In what ways did the geography of Egypt shape its culture and art? What did Egyptians think of the world around them? Why? How is this
Question: In what ways did the geography of Egypt shape its culture and art? What did Egyptians think of the world around them? Why? How is this expressed in the function and style of their art? Be sure to cite an example to illustrate your points.
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1. Artistic Beginnings
As stated in our first module, the Egyptian civilization thrive along the Nile River Valley. Not only was the area known for the glistening of sun on sand but for it’s dry air and confining river banks. While reading, I could not help but note the materials that were being used in the various artwork (like limestone, schist, gold) and how this helped create the withstanding durability of the work. I was not surprised at all to find that they are all native to the Nile River Valley area and that the turquoise coloring of King Tutankhamon’s death mask was a uniquely produced glaze made by the Egyptians by mixing desert sand with water and natron, then firing it, known as faience (Magher). Had the Egyptians not been surrounded by these organic materials and the incentive to create a world around dedicated to the beauty of the sun and beliefs, the culture and artwork would not exist today.
The Egyptians felt that present life was dedicated to the afterlife and that crafting items committed to representing to preserving or immortalizing the soul were essential to their community. We see this in the Pyramids of Gizeh, the shapes of clearly defined triangles pointing to the heavens to help the Pharaoh’s on their journey to their God’s, the statues that were thought to preserve the souls of the Pharaoh’s they were honoring (ex. Khafre Enthroned), and the death mask of King Tut, that captured his youthful nature and preserve his immortality.
Magher, Maria. Where Did the Ancient Egyptians Get the Materials to Make Art? SeattlePI. https://education.seattlepi.com/did-nile-river-influence-egyptian-art-6074.html Accessed 7 September 2020.
2. Ancient Egypt was very unique and allowed Egypt to become a very successful civilization. Egypt’s geography contributed all aspects of Ancient Egyptians lives such as the Nile River being their source of food, water, and transportation and the desert offering natural protection.
The Egyptians were protected from invaders due to their geographical features that were in my opinion. For example, they had the Mediterranean Sea to the north along with the Nile. Water blocks off land on the other side. The deserts were a hard climate to travel through. Therefore, nobody could walk across to conquer Egypt. Furthermore, the cataracts in the Nile to the south protected the Egyptians from lands below them. The cataracts were river rapids. This shows that lands south of Egypt would have to travel by water to reach the civilization. This influenced life in the region because it protected the Egyptians, allowing them to create more inventions and expand their growing civilization.
They believed that the basic principles of life, nature and society were determined by the gods at the creation of the world. Ra, The creator god of ancient Egypt was a significant god to them. Their strong beliefs in their gods influenced their development in art and culture. This can be seen in section 13 of the module, Egyptian kings would depart from earth only to ascend to the gods from whence they originally came. The pyramidal shape of the tombs — dramatically pointing to the sky — helped the pharaohs on their journey.
Reference— “Geography.” Ancient Egypt 101, adititaylor.weebly.com/geography.html.
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