Download Art of Ancient Egypt: A Resource for Educators by Watts, E. and Girsh, B. and Metropolitan Museum of Art (New PDF

By Watts, E. and Girsh, B. and Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.) and Metropolitan Museum of Art Staff

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The second lid is the most intricate, and the innermost the most subdued and simple. The three coffin lids are, in fact, instructive examples of the principle of variations on a given theme that is an important and constantly recurrent feature of Egyptian art. Canopic Jar Lid in the shape of a royal woman’s head (Poster B) Thebes, Tomb 55, Valley of the Kings, Dynasty 18, Late reign of Akhenaten (ca. 54 Theodore M. Davis Collection, Bequest of Theodore M. Davis, 1915 See slide 22 for the description and viewing notes.

A similar sensitivity to color contrasts is evident in jewelry design (slide 17). Colors not only had aesthetic appeal but also had symbolic meaning. Blue and green were associated with water, the Nile, and vegetation. Yellow and gold stood for the sun and the sun god. Red and redorange had complex meanings involving the desert, power, blood, and vitality. Gender was indicated by color as well as costume. It was a convention to portray men with reddish-brown skin and women with a yellow-tan color (slide 33).

However, images of foreigners could also symbolize the forces of chaos. Thus, reliefs of the king in his chariot trampling Egypt’s enemies—often found on the outside walls and pylon gates of temples— signified not only military triumph but also the triumph of order over chaos and thus protected the temples from evil (slide 18). The bows of Egypt’s nine traditional enemies are often depicted beneath the feet of figures of enthroned kings, emphasizing the protective role of pharaoh. Nubians carrying tribute to the Egyptian king.

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