How Egyptian Art Characterized Egyptian Civilization Paper Example

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1853 Words
Date:  2022-09-11

How Egyptian Art Depicts Relations between women and Men, and between adults and children

The ancient Egyptian art depicts women as inferior people who are below men. This view is based on the ancient Egyptian culture where the society held the notion that men needed to go out and work whereas women ought to stay home to take care and the family since that was their chief role (Broude, 2018). Because of this responsibility, mothers were depicted wearing little or no clothing to symbolize reproduction. The idea of nudity in art is associated with that of birth because all people were born without clothing.

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One object that shows the distinction between women and men is the ancient Egyptian sculpture found in the tomb art. For instance, in the new Kingdom tomb statue, men are dressed in a shendyt with a shirt whereas women wear tight-fitting sheath dresses that seem to be made from a single piece of cloth wrapped around the body (Riggs, 2013). The dressing code exhibited in this object does not correspond to the Egyptian archaeological clothing where a bag tunic was the common garment worn by both males and females. However, in this art object, the outfit of men suggests total freedom of movement, but those of women depicts restricted movement.

In addition to men and women, adults and children are also portrayed differently in Ancient Egyptian art. Regarding female figures, two common types of nude female depictions existed: - adolescent girls and fertility figurines. In ancient Egyptians, nude figurines in adolescents also symbolized fertility (Manniche, 2013). The historians have located these objects in a plethora of places including tombs, homes and altered. Most importantly, the artists adorned these figurines with various symbols, gods, objects and deities that have loose representations connecting them to fertility and reproduction. Occasionally, these nude female pictures were glued in a three-dimensional painting (Grajetzki, 2013). Simply put, the young females wearing little to no clothing in the portrayals served the same purpose to the adult women shown in the nude.

In contrast, it was hard to find male figures depicted unclothed. However, men with less power and responsibility in society including children had small penises in the drawings. The small penises portray weakness or membership of a lower class. In some instances, men who come from a lower class are described wearing less clothing while those from the upper level are shown wearing more clothing. However, children nudity indicated innocence, youth and lower rankings among their elders.

How Egyptian art depicted the character of kings and queens

The earliest Egyptians regarded their kings and the kingship office as the uppermost organizing principle in the society. It is because the king played a significant role in maintaining peace, order and political stability. The art of ancient Egypt portrays kings and Queens as the most influential individuals. According to Lloyd (2010), the kings of ancient Egypt are the subject of dominated the artwork depiction because they were the ones commissioning it. History of religion depicts that pharaohs' right to rule followed they are decent from god implying that they acted as a mediator between gods and the world of men. Art depicting pharaohs indicates their wisdom of strength, emphasizing their divine heritage and significance in the world order.

Pharaohs' faces have been painted on the walls of many Egyptian buildings including temples and tombs. Their presence in artistic decorations in these objects demonstrates the importance of power. Besides, the possession of regalia portrayed in these artworks shows their position in the social order which symbolizes their rule (Taylor, 2010). The ancient Egyptian art depicted the power of the kings by including the tool that defined them. Their regalia, for instance, included a crooked staff symbolizing authority, a false beard representing wisdom and a serpent-shaped headband portraying divine wrath towards the enemies (Schweizer, 2010). Additionally, most of Pharaoh's images are painted facing the sun or the gods depicting that the kings were too concerned with ruling the universe and communicating with gods to intervene.

The ancient Egyptian sculptures were used to represent the Egyptian gods, pharaohs, and the divine kings and queens in physical form. The artists created massive and magnificent statues to symbolize famous kings and queens as well as the Egyptian gods (Scott, 2016). The reason for using the statues was to give gods, queens, and king an eternal life, and enable the current generation to see them in physical forms. History depicts that the Egyptian sculpture was closely linked to the Egyptian architecture and mostly concerned the funeral tomb and the temple (Grajetzki, 2013). The materials used to make sculpture include limestone, sandstone, alabaster, granite, copper, and wood extracted from cedar and sycamore.

Whether in paintings, statue or sculpture, Pharaohs were represented continuously by symbols to underscore their divine image and strength. More often, the artists would show the name of the king inside a cartouche to indicate total rule in the universe. Other items included in the Pharaoh's image were the lotus flower and the scarab beetle which represent rebirth and sunrise (Lucas & Harris, 2012). These symbolic objects indicated the spiritual relationship between the kings and the sun as well as their responsibility to bring light in the earth through their strength and wisdom of prayers. Queens, being the wives to the kings, is depicted as the second most potent beings after the king. Most of the sculptures carve them while sitting next to the king wearing their regalia as shown in the figure below. This depiction indicates that Queens in Ancient Egypt had authority in the land. Perhaps, the king granted them some power to rule the universe; therefore, they could easily take the throne in the absence of the king.

The range of Depictions of gods and goddesses in the Egyptian art

The ancient Egyptians believed in the multiple manifestations of their gods and goddesses. These gods and goddesses were permanently represented on the universe by statues, monuments, symbols, plants animals and social concepts (Patch, Eaton-Krauss, & Allen, 2011). These gods and goddesses had names, and the Egyptians described them by their names and images. Through this picture, the Ancient Egyptian artists managed to create the image of the gods and the goddesses. Studies have shown that the representation of the Egyptian gods and goddesses was highly stylized and symbolic to portray the belief that they were the supreme beings (Sparavigna, 2016). Most of the symbols of the divinities are found in temples, tombs, manuscripts and hieroglyphics of Egypt.

By viewing the statues, sculpture, monuments, and paintings, it can be noted that the gods and the goddesses are depicted with human heads while crowns and headdresses of different styles. Some of these divinities are also portrayed as human hybrids with human bodies and animal heads (Schweizer, 2010). This hybrid representation conveys the attributes and qualities of the deity. Most of the Egyptian artworks portray gods with a dark reddish-brown color and the goddesses with yellowish colored skin. These characteristics are not found in rational human beings. Therefore, the artists, through their work, tend to bring the impression that the gods and the goddesses are supernatural beings with unique attributes.

In addition, the deities' images contained in the paintings had specific colors, and this colors had different meanings. The meaning of color symbolism was vital in the artwork. The artists used six significant colors to portray the nature of the gods and the goddesses. The primary colors and the materials used to make them include the following.

Color Material used Meaning
White Clay, limestone, sea shells or eggshells Purity, power, and greatness
Black Compounds of carbon charcoal mixed with animal fat Death, nights and afterlife
Yellow Yellow ochre Gold
Red Red ochre or hematite Life, victory, and anger
Blue Copper silica, calcium, lapis, powdered azurite Water, the sky, fertility, life, rebirth
Green Malachite, mixture of copper oxides and iron with calcium and silica Vegetation, new life, rebirth, and regeneration

Adornment in the Art

The Paintings display the kind of clothes worn by the men and women. Some of them are decorated to depict the aspect of inequality. For instance, the clothes worn by the kings and the queens are different from those worn by the commoners. All men, for instance, wore a wrap- round skirt tied at the waist with a belt. Occasionally, they tied the material around the legs. The length of the skirt changed based on the fashion during that time. However, rich Egyptian men shown in the painting appear to have best quality linen. They also wore jewelry and decorated their clothes. The diagram below indicates the adornment in this art.

For women, the art displays some of the dresses made from fine transparent linen. Perhaps, these dresses were worn by the rich Egyptian women and the nobles in power. The clothes appear to be decorated, and worn with jewelry and headdresses. The paintings, for instance, displays the queens wearing different clothes than the nobles to portray their power and association with the deities. The figure below shows an example of adornment in women clothes as shown in the art.

Further, the art reveals that the ancient Egyptian women colored their nails, palms, sores, palms and hair with a paste containing the yellowish-red pignet of henna leaves. Some maintaining also display the use of tattoo. From an individual perspective, Ancient Egyptian women used tattooing to enhance famine charms. In other words, they used tattoo to protect themselves from the external threats. Further, the erotic overtones of the art exists from the images of brides of the dead laid in tombs. These tombs were adorned with the motif of tattoo.

Distinctive ideas about the body and the Death that Characterized Egyptian Civilization

The concept of death in the Egyptian culture was influenced by the Osirian myth of a dying and rising god who had the ability to confer to the devotees the immortality gift. This aspect of afterlife was initially sought by the kings followed by the ordinary people. Another concept was that of a postmortem judgement where the life of the dead determined his destiny. It is well known that the ancient Egypt consisted of the gods, the goddesses, the dead and the living. During the ancient history, the people believed in life after death. The ambiguity of the funerary monuments in displayed in the artwork clarifies this obsession. Some studies have indicated that the physical preservation of the body was important to all ideas about the afterlife. Of course, the Egyptians argued practically and holding the belief of a disembodied existence seemed to be unacceptable to the people.

Research also indicates that the heart played a critical role in how the Egyptians viewed the body. Probably, Political and religious perspectives lay behind the primary role attributed to the heart. Another study revealed that the Egyptians had the view that the dead would breathe again. As such, the pyramid texts are used to illustrate the ceremony of the opening of the mouth. In other words, the belief in life after death was the major idea that characterized Egyptian civilization. This idea motivated the artists to design the images of the dead and keep them in the monuments and the library f...

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