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Egyptian Art                          103
may be viewed scenes of ritual offerings, carried out in reliefs
of excellent quality. One would be tempted to say, after
seeing them, that the art of this period had no more research
to make in the quest for perfection. Yet, on the opposite wall,
there is a series of large-scale drawings, preparatory studies for
reliefs which were to be executed in the new manner, namely
in what we call the 'Amarna style'.
Since Ramose had supported the new ideas, it was fitting that
his tomb should be finished in accordance with the doctrines
of the revolutionary Pharaoh. From the same artistic circles
which produced the creators of the reliefs came, it is probable,
the man who, with astounding sureness of touch, drew the
vezir first prostrate before his master, then rising to acclaim the
Pharaoh as he shows himself on the balcony of his palace (Fig.
n). Ramose, surrounded with gifts and personal tributes, turns
towards his chief officers to speak the praises of his sovereign and
to receive in turn their congratulations. The crowd is made up
of characteristic types of Egyptians and foreigners. The whole
scene, it must be repeated, is only roughly sketched out, but this
makes all the more striking the power of the inspiration, and
the absolute sureness of the lines traced with a reed brush on
the limestone surface. Yet the master has made some corrections
and at certain points he has altered a curve or tightened up a
movement. There is, however, nothing automatic in this pro-
cedure, though the whole technique is based on tradition
thousands of years old, and controlled by a remarkable sense
of discipline.
§xiv. Ostraka
The desert valley of Deir el-Medineh sheltered, at the time
of the New Kingdom, a tiny walled village in which the
workers, priests, and minor officials of the burial-place lived
together as a community. The pile of debris which gradually
accumulated at the edge of this centre of population has pro-
vided an important series of limestone fragments and potsherds