Ancient Egyptian Art

The ancient Egyptian civilisation lasted for over 3,000 years. In fact, we are today nearer in time to Cleopatra than she was the the building of the pyramids. The enormous timescale can be subdivided into the:
  • Early Dynastic period (c. 3150-2613 BCE)
  • Old Kingdom (c. 2613-2181 BCE)
  • First Intermediate Period (2181-2040 BCE)
  • Middle Kingdom (2040-1782 BCE)
  • Second Intermediate Period (c. 1782-1570 BCE)
  • New Kingdom (c. 1570-1069 BCE)
  • Third Intermediate Period (c. 1069-525 BCE)
  • Late Period (525-332 BCE)
  • Ptolemaic Period (323-30 BCE)
The commemorative slab shown below is from the Middle Kingdom shows a son on the right bringing food and drink to his parents Khety and Henet on the left. The surprising thing to us is that this is tomb art. His parents are dead, so why is he bringing the food and drink including a massive calf’s leg that he is holding out to them. Most ancient Egyptian wall art is found in tombs and was never designed to be seen by the living. It is there to assist the dead to enter paradise, known as the Field of Reeds. When you consider that they thought a person consisted of multiple parts that had to be assisted into the world of the gods then the complexity is easy to understand. The Book of the Dead consisted of spells and procedures to assist the journey which involved the weighing of the heart by Anubis, the jackal-headed god. If the person had lived a decent life and their heart weighed less then the feather of Matt, the goddess of truth and justice, then they were worthy to live forever in paradise with Osiris.
For more information on this mysterious and intriguing period my YouTube video on ancient Egyptian art is here: