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

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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A Geometric Basis for Natural Forms The structural elements of Egyptian art are the cube and horizontal and vertical axes. When preparing to carve a statue or decorate a wall, Egyptian artists first drew horizontal and vertical guidelines on the surface so the proportions of the figures would be consistent with the established canon. The result of such measured proportions and relationships was an art of remarkable order and uniformity that maintains the same balance whether in a colossal statue or a figure in hieroglyphic script.

A plan of the tombs of Meketre and Wah is on page 77. You may want to photocopy it for your class. A second large cut-rock tomb, belonging to Inyotef, probably Meketre’s son, is also indicated on the plan. 61 Poster Descriptions Coffin set of Henettawy (Poster A) Thebes, Deir el-Bahri, Dynasty 21, ca. C. Gessoed and painted wood, l. 79 7/8 in. 182–184 The “mistress of the house and chantress of Amun-Re,” Henettawy died, still in her twenties, during a time of political change (the so-called Third Intermediate Period).

For instance, after hemet (wife) there is the figure of a seated woman. Since hieroglyphs represent only the consonant sounds, determinatives served to differentiate between words that have the same consonants but different vowels. Determinatives are not pronounced. 47 48 In order to write well, Egyptian scribes needed to know some seven hundred hieroglyphs and to be able to draw them clearly. In documents on papyrus, which are usually written in a cursive script, the scribe wrote from right to left.

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