Ancient Egyptian Art.

If life was imitating ancient Egyptian art when Ramssess II was in power, then he certainly had some BIG shoes to fill. Although the examples of overbearing tributes to pharaohs were grandiose, they were also typical of the ancient Egyptians use of art in a more practical sense.

The art of pleasing the powerful.

Ancient Egyptian art was predominately centred around two themes-gods and pharaohs.

For centuries, archaeologists have been uncovering drawings, carvings, statues, paintings and other forms of art that are usually a tribute to either king or god.

Some forms of art were mighty in-your-face sculptures that stood as high as temple walls, and some were smaller more practical examples, such as canopic jars used in mummification It does not seem that art in ancient Egypt was practiced for pleasure only and very few pieces are purely decorative.

The big book of history.

Perhaps incidentally, the main impact art had on ancient Egypt was the record it kept of its history.

For a start, hieroglyphs-as artful and illustrative as they are-were really serving the purpose of writing.

The many representations of pharaohs carved in stone as drawings or carved out of stone as sculptures tell us a great deal about the rule of a particular leader. For example pictures of the pharaoh Akhenaten worshiping the sun god Aten, uncovered a dramatic turn in Egypt's history where it nearly became a one god nation.

Also, the sheer volume of works under Ramesses II, tell us that he ruled for a very long time and was very powerful.

Sacred scratchings.

Many a tomb has held a motherlode of ancient Egyptian art. The importance of the afterlife was never underestimated by the ancient Egyptians so they filled the tombs of the pharaohs with many forms of practical art.

* Canopic Jars- as mentioned before, these jars each had a lid carved into the shape of a god and held the removed organs.

* Paintings- These were used to set the scene for the afterlife. Scenes that showed how the deceased lived were intended to recreate a familiar background for the afterlife.

* Inscribed coffins- Hieroglyphic inscriptions that adorned coffins were not for making them look attractive. They were essential spells designed for a successful journey to the afterlife.

* The Book of The Dead- These papyrus scrolls contained illustrative depictions of important funerary rituals such as the weighing of the heart.

Temple art.

Statues found in temples across ancient Egypt represent gods and pharaohs alike.

The ancient Egyptians believed that a pharaohs image captured in stone would preserve him for all eternity.

Statuettes of Gods inside temple walls were not merely decorative. They were a physical representation of the gods presence in the temple. They were presented offerings and anointed by the priests as if they were living and breathing.

Tell tale signs

Ancient Egyptian art was consistent in nature. Some of the rules that were followed were:

* Representations of pharaohs were larger than others in a scene to demonstrate their importance.

* Statues in the sitting positions had hands on knees.

* Statues of Gods always showed the appropriate animal head. For example Anubis was always represented with a jackal's head.

* Male statues were darker than female ones.

Art in ancient Egypt was meant to capture life as it was at the time. So much so that it was more important to complete the piece in a time frame than it was to perfect it.

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