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ART 101Madeleine PortocarreroAssignment 3- SummaryProfessor Helen Lowery
Egypt from Narmer to CleopatraEgyptians glorified their gods and their Egyptian kings, whom the Egyptians believed were also divine and could serve as intermediaries with the gods. Egyptians believed in the eternal existence of a person’s ka, or life force, which continued to inhabit the corpse after an individual died.Archaeologists have discovered in those tombs a vast number of items fashionedfrom perishable materials rarely preserved elsewhere, including illustrated papyrus scrolls such as the Book of the Deadfound in the tomb of Hunefer. The scrolls found are a collection of spells and prayers needed to secure a happy afterlife. Hunefer’s god adjusts the scales to weigh the dead man’s heart against a feather, also known as the Last Judgement of Hunefer; The hieroglyphof the name of the goddess Maat and a symbol for truth and right doing. The prehistoric beginnings of Egyptian civilization predate writing and are consequently obscure. Nevertheless, tantalizing remains of tombs, paintings, pottery, and other artifacts attest to the existence of a sophisticated culture on the banks of the Nile around 3500 bce. Egyptologists referto this era as the Predynastic period. In Predynastic times, Egypt was divided geographically and politically into Upper Egypt, a narrow tract of grassland that encouraged hunting, and LowerEgypt, where the rich soil of the Nile Delta islands promoted agriculture and animal husbandry. The major finds of Predynastic art come from Upper Egypt, especially Hierakonpolis where archaeologists discovered the most extensive series of early Egyptian mural paintings on the walls of a tomb dating between 3500 and 3200 BCE. The Predynastic period ended with the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt, which until recently historians thought occurred during the First Dynasty kingship of Menes, identified by many Egyptologists with Narmer. King Narmer’s image and name appear on both sides of a ceremonial palette found at Hierakonpolis. The Palette of Narmeris one of the earliest historical artworks preserved; The palette presents
the creation of the “Kingdom of the Two Lands” as a single great event. The standard tomb type in early Egypt was the mastaba, a rectangular brick or stone structure with sloping sides erected over an underground burial chamber. Although mastabas originally housed single burials, later became increasingly complex in order to accommodate members of several families. The main feature of these tombs,other than the burial chamber itself, was the chapel, which had a false door through which the ka could join the world of the living and partake in the meals placed on an offering table. Some