Hieroglyphs. Egyptian hieroglyphs can represent phonetic sounds, syllables, entire words or even grammatical rules with a single picture. Many inscriptions are a combination of images that are read both as sounds and as words
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King Tut’s mirror case in the shape of an Ankh, the hieroglyph for life, as well as the word for mirror.
Motifs and Symbols
Ca. 1330, wood, gold leaf, paint
The God Kheper,
Ra, Sun God
Eternity, wrapped around names of pharoahs, forms a cartouche shape
Unity, looks like a vase
Looks like a column, or spine, means stability
Upper Egypt, Lotus
Heliopolis, city in lower Egypt
Lower Egypt, Papyrus
Pluralizes the word above or beside.
Pronounced like a U
#1. Try to decipher the inscription seen here. Remember, anything hieroglyphs wrapped in a rope (creating the cartouche) refers to a pharaoh. Read from bottom to top. (the pluralizing form always appears underneath the object being pluralized.) This is the throne name of the pharaoh, Tutankhamun.
#2. Now try this inscription on the lid of the box. This is the also a The three symbols on the bottom are an epithet, or a title added on to a name, and the remaining symbols are the name. Start with the middle line, then continue to the top line. Finally, read the epithet at bottom. Remember to read into the pictures, right to left.Cartouche Box, ca. 1330 BCE, wood, gold leaf, paint
#3. This symbol derives from the myth of Horus, Osiris and Seth. Look online to find the details of the story. After reading it, try to suggest some ideas as to why it would be seen often in art, especially on funerary art.
This piece of jewelry shows the scarab, or dung beetle pushing the sun disk, symbolic of the sun god Ra, across the sky. This is based on the Egyptians observation of dung beetles rolling dung into balls across the ground. This is a symbol of regeneration. The beautiful blue comes from Lapis, a stone from Afghanistan, and the blue is turquoise. The red is glass. The wings are symbols of protection.Scarab, Disk and Wings
4. Can you tell who this belonged to?
The Uraeus, or Cobra, and the Vulture were symbols of protection, the Cobra for Lower Egypt, and the Vulture for Upper Egypt. These two animals can be seen on the headdress of Tutankhamun.
Most Egyptian glass was cast. The molted glass as globbed onto the end of a stick which held a clay mold of the interior of the vessel. Once hardened, different colored bands of glass rods could be applied to the outside and combed through the vessel to create the wave patterns.
Pectoral (necklace) in the form of Isis. The pattern below her feet is called the palace façade motif. It is a red, blue, and green geometric pattern that simulates the painted doors on palaces. #5 Label the hieroglyphs or images you can identify on this object.
This jar reads like one giant hieroglyph.
#6. See if you can identify what it says based on the images you see.
This blue glaze for ceramics is often used for wall surfaces of brick, pottery, and jewelry, to simulate turquoise. The glaze has minerals in it such as feldspar, which turn beautiful colors when fired.
Cartonnage is a type of paper mache made of gum, linen and papyrus. It can be used for household items such as bowls and baskets. It is often used for inner mummy cases because it can be easily painted or gilded.
Cartonnage Case and Mummy of Paankhenamun, c. 945-715 B.C.
View of King tut’s burial tomb, as seen by Howard Carter when first excavated in 1922.
#8. List the characteristics that you find to be similar between this chair and the Old Kingdom chair.
Chests were often used for linens, perfume bottles, jewelry, and statues.
Scenes like this would provide a paradisiacal setting for the dead. Again note the lack of consistent perspective. It is important in Egyptian design to portray as much of the object as possible. In Ancient Egypt, if it’s written or depicted, it’s truth.
Images of potters, glazers, painters, and tanners
The “Nine Friends” pull the shrine of King Tut, carrying his mummy to his grave. Many scenes include the presentation of the dead to Osiris.