Ancient Egyptian art dates all the way back to 3000BC and provides us with an understanding of ancient Egyptian socioeconomic structures and belief systems. The Ancient Egyptians also developed an array of diverse architectural structures and monuments, from temples to the pyramids that are still a major tourist attraction today. But how much do you know about Ancient Egyptian art and architecture? Christina Riggs, author of Ancient Egyptian Art and Architecture: A Very Short Introduction, tells us ten things we need to know about Ancient Egyptian art and architecture:
- A common preconception is that Ancient Egyptian art all looks the same. In reality, it is very diverse and the style and symbolism of the art depends on the region.
- When Egyptian art does look the same, it is for a very good reason; it is often based on religious beliefs.
- A lot of the artists or architects from Ancient Egypt are unknown and remain anonymous.
- Some forms of art were created purely for sacred or magical purposes.
- Much of Ancient Egyptian art was not meant to be seen by ‘normal people’. The art was created in secret to be viewed by the elite and it was “too powerful to be viewed by the general public.”
- A lot of the buildings you can see and visit in Egypt, such as temples, pyramids, and tombs, would have only been seen at the time by very few people.
- We think of Mummies as an Ancient Egyptian burial ritual but they were actually very sacred objects. Only very few people were ever mummified in Ancient Egyptian history and only the Priests were allowed to see them.
- It was only modern studies on race and racial differences that made Mummies become “medical objects.”
- Ancient Egypt isn’t necessarily more interesting than other ancient empires. Perhaps it is seen as more exotic by Europeans because it is so different to our modern culture, whereas we still see similarities between our culture and Ancient Greece for example.
- You will see Ancient Egyptian art and architecture everywhere, and not just in Egypt. Ancient Egyptian art and architecture continues to inspire and influence modern designers all around the world.
Featured image credit: “Hieroglyphics”, by niki_vogt. Public domain via Pixabay.