SLIDE 1 - Rosetta Stone

By 5500 BCENileValley was agriculturally based. Annual floods deposited rich silt.

3100 BCE dynasties formed (kings)

30 dynasties ruled until Egypt was conquered by the Greeks in 332.

Kings were thought to be divine rulers, sons of the Sun God “Ra”.

Gods were depicted in many forms…animal, human, human-animal hybrids.


Worshipped Ra (Sun God) and/or Amen (creator god).

Some combined them into one god, called “Amen-Ra”.

Kings built temples forgods, provided for priests to care for the temples.

The Rosetta Stone was the key to deciphering Egyptian writing. Discovered 1799 CE.

Napoleon took a group of academics on a military expedition to Egypt.

They found this stone (stele fragment) that has 3 sections of inscriptions.

One is in Greek, one in demotic (late Egyptian) and one in hieroglyphic.

All 3 say the same thing, so used the Greek to decipher the Egyptian writings.

SLIDE - Palette of Narmer. (Pre-dynastic era) 3000 BCE. Slate. 2’ 1” tall.

Predynastic Egypt was divided into Upper & Lower. This was found in central Egypt.

Flat stone slab with a circular depression to grind eye paint (shade & protect eyes)

Bas-Relief pictographs on both sides.

King Narmer is the main character in stories.

It records the unification of Upper & Lower Egypt, and the king wears the crown of each.

Historical document and art. Not really used for makeup.

It shows the pharaoh as divine ruler. Commemorative, not funerary.

It is one of the EARLIEST HISTORIC artworks. (Before Law code)

TOP: are heads of Goddess Hathor (cow w/ woman face - daughter of Ra the sun god.)

Between them is a hieroglyphic w/ Narmer’s name.

Back side: in biggest hat is Narmer (wears crown of Upper Egypt) killing the enemy.


The falcon, Horus (sky god) protects him.

Below the king are fallen enemies.

Front: Long necked creatures create hole - depression to mix makeup.

Intertwined necks represent joining of upper & lower Egypt.

Upper band the king surveys the beheaded - head placed between feet.

In the lowest band a bull knocks down the fortress walls of a rebellious city. Aerial view of the city.

Shows the King as a divine ruler – as if he joined Egypt all alone.

SLIDE - Egyptian Figure Cannon

Many poses in Egyptian art impossible in real life. Why?

They used a “cannon” - a predetermined grid formula to show the human body.

Proportions differ by region (use a fist or other part) but viewpoints are the same.

Wanted to represent each body part from its most characteristic angle -

Whichever best captures the identifying features of that part.

Higher status, the more formalized to this cannon.

Royals look youthful, athletic, calm.

SLIDE - Stepped Pyramid at Djoser, IMHOPTEP. Saqqara. 2630 BCE

Early Dynastic period, (Dynasty 3). Limestone. 200’ high

* HANDOUT, Mastaba to Pyramid: page100

Mastabas - flat-topped one-story buildings with slanted walls, over a burial chamber. Mud brick or stone. Sealed.

Contained sarcophagus and grave treasures.

Evolved to stepped pyramids

Different from ziggurats – zigguarats are temples, MASTABAS are tombs.

King Djoser commissioned designer IMHOTEP, first architect known by name. Symbolizes god-like power of King.

Later stacked – evolved into pyramid form.


Plain, like Doric Greek, used at entrance.

Others more graceful, with lotus blossom capitals used on the north wall.

SLIDE - Great Pyramids at Giza. Dynasty 4. Limestone & granite.

Khufu’s is 480’ tall (high as Washington monument in DC), base is 750’ squared.


Believed that the “ka” - life force - continued after death, and needed safety, comfort.

Built elaborate tombs for kings to keep the ka happy

Thought the ka could continue to contribute to well-being of Egypt after death. Believed the ka lived in the body after death, but only if the body was preserved.

This is why they made mummies.

Added all the worldly things ka might want to use in the afterlife.

Can tell it was a time of social cohesion and wealth

Shown by excessive size & riches in these tombs.

The pyramids are royal tombs for 3 Pharaohs: Khufu, Khafre, & Menkaura.

Khufu’s is the largest and oldest.

2.3 million blocks of stone, each block is 2.5 tons, difficult to cut, lift, move.

Sophisticated mathematical calculations. Absolutely level.

The base is only ½” off in elevation from one side to other.

Water trench? Angles had to remain constant.

Oriented to compass points. For centuries, pyramids thought to store grain, not tombs.

SLIDE - Sphinx at Giza. Dynasty 4. Sandstone. 65’ high, 240’ long.

Colossal sculpture, lion with human head

Probably face of Khafre since it is in front of his pyramid

Also behind Khafre’s valley temple (East of Pyramid).

Resembles statues of him inside the pyramid.

Wears the royal headdress and false beard

Largest sculpture in the near East.

Sphinx associated with the sun god.

Combines human intelligence w/ strength of beast.

Dignity, calm, permanence.

SLIDE - Khafre Statue. Giza. Dynasty 4. (Apx. 2500 BCE). Diorite. 5’6”

One of about 20 life-size statues commissioned by King Khafre.

WHY? - Provided a statue of the deceased’s likeness in case the body deteriorated.

Kind of a “back up” house for the ka.

Very few protruding parts, less to break off, easy carve.

Thought if an arm broke off, ka wouldn’t be able to use that arm.

Symbols on the base that proclaim him the ruler of Upper & Lower Egypt

Wears false beard of royalty. Sits on lion throne.

Dignity, calm, permanence

Falcon Horus (god of sky) on his headdress, shows his divinity, protects his head.

Sculptors draw features on sides of block, carve away like a relief - adds to blockiness.

Word “Sculptor” in Egyptian means “he who keeps alive”.

SLIDE - Menkaure & Queen. Giza. Dynasty 4 - Approx. 2480 BCE. Graywacke. 4’ 6”

Found in Menkaura’s temple.

Double portrait of Khafre’s son (King Menkaura) & queen.

Couple forms a single unit,tied together by the stone they are cut from.

Queen’s affectionate embrace.

Both look youthful, formal, one foot slightly forward.

Calm & emotionless, unworried.

Only slightly less rigid than Khafre

King is athletic, nude to the waist, fists tightly clenched.

Queen wears a sheer, snug-fitting garment to reveal her curves, slight swelling of belly.

Timeless nature, conventional pose.

Traces of paint.

SLIDE - Seated Scribe (Kai). Saqqara. Dynasty 5. 2494 BCE. 21” high.

Portrait of a scribe, less formal than royal portraits.

Recording for historical purposes, copy sacred & scientific texts.

Sedentary work has made him flabby, not athletically idealized.

It would be disrespectful to show a pharaoh in this manner.

Sits holding a papyrus scroll & reed pen (which is now missing). Reddish paint.

Scribe is position of honor, so still a formal pose - alert, ready to work. Looks intelligent.

Pupils off-center in the irises, gives the illusion of motion, like seeking eye contact.

SLIDE - Ti Watching a Hippo Hunt. Saqqara. Dynasty 5. (2450-2350 BCE) Painted Limestone. 45” high.

Tombs often decorated with wall paintings & relief sculpture.

Some had religious significance, some just scenes of the deceased’s life.

This is a painted relief sculpture, a wall decoration in the Mastaba (tomb)

Made for a government official, named Ti.

He was a commoner, but had wealth & great power in royal court.

Shows him watching a hippo hunt.

Presented in bands - Birds & foxes, towering Papyrus reeds (vertical lines),

Ti & his men in boats, river with fish & hippos.

Ti is in traditional Egyptian pose (profile & front view) and larger than his men.

River is seen from above, wavy lines are water, but CREATURES in profile.

Not just sport, Hippos wandered into fields by the Nile, destroying crops. Good over evil.

SLIDE - Head of Senusret III. Dynasty 12. (1860 BCE). Red quartzite.

*MIDDLE KINGDOM PERIOD: The Egyptians challenged the pharaohs’ power.

Dynasty collapsed and there was 150 years of turmoil.

In 2040 BCE the Pharaoh of Upper Egypt, Mentuhotep II, united Egypt

Still, many local nobles fought to gain more power for themselves,

This limited the King’s power.

This King, Senruset III, ruled 1874 - 1855 BCE.

Dynamic ruler, and very successful general

This helped him gain some control over country’s nobles

Had difficulty gaining control in Nubia where he led 4 military expeditions. Shows in his face.

Royal portraits were less rigidly formal than the Old Kingdom,

More emotion, more humanity & truth. He looks sad, weary, pessimistic.

Less idealization – can even see bags under his eyes.

SLIDE - Rock-Cut Tombs. Beni Hasan, Egypt. Dynasty 12, 1950-1900 BCE.

Often used instead of mastabas in the middle Kingdom.

Carved out of solid rock, from faces of cliffs, and had various chambers.

Had columns, false doors, niches - each tomb was like a piece of sculpture.

Columns were for looks, not required to hold weight, not functional.

Painted walls with relief carvings for decoration.

SLIDE - MortuaryTemple of Hatshepsut. Deir el-Bahri. Dynasty 18 1473-1458 BCE. Built into the limestone cliffs.


Dynasty 18 regained control over the Nile region restored political strength.

Marriages between Egyptian & Near East Royals helped keep the peace.

Thutmose III was the first to use the term “Pharaoh” - means “great house”.

Like calling the president the “white house”.

A time of TempleComplexes.

Hatshepsut was a female ruler.

Her husband (and half-brother) was pharaoh,

When he died, Hatshepsut had herself declared ruler

Should have been her husband’s son by aminor wife, Thutmose III.

She was often referred to as a male, some statues show her as male, some female.

This is a funerary temple, but NOT a tomb, she was buried in the Valley of the Kings.

A union of nature & architecture.

Cut into cliffs with terraces, pools of water, trees, etc.

Multi-levels, contrasting textures.

Pillars, colossal statues, horizontals & verticals.

SLIDE - Temples of Ramses II. Abu Simbel. Dynasty 19, 1290-1224 BCE. Sandstone. Colossal statues 65’ tall.

Ramses II a bold military commander.

Had a peace agreement with the Hittites

Married2 Hittite princesses to reinforce it.

Built 2 major temples, one for him, one for main wife Nefertari (hers is smaller).

Declaration of his diplomatic & military success - Last great “warrior pharaoh”.

His has 4 colossal seated statues more than 65 feel tall.

SIZE - Usomg art to show power.

Youthful, vibrant, energetic. Virile, had around 100 children

These were once buried by sand,but were discovered & opened in the early 1900s.

Had to move them 700 ft. in the 1960’s when Nile was dammed.

SLIDE - Great Temple of Amen-Ra, Hypostyle Hall.

Karnak. Dynasty 19. 1290 BCE.

Located in Upper (Southern) Egypt.

Pylon temples (temples with immense gateways) built to honor gods.

Thutmose I and II, Hatshepsut, Ramses II all contributed to this immense temple.

Only pharaohs & priests could enter the sanctuary (inner area).

60 acres - as large as a dozen football fields.

Sacred lake inside.

This is the main courtyard, hypostyle hall, full of columns. As far as most were allowed.

Smaller halls and courts lead off the hypostyle hall. There are other photos in your text.

*HANDOUT, Columns: page 102

SLIDE - Akhenaten. Karnak. Dynasty 18, 1353 BCE.

Sandstone. 13 feet tall.

Akhenaten was born Amenhotep the 4th

He is probably the most unusual ruler of Egypt.

Transformed political, cultural, & spiritual aspects of Egypt.

Founded new religion tohonor one god only - Aten, the life-giving sun god.

(represented by a disk)

Changed his name to Akhenaten, which means “he who is effective on behalf of Aten.”

Moved capital to Tell el-Amarna, so art of the time became known as the Amarna style.

Shows him with a womanly figure - protruding belly, thin arms, androgynous look.

Amarna style is so different from traditional.

Not block-like, rigid, athletically idealized.

SLIDE - Akhenaten, Nefertiti, & Three Daughters,

Dynasty 18, 1353 BCE. Tell el-Amarna, limestone sunken relief. 12”x 15”

Sunken relief carving, with wife Nefertiti (co-ruler?) and 3 daughters, relaxed.

Gentle curves instead of rigid straight lines.

Why figures so different from old style? Emphasized TRUTH, called “Maat”

Wanted his family portrayed in informal situations, playing with children, kissing them.

Would never see that in traditional Old Kingdom Egyptian royal carvings.

Receiving blessings of Aten,

sun rays with ankhs flowing into their nostrils (breathing eternal life)

Gestures of parents very loving, shows he felt family was important.

SLIDE - Nefertiti.

Tell el-Amarna. Dynasty 18, 1353. Painted limestone. 20”

Done by sculptor Thutmose. Actualy known sculptor!

Rare bust (head & shoulders only).

Nefertiti means “The beautiful one is here”. Looks too perfect to be real, too beautiful.

Very long neck, graceful.

Refined features, heavy-lidded eyes.

Dramatic color.

SLIDE - Queen Tiye. Gurob, Egypt.

Dynasty 18, 1353. Wood with metal & stones. 3 ¾” tall.

Sculpture portrait of Akhenaten’s mother.

Very small, 3 ¾ inches tall.

Dark wood, just random, or from Sub-Saharan Africa?

Older woman, tough, pouty.

She was important, advised her husband, then son, when they were pharaoh.

SLIDES - King Tut’s Death Mask, & Inner Coffin

Thebes. Dynasty 18, 1323 BCE. 1’9” high. Gold with precious stones.

Very young & lesser king. Might be Akhenaten’s son by minor wife.

Was born Tutankaten, didn’t keep Aten as god

Returned to traditional Amen priesthood.

Moved court back to Thebes, didn’t stay at Tell el-Amarna.

Thieves robbed the tomb complex, but never looted his inner tomb chamber.

His tomb was small and modestly decorated by Egyptian standards.

Howard Carter excavated it in 1922, caused “Egypt Fever” when on exhibition.

Mask decorated with colored glass, turquoise, lapis lazuli, carnelian. Fine craftsmanship.

Very full lips and thin nose suggest Amarna influence still exists in art.

Nestled inside 3 coffins, inner one most elaborate, made 500-600 lbs of solid gold.

Inner coffin - shape of mummy, linear designs & hieroglyphic inscriptions.

Holds a crook and flail (grain-threshing tool) to honor Osiris - god of the dead.

SLIDE - Last Judgment of Hu-Nefer.

Thebes, Egypt. Dynasty 19, 1290 BCE. Painted Papyrus scroll. 18” tall.

By New Kingdom, it was thought only those free of sin could enjoy an afterlife.

Being royal or important wasn’t enough.

Anyone important was buried with a “Book of the Dead”-

A papyrus scroll with a collection of spells & prayers

Used to aid with a “last judgment” by Osiris.

Osiris gives 2 tests:

Their heart is weighed against truth

Heart believed to be the seat of the soul, weighed against “truth” -

Truth (Maat) is symbolized by an ostrich feather.

Questioned about their life

L – Anubis leads Hu-Nefer through the process. Weighing his heart (in the jar).

Truth is the tiny woman atop the scales.

Monster watches – lion/crocodile/hippo combo, would eat the heart. (Ammit.)

But Hu-Nefer passes the test, so Ammit goes hungry.

Ibis-headed Thoth records the results.

R -- Horus presents Hu-Nefer to Oriris (God of the Underworld)

4 sons of Horus rise from a lotus blossom – care for Hu-Nefer’s organs

Isis and Nephthys stand behind Osiris, tenderly touching his arm.

TOP – Hu-Nefer bows before the Gods of Heliopolis (sacred city of sun-god Ra)