian funerary statues such together that of Menkaure and also his wife from the Fourth empire were meant to serve as eternal houses for the soul of the deceased, or the ka. Return the mummified human body of the deceased was intended to last forever, this figures, sculpted in exceptionally hard stone, were intended to administer a an ext permanent and also guaranteed home for the ka, must anything happen to the mummified body. In this example, Menkaure is shown striding forward through his hand clenched together his idealized youthful, muscular body, which conforms come the very same Egyptian ideals clearly shows in the color board of Narmer. Menkaure’s stance below is indicative the power, with one foot inserted slightly ahead of the other. The placing of his wife, v her hand on her husband, speak to their marital status. Together was typical in Egyptian statuary, the numbers are not fully freed native the rock blocks, reflecting an attention in permanence. As in the color pension of Narmer, the figure of the pharaoh and his wife room idealized, fairly than naturalistic, confirmed by your stiff and generalized features, and abstracted anatomy. These conventions can also be checked out in Khafre Enthroned, another funerary statue indigenous the 4th Kingdom, accentuating their role as residences for the ka, rather than together portraits of living individuals.

In contrast to the statue of Menkaure and his wife and that of Khafre Enthroned, the Seated Scribe from Saqqara is a painted sculpture the exhibits a high level that naturalism. The Seated Scribe has actually a lifelike quality completed through the painting of the plaster and the use of inlaid eyes. Despite looking much more like a lifelike individual, his protruding stomach, seated pose, and the stylus he was when holding quiet reflect widespread conventions, indicating his occupation as a scribe. Scribes had an elevated position in old Egyptian society and were extremely valued, yet they to be not displayed with the same level the idealism together the divine pharaohs. Further discussion can think about if similar dichotomies exist in our own picture culture, through the acknowledgement that requirements of the best vary end time and between cultures.

The new Kingdom (c. 1550–1070 BCE) to be a prosperous and also stable era following the reunification that Egypt after the tumultuous second Intermediate Period. That is significant by increasingly complicated and monumental building projects that were filled v statuary, painted images, and wall reliefs. Looking an ext closely at such architectural monuments deserve to make that clearer exactly how artworks now found in museums to be originally part of bigger architectural complexes and also were intended come be viewed with various other visual images. The interrelation that ceremony and images can be seen through the Mortuary temple of Hatshepsut, that is the very first recorded female monarch in history. The temple, carved out of the rock face, is a notable adjust from the use of pyramids in the Old Kingdom yet has one equally significant effect, with its huge colonnaded terraces. This incredible complicated was among several structure projects executed by the mrs pharaoh, evidencing a desire to use art as propaganda come affirm her power and status (which to be even an ext pivotal to her power as a female monarch). Within the massive complex, painted reliefs storage the woman ruler, emphasize her magnificent birth, and highlight her achievements. Statues such together Hatshepsut with giving jars, which present the queen do offerings come the gods, lined the entry come the temple and also were uncovered throughout the complex. Various other statues portrayed her as a sphinx or together Osiris, god that the afterlife. This multiple pictures of the queen reinforce her associations with the gods and her magnificent birth, and also her absolute strength as pharaoh. The multiplication of photos of the monarch in different roles can later be compared to Augustus’ use of statuary in the roman Empire.

The statues the Hatshepsut also demonstrate her unusual position as a mrs monarch. Save in mind, over there was no word for “queen” in the old Egyptian language; the queen was dubbed the “wife of the king” (“The arts of old Egypt,” 31), portraying the lack of precedent for woman pharaohs. In artworks prefer Hatshepsut with supplying jars, therefore, she is shown with conventional icons of imperial males, such as a false ceremonial beard and also male anatomy, despite also being shown with feminine attributes. Hatshepsut at some point assumed the location of king, and is described in inscriptions as “His” majesty (Kleiner, 70–1).

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The consideration of sculpture in relationship to design is even an ext relevant in the Temple that Ramses II at Abu Simbel. Ramses II ruled for practically 75 years and is renowned for the armed forces successes throughout his reign. The temple complex features large scale, 65′-tall colossal photos of the pharaoh the flank the entrance. Within there room multiple 32′-tall pictures of the pharaoh. Together, they serve as emphatic and also everlasting declaration of the power and also authority the the great pharaoh and also bear witness come the picture the leader strove to leave for posterity. Such cool architecture and artworks the the new Kingdom again strove to administer lasting monuments and homes because that the upstream in the afterlife, concurrently serving come reinforce their power, authority, and also divinity because that eternity.