The Art of Ancient Egypt

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Transcript The Art of Ancient Egypt

Growth of the Egyptian Civilization
 Around 5000BC prehistoric
hunters and their families
settled in the fertile valley of
the Nile River.
 Because they did not have to
search for food, they began to
build more permanent
 This settled existence brought
about an increase in
population and led to a
growth of villages and towns.
 The history of Egypt can be broken up into three
different time periods.
 The Old Kingdom – 500 years
 The Middle Kingdom – 250 years
 The New Kingdom – 1,200 years
 Each kingdom is further divided up into dynasties.
 Dynasty – a period during which a single family
provided a succession of rulers.
 The earliest most dynamic period began around
 Upper and Lower Egypt were united by a powerful
pharaoh names Menes
 The Old Kingdom came to an end when the country
was split into small states which soon broke out in
disorder and civil war.
 Egypt is unified again into a single state and order is
 A time of law, order, and prosperity.
 Began in 1570BC
 Most brilliant period
 Warrior pharaohs used their expertise with horses and
chariots to extend Egypt’s rule to neighboring nations.
 Try to picture the pyramids as they once were; covered
with a smooth layer of polished white limestone.
 What purpose did they serve? How were they built?
What was inside?
•Presents rigid, straight contour
lines that clearly define and
accent the simple triangular
shape of this monumental
•The five largest cathedrals in the
world could all fit within it’s
massive base, with room to
•It was made by piling 2.3 million
blocks of stone to a height of 480 •Built for the pharaoh Khufu.
feet. This makes the pyramid as
•Pharaoh – a ruler that governed with
tall as a 48-story building.
complete authority
 Each pyramid was built on an almost perfectly square
ground plan.
 The pyramid base is much greater than the height.
 Because the pyramid is wider than it is tall it lacks
upward movement. Rather than a soaring quality the
shape and proportions suggest solidity and
 Looking at it from the outside, you might expect the
inside to be spacious. This is not the case.
•Why build such a massive
structure and then provide
such little space inside?
•Religion influenced every
phase of Egyptian life.
 Great importance was placed on the resurrection of
the soul and eternal life in a spirit world after death.
 Believed that the soul, or ka, came into being with
the body and remained in the body until death.
 At death, the ka would leave the body the body for a
time and then eventually reunite with the body again
for the journey to the next world and immortality.
 If the body were lost or destroyed the ka would be
forced to spend eternity wandering aimlessly.
 If the body were lost or destroyed the ka would be forced to
spend eternity wandering aimlessly.
 For this reason Egyptians went to great lengths to preserve
and protect the body after death.
 Following a complicated embalming process, the body was
wrapped in strips of cloth and placed in a sarcophagus in
the burial chamber, where it would be safe until the ka’s
 Sarcophagus – stone coffin
 The most impressive tombs were built for the
 Each pharaoh was more than a king; in the eyes of the
people, he was also a god.
 Each pyramid was built to house and protect the body
of the pharaoh and the treasures he would take with
him from this world to the next.
 His body was sealed in a sarcophagus, a stone coffin
and then placed in the burial chamber near the center
of the pyramid.
 Originally, the Egyptians buried their dead in hidden
pits and piled sand and stone over the top.
 This changed when they began to use sun-dried bricks
to build mastabas.
• Mastaba – a low, flat
tomb with sloping
 In time, several mastabas of diminishing size were
stacked on top of each other to form a step pyramid.
 Finally they were built without steps
 During the Middle Kingdom the construction of
Pyramids was seen as impractical.
 This lead to the construction of elaborate temples cut
into the cliffs of the Nile River valley.
 Each temple was built by the command of the pharaoh
and was dedicated to his favorite god.
 When the pharaoh died the temple would become a
funeral chapel where people brought offerings for the
pharaoh’s ka.
•A temple was enlarged by several pharaohs until it reached
it’s tremendous proportions.
•Dedicated to the all-powerful chief god of Thebes.
Dynasty – a period during which a single family provided
a succession of rulers.
Mastaba – a low, flat tomb with sloping sides.
Pharaoh – a ruler that governed with complete authority
Sarcophagus – stone coffin