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10 surprising facts about Ancient Egyptian art and architecture

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:

  1. 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.
  2. When Egyptian art does look the same, it is for a very good reason; it is often based on religious beliefs.
  3. A lot of the artists or architects from Ancient Egypt are unknown and remain anonymous.
  4. Some forms of art were created purely for sacred or magical purposes.
  5. 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.”
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. It was only modern studies on race and racial differences that made Mummies become “medical objects.”
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

Recent Comments

  1. Fouad M

    It’s fascinating that Ancient Egyptian Art was created for the elite, but has become some of the most widely known and studied forms of artwork.

  2. Adam

    Ancient Egyptian culture and religion may seem foreign/exotic to westerners but in reality it is very similar to other African cultures and religions. Also ancient Egypt deities are still worshiped by tribes in the African great lakes region,tribes in Kenya,Tanzania,Uganda,Rwanda and Congo.

  3. Adam

    Isis the goddess of the sky is worshipped as Asiis the Kalenjin goddess of the sky or Aseeta the Datooga barabaig goddess of the sky,Egyptian and Puntite Neter is just the Kalenjin Netoror(exalted one) and masai Neteru(exalted one).Egyptian Apis is worshipped as Apeso by Kalenjin speaking people.Egyptian Imn or Amen is worshipped as Amoni by Kalenjin speakers and as Imana by bantus of Rwanda,Tanzania,Uganda and Congo.E Egyptian Ra the Sun god is worshipped as Ruwa or Rwa by bantu speakers of Rwanda,Tanzania,Uganda and Eastern Congo..Egyptian Hapi the hippopotamus deity is worshipped as Api by Luo peoples of Kenya,Uganda,Congo,South Sudan and Tanzania.Or as Lhapi by Acholi of Uganda.

  4. Cem ALTIBAS

    It is interesting, Ancient Egyptian art is a symbol of the power. However, the other civilizations have similar buildings. All of them are like stairs going to sky ( Mayan, Nubian pyramids or pyramids in Mexico.) It is obvious taht religion and civilization competitions made people go forward in art and architecture.

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