Ancient Egypt
 

Q. What is the creature that walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon and three in the evening?

A. A human

Q.There are two sisters: one gives birth to the other and she, in turn, gives birth to the first. Who are the two sisters?

A. Day and night

Seated Scribe, from Saqqara. c. 2400 BCE. Limestone, height 21".
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Palette of King Narmer

The Palette of King Narmer. ca. 3000 - 2920 BCE. Slate, height 25".

 

other Predynastic Egyptian palettes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Victory Stele of Narim Sin

Victory stele of Naram-Sin, Susa, Iran, 2254 – 2218 BCE. Stone, height 6' 6".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

map of upper and lower Egypt
crowns of Egypt
Crowns of Egypt - a) White Crown of Upper Egypt (the South), b) Red Crown of Lower Egypt (the North),
c) Double Crown of Unified Egypt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Palette of King Narmer back
Palette of King Narmer
First known depiction of a historical figure identified by name
Pictographs at top spell “Narmer”

Horizontal fish = nar

Vertical chisel = mer
Enclosed by two heads of Hathor
 
Iconography
  • Narmer wears crown of Upper Egypt
  • Seizes enemy by hair, prepares to club him
  • Ttwo slain enemies lie in lower compartment beneath his feet
  • Small, rectangular shape near fallen man's head represents citadel
  • Scene repeated by human-armed falcon capturing man-headed plant
  • Falcon symbol of Horus = sky god, and protector of king
  • Human head grows with papyrus
Back side of the Palette of King Narmer. ca. 3000 - 2920 BCE. Slate, height 25".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Palette of King Narmer front
  • Narmer wears crown of Lower Egypt
  • Reviews bodies of slain warriors
    • Bodies of enemies seen from above with heads between their feet
  • Scene repeated symbolically in bottom bull scene
    • Bull = king knocking down citadel
    • Narmer depicted on both sides with bull’s tail tied around waist
  • Long-necked, intertwined snake-lions restrained by attendants
    • May relate to similar Mesopotamian symbols which unite the male and female symbols of fertility
    • Symbolize unification of Egypt
Front side of the Palette of King Narmer. ca. 3000 - 2920 BCE. Slate, height 25".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Portrait Panel of Hesy-ra
Portrait Panel of Hesy-ra, Third Dynasty, ca. 2600 BCE. Wood, height 45".

Old Kingdom Standard Grid -
Egyptian Canon of Proportions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nebamun hunting fowl

Nebamun hunting fowl, from the tomb of Nebamun, Thebes, 18th Dynasty, ca. 1400 BCE.
Fresco secco, 2' 8" high.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Judgement of Osiris

The Weighing of the Heart and the Judgement of Osiris, from the Book of the Dead of Hunerer,
1285 BCE. Painted papyrus, height 15 5/8".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

King Ramses I mummy
Eye of Horus
Mummified remains, ca. 1185 BCE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mastaba to pyramid

Mastaba to Pyramid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

map of Ancient Egypt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Dynasty - mastaba

Mastaba of Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep

Third Dynasty - stepped pyramid
Fourth Dynasty - bent pyramid
Fourth Dynasty - pyramid
 
Mastaba of Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep, mid 5th Dynasty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stepped pyramid of King Djoser

Imhotep, stepped pyramid of King Djoser, Saqqara, Third Dynasty, ca. 2630 - 2611 BCE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Imhotep

Statuette of Imhotep, Late Period ca. 664 - 332 BCE. Bronze

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

King Djoser Funerary Complex
 
  • About 1800 feet by 900 feet
  • Surrounded by a 35-foot-high, niched wall
  • Ceremonial buildings shaped and decorated like earlier structures made of mud, reeds, rushes, or wood
  • Although they appear to be real buildings, most aren’t- they even have fake doors
  • Two of everything in complex, even two tombs
Detail of the facade of the north palace of the mortuary precinct of Djoser, Saqqara, Third Dynasty, ca. 2630 - 2611 BCE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Djoser's Funerary Complex

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bent Pyramid of Sneferu, Dahshur, Fourth Dynasty, Old Kingdom, ca. 2600 BCE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old Kingdom

 

Great Pyramids

Khufu, Imhotep, and Hemiunu, The Great Pyramids, Gizeh. Fourth Dynasty.
From left front to back right: pyramids of Menkaure (Khufu's grandson, Mykerinos),
ca. 2490 - 2472 BCE; Khafre (Khufu's son, Cheprin), ca. 2520 - 2494 BCE;
and Khufu (Cheops), ca. 2551 - 2528 BCE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Khufu's Pyramid
  • Khufu may have witnessed building of Djoser’s complex as a young man
  • Until the Eiffel tower was built in 1887, tallest structure ever built
  • Sides align almost exactly with the four points of the compass
 
  • "By the Fourth Dynasty, the pharaohs considered themselves the sons of Re and his incarnation on earth. For the pharaohs, it would have been only a small step from their belief that the spirit and power of Re resided in the pyramidal ben-ben to the belief that their divine spirits and bodies would be similarly preserved within pyramidal tombs.” – Gardner's Art Through the Ages
Khufu's Pyramid ca. 2551 - 2528 BCE, Giza.

 

"Time laughs at all things, but the pyramids laugh at time." - Arab Proverb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How were the Great Pyramids built?
  • Khufu's pyramid contains about 2,300,000 blocks
  • Estimate about 20 to 100,000 people (not slaves) built the great pyramids
    • Worked 3 months a year for 20 years
    • Understood the work to be of honor
Modern Egyptian standing on pyramid building blocks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

diagram of necropolis at Giza

Plan of necropolis at Gizeh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"The elaborate explanations [for the sphinx] are totally unnecessary. The falcon was identified with Horus, while the lion was identified with the sun and thus with the sun-god, Ra, and Ra's divine colleague Amun. To have a statue, half-lion, half-falcon, guarding the place where your soul would exist eternally, was to claim the protection of Egypt's most powerful gods. To put your own face on the statue was to claim their identity. The name "sphinx" is a Greek corruption; the original Egyptian name for the figure was probably 'shesepankh,' or 'living image.'" - Susan Wise Bauer
 
Gate of the Citadel of Sargon II
Hatshepsut's Sphinx
Gate of the Citadel of Sargon II, Dur Sharrukin (modern Khorsabad), Iraq, ca. 720 – 705 BCE.
Sphinx of Hatshepsut, 18th Dynasty, ca. 1479 – 1458 BCE. Granite and paint. 64 9/16" high; 135 1/16" long.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Pyramids

Khufu, Imhotep, and Hemiunu, The Great Pyramids, Gizeh. Fourth Dynasty.
From left front to back right: pyramids of Menkaure (Khufu's grandson, Mykerinos),
ca. 2490 - 2472 BCE; Khafre (Khufu's son, Cheprin), ca. 2520 - 2494 BCE;
and Khufu (Cheops), ca. 2551 - 2528 BCE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diagram of Khufus' Pyramid