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Egyptian Archaeology 


6utbe to lire Stubo of Antiquities in djgujt. 



SIR G. MASPERO, D.C.L., Oxon., 





fflSaill) fffirrr li?unt»rrtJ ant) „-ffort8=ttttoo Hlustrattons. 








TO put this book into English, and thus 
to hand it on to thousands who might 
not otherwise have enjoyed it, has been to me 
a very congenial and interesting task. It 
would be difficult, I imagine, to point to any 
work of its scope and character which is better 
calculated to give lasting delight to all classes 
of readers. For the skilled archaeologist, its 
pages contain not only new facts, but new 
views and new interpretations ; while to those 
who know little, or perhaps nothing, of the 
subjects under discussion, it will open a fresh 
and fascinating field of study. It is not enough 
to say that a handbook of Egyptian Archaeology 
was much needed, and that Professor Maspero 
has given us exactly what we required. He 
has done much more than this. He has given 
us a picturesque, vivacious, and highly original 
volume, as delightful as if it were not learned, 
and as instructive as if it were dull. 


"As regards the practical side of Archaeology, 
it ought to be unnecessary to point out that 
its usefulness is strictly parallel with the use- 
fulness of public museums. To collect and 
exhibit objects of ancient art and industry is 
worse than idle if we do not also endeavour to 
disseminate some knowledge of the history of 
those arts and industries, and of the processes 
employed by the artists and craftsmen of the 
past. Archaeology, no less than love, ' adds a 
precious seeing to the eye ' ; and without that 
gain of mental sight, the treasures of our 
public collections are regarded by the general 
visitor as mere ' curiosities ' — flat and stale for 
the most part, and wholly unprofitable." 

Thus wrote Miss Amelia B. Edwards in the 
preface to the first English edition of this book, 
published in 1887. 

Since then the book has passed through 
other editions. Every year, almost every 
month, fresh material is found for the study of 
Egyptology and fresh light is thrown upon it 
by the progress of excavation, exploration, and 
research. Hence it follows that in the course 
of a few years the standard textbooks require 
considerable addition and modification if they 


are to be of the greatest value to students, who 
must always start from the foremost vantage 
ground. Each edition in succession was there- 
fore carefully corrected by the English editor, 
Miss Kate Bradbury ; and Sir Gaston Maspero 
himself revised the work, suggesting or sanction- 
ing any modifications or changes with his un- 
failing courtesy and care. 

Since the last edition was issued in 1902 new 
material has been acquired in great abundance. 
Our knowledge of the earliest developments of 
Egyptian archaeology has been consolidated 
and extended by further careful and prolonged 
study of the primitive remains that have come 
down to us, with results that have widened our 
perspective and extended our knowledge of 
Egyptian history. The discovery of valley 
temples has necessitated some changes in the 
chapters on tombs and temples. It has there- 
fore been decided to retranslate the book, re- 
modelling it where absolutely necessary, and 
introducing new material, but preserving its 
main characteristics untouched. 

The claims on Sir Gaston Maspero as Direc- 
tor-General of the Service of Antiquities in 
Egypt forbade any idea of asking him to 


supply the additional matter, although he has 
most kindly assented to the production of the 
new English edition. 

Where any serious additions have been 
made, the sources of information have been 
indicated as far as possible in a footnote, and 
for references to the predynastic and Thinite 
periods the English editor is alone responsible. 
A short table of the principal epochs of 
Egyptian history has been added. 

Many aspects of Egyptian archaeology have 
necessarily been passed over. In a book of 
this size it is impossible to deal adequately 
with the palaeography, the early relations with 
Nubia, and the Mediterranean peoples, nor yet 
with the difficult problems of the origin of the 
Egyptians. This work of Sir Gaston Maspero 
still remains the handbook of Egyptian 
archaeology, and to render it too bulky would 
be to deprive it of much of its usefulness 
and charm. 

For the new illustrations I have to thank 
Dr. Hogarth and Mr. Leeds for their kind 
assistance in procuring photographs of objects 
in the Ashmolean Museum ; Dr. Guterbock 
for an excellent photograph of the Akhenaten 


statue ; and Dr. Flinders Petrie, the Deutsche 
Orient Gesellschaft, and the Egypt Exploration 
Fund for their courtesy in allowing me to 
reproduce illustrations published by them. 

A. S. Johns. 

Cambridge, 191 3. 



Preface v 

List ok Illustrations xiii 

The Principal Epochs of Ancient Egyptian History . xxiv 


i. Private Dwellings 2 

2. Fortresses 28 

3. Public Works 41 


1. Materials and Principles of Construction . . 53 

2. Temples 72 

3. Decoration 107 


1. 130 

2. Royal Tombs and Pyramids 148 

3. Tombs of the Theban Empire : the Rock-cut Tombs 169 




1 1(5. PAGE 

20. Central pavilion of house, in form of tower, second 

Theban period ...... 

2 1. Ceiling pattern from behind Medinet Habu, Twentieth 

Dynasty ....... 

21. Ceiling pattern similar to one at El Bersheh, Twelfth 

Dynasty ....... 

23. Ceiling pattern from tomb of Aimadua, Twentieth 

Dynasty ....... 

24. Wall-painting, palace of Tell el Amarna. W. M. F 

Petrie ........ 

25. Part of painted pavement, palace of Tell el Amarna 

\V. M. F. Petrie 

26. Plan of private house, Tell el Amarna. W. M. F 

Petrie ........ 

27. Door of a house of the Old Kingdom, from the wall of 

tomb of the Sixth Dynasty .... 

28. Facade of a Fourth Dynasty house, from the sarcophagus 

of Khiifu Poskhii ...... 

29. Plan of second fortress of Abydos, Eleventh or Twelfth 

Dynasty ....... 

30. Walls of second fort at Abydos, restored . 

31. Facade of fort, from wall-scene, Beni Hasan, Twelfth 

Dynasty ....... 

32. Plan of main gate, second fortress of Abydos 

33. Plan of south-east gate, second fortress of Abydos 

34. Plan of gate, fortress of Kom el Ahmar 

35. Plan of the walled city at El Kab 

36. I Man of walled city of Kom Ombo 

37. Plan of fortress of Kummeh .... 

38. Plan of fortress of Semneh .... 

39. Section of the platform at A, B, of preceding plan . 

40. Syrian fort ....... 

41. The town walls of Dapur ..... 

42. City of Kadesh, from bas-relief, Ramcsseum 

43. Plan of the pavilion of Medinet Habu . 

44. Elevation of pavilion, Medinet Habu . 

45. Canal and bridge of Zaru, from bas-relief, Karnak . 

46. Cellar, with amphorae ..... 

47. Granary ........ 

48. Plan of Pithom 

49. Store-chambers of the Ramesseum 




5 1 - 









7 1 - 






King inaugurating public work. Carved mace head, 
Oxford ........ 44 

Dyke at Wady Gerraweh . . . . . -47 

Section of dyke at Wady Gerraweh . . . -47 

Quarries of Silsilis ....... 49 

Draught of Hathor capital in quarry of Gebel Abu Fedah 50 
Bas-relief from one of the stelae of Aahmes, at Turah, 
Eighteenth Dynasty . . . . . 51 

Masonry in temple of Seti I. at Abydos . . • 57 

Temple wall with cornice . . . . . -58 

Niche and doorway in temple of Seti I. at Abydos . . 58 

Pavement of the portico of Osiris in temple of Seti I., 
Abydos ........ 59 

Corbelled arch, temple of Seti L, Abydos . . -59 

Hathor pillar, Abu Simbel . . . . .60 

Pillar of Amenhotep III., Karnak . . . .61 

Sixteen-sided pillars, Karnak . . . . .62 

Fluted pillar, Kalabsheh . . . . . 63 

Polygonal Hathor-head pillar, El Kab . . -63 

Column with square die . . . . . .64 

Column with campaniform capital, Ramesseum . . 64 

Inverted campaniform capital, Karnak . . -65 

Compound capital ....... 66 

Ornate capitals, Ptolemaic . . . . .66 

Lotus-bud column, Beni Hasan . . . . .66 

Lotus-bud column, processional hall, Karnak, 

Thothmes III. . . . . . . -67 

Column in aisles of hypostyle hall, Karnak . . .68 

Palm-leaf capital ....... 69 

Hathor-head capital, Ptolemaic . . . .69 

Campaniform and Hathor-headed capital, Philae . . 70 

Section of hypostyle hall at Karnak, showing the ar- 
rangements of the campaniform and lotus-bud 
columns ........ 

Plan of temple and valley temple of Pyramid of Khafra, 
Gizeh . ........ 

The temple of the Sun at Abu Gurab, reconstructed 

Southern temple of Amenhotep III. at Elephantine 

Plan of temple of Amenhotep III. near El Kab 

Plan of temple of Hathor, Deir el Medineh . 

Plan of temple of Khonsii, Karnak .... 

7 1 





84. Pylon with masts, from a bas-relief in the temple of 

Khonsu, Karnak ...... 

85. The Ramesseum restored, showing the rise of the ground 

86. Crypts in the thickness of the walls round the sanctuary 

of Denderah ....... 

87. The pronaos of Edfu, as seen from the top of the eastern 

pylon ..... 

88. Plan of the temple, Edfu 

89. Plan of temple of Karnak in the reign of Amenhotep II 

90. Plan of hypostyle hall, Karnak 

91. Plan of great temple, Luxor 

92. Plan of the island of Philae 

93. Plan of speos, Kalaat-Addah, Nubia . 

94. Plan of speos, Gebel Silsileh 

95. Plan of the Great Speos, Abu Simbel . 

96. Speos of Hathor, Abu Simbel . 

97. Plan of temple of Hatshepsut, Deir el Bahari 

98. Plan of temple of Seti L, Abydos 

99. Crio-sphinx from Wady es Sabuah . 
100. Couchant ram, with statuette of royal founder 

avenue at sphinxes, Karnak 
101-10G. Decorative designs from Denderah 

107. Two Nile-gods, bearing lotus-flowers and libatk 

108. Dado decoration, hall of Thothmes III., Karnak 

109. Ceiling decoration, from tomb of Bakenrenf (Bocchoris) 

Saqqara, Twenty-sixth Dynasty 
1 in. Zodiacal circle of Denderah 
hi. Frieze of uraei and cartouches .... 

112. Wall of a chamber at Denderah, showing the arrange 

ment of the tableaux .... 

113. Obelisk of Senusert I., Heliopolis 

114. Obelisk of Senusert I., Begig, Fayum 

115. Table of offerings, Karnak 

116. Limestone altar .... 

117. Wooden naos, Turin Museum . 
1 iS. A mastaba ...... 

119. False door in mastaba, from Mariette's Les Mastabahs 

120. Plan of forecourt in mastaba of Kaapir 

121. Plan of forecourt in mastaba of Neferhotep 

122. Door in facade of mastaba .... 

123. Portico and door, from Mariette's Les Mastabahs 












1 1 1 



J 34 



124. Plan of chapel in mastaba of Khabiusokari, Fourth 

Dynasty . . . . . . . . 135 

125. Plan of chapel in mastaba of Ti, Fifth Dynasty . . 135 

126. Plan of chapel in mastaba of Shepsesptah, Fourth 

Dynasty 135 

127. Plan of chapel in mastaba of Am, Saqqara, Fourth 

Dynasty 135 

128. Plan of chapel in mastaba of Thenti II., Fourth Dynasty, 

Saqqara ........ 136 

129. Plan of chapel in mastaba of the Red Scribe, Fourth 

Dynasty, Saqqara . . . . . .136 

130. Plan of the mastaba of Ptahhotep, Fifth Dynasty, 

Saqqara . . . . . . . .137 

131. Stela in tomb of Merruka, Fifth Dynasty, Abiisir . 138 

132. Wall scene of funerary offerings, from mastaba of 

Ptahhotep, Fifth Dynasty ..... 140 

133. Wall painting, funeral voyage, mastaba of Urkhuu, 

Gizeh, Fourth Dynasty ..... 142 

134. Wall scene from mastaba of Ptahhotep, Fifth Dynasty 142 

135. Plan of serdab in mastaba at Gizeh, Fourth Dynasty . 143 

136. Plan of serdab and chapel in mastaba of Rahotep at 

Saqqara, Fourth Dynasty . . . . . 144 

137. Plan of serdab and chapel in mastaba of Thenti I., Saq- 

qara, Fourth Dynasty ...... 144 

138. Section showing shaft and vault of mastaba at Gizeh, 

Fourth Dynasty . . . . . . .145 

139. Section of mastaba, Saqqara, Sixth Dynasty . . 146 
T40. Wall painting of funerary offerings, mastaba of Nenka, 

Saqqara, Sixth Dynasty ..... 147 

141. Plan of royal tomb, time of Menes, First Dynasty, 

Nagada ........ 149 

142. Tomb of Senna, with panelled east wall, Denderah, Sixth 

Dynasty ........ 150 

143. Plan of tomb of King Qa, Abydos, First Dynasty . 151 

144. Stela of King Perabsen, Abydos, Second Dynasty . 152 

145. Royal tomb, Bet Khallaf, superstructure . . .153 

146. Section of royal tomb, Bet Khallaf .... 154 

147. Step pyramid of Saqqara ..... 155 

148. Pyramid of Medum ...... 156 

149. Section of passage and vault in pyramid of Medum . 157 

150. Section of the Great Pyramid. W. M. F. Petrie . 159 

xviii List of Illustrations. 


151. Plan and section of the pyramid of Unas . . 163 

152. Portcullis and passage, pyramid of Unas . . .164 

153. Section of the pyramid of Unas . . . -165 

154. Mastabat el Faraiin ...... 167 

155. Section of "vaulted" brick pyramid, Abydos . . 170 

156. Section of "vaulted" tomb, Abydos . . .170 

157. Plan of tomb, Abydos . . . . . . 171 

158. Thcban tomb with pyramidion, from scene in a tomb . 171 

159. Theban tomb with pyramidion, from wall painting . 172 

160. Section of apis tomb, time of Amenhotep If. . . 172 

161. Tombs in cliff opposite Assuan . . . . 173 

162. Facade of tomb of Khnumhotep, Beni Hasan, Twelfth 

Dynasty . . . . . . . . 174 

163. Facade of tomb, Assuan . . . . . . 175 

164. Plan of tomb of Khnumhotep, Beni Hasan . .176 

165. Plan of unfinished tomb, Beni Hasan . . . 177 

166. Funeral procession and ceremonies, from wall paintings, 

Thebes 178 

167. Plan of tomb of Rameses IV. . . . . .184 

168. Plan of tomb of Rameses IV., from Turin papyrus . 184 

169. Plan of tomb of Seti I. ..... . 185 

170. Wall painting of the fields of Aalii, tomb of Rameses III. 187 

171. Wooden model of sailing boat, Beni Hasan, Twelfth 

Dynasty ........ 192 

172. Wooden model and servants working, Beni Hasan, 

Twelfth Dynasty . . . . . . 193 

173. Pestle and mortar for grinding colours . . . 195 
171. Comic sketch on ostracon. New York Museum . . 197 

175. Vignette from the Book of the Dead (Sai'te period) . 198 

176. Vignette from the Book of the I had, from the papyrus 

of Hunefer ....... 199 

177. Part of scene on a wall of the pre-dynastic tomb of 

Hierakonpolis ....... 200 

1 78-9. Scenes from the tomb of Khnumhotep at Beni Hasan, 

Twelfth Dynasty . . . . . -203 

180. Scene from a tomb painting in the British Museum, 

Eighteenth Dynasty ...... 204 

181. Funerary repast, tomb of Prince Horcmheb, Eighteenth 

Dynasty ........ 205 

182. From wall painting, Thebes, Ramesside period . . 207 

183. From wall scene in tomb of Horemheb . . . 209 














From wall scene, Ramesseum ..... 

Archers, represented on walls of Medinet Habu . 

Phalanx of Egyptian infantry, Ramesseum 

Hittite battalion, Ramesseum . 

Pool and palm-trees, from wall painting in tomb of 

Rekhmara ....... 

Scene from tomb of Rekhmara, Eighteenth Dynasty . 
Scene from mastaba of Ptahhotep, Fifth Dynasty 
Palestrina mosaic ..... 

Sculptor's sketch, from Old Kingdom tomb 
Sculptor's sketch, from Old Kingdom tomb 
Sculptor's correction, Medinet Habu, Rameses III 
Bow drill ...... 

Sculptor's trial piece, Eighteenth Dynasty . 

8. Ceremonial palette of King Narmer, archaic period 

Hierakonpolis ..... 

King Khasekhemui, limestone, Third Dynasty 
Rahotep, Third Dynasty, from Medum 
Nefert, wife of Rahotep, Third Dynasty, from Medum 
Panel from tomb of Hesi . 
The Great Sphinx of Gizeh 
King Khafra, Fourth Dynasty . 
Cross-legged scribe at the Louvre 
Cross-legged scribe, from Saqqara 
Sheikh el Beled, Old Kingdom 
Head of Sheikh el Beled 
Wooden statue of a woman, Old Kingdom 
The kneeling scribe, Old Kingdom 
A bread-maker, Old Kingdom . 
The dwarf Nemhotep, Old Kingdom 
One of the Tanis sphinxes 
Statuette of Akhenaten, painted limestone 
Head of Seti I., bas-relief 
The god Anion, and Horemheb 
Head of a queen, Eighteenth Dynasty 
Head of Horemheb .... 

Queen Ameniritis ..... 
The goddess Taurt. Sai'te work 
Hathor-cow in green basalt, Sa'ite work 
Squatting statue of Pedishashi, Sa'ite work 
Head of a scribe, Sa'ite work 

Old Kingdom 






2 35 



2 49 

2 59 




224. Colossus of Alexander II. 

225. Statue of Horus, Graeco Egyptian 

226. Group from Naga . 

227. Slate palettes, predynastic and First Dynasty 

228. Flint knife, predynastic 

229. Flint teeth for sickles 

230. Girdle tie of Isis 

231. Frog amulet . 

232. Lotus column amulet 

233. Sacred eye or uzat . 

234. Scarab . 

235. Stone vases, predynastic and First Dynasty 

236. Impression of cylinder-seal. First Dynasty 

237. Perfume vase, alabaster 

238. Perfume vase, alabaster 

239. Perfume vase, alabaster 

240. Perfume vase, alabaster 

241. Kohl-jar 

242. Black-topped pottery 

243. Red burnished pottery 

244. Pottery fish, predynastic 

245. Red pottery with basket-work designs, pr 

246. Vase painted to imitate mottled stone 

247. Decorated vase, predynastic 

248. Black incised pottery, predynastic . 

249. Lenticular ampulla of Mykena?an type, 

Dynasty ..... 

250. False-necked vase .... 
251-3. Decorated vases, pottery 

254. Parti-coloured glass vase, bearing name 

mes III. ..... 

255. Lenticular ampulla, parti-coloured glass 

256. Parti-coloured glass vase . 

257. Glass goblets of Nesikhonsu 

258. Hippopotamus in blue glaze 

259. Glazed ware, from Thebes 

260. Glazed ware, from Thebes 

261. Cup, glazed ware .... 
. Decoration of interior of small bowl, 

Dynasty ..... 
263. Lenticular vase, glazed ware, Sai'te period 



of Thoth- 



2 74 








fig. rAGE 

264. Tiled chamber in step pyramid of Saqqara . . 3°3 

265. Tile from step pyramid of Saqqara .... 304 

266. Tile inlay, Tell el Yahudieh, Twentieth Dynasty . 304 

267. Tile inlay, Tell el Yahudieh, Twentieth Dynasty . 304 

268. Inlaid tiles, Tell el Yahudieh, Twentieth Dynasty . 305 

269. Tile of relief, Tell el Yahudieh, Twentieth Dynasty . 305 

270. Tile in relief, Tell el Yahudieh, Twentieth Dynasty . 306 

271. Ivory spoon, combs, and hairpins, predynastic . . 307 

272. Tusk carved with human face ..... 307 

273. Carved ivory from Hierakonpolis .... 3° 8 

274. Ivory spoon .....••• 3°9 

275. Wooden statuette of officer, Eighteenth Dynasty . 310 

276. Wooden statuette of priest, Eighteenth Dynasty . 311 

277. Wooden statuette of the Lady Na'i .... 312 
278-9. Wooden spoons, for perfume or unguents . . 313 
280-1. Wooden spoons for perfume or unguents . . 314 
282-3. Wooden spoons for perfume or unguents . . 315 
284-5. Wooden spoons for perfume or unguents . . 316 
286. Wooden spoon for perfume or unguents . . • 3 X 7 
287-9. Chests 3 l8 

290. Construction of a mummy-case, wall scene, Eighteenth 

Dynasty 3*9 

291 . Mask of coffin of Rameses II., tempo, Twenty-first Dynasty 32 2 


34 1 

292. Mummy-case of Queen Aahmesnefertari . 

293. Panel portrait, Graeco-Roman. National Gallery 

294. Carved and painted mummy canopy . 

295. Mummy-couch with canopy, Graeco-Roman 

296. Mummy-sledge and canopy .... 

297. Inlaid chair, Eleventh Dynasty . . 

298. Inlaid stool, Eleventh Dynasty 

299. Royal chair of state, wall painting, Rameses III. 

300. Women weaving, wall scene, Twelfth Dynasty . 

301. Man weaving, wall scene, Twelfth Dynasty 

302. Border pattern in cut leather-work, Twenty-first 

Dynasty ....... 

303. Bark with cut leather-work sails, Twentieth Dynasty 

304. Bark with cut leather-work sails, Twentieth Dynasty 

305. Bronze jug ....... 

306. Bronze jug, seen from above .... 

307. Lamp, Graeco-Roman period .... 

308. Bronze statuette of Takushet .... 



309. Bronze statuette of Horus .... 

310. Bronze statuette of Mosu .... 

311. Bronze lion from Horbeit, Saite period 

312. Gold worker, wall scene ..... 

313. Gold cup of General Tahuti, Eighteenth Dynasty 

314. Silver vase of Thmuis ..... 

315. Silver vase of Thmuis ..... 

316. Ornamental vase in precious metal, wall painting 

Twentieth Dynasty ..... 

317. Crater of precious metal, wall painting,- Eighteenth 

Dynasty . . . 

318. Hydria of precious metal, wall painting, Eighteenth 

Dynasty ....... 

319. Enamelled cruet, wall painting, Eighteenth Dynasty 

320. Enamelled cruet, wall painting, Eighteenth Dynasty 

321. Gold centrepiece of Amenhotep III., wall painting 

322. Crater of precious metal, wall painting, Eighteenth 

Dynasty ....... 

323. Crater of precious metal, wall painting, Eighteenth 

Dynasty ....... 

324. Ewer of precious metal, wall painting, Eighteenth 

Dynasty ....... 

325. Signet-ring with bezel ..... 
326-9. Bracelets, First Dynasty .... 

330. Gold cloisonne pectoral, Dahshur, Twelfth Dynasty 

331. Mirror of Queen Aahhotep .... 

332. Bracelet of Queen Aahhotep .... 

333. Bracelet of Queen Aahhotep .... 

334. Diadem of Queen Aahhotep .... 

335. Bold uu'kli necklace of Queen Aahhotep 

336. Pectoral of Queen Aahhotep, bearing cartouche of 

of Aahmes I. 

337. Poniard of Queen Aahhotep .... 

338. Poniard of Queen Aahhotep .... 

339. Battle-axe of Queen Aahhotep .... 

340. Funerary bark of Queen Aahhotep . 

341. Ring of Rameses II. ..... 

342. Bracelet of Prince Psar ..... 


34 7 















This ended with Menes, who united the kingdoms of the North and 
of the South. 


Thinite : First and Second Dynasties. Steady development and 
organisation of the country. 
MEMPHITE : Third Dynasty. 


Memphite : Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Dynasties. — An age of power- 
ful Pharaohs, builders of the Pyramids. 

A period of weak government and civil strife followed. A Theban 
family finally secured the chief power and gradually reunited the country. 


Theban: Eleventh, Twelfth, and Thirteenth Dynasties. — Egypt 
highly prosperous. The feudal system fully developed under powerful 
Pharaohs. Nubia subjugated. 

A period of civil war under the Fourteenth Dynasty was followed by 
the Hyksos domination of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Dynasties. 

NEW KINGDOM, circa 1600-1080 B.C. 

Theban : Seventeenth, Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twentieth 
Dynasties. — The great period of Asiatic Conquest and Empire was 
under the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Dynasties. 

Egypt gradually declined under the later Ramessides (Rameses IV.- 
XII.) of the Twentieth Dynasty, and the Empire fell to pieces under 
the Twenty-first (Tanite) Dynasty. 

FOREIGN DOMINATION, circa 950-666 B.C. 

Twenty-second, Twenty-third, Twenty-fourth, and Twenty-fifth 
Dynasties. — Libyans and Ethiopians in turn occupied the throne, the 
seat of government being successively at Bubastis, Tanis, and Sais. 


Saite : Twenty-sixth Dynasty. — A time of prosperity under native 
Pharaohs, and reversion to ancient conventions of art in Egypt. 


Twenty- seventh Dynasty. — The Persian monarchs reigned as 

The Twenty-eighth, Twenty-ninth, and Thirtieth Dynasties were 
Egyptian, but they only maintained their partial independence by the 
aid of Greek mercenaries, and were finally reconquered by Persia. 

Alexander the Great took possession of Egypt 332 B.C. 





THE earlier archaeologists, when visiting Egypt, 
concentrated their attention upon tombs and temples, 
and manifested little or no interest in the existing 
remains of private dwellings and fortified buildings. 
Yet few countries have preserved so many relics of 
their ancient civil architecture, and within the last 
few years systematic excavations have been carried 
out with excellent results. Setting aside towns of 
Roman or Byzantine date, which till recently were 
standing almost intact at Kiift, Kom Ombo, and 
El Agandiyeh, considerable portions of ancient Thebes 
are still standing to the east and south of Karnak. 
At Memphis there are large mounds, the core of 
which is formed by houses in good preservation. Yet 
earlier are the remains at Abydos, where the plans 
of the Thinite town have been made out, and where 
vestiges of the primitive huts still exist. 

At Kahun the remains of a whole provincial town 

of the Twelfth Dynasty have been laid bare. In the 

royal town of Tell el Amarna of the Eighteenth 

Dynasty much important work has already been 



done, and its streets and houses are now in process of 
being excavated. 

At Tell el Maskhutah the granaries of Fithom are 
standing ; at Tanis and Bubastis Sai'tic and Ptolemaic 
towns have been excavated. A long list might be 
made of less-known localities where ruins of private 
dwellings may be seen, which date back to the 
Ramessides, and even to the earliest dynastic period. 

With regard to fortresses, Abydos itself can furnish 
two, of which one undoubtedly dates back to the 
earliest dynasties. The ramparts of El Kab, Kom el 
Ahmar, El Hibeh, Kuban (opposite Dakkeh), of 
Heliopolis, and of Thebes are standing, and most 
of them have been carefully excavated. 


The soil of Egypt, periodically washed by the in- 
undation, is a black, compact, homogeneous mud, 
which, when dry, acquires the hardness of stone ; from 
time immemorial it has been used by the fellahm in 
constructing their houses. The poorest huts of the 
present day are little more than a rudely shaped mass 
of this mud. A rectangular space 8 or 10 feet in 
width and 15 or 16 feet in length is enclosed by 
wicker-work made of palm-branches coated both 
inside and out with a layer of mud. As this coating 
cracks in the drying, the fissures are filled in, and 
another coating of mud is added until the walls 
attain a thickness varying from 4 to 12 inches. 
Finally the hut is roofed in with palm-branches and 
straw, covered with a layer of beaten earth. The 
height varies. Usually the ceiling is so low that to 


rise suddenly is to run the risk of knocking one's 
head, while in some huts the roof is as much as 7 feet 
from the ground. There is no window of any de- 
scription to admit light and air ; occasionally there is 
a hole in the middle of the roof to let out the smoke, 
but this luxury is by no means universal. The 
remains of huts of the primitive period show that 
this method of building of the modern Egyptian is 
an inheritance from his remote ancestors of the time 
of the earliest dynasties. At Abydos, where the 
royal tombs of the First Dynasty have been found, 
enough vestiges of the ancient town remain to prove 
that the earliest dwellings of the Egyptians were 
similar to those of the fellahin of to-day. 

It is not always easy at the first glance to distin- 
guish between the huts that are made of wattle and 
daub and those built of crude brick. The ordinary 
Egyptian brick is made of mud, mixed with a little 
sand and chopped straw, moulded into oblong bricks 
and dried in the sun. Building operations are begun 
by a man digging up the ground on the selected site. 
One set of men carry off the clods he turns up and 
heap them together, while another set knead them 
with their feet and reduce them to a homogeneous 
mass of mud. When the paste is sufficiently kneaded, 
the master workman runs it into moulds of hard wood. 
The bricks are carried off by an assistant and laid 
out in rows some distance apart to dry (fig. 1). A 
careful workman will leave them in the sun for six 
hours or even a whole day, after which the bricks are 
stacked in such a manner that the air can circulate 
freely among them, and so they remain for a week 


or two before they are used. Frequently, however, 
the bricks are merely dried for a few hours in the sun 
and used while they are still moist. Notwithstanding 
this casual treatment, the mud is so tenacious that 
the brick does not easily get out of shape ; the outer 
face disintegrates owing to atmospheric conditions, 
but inside the wall the bricks remain intact, and are 
still separable from each other. A good modern 
workman will easily turn but 1,000 bricks a day, 
and after a week's practice he will reach 1,200, 
1,500, or even 1,800. The ancient workman, whose 

EQEZ) C3-- 
czy En ) 
■F? S ■csrli 

CZJ r^l /■ I 

EZ3m r 




Fig. I. — Brickmaking, from Eighteenth Dynasty tomb-painting, 
tomb of Rekhmara. 

tools were the same as those of the present day, must 
have obtained equally good results. 

The ancient mould in general use for medium-sized 
bricks measures 87 x 43 x 5-5 inches, and for the 
larger bricks, 15-0 x y\ x 55 inches, although both 
larger and smaller moulds have been discovered. 
Bricks from the royal brickyards are occasionally 
stamped with the cartouche of the reigning sovereign, 
those from private factories are marked with one or 
more conventional signs in red ink, a print of the 
moulder's finger or the maker's stamp. The greater 
number have no mark. The ordinary burnt brick 
docs not appear to have been in common use before 


the Graeco-Roman period, although some are known 
of Ramesside times. Glazed bricks are occasionally 
found in the Delta ; one of these, now in the Cairo 
Museum, is inscribed in black ink with the name of 
Rameses III. In that instance the glaze is green, 
but other fragments are blue, red, yellow, or white. 

The nature of the soil does not admit of deep 
foundations. On the surface there is a shallow bed of 
made earth which, except on the site of large towns, 
is of no depth. Below this there is a very dense 
humus intersected by narrow veins of sand, and 
below this again— at the level of infiltration — there is 
a bed of mud, more or less liquid according to the 
season. At the present day the masons are content 
to dig through the made earth and to commence 
operations as soon as they reach virgin soil : if this 
should be too deep down, they lay the foundations 
about 3 feet below the surface. The Pharaonic 
Egyptians did likewise : 1 have never found any 
ancient dwelling where the foundations went deeper 
than 4 feet, and this was exceptional ; in most cases 
the depth does not exceed 2 feet. 

In many cases no trenches were dug ; the ground 
was merely levelled, and probably well watered to 
increase the consistency of the soil, and the bricks 
were then laid on the surface. When the buildine 
was finished the scraps of mortar, the broken bricks, 
and all the accumulated rubbish of building material 
would form a layer about 8 inches to a foot 
deep round the base of the buildings, the buried 
portion of the walls thus taking the place of founda- 
tions. When the house was to be built on the site 


of an earlier one fallen into decay or accidentally 
destroyed, it was not considered necessary to raze 
the old walls completely. The mass of ruin was 
levelled to an even surface, and the new building was 
begun several feet higher than its predecessor : thus 
every town is built on one or more artificial mounds 
which are sometimes as much as 80 or 90 feet in- 

Greek historians attribute this peculiarity to the 
sagacity of the kings, more particularly of Sesostris, 
who, they imagined, desired to place their palaces 
beyond reach of the inundations. Some modern 
authors have described the method by which they 
believe this was effected ; that massive brick plat- 
forms were constructed at regular intervals, arranged 
in cross lines, the interstices filled with earth and 
rubbish, and the city built on this gigantic chess- 
board. Wherever I have excavated, more especially 
at Thebes, I have found nothing that answers to this 
description. The so-called platforms that intersect 
each other below the later buildings are merely the 
vestiges of earlier houses which are themselves resting 
on the remains of yet more ancient buildings. 

Architects were not deterred by the shallowness of 
the foundations from boldly erecting lofty buildings ; 
in the ruins of. Memphis there are walls standing from 
30 to 40 feet in height. The only precaution taken 
was to thicken the walls at the base and to vault the 
floors (fig. 2). The wall thickness for a low building 
was about 16 inches, but for a house of several stories 
it would be as much as 3 or 4 feet. Large beams 
embedded at intervals in the brickwork consolidated 


and bound it together. The ground floor was fre- 
quently built of stone carefully worked, and brick 
was relegated to the upper stories. Limestone from 
the adjacent hills was the only stone systematically 
employed for this purpose. The fragments of sand- 
stone, granite, and alabaster mixed with it were 
generally brought from some ruined temple. The 
Egyptians of those days had no more scruple than 
those of the present time 
in despoiling their ruined 
and neglected monuments. 
The houses of an ancient 
Egyptian town were clustered 
round its temple, and the 
temple stood in a rectangular 
enclosure to which access 
was obtained through im- 
posing gateways in the sur- 
rounding brick wall. The 
gods dwelt in fortified 
mansions or redoubts, to 
which the people of the 
place might fly for safety in the event of any sudden 
attack upon their town. Such towns as were built 
all at one period by prince or king were fairly 
regular in plan, having wide paved streets at right 
angles to each other, with a stone channel down the 
middle to carry off water and drainage, and the 
buildings in line (fig. 3). Cities whose growth had 
been determined by the chances and changes of cen- 
turies were characterised by no such regularity. Their 
houses stood in a maze of blind alleys, and narrow, 

Fig. 2. — House with vaulted 
floors, against the northern 
wall of the great temple of 
Medinet Habu. 


dark strangling streets, with here and there the 
branch of a canal, almost dried up during the greater 
part of the year, and a muddy pond where the cattle 
drank and the women came for water. Somewhere 


: ffifMFM GET 



Fig. 3. — Plan of three-quarters of the town of Hat-Hotep-Seniisert 
(Kahiin), built for the officials and workmen employed in con- 
nection with the pyramid of Senusert II. at Illahun. The work- 
men's quarters are principally on the western side. Walnut, 
Ka/imi, ar.d Gurob, W. M. F. Petrie. 

in each town was an open space shaded by sycamores 
or acacias, and hither on market-days came the 
peasants of the district two or three times in the 
month. There were waste places where rubbish and 
refuse were thrown to be quarrelled over by vultures, 
hawks, and dogs. 



The poorer classes lived in hovels which, though 
built of brick, were little better than the huts of the 
fellahin. At Karnak in the Pharaonic town, at Kom 
Ombo in the Roman town, at Medinet Habu in the 
Coptic town, the frontage of dwellings 
of this class rarely exceeds 12 or 16 feet 
in length. They consist of a ground 
floor, with occasionally one or two 
living-rooms above. 

The richer classes, shopkeepers, 
small officials, and foremen, were better 
housed. These houses were built of 
brick, and were rather small, but they Fig. 4.— Plan of 
contained some half-dozen rooms, house, Medinet 


which communicated by means of 
doors that were usually arched over. Some few of 
the houses were two or three stories high. Frequently 
they were separated from the street by a narrow 
courtyard, at the back of which was a passage with 
chambers opening from it on either side (fig. 4). 

More often the court was sur- 
rounded on three sides by 
chambers (fig. 5), while yet 
more often the house fronted 
directlv on to the street. In 
the latter case the facade con- 

F 'g- 5-— P an of house, sisted of a high wall, painted or 

Medinet Habu. , . . . , . 

whitewashed, surmounted by a 
cornice. Even in better houses the only ornamen- 
tation of the outer walls consisted of angular grooving 
surmounted by representations of two lotus-flowers 
joined together at the neck (see figs. 27, 28). There 



was no opening except the door and possibly a 
few small windows (fig. 6). Even in unpretentious 
houses the doorway was often of stone, the door- 
posts projected slightly 
beyond the level of the 
wall, and over the lintel 
was a painted or sculp- 
tured cornice. Having 
crossed the threshold, 
one passed successively 
through two small and 
dark apartments, the 
second of which opened 
into the central court 
(fig- 7)- The- best rooms 
in the houses of the 
wealthier citizens were 

sometimes lighted through a square opening in the 

centre of the ceiling supported on wooden columns. 

In the Twelfth Dynasty town 

of Kahun the shafts of these 

columns rested on round stone 

bases. They were octagonal, and 

about io inches in diameter. 
The larger houses possessed 

a reception hall at the rear with 

a shady colonnade on the south 

side, while the principal hall 

was colonnaded and had a tank 

about 14 inches square in the centre sunk in the stone 

pavement (fig. 8). Even the poorer houses at 

Kahun contained a stone tank, and there is evidence 

Fig. 6. — Facade of a house toward 
the street, New Kingdom. 

Fig. 7. — Plan of central 
court of house, second 
Theban period. 


I I 

that this luxury was universal, except among the 
poorest, in houses of the Old Kingdom. At Tell el 
Amarna an elaborate bath with water supply has 
been found in the house of a high official of the 
Eighteenth Dynasty, and other indications bear 
witness to the excellent hygienic and sanitary 
arrangements known in ancient Egypt.* 

In the poorer houses the family crowded together 
in one or two rooms during the winter, and slept out 
on the roof under mosquito-nets in summer. On the 

Fig. 8.— Restoration of the hall in a Twelfth Dynasty house. 
lllahun, Kahun, and Gnrob, W. M. F. Petrie. 

roof also the women gossiped and cooked. The 
ground floor included store-rooms, barns, and stables. 
Private granaries were usually built in pairs (fig. n) 
in the same long, conical shape as the State granaries, 
of brick, carefully plastered with mud inside and out. 
In the walls and floors of their home the people 
would make hiding-places, where they could secrete 
their treasures — nuggets of gold and silver, precious 
stones and jewellery — both from thieves and tax- 
collectors. Wherever a second floor existed, the 

* L. Borchardt, Mittheilungen Orient. GescllscJiaft., No. 50, 1912. 


arrangement of rooms was almost exactly the same 
as on the ground floor. The upper rooms were 
reached by an outside staircase, very steep and 
narrow, with small square landings at frequent 
intervals. The rooms were oblong, and the door 
ordinarily afforded the only means for lighting and 
ventilation. In cases where windows were opened 
on to the street, they were mere irregular, un- 

Fig- ?•— Wall-painting in a Twelfth Dynasty house, Kahun. Below 
is a view of the outside, above is a view of the inside of the 
building. Illahun, Kahun, and Gurob, W. M. F. Petrie. 

symmetrical air-holes near the ceiling, provided with 
a grill of wooden bars and closed with a wooden 
shutter. The floors were bricked or paved, or more 
frequently consisted of beaten earth. The walls were 
sometimes whitewashed, sometimes decorated with 
bright colours, red and yellow, or painted with 
familiar domestic scenes (fig. 9). The roof was flat. 
At Kahun it consisted of beams of wood, thatched 



and plastered with mud both inside and out. Some- 
times it was furnished with one or two ventilators, 
the mulkafs of modern Egyptian dwellings, and 
generally there was 
a washhouse on the 
roof, and a small 
sleeping - chamber 
for the slaves or 
the guards (fig. 10). 
The household 
fire was on the 
ground floor. The 
hearth was hol- 
lowed out of the 
earthen floor, 
usually to one side 
of the room, and the smoke escaped through a hole 
in the ceiling ; branches of trees, charcoal, and dried 
cakes of ass or cow dung were used for fuel. At 
Abydos, in the primitive Thinite town, clustered 

round the Temple 
of Osiris, were 
found pottery 
hearths, in which 
charcoal was burnt 
— in one of them 
the cinders were 
still lying. 

The mansions of 

Fig. 10. — Box representing a house 
(British Museum). 

Fig. 11. — Mansion with granaries, from the 
tomb of Anna, Eighteenth Dynasty. 

the great and wealthy covered a considerable area ; 
they generally stood in the midst of a garden or 
of a courtyard planted with trees, and like the 



houses of the middle classes crenellated walls turned 
a blank front to the street (fig. u). Thus the 
domestic life was secluded and concealed, and the 
pleasure of watching the passers-by was sacrificed to 
the advantages of not being seen. The door was 
approached by a flight of two or three steps or by a 
portico supported on columns (fig. 12), and adorned 
with statues (fig. 13), which gave it a monumental 
appearance, and indicated the social importance of the 
family ; or again it consisted of a pylon similar to 
those at the entrance of the temples. The interior 

Fig. 12. — Portico of mansion, 
second Theban period. 

Fig. 13. — Portico of mansion, 
second Theban period. 

Wall-Paintings, Tell el Amarna. 

almost resembled a small town divided into quarters 
by irregular walls. In some cases the dwelling-house 
stood at the farther end ; while the granaries, stables, 
and domestic offices were distributed in different parts 
of the enclosure. 

We have the remains of some houses at Tell el 
Amarna, and of the palace of Akhenaten of the 
Eighteenth Dynasty, and with their aid, guided by 
two of the numerous pictures or plans preserved in 
tombs of that period, we can gain a very fair idea of 



the mansions of the great Egyptian nobles and of high 

The first of the pictorial plans that we will examine 
represents a Theban house, half palace, half villa 

^t^»ti^» tilWl#Jilf 

: |flHTlTtfii$l#llfl$llllfmlffiiwwlijrg 

'XXXXJLrrizrxrx A A a a i-n-> iiim muillll Ar t > ilu.unniiiiii J. J-i< 

Fig. 14. — Plan of a Theban house with garden, from Eighteenth 
Dynast} 1, tomb-painting. 

(figs. 14, 15). The enclosure is rectangular, surrounded 
by a crenellated wall. The principal entrance opens 
upon a road bordered with trees, by the side of a 
canal or a branch of the Nile. The garden is 



symmetrically divided by low slone walls. In the 
centre is a large trellis supported on four rows of 
small columns, to right and left are four pools stocked 
with ducks and geese, two leaf)' conservatories, two 
summer-houses, and avenues of sycamores, date-palms 
and dom-palms. At the back facing the entrance 

Fig. 15. — Perspective view of the Theban house, from Eighteenth 
Dynasty tomb-painting. 

is the house, two-storied and of small dimensions, 
surmounted by a painted cornice. 

The second plan is taken from one of the tombs of 
Tell el Amarna itself (figs. 16, 17). The house repre- 
sented here, in the original picture stands at the end 
of a garden, surrounded by store-houses. It represents 
the palace of Ai, son-in-law to Akhenaten, who himself 



in turn became King of Egypt. In front of the 
entrance to the palace there is an artificial pool of 
water with sloping sides protected by a curb, and 
with two sets of steps leading down to it. 

The building itself is a rectangle, the facade wider 
than the sides. In the centre is a great doorway 
which opens into a courtyard or wide passage 
flanked by stone 
chambers. Two 
small chambers 
arranged sym- 
metrically at 
each corner of 
the back wall 
contain the 
staircases that 
lead to the ter- 
raced roof. This 
outer building 
forms the frame 
to the actual 
dwelling -house. 
The facade has 
a portico of eight columns, and is divided in the 
centre by the pylon. Passing through this doorway, 
one entered a sort of central passage divided by 
two transverse walls with doors in them so arranged 
as to form a series of three courts. The central 
one was flanked with chambers, the first and third 
opened right and left on smaller courts in which 
were the stairs leading to the roof. This central 
dwelling was the private dwelling of the king, or 

Fig. 16. — Part of the palace of AY, from tomb- 
painting, Eighteenth Dynasty, Tell el Amarna. 



the great nobles, where only the family and intimate 
friends had the right of access. The number of 
stories and the arrangement of the facade differed 
according to the caprice of the owner. The frontage 
was generally a plain wall. Sometimes it was 
divided into three parts, with the middle division 
projecting, in which case the two wings were 
colonnaded on each story (fig. 18) or surmounted 

Fig. 17. — Perspective view of the palace of Ai', Eighteenth Dynasty, 

Tell el Amarna. 

by an open gallery (fig. 19). The central pavilion 
occasionally has the appearance of a tower which 
dominates the rest of the building (fig. 20). The 
facade is often decorated with slender wooden 
colonnades that support nothing, but serve to relieve 
the severe aspect of the exterior. The decoration 
of the inner walls was generally very simple. They 
were usually whitewashed or colour-washed and 
bordered with a polychrome band, but in some 



instances they were elaborately painted with pictured 
scenes. The ceilings were sometimes white, some- 

Fig. 18. — Frontage of house, second Theban period. 

times decorated with geometric patterns (fig. 21), 
parti-coloured squares (fig. 22), or other conventional 

Fig. 19. — Frontage of house, second Theban period. 

designs very similar to those in the tomb ceilings 
(fig- 23)- 



Fig. 20. — Central pavilion 
of house, in form of 
tower, second Theban 

So far we have followed the pictured plans. We 
can now turn to the actual remains of the ruined 

palace of Akhenaten * at Tell 
el Amarna. A long double 
mud wall on the east extended 
the full length of the palace 
next the high road. In the 
centre this facade was broken 
by a great pylon with a chariot- 
way and two footways by which 
the palace was entered. To right and left were two 
chambers. At the south of 
the enclosure was an immense 
hall measuring 423 x 234 feet, 
containing 542 mud pillars 
52 inches square, and com- 
municating with five smaller 
halls. Here the pillars were 
whitened and the ceilings were 
painted with vine-leaves and bunches of grapes on a 

yellow ground. The palace is 
a mass of ruins. The stone has 
been removed by the villagers 
for their own use, but against 
the enclosing wall on the north- 
east are substantial remains of 
the queen's pavilion, including 
a large hall 21 feet x 51 feet, 
where is the well-known painted 
floor. Thence a door leads to an open colonnaded 
court. In the centre was a well 15 feet deep covered 

* W. M. Flinders Petrie, Till el Amarna, 1894. 

Fig. 21. — Ceiling pattern 
from behind Medinet 
Hatu, Twentieth Dyn- 

Fig. 22. — Ceiling pattern 
similar to one at El Ber- 
sheh, Twelfth Dynasty. 



with a canopy supported on beautiful columns and 
surrounded by a sculptured curb. Behind it are the 
remains of a sakkieJi, or water-wheel. The passages 
surrounding it open into cubicles, and here at last 
we arrive at the sleeping-chambers of the ancient 
Egyptians. They measure 6x8 feet, and at the 
end of each is a sleeping-bench 2 feet wide by 6 feet 
long and 30 inches from the ground. Another bench 
at the side forms 
a table or seat. 

Many of the 
pavements are 
painted. The lime- 
stone columns are 
inlaid with coloured 
glazes, the edges of 

which have been 
gilt. Wall painting 
was largely used. 
Above the ordinary 
dado, painted in 
red, white, and 
blue, were various 

Fig. 2- 

-Ceiling pattern from tomb of 

Aimadua, Twentieth Dynasty. 

scenes. One is thoroughly 
domestic. Single figures placed at intervals include 
a servant sweeping the floor with a palm-brush 
(fig. 24), and a cook who has left his wig behind, 
carrying two stands with bowls containing a joint 
of meat and some cakes. On the Juxrem walls 
there are servants with cattle, a canal, a lake, lotus- 
plants, and sailing-boats. Elsewhere was a family 
group of the king and queen with their atten- 
dants and children. Religious scenes abound, and 



the inevitable representations of bound captives also 

The finest pavement, which was almost perfect, was 
painted on a carefully prepared surface (fig. 25). It 
represented a tank of fish and lotus surrounded by 
groups of plants and flowers. Above these birds 
hovered, and calves and young cattle moved about 
among them. A black border round the tank repre- 

Fig. 24. — Wall-painting, palace of Tell el Amarna. W. M. F. Petrie. 

sented the Nile mud, while the plants were growing 
on yellow sand. The whole design was most charm- 
ing. The pavement, alas ! was wantonly destroyed in 
191 2 by a native from the neighbouring village. 

Some houses in the open desert were also excavated. 
They belonged to wealthy middle-class officials, and 
are of better quality than the houses of the Twelfth 
Dynasty of Kahun. They vary much in detail, but 



the same important characteristics can be observed in 
all (fig. 26). 

The approach to the house (a) was often up a flight 
of shallow steps, usually on the north, never on the 
south, and led to a room or possibly an open porch. 
Entering the house there is a lobby (y) where the 

Fig. 25. — Part of painted pavement, palace of Tell el Amarna. 
W. M. F. Petrie. 

doorkeeper probably slept, and which leads into the 
columned loggia(L), well protected from the sun. There 
is a small room beyond (o). The centre of the house, 
and apparently the family sitting-room, is the square 
hall (h). It often has a bench or mastaba on one side. 
In front of this is the fire. There was no central 
hole in the roof, and the wide door may have afforded 
the only light, but it must be remembered in consider- 

2 4 


ing Egyptian architecture that in that land of sun- 
shine a small opening will afford ample light for a 
large chamber. These are the public rooms. The 
remainder of the house divides into four parts, the 
master's room, and women's quarter; the men-servants' 
quarter ; store rooms ; and the staircase and cup- 
boards. The room 
marked C is appar- 
ently the master's 
bedroom. D and E 
were probably used 
by the women for 
living and cooking, 
and they never lead 
outside the house. 

The quarters for the 
men-servants have no 
communication with 
the women's quarters 
except inone instance. 
There is a large hall 
for their use, I, and a 
stone tank. J and K 
may be sleeping- 
rooms for the married 
men. The staircase (s) is sometimes winding, and 
cupboards are arranged to fill in the spaces around 
and below it. The houses are enclosed in an outer 
wall. It was in a public building near by that the 
Tell el Amarna cuneiform tablets were discovered. 
These tablets bear the correspondence between Syria 
and the king of Egypt, and were discovered acciden- 

Fig. 26. — Plan of private house, Tel 
el Amarna. W. M. F. Petrie. 


tally by fellahin in search of sebakh. The cuneiform 
scribe employed for the correspondence apparently 
lived close at hand. 

The town of Tell el Amarna is now in process of 
being excavated.* At present two streets, roughly at 
right angles with each other, have been laid bare. 
These contained official houses built for the great 
court officials, the high priest, the chief architect, and 
others. Some of the walls still remain standing; to a 
considerable height. The houses are not so important 
as the Palace of Ai', nor are the gardens so large, but 
they agree with the plans of smaller houses pictured 
in the tombs of the officials. The arrangement of 
the garden, the position of the house, and of the 
offices and stables are the same. The pool has not 
yet been found, but the well, with part of a large 
sJiaduf beside it is there, the garden beds, the summer- 
house surrounded by trees, the vegetable and herb 
gardens can be clearly traced, while in the stables the 
discarded harness was still lying. The house has 
the portico, the entrance hall, and two other halls, the 
stairs to the roof, the sleeping-chamber, or sometimes 
two, the bathroom, and the entrance door itself, so 
placed at right angles to the main passage, that 
visitors approaching could not command a view 
through the house — an arrangement we also observe 
in the houses of the middle classes just described. 

Thus of the domestic buildings of the second 
Theban period we have a very remarkable amount of 
remains. The lamps made in the form of houses, 

* L. Borchardt, Miltheilungen Orient, Gesellschaft., Nos. 34, 1907, 
and 50, Ocl. 191 2. 



which are found in such large numbers in the Fayum, 
date only from Ptolemaic and Roman times ; they 

serve to show that 

the same methods of 

IB II II II i building prevailed 

IKMSW^ then as under the 



. \ 8| <;. '-. ^r- <_ y?/v?'y???00£?^?^??^v 

Eighteenth and 
Nineteenth Dyn- 

As regards the 
domestic architec- 
ture of the Old 
Kingdom, the actual 
remains are few. 
Vestiges of the 
poorer houses of the 
Old Kingdom were 
found at Koptos. 
There the brick 
flooring was raised 
above the damp of 
the basal clay, by 
being laid on rows of 
inverted cylindrical 
pots of rough ware. 
There is evidence 

Kig. 27.— Door of a house of the Old that previous to the 
Kingdom, from the wall of a tomb of T , , ~ 

the sixth Dynasty. Lourth Dynasty ex- 

tensive use was 
made of wood. The flooring planks of a royal tomb 
of the First Dynasty at Abydos were placed on 
17-inch beams, and the ceilings also of some of 



the royal tombs were supported on great wooden 
beams nearly 20 feet in length. The stone roofing 
in several mastabas at Saqqara of the Fifth Dynasty 
is carved to imitate a roofing of beams. 

To judge from the wall scenes, a large use seems to 
have been made of coloured matting laced to a frame- 
work, both for ceilings and inner walls ; good examples 
of the latter use may be seen represented in the tomb 
of Ptahhotep. Roofs of the Middle Kingdom at Beni 

'""[HP"'" 1 




it... -I ehh ' ' l ■ J 

E3i rw vr w w w w w w w w vm wi "^ EZ3J ^^ 




Zl CSi 


Fig. 28. — Fa9ade of a Fourth Dynasty house, from the sarcophagus 

of Khufu Poskhu. 

Hasan are painted to represent ceiling beams with 
matting stretched between. The stelas, tombs, and 
coffins of the Old Kingdom occasionally furnish us 
with drawings that show us the doorways of the 
period (fig. 27), and a sarcophagus of the Fourth 
Dynasty, that of Khufu-Poskhu, is carved to resemble 
a house (fig. 28). From humbler graves of the Old 
Kingdom come a number of models of houses in 
rough pottery.* There is a great variety, ranging 
from mere huts of one or two rooms to the house of 

* W. M. Flinders Petrie, Rifeh, 1907. 


five rooms enclosed in a courtyard with high crenel- 
lated walls. The columned portico in front is almost 
invariable. The outside staircase to the roof is rarely 
absent, sometimes straight, sometimes winding ; there 
are the vinlkafs, the barred windows, the water tanks, 
and houses of two stories ; on the roof are the small 
chambers, sometimes elaborated with colonnades ; 
all as we have seen them under the Theban 
dynasties, and even the separate chambers, apart from 
the main building but within the enclosure, begin to 


The greater number of the towns, and even most 
of the larger villages, were walled. On the carvings 
of the archaic period we find them represented as 
oval or round enclosures, strongly fortified. After 
the union of the whole country under the dynastic 
sovereigns this jealous guarding of individual towns 
was still a necessary consequence of the geographical 
characteristics and political constitution of the country. 
Against the Bedouin it was necessary to block the 
gorges leading to the desert ; while against their king 
and their neighbours the great feudal lords fortified 
the towns in which they dwelt and those villages on 
their domains that commanded the mountain passes 
or the easily navigable parts of the river. 

The earliest fortresses arc those of Abydos, El Kab, 
and Semneh. Abydos was situated at the commence- 
ment of a road leading to the oases, and contained 
the celebrated sanctuary of Osiris. The renown of 
this temple attracted pilgrims, while the situation of 


the town brought merchandise thither. The pros- 
perity and wealth that accrued from these two sources 
exposed the city to incursions of Libyans, and it 
possessed two strongholds. The older of the two 
formed practically the core of the mound called 
locally the Kom es Sultan or " Mound of the King." 
Until recently the fort was remarkably perfect, but 
much of it has now been destroyed. It was a 
parallelogram of crude brick 410 feet long by 223 feet 
broad. The greater axis was from north to south. 
The principal entrance was in the west wall, not far 
from the north-west corner ; and there were two of 
less importance, one on the south and the other on 
the east. The walls on the east side were from 24 
to 36 feet high, having lost some of their original 
height, and they were about 6 feet thick at the top. 
They are not built in uniform courses, but as at 
El Kab two methods of building are employed, which 
are easily distinguishable. In the first the layers of 
bricks are strictly horizontal, in the second they are 
slightly concave and form a flattened arch of which 
the extrados rests on the ground. These two methods 
) are regularly alternated. The object of this arrange- 
ment is obscure ; it is said, however, that it takes the 
weight of the upper courses off the lower ones, and 
also that this construction is specially fitted to with- 
stand earthquake shocks. Whatever the date of the 
walls, the fortress is extremely ancient, for as early 
as the Fifth Dynasty the noble families of Abydos 
invaded the enclosure, filling it with their tombs to 
the extent of depriving it of all strategic value. A 
second fortress, now called the SJiuuet ez Zebib, was 


built some hundred metres to the south-east about 
the time of the Twelfth Dynasty, and replaced the 
stronghold of Kom cs Sultan, but under the Rames- 
sides it narrowly escaped sharing" its fate. It was 
only the sudden decline of the town that saved it 
from being equally choked with tombs and funerary 

The Egyptians in early times possessed no engines 

Fig. 29. — Plan of second fortress of Abydos, Eleventh or Twelfth 


capable of breaking down massive walls. They had 
only three methods of forcing a stronghold ; by 
escalade, sapping, or forcing the gates. The plan 
adopted by their engineers in building the second 
fort is admirably adapted for protection against these 
three modes of attack (fig. 29). The walls are long 
and straight, without towers or projections of any 
kind ; they measure 430 feet in length on the east 
and west sides, and 255 feet on the north and south. 
The foundations rest directly on the sand, and no- 



Fig. 30. — Walls of second fort 
at Abydos, restored. 

where are they more than a foot below the surface. 
The wall (fig. 30) is of crude brick laid in horizontal 
courses. It has a slight batter, is solid without loop- 
holes of any sort, and is 
panelled outside with vertical 
angulated grooves similar to 
those on buildings of the 
Thinite period and Old King- 
dom. The present height is 
2)6 feet, and when perfect it 
cannot have exceeded 40 feet, 
a height which would amply 
suffice to safeguard the garri- 
son against any escalade by 
portable ladders. The thick- 
ness of the wall is about 20 feet at the base, and 
about 16 feet at the top. The upper part is entirely 
destroyed, but figured representations (fig. 31) show 
that such walls were sometimes left plain and some- 
times crowned 
with a continuous 
cornice and a nar- 
row, low, crenellated 
parapet, the mer- 
lons of which were 
generally rounded, 
rarely square. The 
path round the 
ramparts, although narrowed by the thickness of the 
parapet, cannot have been less than 13 or 15 feet 
wide. It extended without a break round the four 
sides, and was reached by narrow staircases hidden 




Fig. 31. — Facade of fort, from wall-scene, 
Beni Hasan, Twelfth Dynasty'. 



Fig. 32. — Plan of main gate, 
second fortress of Abydos. 

in the masonry and now destroyed. There was no 
foss, but, as a protection against sappers, a crenellated 
covering wall was erected some 10 feet in front of 

the main wall. This second 
wall was about 16 feet high. 
These precautions were suffi- 
cient to guard against sapping 
and escalade, but the gateways 
remained as so many gaping 
breaches in the fortifications. 
They formed the weak point 
on which attack and defence 
alike were concentrated. The fortress at Abydos 
had two gateways, the main one situated near the 
cast end of the north front (fig. 32). A narrow 
opening (a), closed by massive wooden doors, marked 
the place in the covering wall. Behind it was a 
small place d' amies (is), constructed in the thickness 
of the main wall, and behind this a second door (c) 
as narrow as the first one. When 
the foe had forced this door, in face 
of the besieged posted on the walls, 
who would rain projectiles on him 
in front and on both sides, he had 
yet further perils to face. He had 
to cross an oblong court (d) hemmed 
in between the walls, and two 
counter forts built out at right 
angles. Here, completely exposed to the attacks of 
the defenders, he would have to force a postern 
gate (e), placed intentionally in the most inaccessible 
corner. The principle on which these gates were 

Fig. 33.— Plan of 
south-east gate, 
second fortress 
of Abydos. 






Fig. 34.— Plan of 
gate, fortress of 
Kom el Ahmar. 

constructed is practically the same everywhere, but 
they vary slightly according to the wishes of the 
engineers. At the south-east gate of the fortress of 
Abydos (fig. 33) the place darmes 
between the two walls is omitted, 
and the court is constructed entirely 
in the thickness of the main wall. 
At Kom el Ahmar, opposite El Kab, 
the block of brickwork in which the 
door is cut projects boldly (fig. 34). 
Various posterns disposed at irregular intervals facili- 
tated the movements of the garrison and enabled 
them to carry out a variety of sorties. 

The same system of fortification employed for 

fortresses was also 

employed for the 
defence of towns. 
Everywhere, at 
Keliopolis, at San, 
at Sai's, and at 
Thebes, the walls 
are straight, without 
towers or bastions : 
they form either a 
square or an elon- 
gated parallelogram, 
without foss or out- 
posts. The thick- 
ness of the walls, which varies from 35 to 70 feet, 
renders such precautions unnecessary. The jambs 
and lintels of the gates, or at any rate of the principal 
ones, were of stone, sculptured with historical scenes 

Fl 'g- 35-— Plan of the walled citv at El Kab. 



some years ago, 

but at 

and inscriptions, as, for instance, the door at Ombos, 
which Champollion saw yet in situ, and which dated 
from the reign of Thothmes III. 

The oldest and best preserved walled city in Egypt, 
El Kab, dates back to the beginning of Egyptian 
history ; the remains of the oval enclosure of pre- 
dynastic days can still be traced within the outer 
walls of the later fortress (fig. 35). This great 
stronghold was partially washed away by the Nile 

the beginning of the 
nineteenth century it 
formed an irregular 
quadrilateral enclo- 
sure measuring 2,100 
feet in length by 
about one-sixth less 
in breadth. The 
south front is con- 
structed on the same 
principle as Kom es 
Sultan, sections of horizontal layers of brick alternating 
with others where they are concave. On the north 
and west the layers undulate regularly without a break 
from end to end of the walls. The walls are 38 feet 
thick, and average 30 feet in height. Stairways 
constructed in the thickness of the walls, and also 
spacious ramps, lead to the top. The enclosure 
contained a considerable population, and within the 
wall on the north side is a cemetery of the earliest 
type of graves. The temples were grouped together 
in a square enclosure, concentric with the outer wall, 
and this second enclosure served as a keep where the 

Fig. 36. — Plan of walled city at Kom 



garrison could still hold out long after the rest of the 
camp had fallen into the hands of the enemy. 

The rectangular plan, though excellent in flat 
country, was not always adapted for hilly country. 
When the site to be fortified was on a height, the 
Egyptian engineers understood well how to adapt the 
line of defence to the slope of the ground. At Kom 
Ombo (fig. 36) the walls exactly follow the outline of 
the isolated mound on which the town is perched. 
Their eastern front is 
broken by irregular pro- 
jections that roughly 
suggest the modern 
bastion. At Kummeh 
and Semneh in Nubia, 
where the Nile emerges 
from the rocks of the 
second cataract, the ar- 
rangements are still 
more skilful, and show 

Fig. 37. — Plan of fortress of 

real genius. Senusert 

(Usertesen) III. had there fixed the Egyptian frontier: 
the fortresses he constructed were intended to bar 
the waterway against the vessels of the negroes of 
the south. 

At Kummeh, on the right bank, the position is 
one of great natural strength (fig. 37). Upon the 
rocky, precipitous hill an irregular square was 
enclosed measuring about 200 feet each way. Two 
long salients or elongated bastions were constructed, 
one on the north to command the road leading to the 
gate of the fortress, and the other on the south to 



guard the course of the river. The covering wall is 
13 feet in front of the main wall, and follows its 
lines except at two points, the north-west and south- 
east angles, where it has two bastion-like projections. 
On the opposite side of the river at Semneh the 
position is not so favourable. The east side is pro- 
tected by a sheer cliff that descends perpendicularly 
to the river, but the other sides are only too easy 

of access (fig. 38). On 
the top of this cliff a 
wall about 50 feet 
high was built, but 
on the other side 
towards the plain the 
wall was over 80 feet 
in height, and bristled 
with counterforts (a, 
b), 50 feet long by 
30 feet wide at the 
base, and 13 feet at 
the top. These were 
placed at irregular intervals according to the re- 
quirements of the defences ; they had no parapets, 
and took the place of towers. They added much 
to the security of the fortress as they commanded 
the access to the top of the walls, and enabled 
the besieged to direct a flank attack against the 
enemy if any attempt was made to force the main 
walls. The interval between these counterforts is 
calculated so that the archers could sweep the whole 
intervening space with their arrows. Both curtains 
and salients are in crude brick, with large beams 

Fig. 38.— Plan of fortress of Semneh. 



built horizontally into the mass. The outer face is 
in two sections, the lower one almost vertical, the 
upper one sloping at an angle of about 70 degrees, 
an arrangement which made it extremely difficult if 
not impossible to 
scale the walls. The 
whole of the en- 
closure inside the 
walls was filled in 
after the fashion of 

a tPrrP fifriti almost Fig - 39- -Section of the platform at a, b, 
a Une-pltin almost of preceding plan. 

to the level of the 

ramparts (fig. 39). Externally the covering wall of 
dry stone was separated from the main building by 
a foss 100 to 130 feet wide ; it followed the general 
line of the main wall with considerable accuracy, and 
varied from 5 to 10 feet in height according to the 

situation. On the north 
J it was cut by the wind- 
f ing pathway leading to 
the plain. These arrange- 
ments, clever as they were, 
could not save Semneh 
from falling into the hands 
of the enemy ; a large 
gap on the south side 
between the two salients 
the spot where the final 

Fig. 40. — Syrian fort. 

nearest the river marks 

assault was carried by the enemy. 

The great Asiatic wars of the Eighteenth Dynasty 
which secured for the victorious Pharaohs their 
eastern empire taught the Egyptians new methods 



of fortification. The nomads of southern Syria 
erected small forts to which they could retreat when 
threatened with invasion (fig. 40). The Canaanite 

and Hittite cities, 
such as Ascalon, 
Dapur, and Merom, 
were surrounded by 
massive walls, gene- 
rally built of stone, 
and flanked by 
towers (fig. 41). 
Cities built on plains, 
such as Qodshu 
(Kadesh), were en- 
trenched behind a 

Fig. 41. — The town walls of Dapur. 

double foss filled with water (fig. 42). The Pharaohs 
introduced into the Nile valley some of these new 
types, whose value they had learnt during their 
campaign. From 
the beginning of the 
Nineteenth Dynasty, 
the eastern frontier 
of the Delta, the; 
weakest point of 
Egyptian defences, 
was protected by a 
series of block- 
houses similar to 
those of Canaan. 
Not content with appropriating the actual thing, the 
Egyptians also adopted the name and called these 
watch-towers by the Semitic name of magadilu 

Fig. 42. — City of Kadesh, from bas-rcliel, 




(migdols). Brick did not appear to be sufficiently 
strong for towns exposed to incursions of Asiatics, 
and the walls of Heliopolis and Memphis were now 
cased in stone. Nothing now re- 
mains of these new fortifications, 
and we should be forced to turn 
to pictured representations to 
learn the appearance of these 
migdols, were it not that, owing 
to royal caprice, we possess a 
model in a place where we 
should least expect to find it — 
in the Theban necropolis. 

When Rameses III. planned his funerary temple 
(figs. 43, 44) he decided to commemorate his Syrian 
victories by giving it a military appearance. On the 
eastern side is a battlemented covering wall of 

Fig. 43. — Plan of the 
pavilion of Medinet 

Fig. 44. — Elevation of pavilion, Medinet Habu. 

stone, which averages 13 feet in height. In the 
middle of the wall is the gateway, protected by a 
huge quadrangular bastion. This is 6 feet 8 inches 
broad, flanked by two small oblong guardrooms, 


the roofs of which are about 3 feet higher than 
the coping of the ramparts. Having entered this 
gateway, we arc actually face to face with a migdol. 
Two blocks of masonry, themselves the basement of 
towers, enclose a court which is narrowed by succes- 
sive projections of the masonry. These blocks are 
finally united by a building two stories high, which 
forms a lofty gateway. The eastern faces of the 
towers are on a sloping substructure about 16 feet 
high. This was built with two objects in view, first 
to increase the strength of the wall at a point where 
it was possible to sap it, and also because projectiles 
flung from the battlements would rebound against the 
slope and keep assailants at a distance. The total 
height is about 70 feet, and the breadth in front 
rather more than 80 feet. The buildings situated 
behind and at the sides of the gateway were destroyed 
in ancient times. The details of the decoration are 
adapted to the character — half religious, half triumphal 
— of the building. It is, however, improbable that 
real fortresses were decorated with brackets and bas- 
reliefs similar to those we see here on the walls of the 
guard-rooms. Such as it is, the so-called pavilion of 
Medinet Habu is a unique example of the perfection 
to which the Pharaohs had brought military archi- 

After the time of Rameses III. we are left almost 
entirely without examples of fortified buildings. 
Towards the end of the eleventh century B.C. the 
high priests of Amen repaired the walls of Thebes, 
of Gebclevn, and of El Hibeh. The territorial 
division of the country which took place under the 



successors of Sheshonk compelled the princes of the 
nomes to increase the number of their strongholds. 
The campaign of Piankhi on the borders of the Nile 
was a series of successful sieges, but there is nothing 
to lead us to suppose that the art of fortification had 
made any sensible progress at that time. When the 
Greek Pharaohs took the place of the native rulers 
they probably found fortifications similar to those 
constructed by the engineers of the Eighteenth and 
Nineteenth Dynasties. 


In such a country as Egypt a permanent system of 
roads is unnecessary ; the Nile is the natural highway 
for commerce, and the top of the *y, 

embankments and the footpaths 

that intersect the fields are amply 

sufficient for foot-passengers, for 

cattle, and for the transport of 

goods from village to village. 

Ferry-boats for crossing the river, 

fords wherever the canals were 

not too deep, and permanent 

causeways placed across water 

furrows, completed the system. p igg ., 

Bridges were rare ; up to the 

present time we only know of 

one in ancient Egypt ; and whether that one was 

long or short, built of wood or of stone, supported on 

arches or formed of a single span, we know nothing. 

Under the walls of Zaru it crossed the canal that 

separated the eastern frontiers of the Delta from the 

Canal and 
bridge of Zaru, from 
bas-relief, Karnak. 



desert regions of Arabia Petraea. On the Asiatic 
side the bridge was protected by a fort (fig. 45). Thus 
the maintenance of means of communication, which is 
so costly an item among modern nations, played a 
very small part in the annual budget of the Pharaohs ; 

they were responsible for 
only three important ser- 
vices, that of storing, of 
irrigation, and of mining 
and quarrying. 

Taxes were collected 
in kind, and Government 
officials were paid on the 

Fig. 46. — Cellar, with amphorae. 

same system. Monthly distributions were made to 
the workpeople of corn, oil, and wine, while from end 
to end of the social scale, each functionary, in return 
for his services, received cattle, stuffs, manufactured 
goods, and certain quantities of copper or precious 
metals. It was, therefore, 
necessary that the fiscal 
authorities should have 
command of vast store- 
houses for the reception 
of the taxes demanded of 
the people. Each class 
of goods had its separate 
quarter walled in, and pro- 
tected by vigilant guards. There were large stables 
for the cattle ; cellars where the amphora,- were piled 
in regular layers or hung in rows on the walls (fig. 46), 
each with the date of the vintage written on the side ; 
and oven-shaped granaries where the grain was 

Fig. 47. — Granary. 



poured in through a shuttered opening in the roof 
(fig. 47), and taken out through a trap near the 

At Thuku (identified with Pithom by M. Naville) 
the store - chambers are 
rectangular (a, a. fig. 48), of 
various sizes, and have no 
direct communication with 
each other : the wheat was 
both put in and taken out 
at the top. At the Rames- 
seum the thousands of 
ostraca and of jar-stoppers 
scattered over the place 
prove that the ruinous 

Dl *" \ 

* 1 1 


llv^X— « 



XI" ** 

brick buildings immedi- 

Fig. 48.— Plan of Pithom. 

ately behind the temple contained the stores of wine 
belonging to the god. These chambers are long 
vaulted passages placed closely side by side, and 
were originally surmounted by a platform (fig. 49). 

Fig. 49. — Store-chambers of the Ramesseum. 

Philee, Ombos, Daphnae, and most of the frontier 
towns of the Delta possessed store-houses of this kind, 
and many more will be discovered when a systematic 
search is made for them. 



The system of irrigation has not greatly changed 
during the course of centuries. Some new canals 
have been cut, others have slightly changed their 
course, while a larger number have been silted up, 
owing to the negligence of the proprietor, but the 

general scheme and 
methods of irriga- 
tion are the same. 
They do not de- 
mand much skilled 
labour. Wherever 
I have been able 
to examine the 
ancient canals, I 
have found no trace 
of masonry, either 
at the commence- 
ment or even at 
the weak points of 
their course. They 
are mere ditches 
from 20 to 70 feet 
wide ; the earth 
flung out during 
the work of exca- 
vating, and thrown 
to right and left formed irregular sloping banks from 
7 to 14 feet high. An early bas-relief, now at Oxford, 
shows one of the kings of the archaic period, in full 
state, pick in hand, breaking the sod for a new canal 
or some other public work, while an attendant holds 
a basket (fig. 50). 

Fig. 50. — King, wearing the 

upper Egypt, attended by fan-bearers, 
inaugurating some public work. Part 
of carved mace head, Oxford. 


The ancient canals were generally straight, but 
occasionally some slight irregularity in the ground 
would turn them out of their course, and they would 
form immense curves. The dykes that traverse the 
plain, intersect the canals at intervals and divide the 
valley into basins, which retain the water during 
the months of the inundation. These dykes are 
generally of earth, though sometimes of baked brick, 
as in the province of Girgeh. The embankment at 
Kosheish is very exceptional ; it is constructed of 
worked stone, and was made by Menes, the first king 
of the First Dynasty, for the benefit of his new city 
of Memphis. This system of dykes began near 
Silsilis, and extended to the sea, keeping close to the 
Nile throughout its course, except at Beni Suef, 
where it threw out an arm in the direction of the 
Fayum. It crossed the rocky barrier of the Libyan 
mountains near Illahun by a narrow and sinuous 
gorge, which possibly was artificially deepened and 
then widened into a fanlike network of many ramifi- 
cations. The inundation retreated after having 
watered the province, and the water nearest the Nile 
returned by the way it came, while the remainder 
found its way into a series of lakes, the largest of 
which is known to-day as the Birket el Karun. If 
we are to believe Herodotus, the matter was by no 
means so simple. King Moeris desired to establish a 
reservoir in the Fayum to regulate the uncertain 
supply of water from the inundation, which was called 
after him Lake Moeris. Did the inundation prove 
insufficient, the water in the lake could be let loose 
to the required extent and maintain the flood at the 


height required for middle Egypt and the western 
Delta. Another year, if the flood proved too great, 
Moeris could absorb the overplus and retain it till the 
flood subsided. Two pyramids crowned with colossal 
figures, one representing the king who constructed 
the lake and the other his wife, were situated in the 
middle of the lake. So says Herodotus, and he has 
puzzled engineers and geographers. How was it 
possible in the Fayum to find a site for a piece of 
water not less than 90 miles in circumference ? The 
best accredited theory of our day was that of Linant, 
that it was situated at the base of the Libyan 
mountains between Illahun and Mcdinet el Fayum ; 
but recent excavations have proved that the supposed 
embankments are modern, and probably do not date 
back more than 200 years. If Herodotus ever visited 
the Fayum it must have been in the summer, when 
the whole district has the appearance of a huge lake. 
What he mistook for the borders of the lake were the 
embankments that divide the basins and afford com- 
munication between the various towns. Major Brown 
has lately shown that the nucleus of " Lake Moeris " 
was the Birket el Karun. It was known to the 
Egyptians as Miri, the Lake ; from this the Greeks 
derived their Moiris, a name extended also to the 
inundation of the Fayum. 

I do not believe in the existence of an artificial 
lake. The only works of that class attempted by the 
Egyptians are less pretentious ; these are the stone 
barriers constructed at the mouth of the ravines 
that descend from the mountains into the plain. One 
of the most important was observed in 1855 by Dr. 



Schweinfurth, about six miles and a half to the south- 
west of the baths of Helwan, at the entrance of Wady 
Gerraweh (fig. 51). It answered two purposes — it 
stored up water for the 
workmen engaged in the 
neighbouring alabaster 
quarries, and it broke the 
power of the torrents that 
rush down from the desert 
after the winter rains. The 
ravine measures about 240 
feet in width, and the sides 
40 to 50 feet in height. The 
dam was constructed of three 
successive layers making a 
total thickness of 143 feet. 
There was first a layer of 
clay and rubbish from the 
hillside (a), then a piled-up mass of large blocks of 
limestone, and finally a facing wall of worked stones 
backed the whole on the east side (b). Each layer of 
stone was narrower than the one below it, and the 

whole dam formed a sort of 

Fig. 51.— Dyke at Wady 

Fig. 52. — Section of Dyke at 
Wady Gerraweh. 

" 'mk ^ mmense staircase. Thirty- 
™ two of these steps still 

steps still 
exist out of the original 
thirty-five, and about one- 
fourth of the barrage is still standing at the two 
ends, though the centre has been swept away by the 
torrent (fig. 52). A similar barrier transformed the 
lower part of Wady Genneh into a small lake whence 
the miners of Sinai procured their water supply. 


Most of the localities from which Egypt obtained 
her metals and valuable stone were difficult of access, 
and the mines would have proved useless had not the 
Egyptians constructed roads and rendered life more 
possible for those who laboured there. The route to 
the quarries of Wady Ilammamat where diorite and 
grey granite were obtained was provided at intervals 
with cisterns hewn in the rock. Some meagre springs 
ingeniously husbanded and stored in these cisterns 
made it possible to establish whole villages at the 
quarries and also at the emerald mines on the borders 
of the Red Sea. Hundreds of voluntary workers, as 
well as slaves and condemned criminals, lived there 
in misery under the command of a dozen taskmasters, 
and under the brutal control of mercenary soldiers, 
either Libyans or negroes. The slightest revolution 
in Egypt, an unsuccessful war, or any political trouble 
would for a time put an end to this unnatural exist- 
ence ; the labourers would desert, the Bedouin would 
harry the colony, the guards in charge of the convicts 
would return to the valley of the Nile, and the work 
would be abandoned. 

The choicest materials such as diorite, basalt, black 
granite, porphyry, green or yellow breccia were only 
sparingly used for architectural purposes, as it was 
necessary to organise regular expeditions of soldiers 
and workmen to procure them, and they were reserved 
almost exclusively for sarcophagi and valuable statues. 
The quarries of limestone, sandstone, alabaster, and 
red granite which supplied the ordinary material for 
temples and funerary monuments were found in the 
Nile valley, and were therefore easily obtained. When 




the vein intended to be worked formed one of the 
lower strata of the mountain, tunnels and chambers 

were excavated often to 

a considerable distance. 

Square pillars of the rock 

left standing at intervals 

supported the roof, and 

stelae carved in the most 

conspicuous places re- 
corded for posterity the 

names of the kings and 

engineers whocommenced 

and carried on the work. 

Several of these quarries 

when exhausted or aban- 



<-> 4 

«r I 


Fig. 53. — Quarries of Silsilis. 

doned were turned into chapels; the Specs Artemidos 
for instance, which was dedicated by Hatshepsut, 
Thotmes III., and Seti I. to Pakhet, the local goddess. 




The most important limestone quarries are at Turah 
and Massarah, almost opposite Memphis. This stone 
was in great request for sculptors and architects, and 
was in fact one of the finest materials employed for 
statuary. Strong as it is, it lends itself marvellously 
to the most delicate requirements of the chisel, it 
hardens by exposure and soon acquires a creamy 

colour very restful to the 
eye. At Silsilis there are 
vast beds of sandstone, 
and these were quarried 
in the open (fig. 53). 
There we find escarp- 
ments from 40 to 50 feet 
high worked from top to 
bottom with the pick, or 
sometimes divided into 
stages to which access is 
afforded by steps scarcely 
wide enough for a man. 
The walls are grooved 
with parallel lines, some 
horizontal, some sloping 
from left to right or from 
rieht to left in such a fashion as to form blunted 
chevrons, enclosed in a rectangular frame of grooves 
an inch, or an inch and a half wide, and 9 or 10 
feet in length. These are scars left by the scratching 
of the tools of the ancient workman, and show the 
method he employed to obtain his blocks. They were 
sketched out on the rock in red ink, sometimes in 
the form in which they were to appear in the projected 

Fig. 54. — Draught of Hatlior capital 
in quarry of Gebel Abu Fedah. 


building. The members of the Commission d'Egypte 
copied the diagrams and squared designs of several 
capitals in the quarries of Gebel Abu Fedah (fig. 54). 
These outlines having been drawn, the vertical incisions 
were made by means of a long metal chisel driven in 
perpendicularly or obliquely by powerful blows from 
a mallet. The horizontal detachments were effected 
solely by bronze or wooden wedges inserted in the 
direction of the rock strata. The first working of the 
block was often done before it was detached from the 
rock ; thus at Assuan we see an immense length of 
granite which is probably an unfinished obelisk, and 

Fig. 55- — Bas-relief from one of the stelae of Aahmes, at Turah, 
Eighteenth Dynasty. 

at Tehneh there are drums of columns only half 

Transport was effected in various ways. At Assuan, 
at Silsilis, at Gebel Sheikh Herida, and at Gebel Abu 
Fedah the quarries are literally washed by the waters of 
the Nile, and the stone was merely rolled from its place 
on to the barges. At Kasr es Said and at Turah, 
localities some distance from the river, boats were 
brought to the foot of the cliff by means of canals 
constructed for the purpose. Where it was impossible 
to arrange for transport by water, the stone was loaded 
upon sledges drawn by oxen (fig. 55) or even dragged 
by gangs of workmen with the help of rollers. 



As the earliest dwellings we know of the Egyptians 
were made of wattle and daub, so were the temples of 
the primitive period. An attempt was made to give 
them some dignity of appearance. A few posts in 
front marked off a small enclosure, on either side of 
the doorway were two high masts, and over the door 
protruded four curved objects ; what they were we 
cannot identify from the few representations that are 
all we have to guide us. A carving of the time of 
Menes, first king of United Egypt, shows a small 
sanctuary that lacks even this decoration, but it is 
surrounded by a palisade, and inside the enclosure 
are the masts and also a symbol of the goddess Neith, 
to whom doubtless the building was dedicated. 

This primitive method of temple building was soon 
superseded. The Egyptians early acquired the art of 
building in stone, and by the time of the Pyramid 
builders they had carried it to the highest perfection. 
The Pharaohs desired to build eternal divelliiig-places 
for the gods, and for this purpose stone appeared to 
be the only material sufficiently durable to withstand 
the attacks of men and the ravages of time. 




It is a mistake to suppose that the Egyptians used 
only large blocks for their buildings. The size varied 
greatly according to the purpose for which they were 
intended. Architraves, drums of columns, lintels, and 
door jambs were sometimes of very considerable 
dimensions. The largest architraves known, those 
above the central aisle of the hypostyle hall at Karnak, 
average 30 feet in length. Each one represents a 
solid block of 40 cubic yards and weighs about 65 
tons. Generally, however, the blocks are not larger 
than those in ordinary use among ourselves. They 
vary from 3 to 4 feet in height, from 3 to 8 feet 
in length, and from 18 inches to 6 feet in breadth. 

Some temples are built throughout in one kind of 
stone, but more frequently materials of various kinds 
and quality are associated, although in unequal pro- 
portions. Thus the main buildings of the temples of 
Abydos are of very fine limestone, while in the temple 
of Seti I. the columns, architraves, jambs, and lintels, 
all those parts where limestone might not be suffi- 
ciently strong, are in sandstone, and in the temple of 
Rameses II. they are in sandstone, granite, and 
alabaster. Similar combinations are to be seen in the 
temples of Karnak, Luxor, Tanis, Deir el Bahari, 
Gizeh, and Memphis. At the Ramesseum, at Karnak, 
and in the Nubian temples, where all these materials 
are combined, the columns rest on a solid foundation 
of crude brick. The stones were dressed more or less 
carefully according to the position they were to 
occupy. When the walls were of medium thickness 


the)' were well wrought on all sides. When the wall 
was thick the core consisted of blocks roughed out as 
nearly cubic as possible and piled together, while the 
gaps between them were filled in with chips, pebbles, 
or mortar. The casing stones were carefully wrought 
on the upp2r and lower sides as well as on the face, 
while at the back they were roughed with the pick to 
hold the mortar. The largest of these blocks were 
used for the lower courses, a very necessary precaution, 
as the architects of the Pharaonic period afforded 
almost as shallow foundations for the temples as they 
did for houses and palaces. At Karnak the founda- 
tions of the walls, columns, and obelisks are barely 
7 to 10 feet in depth ; at Luxor, on the side close 
to the river, the walls rest on a gigantic substructure 
of three courses of masonry, each of them about 2h 
feet in height. At the Ramesseum the course of 
dried brick which supports the colonnade does not 
appear to measure more than 7 feet. These 
depths are very insignificant, but the experience of 
ages has proved them to be sufficient. The hard 
compact humus which everywhere forms the soil of 
the Nile valley is so contracted by the annual subsi- 
dence of the inundation that it is rendered almost 
incompressible. The weight of the masonry gradually 
increased as the building progressed, and thus the 
maximum of pressure was attained and a solid basis 
secured. Wherever I have bared the foundations of 
the walls, I can testify that they have not shifted. 
This is the case even at Karnak, which I examined 
after the fall of the columns in 1899. 

It was customary at the building or rebuilding of 


a temple to place deposits under the foundations con- 
sisting of small squares of the building materials and 
models of the tools employed. Also a number of 
amulets, which were probably intended to secure by 
magic the safety of the temple. These foundation 
deposits are generally found in a layer of clean sand, 
and marvellously fresh and uninjured. Many of the 
objects are inscribed with the name of the royal 
founder of the temple, and it was by means of its 
intact foundation deposits that one of the ruined 
temples to the south of the Ramesseum was identified 
as that of Queen Tausert of the end of the Nineteenth 
Dynasty, although all its walls were razed to the 
ground. Among the glazed objects found in this 
deposit were scarabs, plaques, models of offerings, 
besides many beads. The metal objects include adze, 
knife, axehead, hoes, and chisels, made in thin sheet 
copper. There were also jars and cups, an ebony 
cramp, and a model corn-grinder. The foundation 
deposits of the Eighteenth Dynasty temple at Deir el 
Bahari furnished numerous models of workmen's tools, 
including the wooden centrings used in construct- 
ing brick vaulting. These were neatly inscribed in 
blue ink with the cartouche of the foundress Hat- 
shepsut. Two deposits at the western entrance of this 
temple afford evidence of a ceremony customary at 
the foundation of a temple.* An animal was slain 
and the flesh laid on a floor of clean sand over which 
the blood was allowed to drip ; vessels containing 
unguents and wine were smashed and their contents, 

* Earl of Carnarvon, Five Years Exploration at Thebes, Oxford 
University Press, 19 12. 


together with grains of corn, were poured into the 
cache in addition to the offering of flesh and blood. 

The system of construction employed by the ancient 
Egyptians in many points resembles that of the 
Greeks. The stones are often placed with dry joints 
without binding of any sort, the masons trusting to 
their weight to keep them in position. Sometimes 
they are held together by metal cramps of copper or 
lead or, as in the temple of Seti at Abydos, by dove- 
tails of sycamore wood, marked with the royal 
cartouche. Elsewhere they are bound together by 
mortar laid on more or less thickly. The specimens 
of mortar I have hitherto collected are of one or other 
of three kinds. The first is white and easily reduced 
to a powder, being merely lime, the second is grey 
and rough to the touch, a mixture of lime and sand, 
the third owes its reddish appearance to pounded 
brick-dust mixed with the lime and sand. The 
judicious use of these methods enabled the Egyptians 
to rival the Greeks in the skilful laying of regular 
courses of even blocks with the vertical joints sym- 
metrically alternated. If the work is not always 
equally good the fault must be attributed to the 
imperfect mechanical means at their disposal. 

Outer walls, party walls, and secondary facades 
were usually perpendicular, and the building materials 
required for them were raised by a huge lifting jack 
placed on the top. The walls of pylons, of principal 
facades, and sometimes even of secondary facades 
were built with a batter of varying slope. For their 
construction inclined planes or ramps were erected and 
heightened as the building progressed. Both methods 


were equally dangerous. However carefully the blocks 
were protected there was great risk of damaging the 
edges and corners or even of breaking the blocks in 
pieces. They almost always required some re-work- 
ing, and in order to avoid waste, the workman would 
actually insert pieces of stone in places that had been 
badly chipped, or he would bevel the end, making the 
joint sloping instead of vertical. If a stone was too 
short or not high enough, the difficulty was met by 
inserting a supplementary slab, or again a stone that 
was too large was allowed to overlap and fill a 
corresponding gap in the course above or below it 
(fig. 56). These expedients, at 
first designed to remedy acci- 
dents, degenerated into habitually 
careless ways of working. The 
masons who had inadvertently Fi 56.— Masonry 
drawn up too large a block did temple of Seti I. at 

, , . . . Abydos. 

not trouble to lower it again, 

but adjusted it by one of the expedients just men- 
tioned. The architect did not give sufficient attention 
to superintending the working or the laying of the 
blocks and would allow the vertical joints to come 
immediately over each other for two or three courses. 
When utilising materials from ruined edifices he 
would not trouble to work them into shape ; round 
shafts of older columns were thus mixed with rect- 
angular blocks in the walls of the Ramesseum. 

The main building completed, the facing was 
worked smooth, the joints were re-worked and 
washed over with a coating of cement or stucco, 
coloured to match the masonry, which concealed the 


-L \ 







HMRllianUOW Wi- T*V\W* 

Fig- 57- — Temple 
wall with cornice. 

imperfections of the original work. The walls rarely 

end abruptly, they are bordered by a torus round 

which a sculptured ribbon is entwined, and crowned 
_ either with the splayed cornice 
surmounted by a flat band (fig. 57), 
or, as at Semneh, by a square 
cornice, or, as at Medinet Habu, 
by a line of battlements. Thus 
framed they have much the ap- 
pearance of huge panels without 
projections and almost without 

openings. Windows, always rare in Egypt, are 

here mere air-holes, intended to give light to the 

staircases, as in the second 

pylon of Horemheb at 

Karnak, or else on festival 

days to support the orna- 
mental woodwork. The 

doorways afforded little 

relief to the flat surface 

of the building (fig. 58) 

except when the lintel 

was surmounted by a flat 

band and cornice. The 

pavilion at Medinet Habu 

is the solitary exception, 

and has real windows, 

but it was constructed 

on the model of a Syrian 

Fig. 5S. — Niche and doorway in 
temple of Scti I. at Abydos. 

fortress and can only be quoted as an exception. 

The floor of the court and chambers consisted of 
rectangular paving stones arranged with considerable 



Fig. 59. — Pavement of the 
portico of Osiris in temple 
of Seti I. at Abydos. 

regularity except in the inter-columnar spaces. Here, 
hopeless of adapting them to the curved line of the 
bases, the architects fitted in fragments of stone 
without order or method (fig. 
59). Vaulting,* which was 
customary in dwelling-houses, 
was scarcely ever employed 
in the temples. It is, how- 
ever, to be found at Deir 
el Bahari, and in the seven 
parallel sanctuaries at Abydos. 
Even in these instances it is 
effected by corbelling. The corbel is formed by 
three or four horizontal courses, each of which pro- 
jects beyond the preceding one, until the two sides 
meet. The rough curve thus obtained is then 

chiselled into the 
form of an arch 
(fig. 60). The roof 
is usually formed 
of large stone slabs 
placed closely to- 
gether ; when the 
space between the 
walls was not too 
great, a single row 
of slabs covered it, 
but when this was not possible the roof supports 
had to be placed at intervals varying in number 
according to the space to be covered. Architraves 

The earliest true arch known in Egypt is in a mastaba at Bet 
Khallaf of the Second or Third Dynast}'. 

Fig. 60. — Corbelled arch in temple 
of Seti I. at Abydos. 



resembling immense stone beams were laid across 
the supports and formed a framework on which the 
roofing slabs were laid. 

There were two types of these supports, the pillar 
and the column. Some of these are monoliths. 
The pillars of the great granite temple at Gizeh 
measure 16 feet in height by 4^ feet in width, and the 
red granite columns found scattered among the ruins 
of Saqqara, Bubastis, Memphis, and Alexandria, 
range from 20 to 26 feet in height and 
are all cut in one piece. But columns 
and pillars are commonly built in 
courses, which are often irregular, like 
those of the walls that surround them. 
The great columns of Luxor are not 
even solid, two-thirds of the diameter 
are filled up with yellow cement which 
has lost its strength and crumbles 
between the fingers. The capital of 
the column of Taharka at Karnak is 
thor pillar, composed of five courses of stone, each 

AbiiSimbel. . ,. , T1 , 

about 4"b inches high. 1 he upper and 
most projecting one is composed of twenty-six stones 
the points of which converge towards the centre and 
are held in place solely by the weight of the square 
die above it. The same carelessness we have already 
observed in the workmanship of the walls also occurs 
in the workmanship of the pillars and columns. 

The quadrangular pillar, with parallel or slightly 
sloping sides, and with or without base or capital, 
appears frequently in Memphite tombs. It occurs 
also at Medinet Habu, and at Karnak in what is 



The sides are 

known as the processional hall 
frequently covered with 
pictures or hieroglyphic 
inscriptions, and the 
principal face of the 
pillar has a special 
scheme of decoration. 
There are stems of 
lotus or papyrus on the 
pillar-stelae of Karnak, 
a Hathor head sur- 
mounted by the sistrum 
of the goddess at the 
smaller speos of Abu 
Simbel (fig. 61), a 
standing figure of 
Osiris in the first court 
at Medinet Habu, and 
of Bes at Denderah 
and Gebel Baikal. At 
Karnak, in the chapel 
that was probably con- 
structed for Horcmheb 
from the ruins of a 
sanctuary of Amen- 
hotep II. and III., the 
pillar is capped by a 
cornice, separated from 
the architrave by a 
shallow abacus (fig. 62). 
By cutting away the 
four edges the pillar is rendered octagonal and by 

Fig. 62. — Pillar of Amenhotep 111., 



again removing the eight edges it becomes sixteen- 
sided. Some pillars in the tombs of Assuan and 
Beni Hasan are of this type, as well as in the 
processional hall of Karnak (fig. 63) and in the 
funerary temples of Deir el Bahari. 

Besides the types thus regularly evolved there arc 
others of abnormal derivation, pillars with six, twelve, 

- , W^W m ~~ ~- ~~~^~'' Tfjsfc 

fig- 63. — Sixteen-sided pillars, Karnak. 

fifteen, or twenty sides, or verging on a perfect circle. 
The pillars of the portico of the temple of Osiris at 
Abydos end the series. Here the main part of the 
pillar presents a curvilinear section scarcely broken 
by the plain band at the top and bottom which is 
of the same diameter. Frequently the sides are 
slightly fluted ; and sometimes, as at Kalabsheh, the 



flutings are divided by four fillets into four groups of 

five (fig. 64). The polygonal pillar has always a 

broad, low disc-shaped plinth. 

At El Kab it has a Hathor head Iz * 

projecting from the face of the 

pillar near the top (fig. 65), but 

almost everywhere else it ends 

in a simple square abacus which 

joins it to the architrave. Thus 

treated it bears some likeness to 

the Doric column and explains 

why Jomard and Champollion, 

in the first ardour of discovery, 

called it proto-Doric, a title for 

which there is little justification. 
The column does not rest 

immediately upon the ground. 

It always has a plinth similar to that of the poly- 
gonal pillar, a solid disc intended to distribute the 

weight. This base is generally 
plain, or ornamented at most 
with a line of hieroglyphs, it 
is sometimes flat, sometimes 
rounded off at the edge. 

The principal variants of the 

column resolve themselves into 

fourclasses: ist,the column with 

campaniform or bell - shaped 

capital,on which is carved either 

lotus or papyrus in flower or bud ; 2nd, the column 

with lotus-bud capital ; 3rd, the column with palm-leaf 

capital ; 4th, the column with Hathor-head capital. 

Fig. 64. — Fluted pillar, 

Fig. 65. — Polygonal Hathor 
headed pillar, El Kab. 



I. Column with Bells I/aped Capital. — The shaft is 
generally plain or simply sculp- 
tured with inscriptions or bas- 
reliefs. Sometimes, however, as 
at Medamot, it is compounded of 
six large and six small columns 
alternated. During Pharaonic 
times the lower part swelled out 
slightly in bulbous form and was 
decorated with curvilinear tri- 

angles in 

imitation of the large 

Fig. 66. — Column with 
square die. 

leaves that sheathe the sprouting 
plant. The curve is so calculated 
as to equalise the diameter at 
the base and at the top. In the 

Ptolemaic period the bulb 
often disappeared, owing prob- 
ably to Greek influence: the 
columns that surround the 
first court of the temple at 
Edfu rise straight from their 
plinths. The shafts invariably 
contract cither from the bulb 
or immediately from the base, 
and end above in three or five 
superimposed flat bands. At 
Medamot, where the shaft is 
clustered, the architect evidently 
considered that a single tic did 

not appear sufficient to secure Fig. 67.— Column with campa- 

the cluster of twelve columns, 

inform capital, Ramesseum. 

and he has marked out two other rings of fiat bands 



at regular intervals. Round the neck of the bell- 
shaped capital is a row of leaves similar to those at 
the base, and from these spring stems of lotus and 
papyrus in flower and bud. The height of the capital 
and its projection vary according to the taste of 
the architect. At Luxor the campaniform capitals 
measure nh feet in diameter at the base, \J\ feet 
at the top, and ii| feet in height. At Karnak 
in the hypostyle hall the height is 
12^ feet, and the greatest diameter 
2 [ feet. A square die surmounts the 
whole. This is fairly low, and almost 
completely masked by the curve of the 
capital. In rare instances, as in the 
small temple of Denderah, the die is 
higher, and on each face is sculptured 
in relief a figure of the god Bes 
(fig. 66). 

This column with campaniform 
capital is most usually employed in 
the central aisles of hypostyle halls, Fig. 68.— Inverted 
as at Karnak, the Ramesseum (fig. 67), campaniform 

' . ). capital, karnak. 

and Luxor ; but it is not confined to 
that purpose, and it is to be seen in the porticoes of 
the Fifth Dynasty valley temples at Abusir, and 
those of Medinet Habii, Edfii, and Philae. A very 
curious variant is to be seen in the processional hall 
of Thothmes III. at Karnak, where the campaniform 
capital is reversed as well as the shaft itself (fig. 68); 
the smaller end of the column rises from the plinth 
and the largest part is at the top. This ungraceful 
arrangement met with no success, and we find no 


' 71 



trace of it elsewhere. Other novelties were happier, 
especially those that enabled the artist to introduce 
decorative elements derived from the flora of the 

Fig. 69. — Compound 

Fig. 70. — Ornate capitals, 

Nile valley. As we approach the Ptolemaic period 

we find the capitals decorated with groups of dates 

and of half-unfolded blossoms (fig. 69), while under 

the Ptolemies and Caesars the capitals 

became wreaths of flowers and leaves 

symmetrically arranged and painted in 

the brightest colours (fig. 70). There is 

a great variety of designs ; at Edfti, 

Ombos, and at Philae one might imagine 

that the artist had vowed never to repeat 

the same pattern on the same side of 

the portico. 

II. Column with Lotus-bud Capital. — It 

is probable that this column originally 

represented a bundle of lotus-stems, the 

F'g- 7'-— buds tied together round the neck by 
Lotus-bud & . , 

column, Beni four or five bands to form the capital. 

The columns of Beni Hasan consist of 

four rounded stems (fig. 71), while those of the 

Labyrinth, the processional hall of Thothmes III., 

and of Medamot consist of eight stems with projecting 

ridges on the face of the column (fig. 72). The foot 


6 7 

of the column is bulbous and adorned with leaves ; 
the top is bound with three or five bands. From the 
lowest of these descends a moulding of three vertical 
bands in the space between each pair of stems and 
forms a kind of fringe round the upper part of the 
column. A surface thus 
broken up is not well 
adapted for hieroglyphic 
decoration, and therefore 
the projections were gradu- 
ally done away with and 
the surface left plain. In 
the hypostyle hall at Gurneh 
the shaft is divided into 
three sections : the middle 
one is plain and covered 
with sculptures, while the 
upper and lower divisions 
are formed of clustered 
stems. In the temple of 
Khonsii, in the lower parts 
of the hypostyle hall of 
Karnak, and in the portico 
of Medinet Habu, the whole 
shaft is plain ; the fringe Fig. 72. -Lotus-bud column, 
under the bands is retained, processional hall of Thothmes 

111., Karnak. 

however, and the existence 

of the stems is indicated by a slight ridge in the 
intervals between the bands (fig. y$). The capital 
also became degraded. At Beni Hasan it is gracefully 
fasciculated from top to bottom. In the processional 
hall of Thothmes III. at Luxor and at Medamot a 



circle of small pointed leaves and channellings sur- 
rounds the base and impoverishes the effect ; the 
capital is little more than a truncated and fluted 
cone. In the hypostyle hall at Karnak, at Abydos, 
the Ramesseum, and at Medinet Habu, the flutings 

are superseded by a variety 
of ornamentations, triangular 
leaves, hieroglyphic inscrip- 
tions or bands bearing car- 
touches flanked with uraei, 
which fill the space thus left 
vacant. The abacus is not 
concealed as in the cam- 
paniform columns.butstands 
out boldly and bears the 
royal cartouche. 

III. Column with Palm- 
leaf Capital. — This column 
rises direct from its plinth, 
and tapers regularly and 
slightly to the top. It 
supports a crown of palm- 
Column in aisles of branches springing from the 

hi'postyle hall, karnak. r a ° 

band, their heads curving 
under the weight of the abacus (fig. 74). This 
column, well known in work of later date, is now 
shown to be of very early origin. The funerary 
temples attached to the pyramids of the Pharaohs 
of the Fifth Dynasty at Abusir have been excavated, 
and many columns of this type have been found. It 
is very charming and graceful. At Abusir, below 
the central palm-branch, there falls from the fivefold 


74.— Palm-leaf 

band a short loop, which may represent the cord by 

which the Egyptian climbs the 

palm. The plinth is low and some- 
what flat ; above the capital there 

is a cubical block of stone. 

IV. Column with Hathor-liead 

Capital. — We find examples of the 

Hathor-headed column dating from 

ancient times, as at Deir el Bahari, 

in the temples both of the Eleventh 

and Eighteenth Dynasties ; but this 

order is best known in buildings of 

the Ptolemaic period, as at Contra 

Latopolis, Philas, and Denderah. 

The shaft and base present no 

special characteristics, they resemble those of the 

campaniform columns. The capital 
represented Hathor, the woman's 
head with the heifer's ears, carved 
in high relief on each side of a 
square block. Her hair, bound 
over the brows by three vertical 
bands, falls behind the ears and 
over the shoulders. Each head 
supports a fluted cornice, on which 
stands a naos flanked by two 
volutes and crowned by a shallow 
abacus (fig. 75). Thus four Hathor- 
heads form the capital of the 

'lap^Klte"^ column. Seen from a distance the 

whole structure recalls one of those 
sistra represented! in "religious 'bas-reliefs held in the 



hands of queens and goddesses. It is in fact a 
sistrum ; but the usual proportions have been dis- 
regarded — the handle is enormous, while the upper 
part of the instrument is immeasurably reduced. 
This design proved so popular that it was unhesi- 
tatingly combined with elements borrowed from other 
orders. The four heads of Hathor placed above a 
campaniform capital furnished Nectenebo with the 
composite type employed in his 
pavilion at Phila; (fig. j6). The 
combination cannot be said to be 
very satisfactory ; nevertheless, seen 
in position it is less ugly than it 
appears in drawings. 

Shafts of columns were regulated 
by no fixed rules of proportion or 
arrangement. The architect could, if 
he wished, assign equal heights to 
columns of very different diameters, 
and, without regard to any considera- 

tions apart from those of general 

Fig. 76. 

form and Hatlior- 

headed capital, harmony, he could design the various 

Philae. . 1111 

parts on whatever scale he pleased. 
The dimensions of the capital bore no fixed relations 
with those of the shaft, and the height of the shaft 
in no way depended on the diameter of the column. 
At Karnak the dimensions of the campaniform 
columns of the hypostylc hall are as follows: the 
capital is 10 feet high, the shaft is rather less 
than 55 feet high, and measures 11 feet 8 inches 
in diameter near the base : at Luxor the capital is 
ni feet high, the shaft 49 feet high, and n\ feet 



round the bulb. At the Ramesseum shaft and 
capital measure 35 feet, round the bulb 6| feet. 
There is a similar irregularity in the arrangement 
of the architraves ; their height is determined by 
the taste of the architect or the necessities of the 
building. So also with the spacing of columns. Not 

Fig. 77.— Section of hypostyle hall at Karnak, showing the arrange 
ments of the cam pan i form and lotus-bud columns. 

only do the intercolumnar spaces vary greatly in dif- 
ferent temples and chambers, but in some instances, 
as in the first court of Medinet Habii, they vary in 
the same portico. This was the case when the 
various architectural types were employed separately, 
when they were associated in the same building ; it 
was not considered necessary to give them fixed 


proportions in harmony with each other. In the 
hypostyle hall of Karnak the campaniform columns 
support the highest part, and the lotus-bud columns 
are relegated to the lower aisles (fig. jj). In the 
temple of Khonsu there are halls where the lotus 
column is the highest, and others where the cam- 
paniform columns are the loftiest. At Medamot 
all the columns that still remain are of uniform 
height. Egypt never had definite orders of archi- 
tecture such as Greece possessed. Her architects 
attempted all possible combinations to which the 
elements of the column lent themselves, but without 
assigning to them such definite proportions, that, 
given one member of it, it would be possible to 
deduct even approximately the dimensions of the 
remaining parts. 


Most of the famous sanctuaries, Denderah, Edfii, 
Abydos, were founded before Menes by the Servants 
of Horns. It is probable that originally they were 
mere huts, but they were rebuilt, remodelled, and 
added to by successive generations till nothing re- 
mained of the primitive design to show us what it 
was like. The funerary temples of the Memphite 
kings have actually been excavated, and furnish 
abundant examples of the' religious architecture of 
the great pyramid period. 

Senefeni, last king of the Third Dynasty, built his 
pyramid at Medum, and on the cast wall is his 
small temple, built entirely of limestone. It consists 
of a passage, a chamber, and finally a court, where 



stood two stelae nearly 14 feet high, flanking a lime- 
stone altar. The whole is plain, without decoration 
or inscriptions. There are traces of a walled cause- 
way leading to it from the plain.* The temple was 
much visited during the Eighteenth Dynasty by 
scribes, who left graffiti recording their admiration 
of the building and their belief that Seneferu had 
raised it for himself and his queen. 

The ruined funerary temple of the second pyramid 
of Gizeh, that of Khafra, was completely excavated 
in 1 9 10, and the plan recovered. f The builders of 
the pyramids brought their materials by boat during 
the inundation to the foot of the hill, where a quay 
was constructed to receive them, and the weighty 
stones were then dragged up a sloping causeway to 
the building site. The pyramid and its temple com- 
pleted, it appears that a gateway that was also a 
temple was built on the quay, and the cause- 
way covered in, thus connecting the upper temple 
with its complement below. Ramps were also con- 
structed by which the high quay or terrace could be 
approached from the valley after the water had sub- 
sided. The valley temple would be of great impor- 
tance to visitors arriving by water during the inunda- 
tion, and it was provided with everything necessary 
for the cult of the dead. 

The temple of the second pyramid has been com- 
pletely ruined, but the valley temple is almost perfect, 
the well-known granite temple that stands about 50 

* W. M. F. Petrie, MedCim. 

f U. Holscher, Das Grabdenkmal des Konigs Chephren, Ernst vgn 
Sieglin Expedition, 1912. 



yards to the south of the sphinx. It was discovered 
in 1853, and partially excavated. In 1910 the facade 
was relieved of the 30 feet of sand under which it 
was buried ; the causeway that connects it with the 
upper pyramid temple was also cleared, and the 
entire group can now be studied as a whole, flanked 
by the great sphinx, which probably represents 
Khafra himself guarding his temples and pyramid 
by the magic power possessed by a sphinx. 

The main axis extends from east to west. The 

core masonry of the valley temple is of fine Turah 

limestone ; the casings, pillars, architraves, and every 

part of the building visible from below was constructed 

of great blocks of red granite or alabaster. The 

facade was plundered in ancient times, and little of the 

casing remains. Mounting one of the two ramps (fig. 

78) that led to the quay, the visitor was confronted by 

a building that externally resembled a mastaba. 

The sloping walls were unbroken save by two doors 

near the north and south corners of the facade. 

These doors were guarded on both sides by sphinxes, 

over 25 feet in length, of which only the substructures 

now remain. In front of the facade in the centre 

was a naos, which closed with double doors, and 

probably contained a statue of the Pharaoh. The 

granite doorways were inscribed, but most of the 

blocks have disappeared. The plan of the interior 

is very simple. Both doors communicate with a 

vestibule, which opens into a hall in shape of the 

letter T, supported by sixteen square granite pillars 

16 feet high. At the south-west corner of this hall 

there is a recess, in which are six niches in two rows 



Pyramid of Khafra 

Pyramid enclosure 

chambers for statues 

of the pyramid 

Fig. 78. — Plan of temple and valley 
temple of the Pyramid of Khafra, 
Gizeh. — Borchardt, Das Grabdenk- 
mal dcs K'dnigs Chephren. 
By permission of Messrs. Hinrichs. 


one above another. The transverse corridor which 
unites them is provided with small openings for 
ventilation, a very necessary arrangement, as here 
doubtless were stored the lights, oils, sacred vessels, 
and other requirements of the cult. At the north- 
west corner of the great hall there is a chamber built 
entirely of alabaster, which has hitherto been called 
the porter's lodge, but which has only the same 
scanty ventilation as the magazines. The roof is 
reached by ramps. 

The great hall is lighted by oblique openings 
constructed in the angle of the roof and the top of 
the walls. The floor, like that of the vestibule, is of 
alabaster. There are no inscriptions, bas-reliefs, or 
paintings, and yet the walls produce as great an 
impression as the most richly decorated temples, the 
result of severe simplicity of outline, and exactness 
of proportion, combined with the grandeur of solid 
blocks of granite. A mass of fragments of broken 
statuarv, and a careful examination of the flooring 
under the alabaster by the members of the Sieglin 
Expedition, have shown that round this hall was ranged 
a series of twenty-three seated statues of Khafra, 
more than life-size. Most of them were in alabaster, 
others were in mottled blue-grey diorite and in greenish 
metamorphic schist. 

The causeway is of plain limestone, lighted by 
small apertures at regular intervals. It measures 
1,308 feet in length, and opens at the top end into 
the upper temple. On the left was a small chamber, 
which may have been a doorkeeper's lodge, and on 
the right was the vestibule (kinked on the north side 


by store-chambers. Two halls in succession led to 
the great court. Two very deep, narrow cells, 
apparently serdabs (cf. p. 143), communicated with the 
first of these halls by two small slits. The great open 
court was surrounded by a passage, and all round its 
walls at regular intervals were doorways that opened 
into it, five on each long wall, and three at each end. 
These doorways were painted with hieroglyphic in- 
scriptions in green and blue, and between each was 
an Osiride figure, presumably a portrait of Khafra. 
The surrounding passage opened on the west side 
into five deep and narrow chambers, each of which 
probably contained a statue of the king, as similar 
recesses for statues have been found in the mortuary 
temples of the Fifth Dynasty. Behind was a series 
of magazines or storerooms. Against the western 
wall was the sanctuary, with the niche for the false 
door and stela, in its place parallel to the eastern 
wall of the pyramid. 

At the south-west corner there was a second 
entrance, for the convenience of those who approached 
the temple from the high ground, with chambers for 
the doorkeeper. The work of the upper temple was 
similar to that of the lower one ; the walls were cased 
with granite over a core of limestone. The great 
granite columns of the upper temple are destroyed, 
but the pavement of the second hall still shows the 
cavities where they stood. 

The valley temple of Menkaura was never finished 
according to the original plan. The work was 
probably stopped by the death of the king, but 
magnificent statuary had been prepared, and was 


found in 1909 by Dr. Reisner during his excavations 

The temples of the three pyramids of the Fifth 
Dynasty at Abusir have also been excavated.* The 
facade of the valley temple is lightened by a 
columned portico. Inside, the heavy pillars of the 
Fourth Dynasty give way to the graceful polygonal 
or palm-leaf columns. The covered causeway leads 
to the upper temple. Here the arrangements are in 
the main similar to those of Khafra. There are the 
halls and courts, the side entrances, the narrow cham- 
bers for statues, and the sanctuary the Holy of Holies 
against the west wall. In some cases ramps lead 
from one court to another, and within the enclosing 
wall are dwellings for the priests. The decorations 
are elaborate. The walls of the upper and lower 
temples, and of the long covered passages, are finely 
sculptured, and the ceiling of the pillared hall in the 
temple of Ne-user-ra is covered with gold stars on a 
blue ground. 

It was known from the inscriptions that certain 
kings of the Memphite dynasties had erected special 
temples to the sun-god. The hieroglyph determina- 
tive that followed the name of these temples showed 
an obelisk on a high platform or base. At Abu 
Gurab, near Abusir, the place of one of these sun- 
temples has been recovered— namely, one built by 
King Ne-user-ra of the Fifth Dynasty (fig. 79). It 
consists of two courts ; the principal one on the 
western side is a rectangular enclosure, held up by a 

L. Borchardt, Grabdcnkmal des Kimigs Salutre. Dcutscli-Oricnl. 



Strong retaining wall. Under the pavement traces 
have been found of brick buildings, levelled in pre- 
paring the foundations. The temple axis runs from 
east to west, the entrance being in the middle of the 
east wall. Covered passages and chambers sur- 
rounded the courts. A square mastaba-shaped 
structure with sides sloping at an angle of 14 degrees 




F 'g- 79-— The temple of the Sun at Abu Gurab, reconstructed.— From 
A Handbook of Egyptian Religion (A. Erman). By permission of 
Messrs. Constable & Co. 

occupied the place of the sanctuary, towards the 
western end of the court. It was cased below with 
granite, above with fine limestone, and on it un- 
doubtedly stood the obelisk, the symbol of the sun- 
god himself. Access to this was afforded by a stair- 
case inside the base. In the courtyard below, directly 
opposite the entrance, but near the obelisk on its 


truncated pyramid, stands a flat, rectangular altar, 
4 feet high, formed of five alabaster blocks. The 
main walls are built of yellow limestone faced with 
slabs of white. In many parts the walls are finely 
sculptured with scenes in relief, some of them relating 
to the overflowing fertility and fecundity of fields and 
flocks due to the beneficent might of the sun, of 
which the produce is offered him in turn by personified 
figures of each season. 

North of the altar is a channelled platform slightly 
raised above the pavement level, the channels deepen- 
ing towards the east, which was probably a place of 
slaughter for sacrificial victims. Opposite to it, at 
the east end, are nine (originally ten) great basins cut 
in quadrangular blocks of alabaster. 

Somewhat to the south of the temple outside the 
retaining wall were found the remains of a boat, the 
sacred boat of the sun, about 100 feet long, for use in 
the solar ceremonies. It was constructed of brick 
and wood. The wood has rotted away, but the 
brickwork of the boat is easily visible and re- 
cognisable. Such is the temple constructed in honour 
of the sun by Ne-user-ra within a short distance of 
his own pyramid and funerary temple. It is a type 
of building previously unknown to us. 

Some scattered remains of temples of the Twelfth 
Dynasty in Nubia, the Fayum, and at Sinai, are not 
sufficient to prove whether they merited the praises 
lavished on them in contemporary inscriptions. 
Much of the masonry of the ruined temple of ihe 
Eleventh Dynasty at Deir el Bahari is extremely 
good. It is finely jointed and laid in regular courses 


of deep and shallow blocks alternately, similar to the 
splendid masonry of the Twelfth Dynasty at Dahshur.* 
The temples of the Theban kings, of the Ptolemies, 
and of the Caesars are many of them intact, and easy 
to be reconstructed by those who study them on the 
spot. At first sight they seem to present a great 
variety as to arrangement, but on a closer examina- 
tion they are found to conform to a single type. The 
sanctuary, as we saw it in the primitive temples, is 
still there, but it has gathered round it an assemblage 
of courts and chambers. The sanctuary is a small, 
low, and dark chamber, inaccessible to all except 
Pharaoh and the priests. A sacred bark with its 
tabernacle of painted wood standing either on a 
pedestal, in a niche in the wall, or on a block of 
stone, contained the image or symbol of the god, and 
on certain days an image of the animal sacred to him, 
or even a living animal. These sanctuaries were 
fitted with a metal framework into which double 
doors were inserted, closed with wooden bars, and 
jealously sealed. The sacred bark was taken out on 
stated days to be carried in procession round the 
town and then returned to the sanctuary. The 
directions for the elaborate daily ceremonies are 
carefully set forth to prevent any possibility of 
mistake. A temple might contain nothing more 
than this single chamber, and yet be as much a 
temple as the most complex building, but it rarely 
happened, at any rate in the larger towns, that the 
people would be content to provide the deity with 

* Naville, The Eleventh Dynasty Temple at Deir el Bahari, vol. i. 
Egypt Exploration Fund, 1910. 



such bare necessaries. Storehouses for sacrificial and 
ceremonial objects, for flowers, perfumes, stuffs, and 
precious vases, were crowded round the divine house. 
In front of the block thus formed were built one or 
more colonnaded halls, where priests and devotees 
assembled. Before these was an open court sur- 
rounded by colonnades to which the crowds had 
access, and which was entered by a gateway flanked 
by two towers, in front of which were placed two 
statues or obelisks. Round the whole was an 
enclosing brick wall, and an avenue of sphinxes 
that lead up to the entrance provided ample room for 
the great processions on feast days. Any Pharaoh 
who desired could add a hall even more sumptuous 
than those of his predecessors, and his example 
would in turn be followed by his successors. Thus 
from reign to reign the original sanctuary became 
more and more surrounded by halls and courts, 
pylons and porticoes. Whether the result of vanity 
or of piety, the temple expanded till the work was at 
last stopped for want of space or money. 

The less elaborate temples were often the most 
beautiful. This was the case with the temple of 
Amenhotep III. on the island of Elephantine, of 
which drawings were made by members of the French 
expedition at the end of the eighteenth century, 
before its destruction in 1822 by the Turkish governor 
of Assuan. The best preserved of these, the southern 
one (fig. 80), had only one hall, in sandstone, 14 feet 
high, 31 feet wide, and 39 feet long. The walls, 
which were straight and surmounted with the usual 
cornice, stood on a stone basement some 8 feet high. 



This platform was surrounded by a parapet breast- 
high. Round the temple was a colonnade, composed 
of seven square pillars on each side without capital 
or base. At each end were two lotiform columns. 
Pillars and columns rested on the parapet, except at 
the east end, where a set of ten or twelve steps 
enclosed between walls the same height as the 
parapet led up to the cella. The two columns 
at the head of the steps were more widely spaced 
than those at the other end, and in the wide 

Fig. So. —Southern temple of Amenhotep III. at Elephantine. 

opening a richly decorated doorway was visible. 
There was a second door at the other end under 
the colonnade. Later, during the Roman period, 
advantage was taken of this arrangement to modify 
the plan. The intercolumnar spaces at the end were 
filled up, and thus an additional chamber was ob- 
tained, rough and without decoration, but sufficient 
for the requirements of the cult. The temples of 
Elephantine recall the peripteral temples of the 
Greeks, and this resemblance to one of the well- 
known forms of classical architecture perhaps ex- 



plains the admiration manifested by the French 
savants on first seeing them. 

The temples of Mesheikh, El Kab (fig. 8i), and 
Sharona are more elaborate. At El Kab there is 
a hall of four columns (a), a chamber (b), supported 
by four Hathor pillars, and in the end wall facing the 

doorway a niche (c) ap- 
proached by four steps. 
The most complete speci- 
men we possess of these 
small sanctuaries belong- 
ing to provincial towns is 
of the Ptolemaic period, 
the temple of Hathor at 
Deir el Medineh (fig. 82). 
The length is double the 
breadth, the walls slope 
inwards and are bare of 
ornament on the outside 
face, with the exception 
of the doonvav, which 
projects and is covered 
with sculptured scenes. 
The interior is in three 
parts : a portico (b) of two 
campaniform columns, a pro-naos (c), reached by a 
set of four steps and divided from the portico by 
a wall the height of a man. This is ranged between 
two campaniform columns and two pilasters with 
Hathor capitals ; finally there is the sanctuary (d), 
flanked by two small cells (E, E), lighted by two 
air-holes in the roof. The roof is reached from the 

Fig. 81. — Plan of temple of 
Arnenhotep III. near El Kab. 



southern angle of the portico by a staircase lighted 
by a window (f) from the outside. This is merely 
a temple in miniature, but the various parts are so 
finely proportioned that it is difficult to imagine any- 
thing more graceful and charming. 

As much cannot be said for the temple built by 
the Pharaohs of the Twentieth Dynasty to the south 
of Karnak, in honour of the god Khonsii (fig. 83), but 
although the style may 
not be beyond reproach, 
the plan is so distinct 
that one is inclined to 
adopt it as the type 
of the Egyptian temple 
in preference to others 
more majestic or graceful. 
On analysis it resolves 
itself into two parts 
separated by a thick wall 
(A, a). In the centre of 
the smaller part is the 

Holy Of Holies (B), open Fig. 8^-Plan of temple of Hathor, 
J v. y r Ueir el Medineh. 

at both ends and entirely 

isolated from the rest of the building by a 
passage (c), 10 feet in width ; to right and left are 
small dark chambers (D, d) ; behind a hall of four 
columns (E), on which open seven other chambers 
(F, f). This was the house of the god, and the only 
communication from without was by two doors (G, g) 
in the central wall (a, a), which opened on a hypo- 
style hall (h), greater in breadth than in length, and 
divided into three aisles. The central aisle rests on 




four campaniform columns 23 feet in height ; the side 
aisles have only two lotiform columns 18 feet high. 
The central portion is 5 feet higher than the side 
aisles. Advantage was taken of this difference in 
height to secure light. In the space between the 
upper and lower roofing windows with stone mullions 

were inserted, through which 
the light filtered. The court (j) 
was square, surrounded by a 
double colonnade. The entrance 
to this hall was by four lateral 
posterns, and by an immense 
gateway between two quad- 
rangular towers, with sloping 
fronts. This pylon (k) measures 
105 feet in length, 35 feet in 
width, and 60 feet in height. It 
contains no chamber, but a 
narrow staircase, which leads 
straight to the lintel of the 
gateway, and from there to the 
summit of the two towers. The 
Fig 'r 8 J;T Pla, V of l T ple faces of these towers are lined 

ot Khonsii, Karnak. 

with four angulated grooves up 
to a third of their height, corresponding with as many 
square holes worked through the block of masonry. 
In these grooves great wooden masts were placed, 
made of beams jointed into each other, strengthened 
at intervals by a species of clasp, and fastened by 
wooden clutches fixed in the square holes. Near 
the top fluttered pennants of various colours (fig. 84). 
Such was the temple of Khonsii, and similar to it 

Q © © ©0 © j| 
,P © © © O G Q 
l^j © © © r| : 



in the main lines were the majority of the greater 
temples of the Theban and Ptolemaic periods : Luxor, 
the Ramesseum, Medinet Habu, Phila?, Edfu, Den- 
derah. Half in ruins as they are, their very aspect 
is strangely overpowering and alarming. As the 
Egyptian divinities elected to be enshrouded in mys- 
tery, the plan of the building was so arranged as to 
lead gradually from the glare of the outside world 
to the darkness of their abode, On first entering 
there were vast spaces - 
where sun and air could 
freely enter. The hypo^ 
style hall was shaded in 
twilight, the antechamber 
to the sanctuary was yet 
more dim, while beyond 
in the farthest recesses of 
the temple almost com- 
plete darkness reigned. 

The Sensation Of aloofness Fig. 84.— Pylon with masts, from 

produced by this gradual * bas ". re !l ef iv \ Lhe tem P le of 

1 J ° Khonsu, Karnak. 

loss of light was aug- 
mented by artifices in the construction of the build- 
ing. The halls were not on the same level. The 
floor rose in proportion to the distance from the 
entrance (fig. 85), and there were always steps to 
be mounted in passing from one part to another. 
The difference in level was not more than 5 feet 
3 inches in the temple of Khonsu, but it is com- 
bined with a lowering of the roof which is very 
noticeable. From the pylon to the wall at the 
farthest end the height of the roof decreases in pro- 


gressive stages : the peristyle dominates the first 
hypostyle ; this overtops the sanctuary, while the 
second hypostyle and the end chamber are yet lower. 
The effect is very noticeable when seen from the 
summit of one of the pylons ; the roofs of the dif- 
ferent halls sink lower and lower to the surrounding 
wall, like a series of wide steps. The architects of 
the Ptolemaic period introduced some important 
modifications. They contrived secret passages and 
crypts in the thickness of the wall, where the priest 
could conceal the treasure of the god (fig. 86). They 
also erected chapels and oratories on the roof, where, 
screened by the high parapets, they could unseen 

Fi g- 85.— The Ramesseum restored, showing the rise of the ground. 

perform the mysteries of the death and resurrection 
of Osiris. 

The sanctuary had hitherto had two entrances 
opposite each other, they left but one ; the colonnade 
that extended across the back of the court — or where 
the court did not exist, on the facade of the temple- 
now became a new court, the pronaos. The outer 
row of columns is retained, but it is connected by a 
wall surmounted by a cornice that reaches to about 
half the height of the shafts, and prevented the outer 
throng from seeing what was taking place beyond 
(fig. 87). This hall is supported by two, three, or 
even four rows of columns, according to the size of 


8 9 

the rest of the building. For the rest, a comparison 
of the plan of the temple of Edfu (fig. 88) with that 
of the temple of Khonsii will show how little 

Fig. 86. — Crypts in the thickness of the walls round the sanctuary 

at Denderah. 

they differ from each other. Thus equipped the 
building sufficed for all the requirements of the cult. 
When it was enlarged, as a rule neither the sanctuary 
nor the chambers surrounding it were altered, but 

9 o 


the outlying parts, the courts, hypostyle halls, and 
pylons. Nothing serves better than the history of 
the temple of Amon at Thebes to illustrate the pro- 
ceedings of the Egyptians under such circumstances. 
It was founded by Senusert (Usertesen) I., probably 
on the site of a yet earlier temple. Both Amen- 

Fig. 87. — The pronaos of Edfu, as seen from the top of the 
eastern pylon. 

emhat II. and Amcnemhat III. did some work there, 
and the Pharaohs of the Thirteenth and Four- 
teenth Dynasties presented statues and tables of 
offerings. In the seventeenth century before our era 
it was still intact, when Thothmes I., enriched as he 
was by foreign conquest, resolved to transform it. 



In front of the temple, as it then existed, he first 
added two halls, preceded by a court and flanked by 
separate chapels ; then three pylons at intervals, one 
behind the other. The whole presented the appear- 
ance of a rectangle placed crossways against another 
of vast dimensions. Thothmes II. and Hatshepsut 
covered the walls built by 
their father with bas-reliefs, 
but added little to his work. 
Hatshepsut, however, in order 
to place her obelisks between 
two of the pylons, broke 
down part of the southern 
wall and destroyed sixteen of 
the columns that stood there. 
Thothmes III. began by alter- 
ing certain parts, which no 
doubt he considered unworthy 
of his god : the first pylon 
and the double sanctuary, 
which he constructed of the 
red granite of Syene ( Assuan). 
To the eastward he built 
some chambers, of which the 
most important, now called 
the processional hall, served during processions as 
a station and resting-place for the sacred bark. He 
surrounded the whole with a stone wall and excavated 
the lake on which the sacred barks floated on feast 
days ; then, with a sudden change of axis, he erected 
two pylons facing southwards. In doing this he 
destroyed the correct proportions which up to that 

Fig. SS. — Plan of temple, Edfu. 




time had existed between the main building and the 
facade. The outer enclosure was too wide for the 
first pylon, and did not properly accord with the new. 
Amenhotep III. corrected this defect; he built a 
sixth pylon, which was more massive and therefore 

better suited to the facade. 
The temple might now have 
been considered complete ; it 
surpassed in size and bold- 
ness of execution anvthing 
that had hitherto been at- 
tempted (fig. 89). But the 
Pharaohs of the Nineteenth 
Dynasty attempted yet more. 
They only constructed one 
hypostyle hall (fig. 90) and 

■ O C C A 

c 3' ™ 
1 ■ ■• ^ — 1 i ^ . 

^••^coocoooooo. t -T7| £^J j 

Fig. 89. — Plan of temple of Karnak in the reign of Amenhotep III. 

one pylon, but the hypostyle is 170 feet in length 
by 3 2 9 f eet in breadth. In the centre is an avenue 
of twelve campaniform columns, the highest that 
have ever been employed inside a building ; in the 
side aisles, which are lower, there is a whole regiment 
of lotiform columns, 122, drawn up in battle array of 
nine files. The roof of the central portion is 75 feet 

the Temple of karnaK. 


^ >- v «. v. ^ i •. y ; 

LI . t t. t G t u (. 

— n ir 



high, while the pylon stands about 50 feet higher 
still. During a whole century three Pharaohs laboured 
to bring the hypostyle hall to perfection. Rameses I. 
conceived the plan, Seti I. finished the building, 
Rameses II. almost completed the decorations. The 
Pharaohs of the subsequent dynasties endeavoured 
to secure some vacant spaces on the columns, where 
they could inscribe their names and share the glory 
of the three founders ; 
but they went no farther. 
Arrested at this point 
the building seemed in- 
complete ; a final pylon 
and a colonnaded court [J 
were still wanting. 
Nearly three centuries 
elapsed before any 
attempt was made to 
supply them. Finally 
the Bubastites decided 
to commence the colon- 
nades, but their work Flg - 9 °- 
was feeble and their 

resources limited. Taharka the Ethiopian for a time 
imagined that he was capable of rivalling his great 
predecessors, and he devised a hypostyle hall even 

But his measurements 
the columns of the central aisle were 
placed too far apart to support a stone roof: they 
support nothing, and only remain to bear witness to 
his incompetency. Eventually the Ptolemies, con- 
forming to the traditions of the native Pharaohs, 

23 EE 

— i- 

-Plan of hypostyle hall, 

larger than the ancient one. 

were wrong ; 



» •»• .Of J . 

[•••• • O ~ 9 [ 

j e • a • • • j * 

applied themselves to the work ; but the revolts in 
Thebes interrupted their projects : the earthquake of 
the year 27 B.C. overthrew part of 
the temple, and the pylon remained 
for ever unfinished. 

The history of Karnak is that of 
other great Egyptian temples. By 
studying them on the spot one 
learns the reason of the irregularities 
that are to be found in them. The 
plan is always practically the same, 
and their growth is produced in the 
same manner; but the architects did 
not always foresee the importance 
to which their work would attain, 
and the site chosen by them in some 
cases did not admit of a normal 
development. At Luxor (fig. 91) 
the building progressed methodically 
under Amenhotcp III. and Seti I., 
but when Rameses II. wished to 
add to what had been done by his 
predecessors, an easterly bend of 
the river obliged him to deviate in 
the same direction. His pylon is 
not parallel with the boundary wall 
of the last court of Amenhotep III., 
and his colonnades form a distinct , e wkh lhe genera ] axis of the 

temple, I.uxor. & D 

previous work. At Philae (fig. 92) 

the deviation is even greater. Not only is the larger 
pylon out of line with the smaller one, but the two 

• » » ■ ' r \ 

II c 

Irregularity of plan. 


southern colonnades diverge considerably, and natur- 
ally they do not accord with the pylon. This is not 
the result of negligence or of deliberate intention. 
The original plan was as regular as could be devised 
by any designer, 
however devoted 
to symmetry ; but 
it could not be 
adapted to the re- 
quirements of the 
site, and the archi- 
tects, therefore, 
could not do other- 
wise than make the ]\ 
best of the irregu- 
larities to which 
they were con- 
demned by the 
nature of the 
ground. This 
necessity often in- 
spired them in the 
happiest fashion. 
Philae shows with 
what skill they 
could evolve 
beauty and charm from this unavoidable disorder. 

The idea of rock-cut temples must early have 
occurred to the Egyptians. They carved out the 
mansions of the dead in the mountain side. Why 
did they not also do the same for their gods? 
Nevertheless, the earliest temples we know con- 

Fig. 92. — Plan of the island of Philae. 

9 6 


structed entirely in the rock do not date back farther 
than the early reigns of the Eighteenth Dynasty. 
These temples are generally to be found where the 
belt of cultivated land is narrowest, near Beni Hasan, 
at Gebel Silsileh, and in Nubia. All varieties of the 
temples described above are found in the speos, 
more or less modified by local conditions. The 
Speos Artemidos is approached by a pillared portico, 
and it contains only a square chamber with a niche 

at the back for the god- 
dess Pakhet. At Kalaat- 
Addah (fig. 93) a narrow, 
roughly worked facade (A) 
faces the river, and is 
reached by a steep flight 
of steps ; immediately be- 
hind this is a hypostyle 
hall flanked by two re- 
cesses (c), then a sanctuary 
of two stories (d). The 
chapel of Horemheb (fig. 
94) at Gebel Silsileh is 
composed of a gallery 
parallel to the Nile, resting on four massive pillars 
cut out of the living rock ; and of a chamber opening 
out of the gallery at right angles. At Abu Simbel 
the entrance to the temples is cut actually in the 
face of the cliff. The front of the great temple 
(fig. 95) is carved to resemble a sloping pylon, with 
a cornice, and guarded, as usual, by four colossal 
seated figures and by smaller statues ; but here the 
colossi are almost 66 feet high. Inside the entrance 

Fig. 93. — Plan of speos, Kalaat- 
Addali, Nubie. 



is a hail, 130 feet long by 60 feet broad, which takes 
the place of the ordinary peristyle. Eight Osiride 
statues are backed by as many columns, and appear 
to be supporting that part of the mountain. Beyond 
this is a hypostyle hall, a transverse gallery that 
isolates the sanctuary, finally the sanctuary itself 
between the chapels and the other members of the 
triad. Eight crypts at a lower level than the central 
nave branch out at unequal intervals to right or left 



Up IB 

l ../*v . -- 

-'A L.. 1 t:-,--,-:- , ...>.. -Tv #■■;■;<■ 

lifer 3 * n pi r 

Fig. 94. — Plan of speos, Gebel Silsileh. 

of the peristyle. The entire area from the threshold 
to the back of the speos measures 180 feet. 

The speos of Hathor, some hundred feet to the 
north, is of smaller dimensions. The facade is 
adorned with standing figures, four of which repre- 
sent Rameses, and two his wife Nefertari. There is 
neither peristyle nor crypt (fig. 96), and the chapels 
are placed at the two extremities of the transverse 
passage instead of being in line with the sanctuary ; 
the hypostyle hall has six Hathor columns. 

Where space permitted, only a portion of the 
temple was sunk in the rock, and the front was 


9 8 


Fig- 95- 

constructed of blocks of stone in the open, thus 

forming a hemi-speos. At Derr the peristyle only 

is in the open ; while at 
Beit el Wally the pylon 
and court, at Gerf Hossein 
and Wady es Sabua the 
pylon, the rectangular 
court, and the hypostyle 
hall are all outside. The 
most celebrated hemi- 
speos is at Deir el Bahari, 
in the Theban necropolis, 
which was built by Queen 
Hatshepsut as her funer- 
ary temple (fig. 97). The 
sanctuary and two ac- 
companying chapels were 

excavated in the mountain about 100 feet above the 

valley level. The whole temple is situated on the 

lower slopes of a great bay in 

the mountains. It consists 

of a forecourt with colonnades 

at the far end to right and 

left. A broad ramp ascends 

from the middle of this court 

to the second court, which 

also has colonnades at the 

west end, supported on square ^ 

pillars and covered with Fig. 96.— Speos of Hathor, 

, , a 1 Abii Simbel. 

sculptured scenes. A second 

ramp leads to the upper terrace and colonnades, 

and through a granite gateway we reach the main 

Plan of the Great Speos, 
Abii Simbel. 














— i 

















1 — ' 





























1 O 






court. Here, on the left, is the covered court where 
sacrifices were offered to the deceased queen, and on 
the right is another court, in which stands the altar, 
one of the very few found in situ in -Egypt. It is rect- 
angular, made of fine limestone, and measures 16 feet 
by 13 feet. A flight of ten steps on the western side 
leads to the top, which is 5 feet above the pavement, 
and surmounted by a heavy cornice. Here we have 
the cliffs towering above us, and we enter the mountain 
itself, passing a variety of chambers and recesses, and 
finally reach the sanctuary. The temple is surrounded 
by a retaining wall, finely worked in limestone blocks. 
The colonnades of the first court were planted with 
a variety of trees, of which vestiges still remain.* At 
the south-west corner a shrine of Hathor is hewn out 
of the rock ; in front of it are two colonnades, the 
foremost of which is supported on sixteen-sided 
columns and square Hathor-headed columns. 

A causeway from the plain and an avenue of 
sphinxes led to the temple. At its lower end stood 
Hatshepsut's valley temple. f Never finished, it was 
begun on the same plan as the upper temple. An 
outside wall 20 feet in height encloses an upper and 
lower court, divided by a colonnaded terrace. The 
terraced temple was regarded as showing great 
originality, and it was not till 1903 that the model 
that inspired it was excavated. Close to the temple 
of Hatshepsut, on the south side, is a smaller temple 

" E. Naville, The Temple of Deir el Bahari. Egypt Exploration 

', f Earl of Carnarvon, Five Years' Exploration at Thebes. Oxford 
University Press. 


constructed by Mentuhotep II. of the Eleventh 
Dynasty.* The forecourt does not exist, but we have 
the broad ramp flanked by colonnades leading up to 
a platform artificially shaped and squared. Here is 
the entrance to the temple, a granite gateway leading 
into an open court, surrounded by a colonnade of 
1 50 octagonal columns. In the open court are still 
the remains of a large structure, faced with limestone 
and topped by a heavy cornice. It is 70 feet square 
and 10 feet high. This was the base of the brick- 
built pyramid, which the Abbot papyrus refers to 
as existing here. It did not contain the sepulchral 
chamber, and it is the only instance known of a 
pyramid enclosed in the funerary temple. Another 
granite doorway at the back of the covered hall leads 
into an open columned hall, the space for which has 
been hewn out of the cliff, and this again opened into 
a hypostyle hall of eighty columns. 

A sloping passage from the open court leads down- 
wards into the rock, and at a distance of 500 feet 
opens into a granite-lined chamber containing an 
alabaster shrine. The wooden double doors and 
their metal fittings have disappeared, but here we 
have at length reached the sanctuary. The temple 
is in ruins with the exception of the rock-cut 
chambers. The work is very fine, and the rock is 
everywhere masked with blocks of sandstone or of 

The polygonal columns, of which there are such 
extraordinary numbers, are eight-sided, instead of 

* E. Naville, The Eleventh Dynasty Temple at Deir el Bahari, vol. i. 
Egypt Exploration Fund, 1910. 



sixteen-sided, as in the neighbouring temple. During 
the Eighteenth Dynasty the building was invaded by 
a Pharaoh, probably Thothmes III., who constructed 
at the north end a chapel to Hathor, and cut a shrine 
for her in the rock. The shrine remained forgotten 
and untouched for many centuries till its discovery 
in 1906. It was a 
vaulted chamber, 
containing the 
carved figure of a 
cow, the sacred 
animal of the god- 
dess Hathor. Both 
cell and cow have 
been removed to 
Cairo, where they can be studied 
at leisure in the Museum. 

The Egyptians had another 
type of temple that may rank 
between the hemi-speos and 
the detached temple. This is 
the temple that backed on 
to the mountains without 
entering it. The great granite 
temple at Gizeh and the temple 
of Seti I. at Abydos are two good examples of 
this kind. The first has already been described 
(p. 73). The area of the second (fig. 98) was cut 
out of a compact low belt of sand which divides 
the desert plain. The temple was buried almost 
to the roof on the west and north sides, the walls 
scarcely rose above the ground level, and the stairs 

Fig. 98. — Plan of temple 
of Seti I., Abydos. 

ABYDOS. 103 

that led to the roof led also to the top of the hill. 
The front of the temple that stood out clear had 
nothing peculiar about it — two pylons, two courts, 
and a shallow portico with square pillars. But 
from this point the arrangements were unusual. 
Instead of one hypostyle hall there were two, 
separated from each other by a wall with seven 
doors ; neither of them have a central nave, and the 
sanctuary opens immediately on to the second of 
them. 'J he sanctuary is of the usual form, oblong 
with a door at each end ; but the small chambers, 
which in other instances surround it, are here placed 
side by side in a line with it, two to the right and 
four to the left. Moreover, they have corbelled 
vaulting, and their only means of lighting is by the 
door. Behind the sanctuary we find similar peculiari- 
ties. The hypostyle hall abuts on the end wall, and 
the various chambers attached to it are irregularly 
disposed to right and left. As though this were 
not enough, an entire wing, consisting of a court, 
a columned hall, some passages and dark recesses, 
stands out square from the main building on the left 
flank, with nothing to balance it on the right. These 
irregularities are explained by an examination of the 
site. Behind the hypostyle hall at the rear the hill 
is very shallow, and actually slopes aw.ay. Had the 
usual plan been adopted, the cliff must have been cut 
away, and the building would have lost the charac- 
teristic desired by the founder, of a temple built 
against the cliff. Several years later when Rameses II. 
built a memorial temple for himself a few hundred 
yards to the north-west, he carefully avoided his 


father's example ; his temple, built on the summit 
of the hill, had ample room, and the usual plan was 
carried out. 

Most temples, even the smallest, are surrounded by 
a wall forming a quadrilateral enclosure. At Medinet 
Habu this wall is of sandstone, low and crenellated ; 
but this is a whim which is in accord with the rest of 
the building. Elsewhere the doorways are of stone, 
and the walls of dried brick are built in wavy courses. 
The enclosing walls were not intended to shut off the 
temple or to conceal from the eyes of the profane 
the ceremonies carried on there, but they marked the 
limits of the divine house and served at need to 
repulse any enemy whose cupidity might be aroused 
by the accumulated treasures of the temple. The 
avenues of sphinxes, or, as in the case of Karnak, 
a series of pylons graduated in size, led from the 
gates of the enclosing wall to the various entrances 
to the building, and they also formed wide roads for 
triumphal processions. The remainder of the en- 
closure was occupied partly by stables, cellars, and 
the granaries of the priests, and partly by private 
dwellings. As in Europe in case of foreign invasion, 
the population crowded round the churches and 
monasteries, so in Egypt they hurried to the temples 
to share the protection afforded the god by the terror 
of his name and the strength of his ramparts. At 
first a wide space was reserved by the side of the 
walls and the pylons, but as the population steadily 
increased, this space became gradually filled up with 
houses, which were even built against the walls. 

In the course of centuries these houses were so 


frequently destroyed and rebuilt that many of the 
temples were at last partially buried in the accumula- 
tion of rubbish, and were much lower than the 
surrounding buildings. Herodotus mentions this fact 
with reference to Bubastis, and an examination of 
the various sites proves that the same thing hap- 
pened with many of them. At Ombos, Edfu, and 
Denderah, the only wall round the city was that of 
the god, while El Kab possessed two enclosing walls, 
that of the city and that of the temple. The latter 
formed a keep to which the garrison retired as a last 
resort. At Memphis and at Thebes there were as 
many keeps as temples ; but at Thebes these sacred 
fortresses, at first separate and surrounded by their 
own group of houses, were from the close of the 
Eighteenth Dynasty connected with each other by 
avenues of sphinxes. The most usual of them was 
the andro-sphinx — the human-headed lion ; but there 
was also the crio-sphinx — the lion with the ram's 
head (fig. 99) ; and in places where the local cult 
rendered such substitution appropriate, there were 
kneeling figures of rams holding a figure of the 
sovereign between their forelegs (fig. 100). The 
avenue from Luxor to Karnak was composed of 
these various types. This road is a mile and a 
quarter in length, and it bends in various directions ; 
but this must not be considered a proof that the 
Egyptians disliked symmetry. The two temple 
enclosures were not orientated in the same direction, 
and avenues traced perpendicularly from each of 
them could never have met ; they had to be turned 
from their original direction. We may conclude by 



saying that the people of Thebes saw almost as 
much of their temples as we see at the present day. 
The sanctuary and its immediate surroundings were 
closed to all who did not belong to the highest order 

Fig. 99. — Crio-sphinx from Wady es Sabiiah. 

of the priesthood ; but they had access to the en- 
closure, to the courts, and to the hypostyle hall ; 
some were even allowed to penetrate farther into the 


Fig. IOO. — Couchant ram, with statuette of royal founder, restored, 
avenue of sphinxes, Karnak. 

temple, according to their rank in the civil or 
religious hierarchy, and they were able to admire 
the achievements of their architects almost as freely 
as we admire them to-day. 



Ancient tradition asserts that the earliest Egyptian 
temples contained no sculptured figures, no inscrip- 
tions, no material symbols. The temple of Seneferu 
is entirely plain. The valley temple of Khafra is 
plain with the exception of the doorways of the 
facade, although it contained magnificent statues. 
The upper temple also appears to have had only the 
same scanty decoration. It was early plundered, and 
blocks bearing the name of Khafra were utilised in 
building the northern temple of Lisht. The fine 
sculptures and painted decoration in the funerary 
temples at Abusir show how completely this primitive 
simplicity was abandoned by the time of the Fifth 

By the Middle Kingdom the walls were covered 
with scenes and inscriptions, although the columns as 
yet bore little more than the royal cartouche. During 
the great Theban period all the plain surfaces, pylons, 
wall facings, and shafts of columns were covered with 
scenes and texts. Under the Ptolemies and the 
Caesars these inscriptions were so crowded that the 
masonry was lost sight of under the mass of orna- 
mentation with which it was covered. A very cursory 
glance is sufficient to show that these scenes were 
arranged with much care. They are connected and 
lead on from one to another, forming a mystic volume 
where the official relations between gods and men are 
set forth for those capable of understanding them. 
The temple was built as an image of the world, as the 
Egyptians imagined it to be. The earth, they believed, 



was a shallow flat plane oblong in form. The sky 
stretched over it was, according to one conception, 
like an immense iron ceiling, according to another 

Figs. 101 to 106. — Decorative Designs from Denderah. 

in mi mi 

m mi i* 

Fig. 102. 

like a shallow iron vault. As it could not remain in 
position without some support the idea arose that it 
was prevented from falling by four props or gigantic 

Fig. 103 

Fig. 104. 

pillars. The temple pavement was the natural equi- 
valent of the inhabited world. The four corners of 
the chambers represented the supports ; the ceiling, 

Fig. 105. 

Fig. 106. 

which at Abydos, and in several other localities, was 
vaulted, but which was generally flat, corresponded 
exactly to the Egyptian conception of the sky. Each 



part was decorated appropriately to its signification. 
All that touched the ground was covered with vege- 
tation ; the columns represented the plants or trees 
that abound on the banks 

of the Nile. The base of j^£ ^"^121 ^ 
the walls was decorated 
with long stems of papyrus 
or lotus (fig. 101), among 
which cattle were occa- 
sionally depicted. In some 
cases a dado had a charm- 
ing design Of groups of **• ">7.-Two Nile-gods, bearing 
fc> & t> 1 lotus-flowers and libation vases. 

river plants emerging from 

the water (fig. 102), or again we find full-blown 
flowers alternated with single buds (fig. 103) or con- 
nected by cords (fig. 104), or again the emblematic 
plants that symbolise the union of the two Egypts, of 

Fig. 108. — Dado decoration, hall of Thothmes III., Karnak. 

the north and of the south, under one Pharaoh (fig. 105), 
birds with human arms, seated in adoration over the 
sign used to denote solemn festivals, or crouching 
prisoners, a negro and an Asiatic bound two and two 
to a stake (fig. 106). On the ground level, Niles, both 
male and female, either kneel (fig. 107) or advance 



majestically in procession, their hands full of fruit and 
flowers. These are the nomes, the lakes and districts 
of Egypt, that are shown bringing their produce to 
the god. At Karnak in one instance Thothmes III. 
had the flowers, plants, and animals of the lands con- 
quered by him sculptured on the lower courses of the 


Fig. 109. — Ceiling decoration, from tomb of Bakenrenf (Bocchoris), 
Saqqara, Twenty-sixth Dynast}'. 

walls (fig. 108). The temple ceilings were painted dark 
blue and sprinkled with five-pointed stars painted 
yellow, occasionally interspersed with the cartouches 
of the royal founder. Bands of hieroglyphs at 
intervals broke the monotony of this Egyptian night. 
The vultures of Nekheb and Uazit, goddesses of the 



south and the north, armed with emblems of universal 
domination (fig. 109), hover over the central aisle of the 
hypostyle hall and on the soffits of the doors, above 
the head of the king as he passed to the sanctuary. 
At the Ramesseum, at Edfu, Philse, Denderah, 

Fig. IIO. — Zodiacal circle of Denderah. 

Ombos, and Esneh, the very depths of the firmament 
appeared to open, and reveal. their inhabitants to the 
eyes of the faithful. There the celestial ocean dis- 
played its waters, over which sailed the sun and moon, 
escorted by the planets, the constellations and decani, 


while the genii of months and of days marched in 
interminable succession. During the Ptolemaic period, 
signs of the zodiac, copied from the Greek, are found 
among astronomical figures of purely Egyptian origin 
(fig. [io). The decoration of the architraves that 
support the stone roof is quite independent of that of 
the roof itself. On them legends are inscribed in 
immense hieroglyphic characters, setting forth the 
beauties of the temple, the names of the royalties who 
built it, and the name of the deity to whom it was 
consecrated. In fact the ornamentation of the base 
of the walls, and of the roof is confined to a small 
number of subjects which are always the same ; while 
the most important and most varied scenes may be 
said to be placed between heaven and earth, on the 
walls of the chambers and pylons. 

These illustrate the official relationships between 
Egypt and its gods. The common folk had no right 
to communicate directly with the divinity. For them 
it was necessary to have a mediator, who, partaking 
both of the human and the divine nature, was able to 
comprehend both equally. Thus the reigning king, 
Son of the Sun, was alone of sufficiently lofty descent 
to behold the god, to serve him, and speak with him 
face to face. Sacrifices could only be offered by him, 
or at his express command ; offerings for the dead 
were supposed to pass through his hands, and the 
family invoked his name {seten de Jiotep) in order 
that they might reach their destination in the next 
world. Thus the king is depicted everywhere in the 
temple, standing, sitting, kneeling, slaying the victim 
and presenting parts of it, pouring wine, milk, oil, and 


burning incense. The whole of mankind is acting 
through him, and performing through him its duty to 
the immortals. When the ceremony performed by 
him demands the presence of several people, then it 
is only the assistants, his own family as far as possible, 
who are seen taking part. The queen standing behind 
him, as Isis stands behind Osiris, has her hand raised 
to protect him, shakes the sistrum or beats the 
tambourine in order to ward off evil spirits from him, 
or holds the bouquet, or the libation vase. His 
eldest son tightens the net, or lassoes the bull, or 
recites the prayer, while the king tenders to the 
god everything prescribed by the ritual. The prince 
is occasionally replaced by a priest, but no other 
human being has any but very subordinate parts. 
They are butchers, or servants, they drive the chariot, 
or carry the palanquin of the god. The god, on the 
other hand, is not always alone. Next to him are 
his wife and his son, then the divinities of adjacent 
nomes, and in a general way all the gods of Egypt. 
From the moment that the temple is regarded as the 
image of the world it should, like the world, contain 
all the gods, great and small. They are generally 
arranged in rows behind the god of the temple, either 
sitting or standing, and partake of the homage offered 
to him. Sometimes, however, they claim a more 
active part in the ceremonies. The spirits of On, 
and of Khonsu kneel at the feet of the sun and 
acclaim him. Horus, Set, or Thoth conduct the 
Pharaoh to his father, Amon-Ra, or with him they 
perform the ceremonies usually assigned to the prince 
or the priest ; they help him to overthrow the victim, 


to snare the birds intended for sacrifice, the)- pour 
over his head the water of youth and of life that will 
cleanse him from all impurities. The position and 
functions of these subordinate gods are strictly defined 
by the theology. 

The sun journeying from east to west, as stated 
in the texts, cut the universe into two worlds, the 
north and the south. Like the universe the temple 
was double and an imaginary line, drawn through 
the axis of the sanctuary, divided it into two temples, 
the temple of the south on the right, and the temple 
of the north on the left. This fiction of duality was 
pushed even further ; each chamber was divided in 
imitation of the temple into two parts, of which the 
right was that of the south and the left of the north. 
In order to be complete the homage of the king must 
be paid both in the temple of the north and of the 
south, both to the gods of the north and of the south, 
with the produce both of- the north and of the south. 
Thus each scene must be represented at least twice, 
on a wall to the right and on a wall to the left. Amon 
on the right receives the wheat, the wine, and the 
drink-offerings of the south ; on the left he receives 
the wheat, the wine, and the drink-offerings of the 
north ; and that which applies to Amon applies 
equally to Mut, Khonsu, Mentii, and many others. 
In practice the want of space prevented this being 
always carried out, and one often finds a single 
scene, in which the products of the north and of the 
south are placed together before an Amon who repre- 
sents in himself the Amon of the north and the Amon 
of the south. This deviation from established usage 



is, however, exceptional, and symmetry was re-esta- 
blished as soon as circumstances permitted. 

During Pharaonic times the scenes were not much 
crowded together ; the surface to be covered defined 
below by a line drawn above the decoration of the 
dado, is bounded above by the usual cornice, or by 
a frieze of uraei, of bundles of lotus arranged side by 
side, of the royal cartouches with their divine symbols 
(fig. 1 1 1), or of emblems connected with the local cult 
— Hathor-heads for instance in a temple of Hathor — 
or of a horizontal line of dedicatory inscription deeply 
carved in fine hieroglyphs. The space thus enclosed 
sometimes formed one 
single register, but as often 

Fig. III. — Frieze of uraei and 

it was divided into two 
registers, one above another; 
it was only on very lofty 
walls that this number was 
exceeded. Figures and texts were widely spaced, 
and the scenes followed each other almost without 
definite divisions ; it was left to the spectator to 
discover the beginning and the end. The heads of the 
kings were actual portraits drawn from life, and for 
the gods also their features were copied as closely as 
possible ; for Pharaoh being the son of the gods, the 
surest method of obtaining their likeness was to 
model it on the portrait of the king. The secondary 
figures were represented with equal care, but where 
there were too many of them they were arranged in 
superposed rows of two or three, of which the total 
height never exceeded that of the principal person- 
ages. The offerings, the sceptres, the jewellery, the 


vestments, the headdresses, the furniture, and all the 
accessories were located with minute regard for 
elegance and accuracy. The colours were so com- 
bined as to secure one dominant tone in any one part 
of the building. Thus there are chambers which 
might accurately be styled the blue hall, the red hall, 
the green hall, the golden hall. So much for the 
classical periods. 

The nearer we approach to later times, the more 
crowded the scenes become. Under the Greeks and 
Romans they are so numerous that it was only 
possible to arrange them on the wall by means of 
four (fig. 112), five, six, or even eight registers. The 
principal figures seem to be compressed in order to 
save space, while thousands of explanatory hieroglyphs 
fill up the gaps between them. The gods and kings 
are no longer portraits of the reigning sovereign, but 
conventional types without life or vigour, while, 
with regard to the secondary personages and the 
accessories, the only anxiety was to crowd them 
together as closely as possible. This was not owing 
to lack of taste ; these changes were due to the pre- 
valence of a religious idea, the sole object of the 
decoration was not merely to please the eye ; when 
applied to a piece of furniture, to a house, a temple, or 
a coffin, it possessed magical virtue, of which every 
being or action represented, every word inscribed or 
pronounced at the time of consecration, determined 
the power and character. These scenes were there- 
fore amulets as well as decorations. So long as they 
lasted, they secured to the god the benefit of the 
homage rendered, or the sacrifice offered by the king, 



and they confirmed to the king, living or dead, the 
favour granted him by the god in recompense for his 

&£ is 4* «?< £» ."^ ■*?) S^> 4=5 #=5 «* E* 4=7 ■ • _- f s • .• ; - - '. .- c 

Fig. 112. — Wall of a chamber at Denderah, to show the 
arrangement of the tableaux. 

piety, they preserved the wall on which they were 
carved from destruction, and also the whole area of 


the temple to which the wall belonged. During the 
Eighteenth Dynasty it was supposed that one or two 
amulets of this kind were sufficient to obtain the 
desired effect, but later it was thought advisable to 
increase the number, and as many were added as 
could find room on the walls. One medium-sized 
chamber of Edfii or Denderah furnishes more material 
for study than the hypostyle hall of Karnak, and the 
chapel of Antoninus Pius at Philae, had it been com- 
pleted, would have contained more scenes than the 
sanctuary at Luxor with the passages surrounding it. 
Observing the extraordinary variety of subjects 
dealt with, one is tempted to think that the decoration 
does not form a continuous scheme from beginning 
to end, and that, while several series are doubtless 
developments of a single idea either historical or 
religious, others are merely placed together without 
any connecting link. On each face of a pylon at 
Luxor and the Ramesseum a field of battle is repre- 
sented, on which one can almost follow the struggle 
of Rameses II. with the Kheti day by day. There 
we see the royal camp surprised just as the Pharaoh 
had arrived before Qodshu (Kadesh), the camp forced, 
then the defeat of the barbarians, their flight, the 
garrison of the city sallying forth to their relief, and 
the disasters that befell the Syrian prince and his 
generals. Elsewhere it is not the field of battle that 
wc see, but the sacrifice of human life that marked 
the close of each campaign ; the king grasping his 
prostrate prisoners by the hair and brandishing his 
mace as though about to kill them at a single blow. 
At Karnak, along the outer wall, Seti I. is shown 


hunting down the Bedouin tribes of Sinai. At 
Medinet Habu we see Rameses III. destroying the 
fleet of the peoples of the sea, or he is counting the 
severed hands of the Libyans brought him as trophies 
by the soldiery. Then without any attempt at transi- 
tion we find a peaceful scene — Pharaoh pouring out 
a libation of perfumed water to his father Amon. It 
does not appear possible to establish any connection 
between these scenes, and yet one is a necessary 
consequence of the other ; if the god had not granted 
victory to the king, the king would not in turn have 
performed the ceremonies in the temple. The 
sculptor has recorded the events on the wall in the 
order in which they occurred. The victory, then the 
sacrifice ; the benefits bestowed by the god, and then 
the act of gratitude performed by the king. If we 
study them as a whole, we find that the multitude of 
episodes are linked together in the same manneTT'all 
the scenes, including those which at the first glance 
appear most unaccountable, represent various stages 
in one single action, which begins at the entrance, 
and develops as we pass through the courts till it 
ends at the sanctuary. Pharaoh enters the temple. 
In the courts his eye is everywhere met by records of 
his victories, but these pictures which appear intended 
solely to flatter his vanity are homage to the god. 
This is so well understood by the latter that, con- 
cealed in his shrine and surrounded by his priests, 
he forthwith emerges to meet the king. The rites 
prescribed in this case are recorded on the walls of 
the hypostyle hall where they were performed, and 
then the king and the god together sought the 


sanctuary. Arrived at the door that divided the 
public part from the mysterious regions of the temple, 
the priestly escort halted, and the Pharaoh, passing 
the threshold, was received by the gods. He per- 
formed one after another all the prescribed religious 
exercises, and then, having acquired merit, and with 
senses refined by virtue of his prayers, he ventured 
among the immortals and penetrated at length into 
the sanctuary, where his divine father revealed him- 
self to him, and conversed with him face to face. 
The decorations give a faithful representation of this 
mystic interview, the friendly welcome of the divinities, 
the gestures and offerings of the king, the vestments 
successively laid aside and donned by him, the crowns 
he wore, the visions he recited and the benefits 
resulting from them — all these are engraved on the 
walls in their respective positions ; Pharaoh and his 
small escort are placed facing the door at the farther 
end with their backs to the entrance ; while the gods, 
with the exception of those escorting the king, face 
the entrance door, with their backs to the sanctuary. 
Should the royal memory fail during the ceremony, 
the king had only to glance at the walls to see what 
was next to be done. 

This was not all ; each part of the temple had its 
individual decoration and furniture. The walls of 
the pylons were not only furnished with the masts 
and streamers already mentioned, but with statues 
and obelisks. The statues, four or six in number, 
were of limestone, granite, or sandstone ; they repre- 
sented the royal founder, and were sometimes of 
colossal size. The two Memnons seated at the 


entrance of the chapel of Amenhotep III. at Thebes 
measure about 50 feet in height. The colossus of 
Rameses III. at the Ramesseum stood 57 feet high, 
and that at Tanis at least 70 feet. The greater 
number of statues, however, did not exceed 20 feet. 
They mounted guard infront of the temple, facing 
outwards as though to ward off any approaching 
enemy. The obelisks of Karnak are almost all 
swallowed up in the multitude of courts. This 
circumstance is easily explained. Each pylon, with 
its accompanying obelisks, was originally the ex- 
ternal fagade, and was in turn relegated to a secondary 
position by the additional courts of successive 
Pharaohs. The proper position of the obelisks is 
in front of the colossi, on each side of the main 
entrance. They are always in pairs, but often of 
unequal height. They have been variously explained 
as being emblems of Amon-Generator, or a finger of 
the god, or a ray of light. Roughly shaped stone 
stelae, bearing the name of the deceased king, were 
placed in front of the tombs of the kings of the 
earliest dynasties, and small limestone obelisks, about 
3 feet in height, are found in tombs as early as the 
end of the Third Dynasty. They are placed to right 
and left of the stela — that is to say, on either side of 
the door that leads to the dwelling of the dead. In 
their origin * they may have been models of the 
celebrated benben stone of Heliopolis, the earliest 
incarnation of the sun god Ra, and closely related to 
the baityle, so well known in Syria and Palestine. 
Like the sphinx and the statues of the kings, they 

* English Editor. 





were regarded as possessing magic 
powers that enabled them to protect 
the building before which they were 
placed from all evil, the attacks of 
mortal enemy, or of malignant spirits. 
Erected before the pylon gates, they 
were made of granite, and their 
dimensions are considerable. The 
shaft of the obelisk at Heliopolis 
(fig. 113) measures 68 feet, and those 
at Luxor are respectively JJ and 
75-i feet, while the highest known, 
that of Queen Hatshepsut at Karnak, 
rises to a height of 109 feet. To 
move such masses, even at the present 
time, and to calibre them accurately, 
is a serious task, and it is difficult to 
realise how the Egyptians succeeded 
in raising them with nothing more 
than ropes and sacks of sand. 
Hatshepsut boasts that her obelisks 
were quarried, shaped, transported, 
and erected within seven months, and 
we have no reason to doubt her word. 
Obelisks were almost invariably 
square in section, the faces slightly 
convex, and sloping slightly from top 
to bottom. The base was a single 
square block inscribed with texts or 
carved in high relief with cynocephali 
adoring the sun. The point was carved 
into a pyramidion, occasionally covered with bronze 







Fig. 113. — Obelisk 
of Seniisert I., 



or copper-gilt. Scenes of offerings to Ra-Harmakhis, 
Horus, Atiim, and Amon are carved on the sides of 
the pyramidion and on the upper part of the shaft. 
Below, on the four vertical faces, there are parallel 
lines of hieroglyphs setting forth the praises of the 
king, and sometimes a scene of 
offering at the bottom. 

This is the usual form of obelisk. 
Here and there one comes across 
one of a different type. That at 
Begig, in the Fayum, is rectangular 
in section, and bluntly rounded at 
the top (fig. 114). A mortise at 
the summit shows that it was sur- 
mounted by some metal object, 
probably a hawk, as on the obelisk 
carved on one of the votive stelae 
in the Cairo Museum. This form 
lasted till the final decay of 
Egyptian art. One has been found 
at Axum, in the middle of Ethiopia, 
dating from about the fourth 
century of our era. 

Such were the accessories to the 
decoration of the pylon. The inner 
courts and hypostyle halls had also 
colossi of their own. Some of these, backed on 
to the front faces of the pillars or walls, were only 
half disengaged from the masonry, and were even 
built up with it in courses. They represented the 
Pharaoh standing, mummified, and bearing the 
insignia of Osiris. Others, under the peristyle at 

Fig. 114.— Obelisk of 
Senusert I., Begig 


Luxor, and at Karnak between each column of 
the central aisle, are also statues of the Pharaoh, 
but here he is Pharaoh triumphant, clad in royal 
apparel. The right to dedicate a statue in the temple 
was also a royal prerogative, and although the king 
occasionally permitted some favoured person to 
dedicate theirs by the side of his own, it was always 
a special favour, and the inscription on such statues 
mentions that it was placed there by the king's grace. 
Rarely as this privilege was granted, it resulted in a 
vast accumulation of votive statues, so that in the 
course of centuries the courts and passages of some 

temples were crowded 
with them. At Karnak 
the sanctuary enclosure 
was furnished outside 
with a kind of broad 
Fig. 115.— Table of offerings, bench breast - high, on 

Karnak. . 

which the statues were 
placed with their backs to the wall. So crowded 
was the temple, that at last it was found absolutely 
necessary to get rid of some of the statues. They 
were temple property, and could not be disposed of. 
In the course of the third century B.C. a deep 
trench was dug near the south wall of the hypostyle 
hall, and about a thousand statues were buried. 
Here they remained in safety till the beginning of 
this century, when M. Legrain discovered them, and 
they are now ranged in numbers in the Cairo 

Attached to each statue as it stood in the sanctuary 
was a rectangular table of offerings (fig. 1 1 5) formed 



of a block of stone with a projection on one side to 
form a spout, and the upper part hollowed more or 
less deeply. On it are often carved loaves, joints of 
beef, libation vases, and other objects usually pre- 
sented to the deceased or to the gods. The tables of 
offerings of King Ameni Entef Amenemhat at Cairo 
consist of blocks of red granite more than 3 feet in 
length, the top of which is hollowed into cups spaced 
at regular intervals, each cup-hole being reserved for 
one particular offering. There was a cult connected 
with these statues, and the tables were altars upon 
which sacrificial offerings of meat, 
cakes, fruits, vegetables, and the 
like were placed during the per- 
formance of the ritual which 
ensured the offerings reaching the 

The sanctuary and the surround- 
ing chambers contained the objects Fig. 116.— Limestone 
required for the cult. The bases altar- 

of altars varied in shape, some square and massive, 
others polygonal or cylindrical. Some of these last 
are not unlike a small cannon, which is the name 
given them by the Arabs. 

A perfect specimen was discovered at Menshiyeh 
in 1884 (fig. 116). It is of white limestone, hard, and 
polished like marble. The foot is a very long cone 
with no ornament except a torus about half an inch 
below the top. Upon this the large hemispherical 
basin is fixed into a square mortise. 

The naos is a small shrine of wood or stone 
(fig. 117) in which the spirit of the deity was at 



all times expected to dwell, and which on certain 
festivals contained his actual image. The sacred 
barks were built after the model of a boat, in which 
the sun pursued his daily course round the world. 
In the centre was the naos, covered with a veil that 
prevented spectators beholding what was within it. 
The crew was complete, each god at his appointed 

Fig. 117. — Wooden naos, Turin Museum. 

place, the pilot at the helm, the look-out at the prow, 
the king on his knees before the door of the naos. 

We have not yet found any of the statues em- 
ployed at the ceremonies in honour of the gods, but 
we know their appearance, the part they played, and 
the materials of which they were made. They were 
animated, and in addition to their bodies of stone, 
metal, or wood, they possessed a soul, procured by 
magic from the divinity they represented. They 


spoke, they moved, they acted — not metaphorically, 
but actually. The Pharaohs undertook nothing 
without their counsel. They addressed them, con- 
sulting them as to affairs of state, and after each 
question they showed approval by bowing the head, 
or if the reply was unfavourable they remained 
immovable. The stela of Bakhtan (a priestly docu- 
ment of Persian or Ptolemaic times) states that a 
statue of Khonsu placed its hands four times on the 
neck of another statue in order to transmit to it the 
power of chasing away demons. Hatshepsut de- 
spatched an expedition to Punt, the Land of incense, 
after having conversed with the statue of Amon in 
the darkness of the sanctuary. In theory the divine 
spirit alone was supposed to produce these miracles, 
but in practice the speech and movement were the 
result of human intervention. Interminable avenues 
of sphinxes, gigantic obelisks, massive pylons, halls of 
a hundred columns, mysterious chambers where the 
day never penetrated — the entire Egyptian temple 
was built to serve as an abode for an articulated 
puppet in whose name a priest spoke, and of which 
he pulled the wires. 



The Egyptians regarded man as constituted of 
various entities, each of which possessed its own 
functions and life. There was the visible form, the 
body to which the ka_or double was attached during 
life. The ka was a replica of the body, of a substance 
less dense, a coloured but ethereal projection of the 
individual : the ka of a child would reproduce the 
child, that of a woman the woman, that of a man 
the man, each of them feature for feature. Then 
there was the ba, the soul represented in the form 
of a bird, sometimes with a human head. There 
was also the kliu or luminous, and one or more 
other entities perhaps of less importance. These 
elements were not imperishable, and if left to them- 
selves they would gradually cease to exist, and the 
man would die a second time — that is to say, he 
would become non-existent. The existence of the 
ka depended on the body, and to save that from 
destruction was the object of the survivors. By the 
process of drying and embalming the body they 
could prolong its existence for ages, while by means 
of prayers and offerings they saved the double, the 
soul, and the luminous from the second death, and 
procured for them all that was necessary for pro- 


THE GRAVE. 1 29 

longed existence. The double scarcely quitted the 
place where the mummy dwelt ; the soul and the 
luminous left it to follow the gods, but they always 
returned to it as a traveller returns home. 

At first the grave was a mere shallow pit in which 
the dead was laid on a mat surrounded by weapons, 
food, pottery, ornaments, and a palette on which to 
rub the paint with which he coloured his face. The 
body was laid on the left side in a crouching attitude, 
with the head either to the north or the south. This 
earliest form of grave was soon elaborated, and 
through the Thinite period we can trace its develop- 
ment. The deep rectangular pit roofed with timber 
and mud, then brick-lined, with steps leading down 
to it ; the superstructure of mud and brick carefully 
whitened on the outside, and with its two niches on 
the east side where offerings and prayers could be 
made for the dead. Every stage can be traced from 
the primitive grave to the elaborate tomb of the 
Old Kingdom. The tomb of the Egyptian was a 
dwelling-house, his eternal house, in comparison to 
which earthly houses were but inns for temporary 
convenience. The arrangement of these eternal 
houses corresponded faithfully to the conception held 
regarding the future life. They contained private 
apartments for the soul, where after the day of the 
funeral no living creature could enter without com- 
mitting sacrilege. In the fully equipped tombs halls 
of audience were provided for the double, where priests 
and friends came with prayers and offerings, while 
between the two were passages of various lengths. 
The arrangement of these three sections varied 


130 TOMBS. 

greatly, according to the period, the locality, the 
nature of the site, and the social position and caprice 
of the individual. The part accessible to the public 
was often above ground, and formed a separate 
building. In other cases it was excavated in the 
mountain side as well as the tomb itself, or again 
the sepulchral chamber with the passages leading 
to it was in one locality, while the place for offering 
and prayer was at a distance on the plain. But, 
however varied in detail and grouping, the principle 
always remains the same. The tomb is a dwelling 
intended to promote the well-being and secure the 
preservation of its occupant. 


We have already alluded to the graves of the 
pre-dynastic and archaic period. The cemeteries 
of that early period abound in Lower Nubia and 
Upper Egypt, and mastabas of the Second Dynasty 
have been found as far north as Saqqara. The great 
mastabas of the Memphite period are found at 
Memphis, at Medum, and between Abu Roash, 
and Dahshur. The mastaba (fig. 1 1 8) is a quad- 
rangular building which from a distance might be 
mistaken for a truncated pyramid ; the name was 
applied to them by the natives on account of their 
shape, mastaba being the Arabic word for a bench 
or platform. Many of these mastabas are from 
30 to 40 feet in height, 150 feet in length, and 
So feet in width, while others are barely 10 feet 
high or 15 feet long. The sides slope symmetrically, 


and are usually quite smooth, but sometimes the 
courses recede one above another like a series of 
steps. The materials employed are brick or stone. 
The stone is always limestone worked in blocks 
about 32 inches long, 20 inches high, and 24 inches 
wide. Three kinds of limestone are used ; for the 
best worked tombs the fine white stone from Turah 
or the compact silicious stone of Saqqara, and for 
ordinary tombs the marly limestone of the Libyan 
mountains. This last contains thin layers of salt 
and is veined with crystallised gypsum, and is ex- 
ceedingly friable and unsuited for ornamentation. 
The brick is merely 
sun-dried, and is of ^^t, 

two kinds. The ^ffiS^J. 
most ancient, which J§S|8Sifej^*~P^ 
fell into disuse as ' Fig. Ii8.-Amastaba. 

early as the Sixth 

Dynasty, is small (8| x 4^ x 5f inches), yellowish, 
and made of sand mixed with a little clay and 
gravel. The other kind is black, compact, well 
moulded, made of mud mixed with straw, and fairly 
large (15 x 7 x $h inches). The working of the 
stone inside the building varies according to the 
material employed by the architect. Nine times out 
of ten it is only the outside walls of the stone mastabas 
that are regularly worked. The inside is constructed 
of roughly quarried rubble, fragments of limestone 
and rubbish roughly laid in horizontal courses 
embedded in mud, or even piled up without mortar 
of any kind. The brick mastabas are almost always 
uniform in construction, the external faces carefully 

132 TOMBS. 

built with mortar, and the ^interstices of the inner 
layers filled in with fine sifted sand. 

It was intended that the mastaba should be correctly 
orientated, the four sides to the four cardinal points, 
the greater axis stretching from north to south ; but 
the masons did not trouble to find the exact north, 
and the orientation is rarely accurate. At Gizeh 
the mastabas are arranged according to a symmetrical 
plan, and form actual streets ; at Saqqara, Abusir, 
and Dahshur they are flung in disorder on the plain, 
in some places crowded, in others far apart. The 
modern Mussulman cemetery at Siut shows a similar 
lack of arrangement, and furnishes an idea of the 
appearance of a Memphite necropolis during the 
latter part of the Old Kingdom. 

An unpaved platform, consisting of the final layer 
of the masonry, forms the top of the mastaba : this 
is thickly strewn with pottery, which is almost buried 
in the earth employed in the building, and laid most 
thickly above the hollow parts of the interior. The 
walls are bare, the doors generally face east, occasion- 
ally north or south, but never west. There were two 
of these, one reserved for the use of the dead, the 
other accessible to the living ; but that intended for 
the dead was merely a narrow high niche in the east 
face, near the north-east angle. Vertical grooves 
were worked on the face of the niche, and formed 
a frame and a narrow sunk panel. Even this pretence 
of a means of entry was sometimes omitted, and the 
soul had to manage as best it might. The door for 
the living was of more or less importance, in accord- 
ance with the chamber to which it led. In more than 



one instance, as in the earliest form of mastaba, the 
door and chamber are combined in one shallow recess 
containing a stela and a table of offerings (fig. 119). 
This is occasionally protected by a wall projecting 
from the face of the mastaba, which forms a kind 
of forecourt opening towards the north ; in the tomb 
of Kaapir the court is square (fig. 120), in that of 
Neferhotep at Saqqara it is of irregular form (fig. 12 1). 

When the plan of the 
tomb includes one or more 
chambers, the door is in 

Fig. 119. — False door in mastaba, 
from Mariette's Les Mastabahs. 

Fig. 120. — Plan of forecourts, 
in mastaba of Kaapir. 

the centre of a small architectural facade (fig. 122) 
or under a shallow portico of two square pillars 
without base or abacus (fig. 123). It is of almost 
rudimentary simplicity — the two door-jambs are 
either plain or have bas-reliefs representing the 
deceased, and surmounted by a cylindrical drum 
carved with his name and titles. In the tomb of 
Pohunika at Saqqara the door-jambs represent two 
pilasters each crowned with two lotus-flowers in 



The chapel itself was generally small, and out 
of all proportion with the size of the building (fig. 

124), but there was 

no precise rule to 
determine its size. 
In the tomb of Ti 
(fig. 125) there is 
successively a portico 
(a), a square ante- 
chamber with pillars 

(b), a passage (c), with a small chamber on the right 

(D) opening into a final chamber (e). There is plenty 

of space for more than one 

person of importance, and 

the inscriptions show that 

the wife of Ti reposed 

Fig. 121. 

Plan of forecourt, mastaba of 

Fig. 122. — Door in facade of 


there with her husband. 
The tomb was not so com- 
plicated when it was in- 
tended for one person only. 
A short narrow gallery leads to an oblong chamber, 
hich crosses it at right angles. The rear wall is 

often straight, and the 
whole resembles a well- 
balanced hammer (fig. 
126). In other cases the 
wall is recessed opposite 
the entrance, and gives 
the form of a cross with 
the head considerably 


Fig. 123. — Portico and door, from 
Mariette's Lcs Mastabahs. 

shortened (fig. 127). This was the most usual arrange- 
ment, but] the architect was at liberty to disregard 



it at will. One chapel consists of two parallel 
galleries connected by a transverse passage (fig. 128). 
In another the chamber opens at one corner on to the 


Fig. 124.— Plan of chapel in mastaba of Khabiiisokari, Fourth Dynasty. 

gallery (fig. 129) ; or again in the tomb of Ptahhotep 
the available area was hemmed in between earlier 
constructions, and was not large enough. Here the 

Fig. 125.— Plan of Fig. 126.— Plan of chapel Fig. 127.— Plan ot 

chapel in mas- in mastaba of Shep- chapel in mastaba 

taba of Ti, Fifth sesptah, Fourth Dy- of Affi, Saqqara, 

Dynasty. nasty. Fourth Dynasty. 

new mastaba was combined with the earlier one by 
making the entrance common to both, and the chapel 
of the one was enlarged by the whole of the space 
occupied by the other (fig. 130). 



The chapel was the reception-room of the double. 
There the relatives, friends, and priests celebrated the 
funerary sacrifices on the days prescribed by law, "at 
the feasts at the beginning of the seasons, at the feast 
of Thoth, on the first day of the year, at the feast 

of Uaga, at the great feast of 
Sothis, at the procession of 
the god Min, at the feast 
of loaves, at the feasts of 
the months, the half months, 
and of the days." The 
offerings were deposited in 
the principal hall at the 
foot of the west wall at the precise spot where the 
entrance to the eternal house was indicated. At first 
this was marked by an actual door, framed and 
decorated like the ordinary door of a house. As, 

Fig. 128. — Plan of chapel in 
mastaba of Thenti II., 

Saqqara, Fourth Dynast}'. 

Fig. 129. — Plan of chapel in mastaba of the Red Scribe, Saqqara, 
Fourth Dynasty. 

however, it was to remain for ever closed to the living 
it was not long before this door was walled up and 
a mere false door substituted for it. A hieroglyph 
inscription carved on the lintel commemorated the 
name and rank of the occupant. Representations 
of him, standing or seated, were carved on the sides, 



while a scene painted or carved on the back of the 
recess showed him seated before a table and reaching 
out his hand for the repast provided for him. A flat 
table of offerings fixed in the floor between the jambs 
of the false door received the offerings of food and 
drink. The general appearance of the recess is that 

Fig. 130. — Plan of the mastaba of Ptahhotep, Saqqara, Fifth Dynasty. 

of a somewhat narrow doorway. As a rule it was 
empty, but occasionally it contained a portrait of the 
dead man, either the head and shoulders, or a com- 
plete statue of him (fig. 131), standing with one foot 
forward as though about to pass the gloomy threshold 
of his tomb, descend the steps into the chapel or ka 



} «M 

-S N 



Pig. 131. — Stela in tomb of Merruka, a lalsc door containing a 
statue of the deceased, Abusir, Fifth Dynasty. 

chamber, and partake of the heaped-up offerings of 
food 1 laid on the table, as he was expected to do a^ 


soon as the ceremonies were concluded, and bis. living 
visitors had departed. 

Theoretically these offerings should have been 
repeated year by year throughout the ages, but the 
Egyptians soon realised that this could not be. After 
two or three generations the dead of bygone times 
would be neglected in favour of others more recent. 
Even when they were endowed with pious foundations 
whose revenues were intended to provide offerings 
and priests to serve them, the hour of oblivion was 
only deferred. Sooner or later the double would be 
forced to search for food among the town refuse and 
corrupt filth lying about on the ground. 

The survivors therefore conceived the idea of 
inscribing on the stela a list of the food and 
drink he would require, with an invocation to the 
gods of the dead, Osiris or Anubis, to supply him with 
all good things necessary. Offerings of real provisions 
were not necessary. Any chance stranger in times to 
come who should simply repeat the magic formula of 
the stela aloud would thereby secure the immediate 
enjoyment by the deceased of the good things there 
set forth. The name and titles of the deceased in- 
scribed on the door-posts and lintels were no mere 
epitaph for the information of future generations ; all 
the details given as to the name, rank, and function 
of the deceased were intended to secure the continuity 
of his individuality and civil status in the life beyond 
death. In order to ensure that the funerary offerings 
should for ever retain their virtue they were painted 
and described on the walls of the chapel (fig. 132). 
The painted or sculptured representations of persons. 



and things ensured their actual possession and enjoy- 
ment by the individual for whose benefit they were 

executed. Thus the ka saw himself depicted on the 
walls eating and drinking, and he ate and drank 


This idea once admitted, many further develop- 
ments were evolved from it. Not only were fictitious 
provisions provided, but the domains from which they 
were supposed to come were also added, with flocks, 
labourers, and slaves. Was it a question of how to 
provide food for all eternity, it was only necessary 
to draw the different parts of an ox or a gazelle ready 
prepared for the butcher — the shoulder, the haunch, 
the ribs, the breast, the heart and liver and the head ; 
but it was also quite easy to represent the history of 
the animal from a very early period — its birth, its 
life in the pastures, then the slaughter-house, the 
cutting up of the creature, and the final offering. In 
the same way with regard to cakes or loaves, there 
was no difficulty in depicting the field labour, the 
sowing, the harvest, beating out the grain, storing it 
in the granary, and kneading the dough. Clothing, 
ornaments, and furniture afforded a pretext for intro- 
ducing spinning and weaving, gold-working and 
joiner's work. The master is represented of immense 
size, out of 'all proportion to the workpeople and 
cattle. Various tactful scenes show him in his 
funeral barge travelling full sail (fig. 133) to the other 
world, on the very day when he was deposited in the 
depths of his new abode. Elsewhere he is seen in full 
activity inspecting his imaginary vassals as he had 
formerly inspected the real ones (fig. 134). His 
ornaments are not forgotten, and he is provided with 
dancing girls, musicians, or his favourite gaming- 
board at which he is seen playing. Varied as these 
scenes are, they are not arranged without method. 
They all converge towards the false door that is 



supposed to communicate with the tomb chamber ; 
those nearest the door represent the details of the 

fig. 133. — Wall painting, funeral voyage, mastaba of Urkhuu, 
Gizeh, Fourth Dynasty. 

sacrifice and offerings, followed in the retrograde 
order of the sequence of events, the first preliminaries 
being at the greatest distance from the stela. At the 

Fig. 134. — Wall scene from mastaba of Ptahhotep, Fifth Dynasty. 

door the figure of the occupant appears to await his 
visitors and bid them welcome. There is an infinite 
variety, the inscriptions are shortened or lengthened 



according to the caprice of the scribe, the false door 
loses its architectural character, and is often nothing- 
more than a stone of medium size, a stela bearing 
the name and protocol of the occupant ; large or 
small, bare or richly ornamented, the chapel always 
remained the dining-room, or perhaps rather the 
buttery, where the deceased could feed when hungry. 
On the other side of the wall a narrow lofty recess 
or passage is concealed. To this archaeologists give 
the name of serdab, a term borrowed from the Arabs. 
The greater number of tombs 
have only one of these, but in 
some instances there are three 
or four (fig. 135). They com- 
municate neither with each 
other nor with the chapel, and 
they may be described as buried 
in the masonry (fig. 136) ; safely 
walled up in them were statues 
of the deceased, sometimes of his 
wife and children. If there is 
any connection with the outside 
world it is by means of an opening in the wall a man's 
height from the floor (fig. 137) and almost too small for 
a hand to be inserted. At this orifice the priests would 
murmur prayers and burn incense ; the double was at 
hand to profit by them, and his statues would certainly 
benefit. To carry on existence as he had done on 
earth the man still required a body, but the corpse 
disfigured by the process of embalming was only an 
imperfect representation of the living form. The 
mummy was alone and easily destroyed, it might be 

Fig. 135. — Plan of serdab 
in mastaba at Gizeh, 
Fourth Dynasty. 



burned, or dismembered and scattered abroad. If it 
should disappear what would become of the double ? 
The statues hidden in the serdab, whether of stone, 
metal, or wood, became after consecration the actual 
body. By the piety of the relatives the number of 
these ka statues was multiplied, and thus the supports 
of the double were also increased. A single body 
gave him one chance of prolonged existence, whereas 
twenty bodies gave him twenty chances. It was with 
similar intention that statues of his wife and children 
were placed with that of the deceased, and also figures 


\ ^ 

Egk • 



Fig. Ij6. — Plan of serdab and 

chapel in mastaba ol" Ra- 
hotep at Saqqara, Fourth 

Fig. 1 37.- -Plan of serdab 
and chapel in mastaba of 
Thenti I., at Saqqara, 
Fourth Dynasty. 

of his servants occupied with their various domestic 
duties, grinding corn, kneading bread, or sealing up 
the wine-jars. The figures that were painted on the 
chapel walls were detached and assumed a solid form 
in the serdab. 

All these precautions did not prevent every possible 
means being adopted to preserve what remained of 
the actual body from decay and from damage by 
spoilers. In the tomb of Ti a steep passage-way 
from the centre of the principal chamber leads to the 
vault, but this is very exceptional. The entrance to 




the vault is usually a vertical shaft, which descends 
from the centre of the platform (fig. 138), or more 
rarely from a corner of the chapel. The depth varies 
from 10 to 100 feet, the shaft is carried down through 
the masonry into the rock, when it opens on the 
south side into a corridor so low that it is impossible 
to walk upright. Beyond this is the funeral chamber, 
and here the mummy is 
concealed in a massive sar- 
cophagus of white limestone, 
red granite, or basalt. In 
rare cases it is inscribed 
with the name and titles of the deceased, 
and still more rarely it is decorated ; 
some examples are known carved in 
imitation of a house, with its grooves 
on the facade, its doors, and windows. 
The accessories placed in 
the vault are very simple ; 
alabaster vases for perfumes, 
bowls into which the priest 
poured some drops of the Fi S- 138-— Section showing 

.... „ , shaft and vault of mastaba 

liquids Ottered to the dead at Gizeh, Fourth Dynasty. 

man, rough pottery jars for 

water, an alabaster or wooden head-rest, and a votive 
offering of a scribe's palette. The body having been 
placed in the sarcophagus and sealed up, the 
attendants placed joints of a newly sacrificed ox 
or gazelle on the floor. The entrance to the passage 
was then carefully blocked up, and the shaft filled up 
with fragments of stone mixed with sand and earth. 
This mixture, when freely watered, formed an almost 



impenetrable cement. The body thus left in solitude 
henceforth received no visit except from its soul, its 
luminous, and its double. The double could leave the 
chapel and come and go at pleasure, while the soul 
from time to time abandoned the celestial regions 
when it journeyed with the gods, and spent some 

hours with its mummy. 

Up to the time of the Sixth 
Dynasty the walls of the tomb 
chamber are bare. Once only 
did Mariette find in it fragments 
of inscriptions belonging to the 
Book of the Dead. In 1881, how- 
ever, I found tombs at Saqqara, 
where the sepulchral chambers 
had been decorated in preference 
to the chapel. They were built 
of brick, and the place for offer- 
ings was merely a niche containing 
a stela. Inside, the shaft was 
replaced by a small rectangular 
Fl 'g- I 39— Section of court, on the western side of 

mastaba, Saqqara, , . , , , , 

Sixth Dynasty. which was the sarcophagus. 

Above the sarcophagus there 
was a limestone chamber of the same length and 
breadth as the sarcophagus, and about 3^ feet high, 
covered with a flat ceiling of stone slabs. A niche 
was constructed at the end or to the right to take 
the place of the serdab. Above the flat roof was 
a vaulting, with a radius of about 18 inches, to 
take off the weight of the superincumbent masonry, 
and above that again were courses of bricks carried 


up to the level of the platform. The chamber 
occupies about two-thirds of the cavity, and looks 
like an oven with the mouth open. Sometimes the 
chamber was only completed after the interment, and 
the stone walls actually rest on the cover of the 
sarcophagus (fig. 1 39). More frequently they are sup- 
ported on brick substructures, and the sarcophagus 

gWgJ»»W1w™«y<i««.», MMtaaM«tl»«K~r"T---j y-w»i»ic«w»CTy 3 » t . 

140. — Wall painting of funerary offering?, from mastaba of 
Nenka, Saqqara, Sixth Dynasty. 

could be opened or closed at will. The decoration, 
whether painted or sculptured, is the same every- 
where. Each wall was regarded as an actual house 
containing the objects represented or enumerated on 
it. Care was taken, therefore, to provide a large door 
by which the deceased could obtain access to his 
property. On the wall to the left he found a pro- 
fusion of food (fig. 140), and also|the table of offerings. 


The end wall provided him with household utensils, 
linen, and perfumes, their names and quantities care- 
fully noted. The scenes are repetitions of those in 
the chapels. They have been removed from their 
original position and transferred to the tomb chamber, 
thus rendering them far more secure than they could 
be in chambers that were accessible to all comers. 

The stately stone mastabas of the nobles and 
officials of the court of Khufu cluster near his 
pyramid at Gizeh. The humbler brick-built mastabas 
of less important folk of the Fourth and Fifth 
Dynasties are near by. From them, recent excava- 
tions by Dr. Reisner have brought to light man}'' fine 
portrait figures hitherto concealed in the untouched 
serdabs. Man)' of these ka statues of limestone, 
finely painted, are now in Boston, and form an 
interesting study of men, with their wives and 
children, who must have been officially connected 
with the building of the great pyramids. 


The great mastaba at Nagada and the tombs 
at Abydos are the earliest royal tombs known 
in Egypt. The outer walls of the Nagada tomb are 
recessed at intervals with vertical grooves very similar 
to those on the walls of early Babylonian buildings 
(fig. 141). Similar panelling is frequently found on 
mastabas of the early period, and of the Old Kingdom 
(fig. 142). 

At Abydos there is a scries of royal tombs of the 
First and Second Dynasties. They consist of im- 










1 50 TOMBS. 

mense rectangular pits from 10 to 14 feet deep, and 
lined with bricks. The tomb chamber is in the 
centre, surrounded by a number of smaller chambers 
which contained offerings and also the bodies of 
servants, whose has would accompany their master 
to the future world. The tombs vary considerably. 
The brick walls were lined with wood ; at first the 
tomb chamber was of wood or of brick, and floored 
with wood. A stairway (fig. 143) was soon introduced 

Fig. 142. — Tomb of Senna, with panelled east wall, Denderali, 
•Sixth Dynast}-. 

on the north side, then a granite floor was provided 
for the tomb chamber, and bv the time of the Second 
Dynasty there is a tomb chamber built of hewn 
stone. The tomb was roofed over at the ground level 
with beams of wood and a layer of straw. Above 
this sand was piled, and a low retaining wall some 
3 or 4 feet high shows the very modest height of the 
superstructure. In front of the tomb at the east side 
(in one instance on the south) two large stone steiae 
were erected on which were carved in hieroglyphs the 
















name of the king (fig. 144). It was here that the 
offerings for the dead were brought.* 

The royal tomb of Bet Khallaf, built by Zeser of 

* W. M. Flinders Petrie, Royal Tombs, vol. i., ii. 

I K2 


Fig. 144. — Stela of King Perabsen, 
Abydo?, Second Dynasty. 

the Second or Third 
Dynasty, has deve- 
loped into an un- 
mistakable mastaba 
(fig. 145). The super- 
structure is of crude 
brick, and rises about 
33 feet above the 
present level of the 
desert. It measures 
280 feet long by 153 
feet wide. The bricks 
employed average 
11x5x3^ inches. 
The outer walls are 
panelled with vertical 
grooves. A stairway 
(fig. 146), which turns 
at right angles after 
perhaps eight steps, 
leads down to the 
desert level ; at this 
point it passes through 
an archway and opens 
on a sloping passage 
covered by a barrel 
roof of brick. This 
continues to a depth 
of 54 feet below the 
ground, and gives ac- 
cess to a series of gal- 
leries and chambers 



opening to right and left, and to the stone-lined tomb 
chamber (f). The passage was closed at five separate 
points by large slabs of limestone, let down shafts 
constructed for the purpose. These stones increased 
in size as they neared the chamber entrance. The 
largest was 17 feet in height, <S to 9 feet in width, and 
2 feet thick. 

The tomb chamber had been rifled in Roman times. 

Fig. 145. — Royal tomb, Bet Khallaf, superstructure. — Egypt Research 

Account, J. Garstang. 

but broken vessels lay there in' piles, inscribed with 
the royal name. The plunderers had dug a way for 
themselves ; the portcullises were undisturbed, and 
the stairway was crowded with alabaster vases, tables 
of offerings, and wine-jars, some of them stamped and 
sealed with the royal name and titles. The entrance 
at the top had been carefully bricked up and con- 
cealed, and had successfully guarded its secret.* 

* J. Garstang, Mahasna and Bet Khallaf. 



With the second tomb built by King Zeser we 
approach yet nearer to the type of the true pyramid. 
The great step pyramid of Saqqara is built of stone, 
and has the appearance of six superposed mastabas 
(fig. 147). It is not accurately orientated ; the northern 
face deviates 4 2i'E. of the true north. The base 
is not square, but a rectangle elongated from cast to 


Fig. 146. — Section of 
lo^al tomb of Bet 
Kliallaf — Egypt Re 
starch A cam lit. J. 

west measuring 395 x 351 feet. It is 196 feet high. 
The lowest step, with its sloping sides, is T,yh feet 
high, and the succeeding steps each recede about 
7 feet. It is built entirely of limestone from the 
surrounding desert plateau. The stone is small 
and badly quarried, the courses are concave, on the 
same method of construction as that employed for 
quays and fortresses. An examination of the walls 
where they are broken shows that the external face 



of each step has two coverings, each with its regular 
revetment. The building forms a solid mass, and 
the chambers are cut out in the rock below the 
pyramid. The most important of the four entrances 
is on the north side, and the passages form a perfect 
labyrinth dangerous to enter. Colonnades, galleries, 
chambers, all lead to a central pit, at the bottom of 
which a hiding-place is contrived, no doubt intended 

,:>- k -7- 

Fig. 147. — Step pyramid of Saqqara. 

to contain the most valuable objects of the funerary 

The stone pyramid of Zowyet el Aryan has recently 
been examined by Dr. Reisner, and proves to be 
also a step pyramid, apparently of the Third 

The next advance we note in this development of 
the royal tombs is the pyramid of Seneferu, last 
Pharaoh of the Third Dynasty, and the predecessor 
of Khufu. His pyramid is at Medum. It consists 
of three square stages with sloping sides resembling 
three mastabas placed one above another (fig. 148). 
Like the step pyramid of Saqqara, it is a cumulative 

1 5 6 


mastaba. The entrance is on the north, about 53 feet 
above the sand (fig. 149). At a distance of 60 feet the 
passage enters the rock. At 174 feet it runs level 
for 40 feet, when it stops and rises perpendicularly 
for 21 feet, and then opens on the floor of the vault. 
A set of beams and ropes which are still in place 
above the opening show how the spoilers drew the 
sarcophagus out of the chamber in ancient times. 
We have already seen (p. /2) that the small chapel 

Fig. 148. — Pyramid of Medum. 

built against the eastern slope of the pyramid re- 
mains intact. 

Thus by the timeof the Fourth Dynasty the royal 
tomb, like. the mastaba, consisted of three parts, the 
chapel, the passage, and the vault, but on a special 
plan of which the ordinary tomb gives no idea. 
There is the pyramid, inside which is the sepulchral 
chamber and the passages, while the chapel or hall 
of offerings has developed into an actual temple 
built on the eastern face of the pyramid, in most 
cases supplemented by the valley temple at the foot of 
the hill. 



The pyramid and upper temple were surrounded 
by a high stone wall enclosing a rectangular temenos 
paved with large stone slabs. The door was always 
in the northern face. On three sides of the pyramid 
long galleries were dug in the solid rock to contain 
offerings and provisions for the dead king and the 
members of his family. 

As we have seen, the oldest stone pyramid of the 
northern group is that of Zeser at Saqqara. The 
latest belong to the Pharaohs of the Thirteenth 
Dynasty. The construction of these monuments was 
therefore a continuous work that lasted for thirteen 

Fig. 149. — Section of passage and vault in pyramid of Medum. 

or fourteen centuries under government direction. 
The granite, basalt, and alabaster required for the 
sarcophagus and for various details of the construc- 
tion were the only materials of which the use and 
quantity were not regulated beforehand, and that had 
to be brought from a distance. 

In order to procure them each king despatched 
one of the principal nobles of his court on a special 
mission to the quarries of the south, and the speed 
with which he procured the blocks formed a powerful 
title to the favour of the sovereign. The rest of the 
material did not involve such a cost. If the building 
was of hrick, the bricks were moulded on the spot 


with earth from the valley at the foot of the hill. 
If of stone the nearest part of the plateau would 
furnish abundance of marly limestone. For the 
walls of the chambers, and for the outside facing, 
limestone from Turah was usually employed, and 
even this had not to be brought across the Nile for 
the special purpose. At Memphis there were stores 
always full, that supplied the stone for public build- 
ings, and consequently for the royal tombs. The 
blocks taken from these reserve stores were conveyed 
by water to the foot of the hill, and were then raised 
to the site by the sloping causeway. The internal 
arrangement of the pyramids, the length of the 
galleries, the size at the base, and the height are very 
variable ; the pyramid of Khufu (Cheops) rose to a 
height of about 481 feet above the ground ; the 
smallest was less than 30 feet. It is not easy to 
realise why the Pharaohs should build monuments 
so greatly varying in dimension, and it has been 
imagined that the size of the building was in direct 
proportion to the time devoted to building it, that is 
to say, to the length of each reign. It was supposed 
that as soon as a king came to the throne, a pyramid 
was hastily begun, of sufficient size to contain all the 
essentials of a tomb ; and that from year to year new 
courses of stone would be added round the original 
kernel until death put a stop for ever to the growth 
of the monument. It may have been thus in certain 
instances, but in most the facts do not justify this 
hypothesis. The smallest of the pyramids of Saqqara 
is that of Unas, who reigned thirty years, while the 
two imposing pyramids of Gizch were built by Khufu 



and Khafra, who respectively governed Egypt for 
twenty-four and twenty-three years. Merenra, who 
died very young, has a pyramid as large as that of 
Pepi II., who lived to be more than ninety. The 
plan for each pyramid was generally made once for 
all by the architect according to the instructions 
received by him, and the resources placed at his 
disposal. Once begun, the work was carried through 
without any additions or curtailment, except in case 
of accident. 

Like the 
mastabas, the 
pyramids were 
supposed to 
face the four 
cardinal points, 
but whether 
from ignorance 
or negligence the Fi 8 
greater number 
are not accurately orientated, and many of them vary 
considerably from the true north. Those at Gizeh, 
however, are very accurate. They form eight groups 
stretching from north to south on the edge of the 
Libyan desert — from Abu Roash to the Fayum, by 
Gizeh, Zowyet el Aryan, Abusir, Saqqara, Dahshur, 
and Lisht. The group at Gizeh consists of nine, 
including the pyramids of Khufu, Khafra, and Men- 
kaura, which were anciently reckoned among the 
wonders of the world. The ground on which Khufu 
built his pyramid was very irregular. A small rocky 
mound (fig. 150) was roughly cut and enclosed in the 

[50. — Section of the great pyramid. 
W. M. F. Petrie. 

l60 TOMBS. 

masonry of the foundations, and a sloping shaft lead- 
ing to an underground chamber shows signs of the 
existence of an earlier tomb. The original height of 
the pyramid was 481 feet, and the width of the base 
755 feet, but the ravages of time have reduced these 
measurements to 454 feet and 750 feet respectively. 
Until the Arab conquest it was cased with fine lime- 
stone, to which the action of the air had given a 
variety of colours. The blocks were so skilfully joined 
that they appeared to be one single piece from top 
to bottom. The casing was begun at the top, the 
cap was first placed in position, then the courses were 
added in succession till the base was reached. The 
whole of the interior was arranged with the object of 
concealing the exact position of the sarcophagus, and 
to baffle any marauders who by chance or by perse- 
verance had succeeded in discovering the entrance. 
The first difficult)- was to discover the entrance under 
the facing stones that masked it. It was nearly in the 
middle of the north face at the level of the eighteenth 
course of masonry about 45 feet above the ground, 
and was closed by a single block balanced on a pivot. 
This having been swung aside gave access to a sloping 
passage 476 inches high and 412 inches wide which 
descended a distance of 317 feet, passing an un- 
finished chamber and ending 60 feet beyond in a 
cul-de-sac. Here was the initial disappointment. 
Careful examination, however, combined with deter- 
mination not to be foiled, would be rewarded by 
discovering in the roof, (>2 feet from the entrance, a 
block of granite that contrasted with those surround- 
ing it. It was so hard that the marauders having 


exhausted themselves in trying to break or displace 
it, adopted the method of working a way for them- 
selves through the softer stone that surrounded it. 
This obstacle surmounted, they found themselves in 
an ascending corridor that diverged from the first 
at an angle of 120°, and which divides into two 
branches. One extends horizontally towards the centre 
of the pyramid, and ends in a granite chamber with 
a pointed roof, called without any sufficient reason 
" the Queen's Chamber." The other, which continues 
to ascend, changes its character and appearance. It is 
now a gallery, 148 feet long and 28 feet high, built of 
the fine hard stone of the Mokattam mountains, so 
polished and so finely adjusted that it would be 
difficult to insert " a needle or even a hair " between 
the joints. The lower courses are perpendicular, but 
the seven upper courses are corbelled to such an 
extent that the top courses are only 21 inches apart. 
A new obstacle was encountered at the end, where 
the corridor that led to the tomb chamber was 
closed by a single slab of granite ; to this succeeded 
a small vestibule divided into equal sections by four 
portcullises. These have been so completely de- 
molished that no fragment of them now exists, but 
they were probably of granite. The royal sepulchre 
is a granite chamber with a flat roof 19 feet high, 
34 feet in length, and ly feet wide. Here there is no 
figure or inscription to be seen, nothing but a granite 
sarcophagus, mutilated and without its cover. 

Such were the precautions taken against the depre- 
dations of man, and the event proved them to be 
efficacious, for the pyramid long guarded the deposit 
1 1 

102 TOMP.S. 

entrusted to it. But the actual weight of the materials 
was a very serious clanger, and in order to save the 
central chamber from being crushed by the 300 feet 
of stone that surmounted it, five low hollow spaces 
were left in the masonry above. The upper one of 
these has a pointed roof formed of two rows of stone 
slabs resting against each other at the top. Thanks 
to this contrivance, the central pressure is thrown 
almost entirely on to the lateral faces and the tomb 
chamber is relieved ; none of the stones of which it 
is formed are crushed, although some have been dis- 
placed, probably by earthquakes. 

The interior arrangements of the pyramids of 
Khafra and Menkaura differ entirely from those 
of Khufii. That of Khafra (Khephren) has two 
entrances both on the north side, one from the plat- 
form before the pyramid, the other 50 yards above 
the ground. On the east side are the vestiges of the 
funerary temple, but at the present day the glory of 
the pyramid is its valley temple, the great granite 
temple with its adjacent sphinx. 

The pyramid of Menkaura (Mycerinus) has retained 
part of its casing, the lower part of which was of red 
granite and the upper part of limestone. The entrance 
gallery descends at an angle of 26 , and soon enters 
the rock. The first chamber to which it leads is 
decorated with panels carved in the stone, and the 
exit is closed by three portcullises of granite. The 
second chamber appears to be unfinished ; but this 
was merely an artifice intended to mislead robbers. 
A passage concealed with great care in the floor 
gave access to the tomb chamber. There lay the 



mummy in a sarcophagus of sculptured basalt, which 
was still intact at the beginning of the nineteenth 
century. Carried off by Vyse, it foundered off the coast 
of Spain with the vessel bearing it to England. The 
valley temple of this pyramid was left unfinished, 
but magnificent statuary placed there in readiness 
shows that the king's death or some other misfortune 
alone prevented the erection of another fine building 
in keeping with that of Khafra. 

The pyramids of Sahu-ra, of Ne-user-ra, and of 
Nefer-ar-ka-ra, of the Fifth 
Dynasty, are at Abiisir. They 
have recently been excavated 

) A B C B _:^ K->1 

Fig. 151. 

-Plan and ^section of the pyramid 
of Unas. 

by Dr. Borchardt with their 

temples and valley. The temple 
of Nefer-ar-ka-ra, begun in stone, 
was hurriedly finished in brick ; but the valley temple 
of Ne-user-ra contained columned halls filled with 
sculpture and statuary. His great causeway, which 
formed the approach to the pyramid and upper 
temple, consisted of a narrow covered passage lined 
with fine limestone and exquisitely sculptured. The 
valley temple of Sahu-ra contained beautiful speci- 
mens of palm and papyrus columns, while a drain 
of hammered copper about 450 yards long carried off 
the rain water from the upper temple. The group 
of pyramids, with their temples, causeways, and 



valley temples, fronted by landing-stages, must have 
presented a magnificent appearance to visitors 
arriving by water. 

Most of the pyramids of the Fifth and Sixth 
Dynasties at Saqqara were built on one plan, 
and are only distinguished from each other by their 
size. In the pyramid of Unas (fig. 151) the entrance 
(a) is just below the first visible course of stone 
about the centre of the north face, and the passage 

(b) descends by a gentle 
slope between limestone 
walls ; it was blocked at 
intervals all along its length 
by huge stones that had 
to be broken in order to 
reach the first chamber (c). 
After leaving this chamber 
the limestone gallery con- 
tinued some distance far- 
ther, where for a time it 
gives place to walls, floor, 
and ceiling of polished 
syenite, after which the limestone reappears, and the 
gallery opens on to the vestibule (e). The portion 
lined with granite contains three portcullises of the 
same material at intervals of 2 or 2\ feet (d). Above 
each of these there is a hollow that contained the 
portcullises upheld by supports until they should 
be required (fig. 152). After, the mummy had been 
laid in place, the workmen, when departing, would 
remove the supports, and the three portcullises, 
falling into their places, cut off all communication 

Fig. 152.— Portcullis and pas 
sage, pyramid of Unas. 



with the outside world. The vestibule was flanked 
on the east by a serdab with a flat roof, divided into 
three niches and choked with stone chips hastily 
swept there by the slaves when they cleaned out the 
chambers to receive the mummy. The pyramid of 
Unas has preserved all these. In the pyramids of 
Teti and Merenra the separating walls were very 
wisely done away with in ancient times, and no trace 
of them remains beyond a line of attachment, and 
a lighter colour on the wall in the places they 
originally covered. The tomb chamber (G) was to 


Fig. 153. — Section of the pyramid of Unas. 

the west of the vestibule. The sarcophagus lay 
along the western wall, the feet to the south, the 
head to the north (h). The ceiling of the two 
principal chambers is pointed. It consists of large 
limestone beams, which lean against each other at 
the top, and at the lower end rest on a low bench (i), 
which is carried round outside the walls. The first 
pair of beams is surmounted by a second, and this 
again by a third, and the whole (I) forms an effectual 
protection for the vestibule and tomb chamber 

(ng. 153)- 

The pyramids of Gizeh are the work of some of 

1 66 TOMBS. 

the Pharaohs of the Fourth Dynasty, and the 
pyramids of Abiisir of the Pharaohs of the Fifth 
Dynasty. The five pyramids of Saqqara, which are 
uniform in plan, belong to Unas of the Kifth, and 
his four successors of the Sixth Dynasty, Teti, 
Pepi I., Merenra, and Pepi II. They are contem- 
porary with the mastabas with painted tomb chambers 
already described. It is not surprising therefore to 
find inscriptions and decorations here also. Every- 
where the ceilings are strewn with stars and decorated 
in imitation of the sky at night ; but the remainder 
of the decoration is very simple. In the pyramid 
of Unas, where decoration plays a more important 
part, it is only to be found at the end of the funerary 
chamber. The wall near the sarcophagus is faced 
with limestone, and engraved to represent the great 
monumental doors by which the deceased was 
supposed to enter his store-house of provisions. 
Figures of men and animals and scenes of daily 
life and sacrificial details are not represented there — - 
nor would they be in place. They were to be found 
in the places where the double led its public life, 
and where visitors actually performed the sacrificial 
rites : the passages and tomb chamber where the 
soul alone could enter could admit no other orna- 
mentation than that which dealt with the life of 
the soul. The texts are of two kinds. The least 
numerous concern the provision for the double, and 
are a literal transcription of the formula; by which 
the priest ensured that every object should pass 
from this world to the next : this was the final 
resource for the double in case the real sacrifices 


should cease or the magical scenes in the chapel 
be destroyed. The greater part of the inscriptions 
referred to the soul, and preserved it from the 
dangers which it must face in heaven and on earth. 
They taught it the sovereign incantations against 
the bite of snakes and venomous creatures, the pass- 
words that conferred on them the right to enter the 
company of the good gods, and the exorcisms that 
warded off the influence of the evil gods. While 
the destiny of the double was to continue as the 
shade of terrestrial life, a destiny to be accomplished 

Fig. 154. — Mastabat el Faraim. 

in the chapel, the destiny of the soul was to follow 
the sun across the sky, and for this he depended on 
the instructions written for him on the walls of the 
tomb chamber. It was through their merit that the 
absorption of the dead man into Osiris was com- 
pleted, and that he enjoyed for ever the immunities 
essential to a divine being. Above in the chapel he 
was a man, and he there comported himself after 
the fashion of a man ; here he was a god, and he 
comported himself after the fashion of a god. 

The enormous rectangular flat-topped building 
called by the Arabs Mastabat el Faraun, " the seat 

168 TOMBS. 

of the Pharaoh" (fig. 1541, stands by the side of the 
pyramid of Pepi II. It has been thought to be 
an unfinished pyramid or a tomb on which an obelisk 
once stood. It is in fact a pyramid left unfinished 
by Ati, the first Pharaoh of the Sixth Dynasty. 
Recent excavations have shown that the pyramids 
of Dahshur belong to two different periods. One of 
them, the northern pyramid, dates from the Third 
Dynasty. It is built of brick, and belongs to Sene- 
ferii, who, like Menes and Zeser, appears to have 
built two tombs for himself, while the others are 
of the Twelfth and Thirteenth Dynasties. The latter 
differ curiously from the usual type. The lower half 
of one of the stone pyramids rises at an angle of 
50 41', while in the upper half the slope changes 
abruptly to 42 59/. The whole appearance is that 
of a mastaba crowned by an immense attic. 

At Lisht, where the pyramids are exclusively of 
Pharaohs of the first Theban period, there is again a 
change in the situation. In one of them at least, in 
the pyramid I attribute to Senusert I., the sloping 
gallery leads to a perpendicular shaft, into the bottom 
of which open chambers, which are now filled with 
water. The pyramids of Illahun and Hawara, where 
Senusert II. and Amenemhat III. were buried, are 
on the same plan as those of Lisht, and like them 
are full of water. 

The use of pyramids did not end with the Twelfth 
Dynasty : they are to be found at Manfalut, at 
Hekalli, south of Abydos, and at Esneh. Until the 
Roman period the semi-barbarous rulers of Ethiopia 
made it a point of honour to give their tombs a 


pyramidal form. The earliest, the pyramids of N Cirri, 
the resting-places of the Pharaohs of Napata, recall 
in their construction the pyramids of Saqqara ; the 
later ones, those of Meroe, present some new 
characteristics. They are higher than they are 
broad, built of small stones, and occasionally finished 
at the angles with a round or square moulding. The 
east face has a false window surmounted by a cornice, 
and is flanked by a chapel preceded by a pylon. 
These pyramids are not all dumb. Here, as on the 
walls of ordinary tombs, are scenes from the funerary 
ritual or from the books that record the vicissitudes 
of life beyond the tomb. 


• Excavated Tombs. 

Two classes of tombs superseded the mastaba 
throughout Egypt. In the first, the chapel was con- 
structed above ground, and the principle of the 
pyramid was combined with that of the mastaba ; 
in the second, the entire tomb, including the chapel, 
was excavated in the rock. 

The earliest examples of the first class of these 
tombs are to be found in the Theban necropolis of the 
Middle Kingdom. The tombs are built of crude 
brick, large and black, without any admixture of 
straw or grit. The lower part is a mastaba, either 
square or oblong in plan, measuring sometimes as 
much as 40 or 50 feet on the longest side. The walls 
are perpendicular, and rarely high enough to allow a 
man to stand upright inside : on this base is a pointed 



pyramid, which varies from 12 to 30 feet in height, 

covered on the outside 
with a coat of plaster and 
painted white. Owing to 
the poor quality of the 
ground it was impossible to 
excavate a burial chamber, 
and the builders were 
forced to conceal it in the 
building itself. A chamber 
with corbelled vaulting, 
closely resembling an oven, 
is frequently to be found 
in the centre (fig. 155), and 
contains the mummy, but 

Fig. 155.— Section of "vaulted" 
brick pyramid, Abydos. 

more usually the tomb chamber is constructed partly 

Fig. 156.- Section of" vaulted " tomb, Abydos. 

in the mastaba and parti)- in the foundations, while 


Fig. 157. — Plan of 
tomb, Abydos. 

the space above is constructed merely to relieve the 
weight (fig. 156). In many cases there was no ex- 
ternal chapel, and the stela placed on the lower part 
of the building, or embedded in 
the outer face of the wall, marked 
the place for offerings. Some- 
times a vestibule was added in 
front where the relatives could 
assemble (fig. 157), and in very 
rare cases one finds a low girdle 
wall defining the pyramid area. 
This compound form prevailed in 
the Theban cemeteries from the 
early years of the Middle King- 
dom. Several kings and nobles 
of the Eleventh Dynasty built 
tombs for themselves at Drah Abu'l Neggeh very 
similar to those at Abydos (fig. 158). Mentuhotep II. 
built himself an immense mastaba about 130 feet 

long, on which he placed his 
pyramid, actually in the western 
court of his funerary temple at 
Deir el Bahari, while his sepul- 
chral chamber was reached by a 
long gallery cut in the rock behind. 
During the centuries that fol- 

Fig. 158.— Theban tomb, ° . 

with pyramidion, from lowed, the relative size 01 pyramids 
IT-Ika J iV " 15 f and mastabas was modified. The 

bheikhAbd el Gurneh. 

mastabas which we have seen as 
insignificant basements gradually recovered their 
original importance, while the pyramid became 
smaller, and was finally reduced to an insignificant 





pyramidion (fig. 159). They abounded in the necro- 
polis of Thebes of about the Ramesside period, but 
they have all perished, and it is from contemporary 
paintings that we learn the numerous 
varieties, while the chapel of one of 
the apis bulls that died under Amen- 
hotep III. still stands to prove that 
the fashion extended as far as 
Memphis. Of the pyramidion scarcely 
any traces remain, but the mastaba is 
intact. It is a limestone cube, stand- 
ing on a basement, supported at the 
angles by four columns and crowned 
with a hollowed cornice : a set of 
five steps led up to the inner chamber 
(fig. 160). 

The earliest examples of the second 
kind of tomb, those to be seen at Gizch among the 
mastabas of the Fourth Dynasty, are neither large nor 
highly decorated. During 
the Sixth Dynasty they 
were more carefully con- 
structed, and in more dis- 
tant localities, at Bersheh, 
Sheikh-Said, Kasr es Said, 
Dcndcrah, and Nagada ; 
but it was later that they 
attained their full develop- 
ment, during the long 
interval that divided the last Mcmphitc kings from 
the first Thcban rulers. 

Here, again, we find the various elements of the 

Fig. 159. — Theban 
tomb with pyra- 
mid ion, from 
wall painting. 


Fig. 160. — Suction of apis tomb, 
time of Amenhotep 111. 



mastaba. The architect chose by preference lime- 
stone ridges well in sight, high enough on the cliff to 
be safe from the gradual rise of the cultivated ground, 
and yet sufficiently low for the funeral procession to 
reach it without difficulty. 

The finest of these tombs belong to the great 
feudal lords, who at the time of the Middle Kingdom 
divided the territory of Egypt among themselves ; 
the princes of Minieh rest at Beni Hasan, those of 
Khnum at Bersheh, and those of Siut and Elephantine 
at Siut and opposite Assuan. Sometimes, as at Siut, 

Fig. 161.— Tombs in cliff opposite Assuan. 

Bersheh, and Thebes, the tombs are at different levels 
on the side of the cliff; in other cases, as at Assuan 
(fig. 161) and Beni Hasan, they follow the limestone 
strata, and are ranged in an approximately straight 
line. A sloping road or stairway, constructed of 
roughly hewn stone, led from the valley to the 
entrance of the tomb. At Beni Hasan and Thebes 
the road disappeared more or less completely beneath 
the sands, but the stairway of one of the Assuan 
tombs is still intact with its two lateral flights of steps 
for the men and the central slide up which the coffin 
and the heavy funeral furniture were dragged. The 



funeral procession, having slowly ascended it, paused 
in front of the tomb to perform the last rites for the 


The plan of the chapel is not uniform in any 
group. Many of the Beni Hasan tombs have a 
portico, where the pillars, bases, and entablature are 
all carved in the rock itself. In the tombs of Ameni 

Fig. 162. — Facade of tomb of Khnumhotep, at Beni Hasan, 
Twelfth I lynasty. 

and Khnumhotep (fig. 162) the portico is composed of 
two polygonal columns. At Assuan (fig. 163) a 
rectangular lintel crosses the narrow door carved out 
of the sandstone, at about one-third of its height, 
thus forming the semblance of a door within the 
doorway. At Siiit, in front of the tomb of Hepzefa, 
there is a regular porch about 24 feet high, with 
a vaulted roof of centred stones, charmingly painted 



and sculptured. More often it was considered suffi- 
cient to smooth and straighten the sloping face of the 
rock for a space corresponding to the intended width 
of the tomb. This method had the double advantage 
of forming a platform enclosed on three sides, and 
also of obtaining 
a vertical facade 
which could be de- 
corated if desired. 
Sometimes the 
doorway placed in 
the centre of this 
facade had no 
frame, and some- 
times it was framed 
by two uprights 
and a slightly 
projecting lintel. 
Where inscriptions 
exist they are very 
simple. At the 
top are one or two 
horizontal lines, 
and on the sides 
one or two vertical 
lines accompanied 

by a human figure, either seated or standing. These 
comprised a prayer and the name, titles, and parentage 
of the deceased. The chapel has usually only one 
chamber, which is either square or oblong, with a 
flat or slightly vaulted roof, and lighted only from 
the door. Sometimes the pillars and architraves cut 

Fig. 163. — Fa9ade of tomb, Assiian. 



in the live rock give it the appearance of a hypostyle 
hall. The tombs of Ameni and Khnumhotep, the 
two wealthiest nobles of Beni Hasan, each possess 
four of these pillars (fig. 164). Other chapels have 

,. .v.-.^.-y-.^»^r.;^^-v : -T>y^-r 7 - 

six or eight, variously 

arranged. An un- 
finished tomb was 




chamber with 
rounded roof and 
six columns. Later 
on it was enlarged 
on the right side, 
and the new addi- 
tion formed a kind 
of portico with a 
flat roof supported 
on four columns 
(fig. 165). 

To hollow out a 
serdab in the living 
rock was almost 
impossible, and 
movable statues left 
in a place accessible 
to all comers would 
be liable to be stolen 
or damaged. The serdab was therefore combined 
with the chapel and converted into a sanctuary. 
This was a more or less spacious niche cut out of the 
rear wall, and almost invariably opposite the door. 
There the figures of the deceased and his wife were 

Fig. 164. 

\ ^ 

-Plan of tomb of Khnumhotep, 
Beni Hasan. 


enthroned, also carved out of the rock ; on the walls 
were paintings of the funerary feast, and the entire 
decoration of the chapel converged towards the 
sanctuary, as in the mastaba it converged towards 
the stela. The stela, however, is still here in its old 
place on the west wall. With the New Kingdom we 
find some changes in the decoration of the chapel and 
sanctuary. On the whole it is much the same as of 
old, but with noteworthy 
additions. The progress of 
the funeral procession and 
the taking possession of the 
tomb by the double, which 
hitherto were scarcely re- 
presented, are ostentatiously 
set forth on the walls of the 
Theban tomb. The convoy 
approaches with the weeping 
women, the crowds of friends, 
the men carrying funerary 
furniture, the barks, and the 
catafalque drawn by oxen. 
It arrives at the door; the 
mummy is placed upright on its feet, receives the 
farewells of the family, and undergoes the final 
manipulations necessary to adapt it for its future life 
(fig. 166). The sacrifice and its preliminaries, field 
labour, sowing, harvesting, rearing of cattle, manual 
crafts, all appear as before, and are painted with a 
profusion of bright colours. 

Many details now appear that had not been given 
during the early dynasties, and others are absent that 


Fig. 165. — Plan of unfinished 
tomb, Beni Hasan. 

i 7 8 


were never previously omitted ; but centuries had 
elapsed, and in twenty centuries many changes come 
about even in conservative Egypt. We may search 
almost in vain for the herds of gazelles, for under the 
Ramcssides these animals were rarely domesticated. 
The horse, on the contrary, was now well known in 
the rich valley, and it is to be seen pawing the 

1 - .-- r * 

Fig. 166. — Funeral procession and ceremonies from wall paintings, 
tomb of Manna, Thebes, Nineteenth Dynast}'. 

ground where formerly gazelles were pastured. The 
trades are more numerous and complicated, the tools 
more perfect, and the aspirations of the deceased 
more varied and personal. When the rules for tomb 
decoration were first formulated the idea of future 
retribution did not exist, or was very dimly con- 
ceived. The deeds done by man here below exercised 


no influence on the fate that awaited him elsewhere ; 
good or bad, from the moment that the rites had 
been performed over him, and the prayers recited, he 
must necessarily continue wealthy and happy. In 
order to establish his identity it was of course 
necessary to state his name, titles, and parentage ; 
there was no need to describe his past in detail. 
But when beliefs in rewards and punishments arose, 
it was recognised that it would be advisable to 
guarantee for each individual the merit of his own 
actions, and biographical details were added to the 
summary of social standing that had hitherto been 
considered sufficient. At first there were only a few 
words, but about the time of the Sixth Dynasty we 
find actual pages of history in the tomb of Una, a 
high official, who records the services rendered by 
him under four sovereigns. Then, again, at the 
beginning of the New Kingdom, drawings and 
paintings combine with inscriptions to immortalise 
the exploits and achievements of the deceased. 
Khniimhotep of Beni Hasan expatiates in detail on 
the origin and grandeur of his ancestors. Kheti 
displays on the walls the vicissitudes of military 
life, manoeuvres of soldiers, war-dances, besieging of 
fortresses, battle, and bloodshed. The Eighteenth 
Dynasty perpetuates in this as in all else the tradi- 
tions of earlier ages. Ai', in his fine rock-tomb at 
Tell el Amarna, recounts the episodes of his marriage 
with the daughter of Akhenaten. Neferhotep of 
Thebes received the decoration of the golden collar 
from Horemheb, and he records with much com- 
placency the smallest incidents of the investiture, the 


discourse of the king, the year and the day on which 
this supreme distinction was conferred on him. 
Another, who had presided over a survey, shows 
himself accompanied by his land surveyors with their 
measuring-lines, and he is also presiding at a census 
of the human population, as formerly Ti presided at 
a numbering of his cattle. The stela shares in the 
new characteristics that transform mural decorations ; 
in addition to the ordinary prayers it contains a 
panegyric on the deceased, a sketch of his life, and 
only too rarely his cursus honorum, with the dates. 

When space permitted, the tomb chamber was 
immediately below the chapel ; the shaft was some- 
times cut in a corner of one of the chambers, and 
sometimes outside in front of the door. In the large 
cemeteries at Thebes or Memphis, for instance, it was 
not always possible to superpose the three — tomb, 
shaft, and chapel. There was risk of interfering with 
tombs on a lower level if an attempt was made to 
give the usual depth to the shaft. Two methods 
were adopted to avoid this danger. Either a long 
horizontal gallery was made, at the end of which the 
shaft was sunk, or a horizontal or slightly sloping 
disposition of the chambers was substituted for the 
old vertical arrangement. In this case the passage 
opens from the centre of the near wall ; the mean 
length varies from 20 to 1 30 feet. The tomb chamber 
is small and plain like the gallery. Under the Theban 
dynasties the soul was no more concerned about the 
decorations than it was under the Memphite Pharaohs, 
but when the walls were decorated the figures and 
inscriptions related far more to the life of the soul 


than to "that of the double. In the tomb of Harhotep, 
who flourished in the time of the Senusei ts (Twelfth 
Dynasty), and in similar rock-tombs, the walls, with 
the exception of the doorways, were divided into two 
registers. The upper part belonged to the double, 
and beside the table of offerings there are objects 
similar to those figured in certain mastabas of the 
Sixth Dynast)', stuffs, jewels, weapons, and perfumes, 
which Harhotep would require to ensure eternal 
youthfulness of limb. The lower register belonged 
to both the double and the soul, and there one reads 
fragments of liturgical works, the Book of the Dead, 
Ritual of Embalmment, Ritual of Funerals, whose 
magic virtues protected the soul and afforded comfort 
for the double. The stone sarcophagus and the 
wooden coffin are covered with writing, for precisely 
as the stela was an epitome of the entire chapel, so 
the sarcophagus and coffin formed an epitome of the 
sepulchral chamber, and imitated a vault within the 
actual vault. 

As at Memphis, there are royal tombs at Thebes, 
that should be studied to realise to what perfection 
the decoration of the passages and tomb chambers 
was carried. Nothing now remains of the earliest of 
these, which were once scattered over the plain and 
on the southern slope of the hills. The mummies of 
Amenhotep I., of Sekenenra, and of Aahhotep have 
survived the stone resting-places intended to safe- 
guard them. As early as the beginning of the 
Eighteenth Dynasty all the best places had been 
occupied, and it was necessary to search elsewhere 
for a suitable site on which to establish a new royal 

1 82 TOMBS. 

cemetery. Behind the mountain that borders the 
Theban plain on the north there was a rocky hollow, 
enclosed on all sides and communicating with the 
rest of the world only by mountainous tracks. It 
divides into two branches, one of which turns sharply 
to the south-east, while the other extends some 
distance to the south-west, and again divides into 
secondary ramifications. On the east it is dominated 
by a mountain that recalls on a gigantic scale the 
step pyramid of Saqqara. The engineers observed 
that this valley was only separated from the wady 
that leads to the plain by a barrier some 500 cubits 
thick. There was nothing here to daunt such ex- 
perienced sappers as the Egyptians. They cut a 
tunnel 50 or 60 cubits deep through the solid rock, 
at the end of which a narrow passage like a gateway 
gives access to the valley beyond. Was this gigantic 
work undertaken under Amenhotep I.? His successor, 
Thothmes I., is at all events the first Pharaoh whose 
tomb has been found here. He was followed by 
Thothmes II., Hatshepsut, Thothmes III., and most 
of their successors, and then by the Pharaohs of the 
Nineteenth Dynasty, and the Ramessides one after 
another. Herihor was perhaps the last, and com- 
pleted the series. So many sovereigns gathered here 
won for the locality the name of the Valley of the 
Tombs of the Kings, a name it retains to the present 

The tombs were not complete, the chapel stood far 
off on the plain, at Gurneh, at the Ramesseum, at 
Medinet Habii, and these have already been described. 
Like the Memphite pyramid, the Theban tomb con- 


tains only the corridors and the tomb chamber. 
During the day the pious soul incurred no serious 
danger, but at evening, when the eternal waters that 
flow round the heavens sink in the west and plunge 
behind the mountains that bound the earth on the 
northern side, the soul with the sun bark and its 
escort of luminary deities entered a world that was 
strewn with ambuscades and perils. For twelve 
hours the sacred convoy traversed the dark sub- 
terranean regions, where genii, some hostile, others 
friendly, endeavoured either to obstruct its passage 
or aided in surmounting the difficulties of the way. 
At intervals a gate, defended by a gigantic serpent, 
opened before it, and permitted the bark to enter an 
immense hall, full of flames and smoke, of monsters 
with hideous faces and of executioners who tortured 
the damned. Then the bark once more entered 
narrow, gloomy corridors, and encountered more blind 
journeying in the horrors of darkness, struggles with 
malevolent genii, and again the joyous reception of 
the propitious gods. By the, morning the sun had 
reached the extreme limit of the land of darkness ; 
he quitted it with the first beams of dawn, and finally 
rose in the east to herald the new day. The tombs 
of the kings were fashioned as far as possible on the 
model of the underworld. They had their galleries, 
their doors, and their vaulted halls that penetrated 
far into the heart of the mountain. The arrangement 
of tombs in the valley was made without any con- 
sideration of sequence of dynasty or succession to the 
throne. Each sovereign pierced the rock at a place 
where he hoped to find a suitable vein of stone, and 

1 34 


with so little regard for his predecessors that the men 
engaged in the work had often to change the direction 
in order to avoid damaging a neighbouring tomb. 
The plans of the architect were very simple, and could 
be modified at will ; it was not considered necessary 
to carry them out scrupulously, and thus the actual 

Fig. 167. — Plan of tomb of Rameses IV. 

measurements and arrangement of the tomb of 
Rameses IV. (fig. 167) differ at the sides and in their 
order from the original plan which is preserved on 
a papyrus now in the Turin Museum (fig. 168). No- 
thing, however, could be simpler than the general 
arrangement. A square door with very sober decora- 




Fig. 168. — Plan of tomb of Rameses IV., from Turin papyrus. 

tion opened on a gallery leading to a chamber of 
varying dimensions. From this a second gallery 
opened on to a second chamber, and thence at times 
to other chambers, and finally to that in which the 
coffin lay. In some of the tombs, the whole length 
from the entrance to the far end is on a gentle slope 
perhaps interrupted by two or three low steps ; in 
others the various parts are in stages one below 



another. In the tomb of Seti I. (fig-. 169) a steep 
staircase and an uneven slope (a) leads to an 
ante-chamber and two halls with pillars (b). A 
second stairway (c) opening from the floor of the 
ante-chamber descends to the second part (d), which 
is of less scanty proportions than the first, and con- 
tains the sarcophagus. The tomb was not intended 
to end there; a third staircase (e) had been made at 
the end of the principal chamber, which, according to 
the original design, would have led to another set of 
chambers, but the death of the king put an end to 
the work. As we pass from one tomb to another we 

Fig. 169. — Plan of tomb of Seti I. 

find that the general arrangement does not vary 
greatly. In the tomb of Rameses III. the entrance 
gallery is flanked by eight small lateral cells. Else- 
where the amount of painting that has been completed 
and the extent of the galleries form the only differ- 
ences. The smallest of these rock-tombs does not 
exceed 5 feet in length, while the tomb of Seti I., 
which is the most complete, is more than 470 feet in 
length, and then not finished. The same devices that 
were employed by the engineers of the pyramids to 
throw tomb robbers off the scent were adopted in the 
Theban tombs — false shafts, mere cul-de-sac, were 
sunk, and painted and sculptured walls were built 

1 86 TOMBS. 

across the galleries. When the burial had taken 
place the doors were walled up, large rocks were 
placed before the entrance, and the original appear- 
ance of the hillside was restored as far as possible. 

Seti I. has provided us with the most complete 
type we possess of this form of sculpture ; the figures 
and hieroglyphs in his tomb are real models of 
drawing and of graceful sculpture. The tomb of 
Rameses III. already shows signs of deterioration. 
The greater part of it is summarily painted, yellow 
abounds, and the reds and blues suggest the colouring 
children delight in daubing on their pictures. A 
little later mediocrity reigned unchallenged, the 
drawing became feeble, the colours increasingly crude, 
and the later tombs are no more than lamentable 
caricatures of those of Seti I. and Rameses III. Up 
to the end the decoration remained the same, and 
everywhere it is on the same principle that prevails 
at the pyramids. At Thebes as at Memphis its 
object was to secure for the double the enjoyment of 
its new habitation, to introduce the soul to the com- 
pany of the divinities, both of the solar cycle and of 
the Osirian cycle, and to guide it through the 
labyrinth of the infernal regions ; but the Thcban 
priests endeavoured to present to the eye by means 
of drawing what the Mcmphitcs confided by writing 
to the memory of the deceased, and he was enabled 
to behold what formerly he had been forced to read 
on the walls of his tomb. Where the texts of Unas 
recount how Unas, now identified with the sun, sails 
on the celestial waters or enters the Elysian fields, 
the scenes in the tomb of Seti I. show Seti in the 


solar bark, and the scenes in the tomb of Rameses III. 
show Rameses in the Elysian fields (fig. 170). Where 
the walls of the pyramid of Unas have only the text 
of the prayers recited over the mummy to open his 
mouth to give him the use of his limbs, to supply him 
with clothing, perfumes, and food, the tomb of Seti 
shows the mummy itself, and the ka statues that 
form the support of the double, the priests who are 
performing for them the opening of the mouth, who 
are clothing them, anointing them, and serving them 
with various dishes from the funeral banquet. 

Fig. 170. — Wall painting of fields of Aalu, tomb of 
Rameses III. 

The star-strewn ceilings of the pyramids represent 
the starry sky, but they do not provide the soul with 
the names of the heavenly bodies. On the ceilings of 
some of the rock -tombs of Thebes the constellations 
are drawn, each with its proper figure, while astro- 
nomical tables describe the aspect of the heavens 
during each fortnight of the months of the Egyptian 
year, and the soul had only to raise his eyes to learn 
in what region of the firmament his nightly course 
would lie. The whole design forms an illustrated 
account of the journeys of the sun, and in consequence 

1 88 TOMBS. 

of the soul during the twenty-four hours of the day. 
Each hour is represented, with its domain separated 
by boundaries, the doors guarded each by an immense 
serpent who bore a name such as Fire face, Flaming 
eye, Evil eye. The third hour of the day was when 
the fate of souls was decided ; the god Anubis weighs 
them, and, according to the indications given by the 
balance, assigns them an abode. The guilty soul is 
delivered over to the cynocephali who serve as 
assessors of the tribunal ; they drive him off with rods 
after changing him into a sow or some other impure 
animal ; the pure soul passes into the fifth hour, 
where with his fellows he cultivates the fields, reaps 
the corn of the celestial harvest, and, his appointed 
task finished, enjoys his leisure under the guardianship 
of kindly genii. After the fifth hour the celestial 
waters became a vast battlefield where the luminary 
deities pursued the serpent Apopi, captured and bound 
him in chains, and finally at the twelfth hour they 
strangled him. But their triumph was not of long 
duration. The victorious sun was carried by the 
current into the realms of the hours of the night, and 
once across the threshold he was assailed, like Virgil 
and Dante at the gates of the Inferno, by horrid noise 
and clamour. Each circle had its own voice which 
could not be confounded with the voice of any other. 
One was like the buzzing of an immense number of 
wasps, another like the lamentations of women for 
their husbands and of animals for their mates, and 
another like the growling of thunder. The sarco- 
phagus as well as the walls was covered with these 
scenes, whether sinister or joyous. It was usually of 


red or black granite. As it was the last piece of the 
funerary outfit to be carved, there was not always time 
to complete it, but when it was finished the scenes 
and texts that covered it formed an epitome of the 
whole tomb. The deceased found depicted on it the 
details of the superhuman destiny awaiting him, and 
also learned from it to taste the blessedness of the gods. 
Private tombs were rarely decorated with such com- 
pleteness, but two at least of the rock-tombs of the 
Twenty-sixth Dynasty, those of Petamenoph at 
Thebes and of Bakenrcnf at Memphis, rival the royal 
tombs in this respect. In the first there is a complete 
edition of the Book of the Dead, the second has long 
extracts from the same book from the Book of the 
Opening of the Mouth, and from the Pyramid Texts, 
the religious formulae found in the pyramids. 

As each part of the tomb had its special decoration, 
so it had its special furniture. Few traces are left 
of the chapel fittings ; the stone table of offerings is 
usually all that has survived. The objects immured 
in the serdab, galleries, and tomb chamber have 
suffered less from the ravages of time and the hand 
of man. Under the Old Kingdom the statues were 
always enclosed in the serdab ; the tomb chamber 
contained little beyond the sarcophagus, some head- 
rests in limestone and alabaster, geese carved in 
stone, occasionally some scribes' palettes, frequently 
vases of various forms in pottery diorite, granite, 
alabaster, and compact limestone, some heaps of 
grain and other food produce, and the bones of 
victims sacrificed on the day of the funeral. Under 
the Theban dynasties the supplies for the dead 

190 TOMBS. 

became richer and more complete. The ka statues 
of the family and servants, which formerly were 
placed with that of the master in the serdab, were 
now relegated to the tomb chamber, and had 
diminished in size. On the other hand, many of 
the objects that formerly were painted on the walls 
were now supplied in the round. Thus we find 
funerary barks with their crews, the mummy, the 
women mourners, the priests, and the disconsolate 
friends ; offerings of loaves in baked clay, erroneously 
called funerary cones, stamped with the name of the 
deceased ; clusters of grapes in glazed ware, and the 
limestone moulds with which the deceased was 
supposed to make pottery ; oxen, birds, and fish to 
take the place of creatines of flesh and blood. 
Furniture, kitchen utensils, toilet requisites, weapons, 
and musical instruments abounded, most of them 
carefully broken before they were placed in the 
grave ; they were thus killed, that their souls might 
follow their lord into the other world and serve him 

The small statuettes, made in wood, stone, and 
in blue, white, or green glaze, are placed by the 
hundred, or even by the thousand, among the piled - 
up heaps of provisions and boxes. These statuettes 
were at first the serdab statues made of much smaller 
size, and like them intended to provide a body for 
the double and also for the soul. They were clothed 
in the same way as the individual whose name they 
bore was clothed during his lifetime. Later on, their 
functions became less important, and their duties 
were confined to answering for their owner when 


he should be called upon by the gods, and executing 
in his stead the demands made upon him for labour 
in the Elysian fields. These small figures are called 
respondents, ushabtiu. They carry labourers' tools, 
and they are modelled to represent a mummified 
body, with the head and hands free and unbandaged. 
The canopic jars, with their heads of a sparrow-hawk, 
a cynocephalous ape, a jackal, and a man, were em- 
ployed as early as the Eleventh Dynasty to contain 
the viscera, which were necessarily abstracted from 
the body during the process of embalmment. The 
mummy itself was more and more encumbered 
with cartonnage, papyri, and amulets, which formed 
a complete suit of magic armour, as each piece 
safeguarded the limbs and the soul that animated 

Theoretically every Egyptian had a right to an 
eternal house built on the plan the development of 
which we have just traced. The graves of the middle- 
class or less wealthy folk at Beni Hasan consist 
of a deep rectangular pit of one chamber, reached 
by a vertical shaft. On their painted wooden coffins 
were placed models of boats, both sailing (fig. 171) 
and rowing, and figures of servants carved in the 
round, ready to carry their luggage, neatly tied up, 
or placed in baskets, or to cook, brew, or grind 
corn for them (fig. 172). Rows of these graves are 
found at Beni Hasan, where the humbler folk rest 
in the cliff below the stately tombs of their feudal 

The poor subsisted very well without all that was 
considered necessary for the great and wealthy. They 


were buried wherever it could be done most cheaply, 
in old tombs that had been robbed or abandoned, in 
natural fissures of the mountains, in shafts where a 
lodgment could b2 had for a small price, or in 
trenches dug for public use. At Thebes during 
the time of the Ramessides there were trenches 
dug in the sand always ready to receive corpses. 


Fig. I/I. — Wooden model ot sailing boat and crew. Round the cabin 
hang the weapons and shield required by the deceased in the 
future life. Beni Hasan, Twelfth Dynasty, Ashmolean Museum. 

The funeral rites over, the attendants shovelled a 
thin covering over the corpses collected during the 
day, sometimes singly, sometimes in batches of two 
or three, sometimes so crowded together that no 
attempt was made to lay them out in regular rows. 
Some of them were only protected by their bandages, 
others were wrapped in palm-leaves bound together 
in the shape of a basket. Those most cared for are 
placed in a rude wooden box without inscription or 


painting. Many are thrust into old coffins without 
any attempt being made to fit the coffins to their 
new occupants, or flung into a chest made out of 
pieces of three or four broken mummy-cases. There 
was no question of providing a funerary outfit for 
people of this class ; at the most they have with 
them a pair of worn-out leather shoes, a pair of 

Fig. 172. — Rough wooden model of servants at work. A squatting 
scribe records the results, overlooked by the mistress. Beni 
Hasan, Twelfth Dynasty, Ashmolean Museum. 

sandals made either of cardboard, or of plaited 
osiers, a travelling-staff for the celestial highways, 
rings in glazed pottery, bracelets or necklaces made 
of a single row of small blue beads, figurines of 
Ptah, Osiris, Anubis, Hathor, and Bast, mystic eyes, 
scarabs, and, more important than all, strings twisted 
round the arm, the neck, the leg, and the body to 
protect them from magical influences. 




The greater number of the statues and bas-reliefs 
that decorated the temples and tombs of ancient 
Egypt were painted. Coloured stones, such as granite, 
basalt, diorite, serpentine, and alabaster, sometimes 
escaped the painter's brush, but sandstone, limestone, 
and wood were rigorously subjected to it, and if one 
occasionally finds some object in these materials that 
shows no traces of colour, we may be sure that the 
paint has been accidentally removed, or that the work 
was left unfinished. The sculptor and the painter 
were inseparably allied, and the former had scarcely 
finished his work before the latter took possession of 
it ; the same artist was often equally skilled in the 
use of the brush and the chisel. 


Of the system adopted by the Egyptians for teach- 
ing drawing we know nothing. They had learned 
from experience to determine the general proportions 
of the body, and to establish fixed relations between 
the different parts, but they never took the trouble to 
tabulate those proportions or reduce them to a system. 
In what remains of their work there is nothing that 
leads us to believe that they ever possessed an official 



canon based on the length of the human finger or 
foot. Their method was one of routine and not of 
theory. They had models made by the master him- 
self, which were repeatedly copied by the pupils until 
they could reproduce them correctly. That they also 
studied from nature is shown by the facility with 
which they seized a human likeness and rendered the 
characteristics and movements of various animals. 
Their first attempts were made on slabs of limestone 
roughly smoothed, on a piece of wood covered with a 
wash of white stucco, or on the reverse side of old, 
valueless manuscripts. New papyrus or vellum was 
too expensive to be wasted on 
the daubings of pupils. The 
Egyptians had neither pencil 
nor stylus, but they used reeds, 
the ends of which, soaked in Flg - 173— Pestle and mor- 

t-ir for grinding colours. 

water, split into minute fibres 

and formed a brush more or less fine, according to 
the size of the stem. The palette was a narrow 
rectangular piece of wood, with a vertical groove at 
the lower end in which to lay the brush, and with 
two or more cup-like depressions at the upper end, 
each of which contained a cake of dry ink, red and 
black being the colours most constantly in use. A 
small pestle and mortar to pound the colours (fig. 173), 
and a cup of water to damp and wash the brushes, 
completed the outfit of the apprentice. Palette in 
hand, and without any kind of support for his wrist, 
he seated himself cross-legged before his model, and 
practised copying it in black. The master criticised 
the copy, and corrected the faults in red ink. 


The drawings that have come down to us are on 
small pieces of limestone, and are most of them in 
very bad condition. They have been found in great 
abundance in recent years, and may be seen in most 
large collections in Europe and America, as well as in 
Cairo. The subjects are very varied. They include 
sketches of birds and animals, many of them hiero- 
glyphic characters; Pharaoh on his throne, or smiting 
the foe, or otherwise depicted as he is seen on 
the monuments ; divinities and their worshippers. 
There are also sketches of less conventional character, 
some of them comic. At Turin there is a charming 
study of a female figure, half nude, bending back- 
wards as though in the act of turning a somersault. 
The lines are flowing, the action graceful, and the 
modelling is delicate. The artist was not hampered 
then as now by the use of a stiff implement. The 
reed brush attacked the surface perpendicularly, and 
with it the artist could make a line as thick or fine as 
he wished, could prolong it, or stop and turn with 
perfect ease. So supple an instrument lent itself 
marvellously to rendering the humorous and laugh- 
able incidents of daily life. The Egyptian, gay and 
sarcastic by nature, early practised the art of carica- 
ture. A papyrus in the Turin Museum records in a 
series of spirited vignettes the amorous exploits of 
a shaven priest and a singer (priestess) of Amon. 
On the reverse are serio-comic scenes of animals. 
An ass, a lion, a crocodile, and an ape are giving 
a concert of vocal and instrumental music ; a lion and 
a gazelle are playing at draughts ; the Pharaoh of all 
the rats mounted in a chariot drawn by dogs is 



hastening to assault a fort garrisoned by cats ; a cat 
of fashion, having a flower on her head, has quarrelled 
with a goose ; they have come to blows, and the 
unhappy fowl has succumbed in terror. Cats were 
among the favourite animals of Egyptian caricaturists. 
An ostracon in the New York Museum depicts a cat 
of high rank in full dress seated on a couch, while a 
wretched Tom of piteous appearance, with his tail 
between his legs, is handing her refreshments (fig. 174). 
We also possess an abundance of pen drawings 
illustrating religious 
works. Almost all 
of these works are 
copies of the Book 
of the Dead and the 
Book of knowing 
that which is in the 
Undenvorld. They 
were copied by hun- 
dreds from ancient 
manuscripts- preserved in the temples, or in families 
where the cult of the dead was the hereditary pro- 
fession. The artist therefore had to make no demands 
on his imagination ; all he had to do was to trans- 
cribe as well as possible from the copy given him. 
The rolls of the Book of knowing that which is in the 
Underworld which we possess are not earlier than the 
Twentieth Dynasty. The workmanship is often bad, 
and the figures are little more than summary scrawls 
hurriedly drawn and badly proportioned. Copies of 
the Book of the Dead are so numerous that from this 
source alone a history of miniature painting in Egypt 


Fig. 174. — Comic sketch on ostracon in 

New York Museum. 



might be compiled ; some arc as early as the 
Eighteenth Dynasty, while others are of the time of 
the earlier Caesars. The oldest copies are for the 
most part remarkably fine in execution. Each 
chapter has a vignette representing a divinity either 
in animal or human form, and a sacred emblem, or 
the deceased in adoration before the divinity. These 
small designs are, in some instances, ranged in a 
single line above the text (fig. 175); in others they are 
scattered about the pages like the illuminated capitals 

Fig. 175. — Vignette from the Book of the Dead, Saite period. 

of our manuscripts. At intervals large pictures 
occupy the entire height of the papyrus. At the 
beginning of the roll comes the burial scene, then 
towards the middle occurs the judging of the soul, 
and at the end is shown the arrival of the soul in the 
fields of Aalu. Here the artist had scope to exercise 
his talent and show the extent of his powers. We 
see the mummy of Hunefer upright before the stela 
and tomb (fig. 176); the women of the family are 
bewailing him, while the men and the priest present 
offerings to him. 

The papyri of the princes and princesses of the 


family of Pinotem in the Cairo Museum prove that 
the good traditions of the school were maintained 
among the Thebans as late as the Twenty-first 
Dynasty, but they declined rapidly under TKeTsuc- 
ceeding dynasties, <and for centuries we find nothing 


Fig. 176. — Vignette from the Book of the Dead, from the papyrus 

of Hunefer. 

but rude and valueless drawings. The downfall of 
the Persian domination occasioned a revival ; the 
tombs of the Greek period have yielded papyri with 
vignettes carefully executed in a dry and conventional 
style, which contrasts strangely with the broad, bold 


style of earlier work. The broad-tipped brush has 
been superseded by a fine-pointed pen, and artists 
vied with one another in the delicacy of their strokes. 
The lines with which they overloaded their figures — 
the details of the beard, the hair, and the folds of the 
garments — are sometimes so minute that it is difficult 
to distinguish them without a magnifving-glass. 

Fig. 177- — Part of scene on the wall of the pre -dynastic tomb of 
Hierakonpolis. — F. W. Green, Hierakonpolis, vol. ii. {Egypt 
Research Account). 

Valuable as these documents are, they do not afford 
a fair estimate of the full powers and technical 
methods of the Egyptian artists ; it is to the walls of 
their temples and tombs that we must turn if we wish 
to understand their methods of composition. 

The earliest funerary example of Egyptian decora- 
tive art we possess is on the walls of the predynastic 
tomb of Hierakonpolis (fig. 177). The carefully 


smoothed and plastered brick wall was covered with 
a wash of pale yellow ochre. On this the figures 
were outlined in red ochre, and painted in black, 
bright green (probably obtained from pounded 
malachite),* a pasty white, and with red and yellow 
ochre. In the foreground are human beings, animals, 
and what may be a trapping scene ; in the middle 
distance are six large vessels with cabins ; the back- 
ground is filled in with herding and hunting scenes. 
The drawing of the animals is good ; the human 
beings are grotesque. The men are fighting with 
sticks, and protecting themselves with shields made 
of animal skins. The vanquished foe is literally 
represented as overthrown. Some seated women on 
the right are clad in white petticoats. There is no 
attempt at defining the river-banks, and many of the 
figures seem to be inserted at haphazard.* 

The conventions of the drawing of historical times 
differed considerably from ours. Man or beast, the 
subject was never more than an outline against the 
surrounding background, and the object of the artist 
was therefore to introduce only such objects as 
offered a distinct profile that could readily be seized 
and adapted to a fiat background. In the case of 
animals the problem was easily solved, the line of the 
back and the body, the head and the neck, in flowing 
curves parallel to the ground, could be outlined in 
one long stroke of the reed-pen, while the legs are 
well detached from the body. The animals are life- 
like, each with the gait and action and flexion of the 
limbs peculiar to it The slow, measured tread of 

* Quibell and Green, Hierakotipolis, vol. ii. p. 20 et seq. 


the ox ; the short step, the meditative ear, and the 
sarcastic mouth of the ass ; the jerky little trot of the 
goat ; the spring of the greyhound when hunting, — 
all these are rendered with unfailing felicitv of line 
and expression. And when we pass from domestic 
animals to wild ones, we find the same perfection of 
treatment, the calm strength of the lion in repose, 
the stealthy, sleepy tread of the leopard, the grimace 
of the ape, and the somewhat slender grace of the 
gazelle and antelope have nowhere been better 
rendered than in Egypt. But to project the whole 
figure of man in the same way without deviating 
from nature was not so easy. The human figure 
does not lend itself to being reproduced in outline. 
To draw it in profile is to omit some of the most 
important features ; the contour of the forehead and 
nose, the curve of the lips, and the cut of the ear 
are lost when the head is drawn full face, while the 
bust, on the contrary, must be shown full face in 
order that the outline of both shoulders may be 
rendered, and that the arms may be duly shown one 
on each side of the body. The contours of the lower 
part of the body model to best advantage when seen 
from a three-quarters point of view, while the legs 
should be seen from the side. The Egyptians had 
no scruple in combining these contradictory points 
of view in the same figure, part in profile and part 
full face. The head, with the eye almost invariably 
full face, is in profile on a full-face bust; the bust 
surmounts a trunk seen from a three-quarters 
point of view, while the legs, ngain, are in profile. 
These conventions were accepted as early as the 


Thinite period, and prevailed throughout Pharaonic 

And yet one finds figures that are composed more 
in accordance with our rules of perspective. 

In the case of most of the personages in the tomb 
of Khnumhotep at Beni Hasan, an attempt has been 
made to rescue them from this system of malforma- 
tion. The bust is in profile like the head and legs, 
but one or other of the shoulders is thrust forward in 
order to show both arms (fig. 1 78), and the effect is not 
happy. But observe the peasant who is fattening a 
goose, and still more the man who is throwing his 


Fig. 178. Fig. 179. 

Scenes from the tomb of Khnumhotep at Beni Hasan, Twelfth 


weight on to the neck of a gazelle to force it to lie 
down (fig. 179). Here the action of the arms and 
hips is accurately rendered, the perspective of the 
back is perfect, the projection of the chest caused 
by the position of the arms is correctly drawn without 
any exaggeration, and the body is well placed upon 
the haunches. The varied movements and postures 
of the wrestlers of Beni Hasan, and of the dancing 
women in the Theban tombs, are rendered with 
perfect freedom (fig. 180). 

But these are exceptional ; elsewhere tradition has 
been more powerful than nature, and to the end 



Egyptian artists continued to deform the human 
figure. Their men and women are actual monsters 
from the anatomical point of view, even though they 
are by no means so hideous and absurd as they have 
been represented by many of our copyists. The 
distorted parts of the body have been joined to each 
other with such ingenuity that the combination does 
not strike one as unnatural. The correct and the 
fictitious lines follow and complete each other so 
cleverly that the former appears to be the natural 

Fig. 180. — From a tomb painting in the British Museum, 
Eighteenth Dynasty. 

complement of the latter. The convention once 
recognised and admitted, it is difficult to over- 
estimate the skill shown on many of the monuments. 
The line is firm and even, drawn to the end with one 
long resolute sweep of the brush. Ten or twelve 
such strokes sufficed to draw a life-size figure ; one 
single stroke outlined the head from the nape of the 
neck to the base of the throat, another represented 
the rise of the shoulders and the fall of the arms, two 
accurately curved lines indicated the contour from 
the armpits to the point of the feet, two finished the 



legs, and two the arms. The details of clothing and 
jewellery at first summarily indicated were afterwards 
worked out in minute detail, and one can almost 
count the tresses of hair, the folds of the garment, 
the enamel on the girdle or bracelet. This admixture 
of natural ability and of intentional awkwardness of 
rapid execution and of patient re-working does not 
exclude either elegance of form, the grace and truth 
of the attitudes, or the precision of the movements. 
The figures are peculiar, but they are alive, and for 
any one who regards them without prejudice, their 

Fig. 181. — Funerary repast, tomb of Prince Horemheb, Eighteenth 


very strangeness lends a charm that is not always 
to be found in later work more conformed to the 

We admit, then, that the Egyptians knew how to 
draw. But were they, as has often been asserted, 
ignorant of the art of composition ? Let us choose 
a scene at random from one of the Theban tombs — 
that which represents the funeral banquet offered 
to Horemheb (fig. 181) by members of his family. 
The subject is half realistic, half imaginary. The 
deceased and his relations already in the other world 
are here depicted in company with the living. Visible, 


but not mixing with them, they are assisting at the 
banquet rather than partaking of it. Horemheb is 
seated on a folding stool to the left of the spectator ; 
on his knees is a little princess, daughter of Amen- 
hotep III., of whom he was the adoptive father, and 
who died before him. His mother, Senuit, behind 
him on his right, seated in a large chair, is grasping 
her son's arm with her left hand, while with the right 
she offers him a lotus-bud. A tiny gazelle, which 
perhaps was buried near her, like the gazelle found 
beside Queen Isiemkheb in the hiding-place at Deir 
el Bahari, is tied to the leg of the chair. The 
members of this supernatural group are of gigantic 
size ; seated as they are, the heads of Horemheb and 
his mother are on a level with those of the women 
standing before them. It was essential that the gods 
should be larger than men, kings larger than their 
subjects, and the dead larger than the living. The 
relatives and friends are ranged in a single row 
facing their deceased ancestors, and appear to be 
talking among themselves. The feast has begun, 
the jars of wine and beer in their wooden stands are 
already opened. Two young slaves are rubbing the 
living guests with sweet-scented essences taken from 
an alabaster jar. Two sumptuously attired women 
are presenting to the deceased metal bowls full of 
flowers, grain, and perfumes, placing them in turn on 
a square table. Meanwhile three other women are 
playing the lute, singing, and dancing, thus com- 
pleting the homage offered to the deceased. 

As the tomb is here the scene of the banquet, the 
background of the picture is formed by walls covered 


with hieroglyphs, in front of which the guests were 
seated during the ceremony. Elsewhere the scene 
of action is clearly indicated by tufts of grass or by 
trees if it occurred in the open country, by red sand 
if in the desert, or by a belt of reeds and lotus if in 
the marshes. In one place we are shown a woman 
of quality entering her house (fig. 182). One of her 
daughters who is thirsty is taking a long draught 
of water from a gAllaJi, two little naked children with 
shaven heads, a boy and a girl, have run to the street 
door to meet their mother, and the toys she has 
bought for them during her absence are being handed 
to them by a servant. Above we see a vinery heavy 
with clusters, and trees laden with fruit ; this is the 
garden, but the mistress and her two eldest girls have 
crossed it without stopping, and have entered the 
house. Half the front of the house has been removed, 
and we can see what they are doing inside, where 
three servants are bringing them refreshments. The 
picture is not badly composed, and it might be 
transferred to a modern canvas without much altera- 
tion, but the same clumsiness or prejudice that led 
the Egyptian to place a head in profile on a full-face 
bust, has prevented his arranging his scenes in proper 
sequence, and has forced him to adopt expedients of 
some ingenuity to atone for the absence of per- 

Again, when drawing a number of persons engaged 
in the same action it was usual to separate them as 
much as possible to avoid the outline of one over- 
lapping another, or else they were flatly superposed 
as though they were of only two dimensions and had 



no breadth. A herdsman walking in the midst of his 
cattle treads on precisely the same ground-line as the 
beast which partly conceals his body. In the case of 
a company of L soldiers advancing in marching order 

Fig. 183. — From wall scene in tomb of Horemheb. 

to the sound of the trumpet, the head and feet of the 
farthest figure are on the same level as those of the 
soldier nearest to the spectator (fig. 183). Where the 
chariots defile before Pharaoh one could swear that 

Fig. 184. — From wall scene, Ramesseum. 

all the wheels follow each other in the same rut, were 
it not that the body of the first chariot partially hides 
the horses of the one that follows next (fig. 184). In 
these examples the men and chariots are placed so 
close together, whether by accident, or in reproducing 



the actual scene, that the defect is not too apparent, 
and the Egyptian artist has made use of the same 
contrivance that was employed later by the Greek 
sculptors. Elsewhere the Egyptians have attempted 
to secure greater accuracy. In the case of the archers 
in the battle scene of Rameses III. at Medinet Habii, 
an attempt which is almost successful has been made 
to render them in perspective. The line of helmets 
falls and the line at -.the base of the bows rises with 

perfect regularity, but the feet 
are all on one parallel line, 
and do not follow the direction 
of the other lines as they 
should (fig. 185). 

This mode of representation 

is not uncommon during the 

Fig. 185. — Archers, repre- 
sented on walls of Medinet 

Theban period. For figuring 
troops of men or of animals 
performing the same action at 
the same moment it was em- 
ployed by preference, but it 
involved a difficulty which was 
serious in the eyes of the Egyptians ; with the 
exception of the first man the human figure was 
almost entirely concealed, a very small part only 
being left visible. When therefore it was impossible 
to group all the figures without hiding some of them 
the whole mass was broken up into several groups 
each of which represented an episode, and these 
were ranged one above another in the same vertical 
plane. The height given to each man docs not 
(Upend on his position in ordinary perspective, but 



on the number of rows needed by the artist to 

illustrate his subject. If he only required two rows, 

the space was divided into 

two, if he wished for three, it 

was divided into three, and so 

forth, while in the case of 

minor details the register could 

be lowered. Thus in the funeral 

feast of Horemheb the amphorae 

are arranged in a space con- 
siderably narrower than that 

in which the guests are seated. 

The secondary scenes were 

generally separated by a line, 

but this line was not indis- 
pensable, and more especially 

when large bodies of men 

regularly drawn up had to be expressed, the vertical 

rows overlapped one 
another to an extent that 
varied according to the 
fancy of the artist. At the 
battle of Kadesh the files 
f|| of the Egyptian phalanx 
overtop one another as 
high as the waist (fig. 1 86), 
while scarcely more than 
the head of the Hittites is 
visible (fig. 187). 

This latitude in the 
grouping of men and animals is by no means the 
greatest that Egyptians permitted themselves; houses, 

Fig. 186. — Phalanx of 
Egyptian infantry, Ra- 

Fig. 187.— Hittite battalion, 



landscapes, trees, and water are even more strangely 
treated. A canal is represented by a narrow rectangle 
placed upright on its side with wavy lines drawn 
across it. To leave no doubt in the mind of the 
spectator that it is intended to represent a piece of 
water, crocodiles and fish are drawn in it ; boats are 
balanced on the upper edge, while herds of cattle 
are fording it breast-high. The place where the 
water ends and the bank begins is marked by a 
fisherman with his line. In other places the rectangle 

looks as though it were 
suspended half-way up 
the trunks of five or six 
palm-trees (fig. 188), and 
then we are given to un- 
derstand that the water 
is flowing between two 
rows of trees. Or again, 

Fig. 188.— Pool and palm-trees, as in the tomb of Rekh- 
from tomb of Rckhmara, _____ fc„ , q_a ( i,„ f_~~.^ 

_•;__,. n rk * maia (tig. ioQ), tlie tree^ 

Lignteenth Dynasty. v ° - 7 '' 

are neatly laid down 
along the four sides of a pool, and a boat in profile 
bearing a dead body and dragged by slaves also in 
profile, is sailing unconcernedly on the vertical face 
of the water. Each of the rock-tombs of the Ramesside 
period can furnish more than one instance of such 
original contrivances, and, after studying them, one 
scarcely knows which is most marvellous, the obstinacy 
of the Egyptian who would not adopt the natural 
laws of perspective, or the wealth of imagination that 
could invent such a variety of false relations between 
such various objects. 


When applied to large spaces these proceedings 
are less startling than they are on small panels. One 
feels that the most experienced artist would be forced 
to resort to some artifice if called upon to cover the 
walls of a pylon, and this consideration renders us 
more indulgent especially as the subjects treated in 
these immense bas-reliefs are never confined to one 

Fig. 189. — Scene from tomb of Rekhmara, Eighteenth Dynasty. 

single episode. Restricted as they were to com- 
memorating the victories of the Pharaoh, the Pharaoh 
necessarily plays the principal part ; but instead of 
choosing from among his mighty deeds a dominant 
episode, the artists employed elected to detail the 
successive events of his campaign : a night attack on 
the Egyptian camp by a band of Asiatics, spies sent 
by the prince of the Kheti to mislead the Pharaoh as 
to his plans, the military camp of the king surprised 



and broken into by the Hittite chariots, the battle of 
Kadesh and its various incidents. In this way the 
pylons of Luxor and of the Ramesseum give us an 
illustrated history of the campaign of Rameses II. 
against the Syrians. It was after the same fashion 
that painters of the early Italian schools represented 

Fig. 190. — Scene from mastaba of Ptahhotep, Fifth Dynasty. 

in one piece and in unbroken sequence the events of 
their own history. The scenes are placed on the 
walls without any definite separating lines, and there 
is the same difficulty in dividing the groups and 
distinguishing the various personages that we experi- 
ence with the bas-reliefs on the column of Trajan. 
This method is reserved for the outside of the 



temples. In the interior and in the tombs the different 
parts of a picture are divided into registers, placed in 
rows one above another from the basement to the 
cornice. This adds another difficulty to those we 

Fig. 191. — Palestrina mosaic. 

encounter in endeavouring tolunderstand the meaning 
and style of the Egyptian artists. We imagine that 
we are looking at a variety of subjects when in reality 
we are gazing at disjointed parts of a single composi- 
tion. Take for instance one of the walls of the tomb 


of Ptahhotep at Saqqara (fig. 190). In order to grasp 
the thread that links the various parts together we 
may compare it with the Roman mosaic of Palestrina 
(fig. 191), which represents some of the same scenes, 
but in a manner more in conformity with our methods. 
In the foreground is the Nile, which extends to the 
foot of the hills. On the farther bank are towns and 
obelisks, farms and towers that are Graeco-Roman in 
style and resemble the buildings of Pompeii far more 
than Pharaonic monuments. The great temple on 
the right, in the middle distance, to which two 
travellers are making their way, has a pylon in front 
against which are placed four colossal Osirian figures, 
and alone suggests the general arrangement of 
Egyptian architecture. To the left some men in a 
large boat are harpooning crocodiles and the hippo- 
potamus. To the right a company of legionaries led 
by a priest and massed in front of a temple appear 
to be saluting a galley as it is rowed up the river. 
In the centre of the picture men and women half 
nude are singing and carousing under the shelter of a 
bower thrown over a branch of the river. Papyrus 
skiffs occupied by single boatmen, and a variety of 
small vessels fill in the gaps in the composition. 
The desert commences behind the line of buildings, 
and here the river widens out into pools at the foot 
of abrupt hills. In the upper part of the picture 
various animals either real or imaginary are hunted 
by bands of archers with shaven heads. 

Like the Roman artist the Egyptian placed himself 
on the bank of the Nile, and reproduced all he saw 
between himself and the horizon. At the base of the 


wall painting (fig. 190) the Nile is seen flowing between 
its banks, boats come and go, and boatmen quarrel 
and strike each other with their poles. In the register 
above are the river-banks and the adjacent fields, 
where a group of slaves hidden in the bushes are 
trapping birds. Above, again, boat-building, cord- 
making, and fish-curing are carried on. Finally, under 
the cornice there are the bare cliffs and wild desert 
plains, where greyhounds are pulling down gazelles 
and scantily clad huntsmen are lassoing wild birds. 
Each register corresponds to one plane of the land- 
scape ; but the artist, instead of placing his planes in 
perspective, has separated and superimposed them. 
Everywhere in the tombs, as even in the primitive 
tomb of Hierakonpolis, we find similar combinations, 
scenes of inundation and of civil life on the lower 
part of the walls, and the hills and hunting scenes 

Sometimes the artist inserted between these two 
registers another containing pastoral scenes, labourers 
and artisans working at their trades, and occasionally 
the intermediate scenes are entirely omitted, and the 
Nile and the desert are placed next to each other. 
The mosaic of Palestrina and the Pharaonic tomb 
paintings represent the same subject treated according 
to the conventions and methods of two different 
schools of art. Like the mosaic the wall-painting 
represents not a series of isolated scenes, but a regular 
composition which may be interpreted with ease by 
those who can read the artistic language of the 


The preparation of surfaces about to be decorated 
required much time and care. As the architects 
were unable to give a perfectly flat surface to the 
walls of the temple or pylon the decorators were 
forced to adapt themselves to slight irregularities 
in places. The blocks of which the walls were 
formed were rarely homogeneous, and the limestone 
strata in which the tombs were excavated almost 
invariably contained nodules of flint, fossils, and 
petrified shells. When the tomb was to be painted, 
the wall which had been roughly levelled was 
washed over with a coat of black clay mixed with 
finely chopped straw, similar to the mixture used 
in brick-making. In preparing for sculpture, how- 
ever, the sculptor was forced to arrange his subject 
so as to avoid as far as possible the irregularities of 
the stone. If they occurred in the midst of the 
figures, and were not too hard, they were worked 
over with the chisel, but if this could not be done 
they were removed and the hole was plugged with 
white cement, or with carefully fitted pieces of 
limestone. This was no small undertaking, and we 
could point to tomb chambers where as much as 
a quarter of the wall-space is made up of inserted 
slabs of limestone. This preliminary work accom- 
plished, the whole was washed over with a thin coat 
of fine plaster mixed with white of egg, which con- 
cealed all inequalities or repairs and formed a smooth 
polished surface, over which the brush of the designer 
could be employed with freedom. 

sculptors' sketches for bas-reliefs. 219 

In unfinished chambers or parts of chambers, and 
even in the quarries, we constantly find sketches in 
red or black ink of the bas-reliefs with which it was 
intended to cover them. The plan, first made out 
on a small scale, was then squared and transferred 
to the wall on the large scale by assistants and 
pupils. In some places the subject is summarily 
indicated by two or three rapid strokes of the reed- 
brush. This is the case with certain scenes that 
were copied by Prisses d'Avennes from the Theban 

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Fig. 192. — Sculptor's sketch from tomb, Old Kingdom. 

tombs (fig. 192). Elsewhere the outline is fully 
drawn, and the figures on their squaring lines only 
await the sculptor. Some sculptors took the pains 
to determine the position of the shoulders and the 
poise of the body by horizontal and vertical lines, 
on which they marked the height of the knee, the 
hips, and other parts of the body (fig. 193). Others 
with more confidence in their own powers attacked 
their subject at once, and drew in their figures 
without any sort of guide ; this was done by the 



artists who decorated the tomb of Seti I. and the 
southern walls of the temple of Abydos. Their line 
is so pure and their facility of execution so amazing 
that it has been supposed that they made use of 

stencilling ; but this opinion 
is at once abandoned when 
we examine the figures 
closely and take the trouble 
to measure them with a 
compass. The forms of 
Fig. 193.— Sculptor's sketch from some are slighter than 

Old Kingdom tomb. ., ,, r . . 

others, the contours 01 the 
chest are more accentuated in others, or the legs are 
farther apart. The master did not find much to 
correct in the work of these assistants. Here and 
there he altered a head, he flattened or accentuated 
a knee, or modified the arrange- 
ment of some detail. In one 
instance, however, at Kom 
Ombos several of the divinities 
on the roof were badly placed, 
and their feet came where their 
arms should have been : the 
master readjusted their position 
on the same squared surface Fi e- ' 94 -~ Sc " ,pt f or „ s K° r " 

^ rection, Medinet Harm. 

without effacing the original 

sketch. Here, at an)' rate, the error was noticed in 
time ; at Karnak on the northern wall of the hypostyle 
hall, and again at Medinet Habu, the error was only 
discovered after the sculptor had completed his work. 
The figures of Seti I. and Rameses III. sloped back- 
wards, and appeared about to overbalance ; they 


were filled in with cement or stucco and cut afresh. 
The cement has now fallen out, and traces of the 
first chiselling are once more visible ; thus both 
Seti I. and Rameses III. have two profiles, one 
scarcely marked, the other cut in high relief (fig. 194). 
The sculptors of the Pharaonic age were not so 
well provided with tools as those of our own day. 
One of the kneeling scribes in the Cairo Museum 
has been carved out of limestone with the chisel ; 
the flat lines made by the tool are visible on his 
skin. A statue in grey serpentine in the same 
collection shows traces of two 
different tools : the body is marked £> 
all over with the point ; the head ^ 
is unfinished, but it has been 
blocked out by chipping it with a 
small hammer. Similar observa- 
tions and study of the monuments 

1 , 1 , t- . Fig. IQ5- — Bow drill. 

have shown that the Egyptians 
were familiar with the drill (fig. 195), the toothed 
chisel, and the gouge, but there has been endless 
discussion as to whether their metal tools were 
iron or bronze. Iron has been considered out of 
the question for a priori reasons. It has been 
argued that it was regarded as impure, and that 
it must have been impossible to employ it even 
for the most ignoble purposes without contracting 
impurity that would be injurious to the soul both 
in this world and the next. But the uncleanness 
of an object has never prevented its use. Pigs were 
impure, but they were bred nevertheless in consider- 
able numbers in certain provinces, for Herodotus 


states that swine were let loose in newly sown fields 
in order that they might tread in the grain. Like 
many things in Egypt, iron was pure or impure 
according to circumstances. While certain legends 
called it " the bones of Typhon," and condemned 
it as baneful, other equally ancient legends affirmed 
that it was the actual metal of which the sky was 
made, and owingf to this authoritative statement it 
was named ba-en-pet, the celestial metal. The only 
metal found in the Great Pyramid is a piece of iron, 
and though objects made of iron are rarely found 
in comparison with the immense numbers found in 
copper and bronze, this may be accounted for by 
the fact that iron is soon consumed by rust, and 
where it has survived it has only done so owing 
to a combination of very exceptional circumstances. 
It is certain that the Egyptians were acquainted 
with iron, and made use of it at all periods, and it is 
no less certain that they never possessed steel. The 
question then arises how they managed to work the 
hardest stones, such as we almost hesitate to attempt 
to-day — diorite, basalt, serpentine, and syenite. The 
various manufacturers of antiquities who work granite 
for the benefit of tourists have solved the question. 
They work with twenty or more points and chisels 
of inferior iron, which are rendered unusable by 
a few blows. The first one spoilt, they take another, 
and so on, until their store is exhausted, when they 
take the whole collection to the forge to be put to 
rights. The proceeding is neither so slow nor difficult 
as might be imagined. There is now in the Cairo 
Museum a life-si/.e head which was produced by one 

sculptors' methods. 223 

of the best forgers in Luxor in less than a fortnight 
from a block of black granite streaked with red. 
I have no doubt the ancients worked in the same 
way ; they mastered the hardest stones by means 
of iron, copper, and bronze. The method once 
discovered, practice would teach them how to work 
with greater ease and to produce as regular and 
delicate work with the tools they possessed as we 
can produce with ours. As soon as the apprentice 
had learned to handle the point and mallet the master 
placed graduated models before him that represented 
the successive stages in representing an animal, part 
of a human body, and the entire human body from 
the first rough sketch to the finished work (rig. 196). 
Every year these trial pieces are found in sufficient 
numbers to establish a progressive series. Some 
were intended to teach carving in bas-relief and 
others for practice in statuary, and they show us 
the methods employed for both. 

The Egyptians understood three principal forms 
of bas-relief — either by simple engraving with the 
point or by cutting away the ground and allowing 
the figures to stand out, or again by leaving the 
background untouched and sinking the figures them- 
selves, modelling them in relief in the hollow. The 
first method was very quickly accomplished, but 
it had the disadvantage of being only very slightly 
decorative. Rameses III. made use of it in several 
places at Medinet Habu, but it was generally applied 
to stelae and small objects ; the risk of breakage was 
small, and it necessitated no re-dressing of the face, 
and there were no projections to be endangered by 



blows or chipping. The second method was most 
in use, and appears to have been taught in the schools 

Fig. 196. — Sculptor's trial piece, Eighteenth Dynasty. 

in preference to the others. The models were small 
square or oblong tablets, squared off to enable the 
pupil to enlarge or reduce the design without altering 

sculptors' models. 225 

the proportions. Some of these models were worked 
on both sides, but more frequently on one side only. 
The subjects include an ox, the head of an ape, a 
ram, a lion, or of a divinity ; occasionally we find 
the design repeated, merely outlined on the left and 
finished in detail on the right. In no instance does 
the relief exceed J inch, and it is generally even 
less. This is no indication that the Egyptian could 
not work in very much higher relief. At Medinet 
Habii and at Karnak, in the upper part of the 
temple and where the carvings are exposed to the 
full glare of sunlight, the projection is as much as 
2^ inches, both in granite and in limestone. If they 
were less deep, the figures would be absorbed and 
lost in the glare, and only a confusion of lines would 
be visible to the spectators below. 

Models intended for the study of statuary in the 
round are even more instructive. Many of them are 
plaster casts of works of art known in the schools. 
Every part of the body, the head, the arms, legs, and 
trunk were cast separately. In order to make an 
entire body, the various parts were selected and built 
up as required into a statue of a man or a woman, 
kneeling or standing, seated on a chair or squatting 
on the heels, the arms extended or hanging down. 
This curious collection was found at Tanis, and 
dates probably from Ptolemaic times. Students' 
models of the Pharaonic period are in soft limestone, 
and almost all of them represent the reigning 
sovereign. They are cubical in shape, and measure 
about 10 inches. On one side cross lines were 
drawn at right angles, which regulated the relative 



position of the features. Then on the opposite face 
the work was begun according to the scale given 
on the reverse. On the first block a mere oval was 
designed ; a projection in the middle and two de- 
pressions to right and left indicated vaguely the 
position of the nose and eyes. The form assumes 
more definite lines as we pass from one block to 
another, and the face gradually emerges from the 
stone. The contours of the face are regulated by 
lines drawn by the artist from top to bottom of the 
block, the angles are cut away, and worked into 
correct form, the features begin to appear, the eye 
is hollowed out, the nose and mouth assume their 
proper forms. By the time we reach the last block 
all is complete except the ura;us and details of the 
head-dress. We have no school piece in granite or 
basalt, but, like our monumental masons, the Egyptians 
always kept in hand a stock of half-finished statues 
in hard stone that could be comoleted in a few hours. 
The hands, the feet, and the bust only required a 
few final touches, but the head was scarcely blocked 
out and the clothing was only sketched ; half a day's 
work would be sufficient to transform the head into 
a portrait of the purchaser and to arrange the short 
skirt according to the newest fashion. Two or three 
of these unfinished statues show us the method of 
procedure as completely as if we possessed a series 
of teachers' models. The regular continuous cutting 
of limestone could not be applied to volcanic rock, 
which could only be worked by means of the point. 
When by expenditure of time and patience the 
desired result had been reached, there would still 


be various rough places, nodules of heterogeneous 
substances that the sculptor had not dared to meddle 
with for fear of injuring the surrounding work, and 
for these he had to employ another implement. 
Over the projection he placed the sharp edge of 
a pebble, and on this he dealt cautious blows with 
a rounded pebble until the projection was reduced 
to powder under the blows of this novel axe and 

After these defects had been corrected, the monu- 
ment would still look dull and lacking in finish. It 
required polishing in order to efface the marks of the 
point and mallet. The operation was exceedingly 
delicate ; an unlucky slip of the hand, one moment 
of carelessness, and the work would be injured past 
repair. The dexterity of the workmen rendered 
such a catastrophe very rare. Take, for instance, 
the highly polished statue of Sebekemsaf at Cairo, 
or the colossal figure of Rameses II. at Luxor. The 
play of light at first prevents the eye seizing the 
delicacy of the work, but by placing ourselves in a 
favourable light, we find that the detail of the knee 
and chest, of the shoulder and face, are no less finely 
rendered in granite than in limestone. The Egyptian 
sculptures are no more injured by the very high 
polish than was the work of Italian sculptors of the 

After leaving the hands of the sculptor the work 
passed into those of the painter. A sandstone or 
limestone figure would not be considered complete 
if it were allowed to retain the natural colour of the 
stone, and the statues were painted from head to 


foot. In bas-reliefs the background was usually left 
plain, but the figures were coloured. In this respect 
the Egyptians were far better equipped than is usually 
supposed. The most ancient painters' palettes — and 
some are known of the Fifth Dynasty — have separate 
divisions for yellow, red, blue, brown, white, black, 
and green. Others of the Eighteenth Dynasty pro- 
vided for three varieties of yellow, three of brown, 
and two each of red, blue, and green, at least fourteen 
or sixteen different shades. Black was obtained by 
burning the bones of animals ; white was made of 
gypsum mixed with honey or albumen ; the yellows 
are ochre or sulphuret of arsenic, the orpiment of our 
modern painters ; the reds are ochre, cinnabar, or 
vermilion ; the blues are lapis lazuli, or sulphate of 
copper. If the materials were rare or costly, local 
productions were substituted for them. Lapis lazuli 
was replaced by blue frit coloured with sulphate of 
copper and reduced to an impalpable powder. The 
colours were kept in small bags, and doled out when 
required, slightly moistened with water containing a 
little gum tragacanth. This was applied by means 
of a reed-pen or a hair-brush, of which the artist 
usually employed only two, one with a fine point for 
outlines and delicate parts of the work, and a broad 
one for large surfaces. When well prepared the , 
pigments were remarkably solid, and have scarcely 
changed during the course of centuries. Where the 
reds have darkened, the greens faded, or the blues 
turned green or grey, it is only on the surface, the 
colours below are still brilliant and unchanged. 
Until the Theban period no precaution was taken 


to preserve them from the action of air and light ; 
about the time of the Twentieth Dynasty the custom 
arose of covering them with a transparent varnish 
soluble in water, which was probably the gum of 
some variety of acacia. This varnish was not applied 
universally ; some painters used it for the entire 
picture, others merely varnished the ornaments and 
accessories, and omitted the flesh tints and clothing. 
In course of time it cracked, and became so dark as 
to damage the pictures it was intended to preserve. 
The Egyptians no doubt realised the mischief that 
attended its use, for we do not meet with it after the 
Twenty-sixth Dynasty. 

The Egyptians used flat, uniform washes of colour ; 
they did not paint in our sense of the word, they 
illuminated. Just as in drawing they rendered the 
outline and almost entirely suppressed the internal 
modelling, so in painting they simplified the colouring 
and merged all variety of tones and play of light 
and shade in one uniform tint. Egyptian painting 
is never entirely true nor yet entirely false, it follows 
nature as closely as possible, but does not attempt to 
imitate it faithfully, sometimes understating, some- 
times exaggerating and substituting ideal conven- 
tional renderings for the visible reality. Water is 
always blue, either plain or spaced, .with black zig-zag 
lines. The buff and bluish hues of the vulture are 
rendered by vivid red and bright blue : the flesh 
tints of the men are brown, those of the women are 
yellow. The colour assigned to each object was 
taught in the schools, and the convention, once 
thoroughly established, was transmitted without 


change from one generation to another. At various 
times some adventurous artist would attempt to 
break through these conventions. Thus in the Sixth 
Dynasty tombs at Deir el Gebrawi there are instances 
of women depicted with brown skins. There are 
men with yellow skins at Saqqara of the Fifth 
Dynasty, at Meir in tombs of the Twelfth Dynasty, 
and at Abu Simbel of the Nineteenth Dynasty, while 
in the tombs of Thebes and Abydos, about the 
period of Thothmes IV. or Horemheb, and at El Kab 
and Beit el Wally of the Nineteenth Dynasty, there 
occur figures with bright rose or crimson flesh tints. 

It must not, however, be supposed that the im- 
pression produced by this artificial colouring was 
crude and discordant. Even in works of small size, 
such as illuminated copies of the Book of the Dead, 
the decoration of coffins, or of funerary coffers, there 
is harmony and softness of colouring. The most 
vivid tones are boldly placed in juxtaposition, but 
with full knowledge of their relations to each other, 
and of the phenomena which naturally result from 
those relations. They do not jar, nor do they kill 
one another ; each has its full value, and by their 
proximity to each other they give rise to half-tones 
that harmonise with them. 

When we pass from small to great, from a leaf of 
papyrus or a panel of sycamore-wood to the walls of 
tombs and temples, we find the habitual use of flat 
tints both soothing and pleasant to the eye. Every 
wall is treated as a whole, and a harmony of colour 
is preserved throughout the superposed registers. In 
some cases the colours are distributed rhythmically 


or symmetrically from stage to stage and balance 
one another, in others one colour predominates and 
determines the general tone to which the others are 
subordinated. The vividness of the whole is always 
proportioned to the amount of light that will play on 
the wall. Where the halls are completely dark the 
colour is as brilliant as possible, as otherwise it would 
scarcely be observable by the flickering light of 
torches or lamps. On the outside walls and on the 
pylons the colouring is as vivid as it is in the remotest 
depths of rock-tombs. However powerful it might 
be, the glaring effect was neutralised by the sun. In 
places where twilight reigned, such as beneath the 
temple porticoes and in the antechambers of tombs, 
the colouring is soft and subdued. Painting in Egypt 
was only the humble handmaid of architecture and 
sculpture. To compare it with our own, or even with 
that of the Greeks, is not to be thought of, but if we 
accept it for what it is in the secondary position 
assigned to it, we must admit that it possesses some 
unusual merits. It excelled for large decorative 
schemes, and if the fashion of painting our mansions 
and public buildings should ever return, we should 
lose nothing by making a study of Egyptian methods 
and conventions. 


It is now possible for us to trace to some extent 
the development of sculpture in Egypt from the rude 
attempts of the earliest Thiiiite period. In Oxford, 
at the Ashmolean Museum, are two statues found at 
Koptos, representing the local deity. The modelling 

2 3- 


is exceedingly rough ; the arms project but slightly 
from the bodv, and the legs are merely indicated by 

a groove in front and behind. 
each figure is wound a girdle. 

Round the body of 
The same museum 



possesses a statue found at Hierakonpolis even more 
slightly worked. All three represent standing figures, 
and are more than life-size. 

In marked contrast to these figures are the finely 
carved limestone maceheads and the great palettes of 
schist or slate. On some 
of these the human figure 
is shown in correct perspec- 
tive, but on the palette of 
King Narmer (figs. 197, 
198) we find the strange 
conventional method of 
representing the human 
figure that obtained 
throughout the history of 
Egypt. Executed in very 
low relief, these carvings 
show the mastery of line 
and composition which the 
sculptors of their day were 
to hand down to posterity. 
Some small ivory figures 
carved in the round are 
known of this period, which 
are rendered with much 
spirit. The earliest named 
royal statue dates from the 

early part of the Third Dynasty. There is a seated 
figure of King Khasekhemui in the Cairo Museum 
carved in schist, and another in limestone is to be 
seen in Oxford. The figures are similar in attitude 
and costume. The pose is somewhat awkward, but the 

Fig. 199. — King Khasekhemu' 
Third Dynasty, at Oxford. 



conventional attitude of later Egyptian art is already 
adopted (fig. 199). The face shows calm power and 
alert expression. The excellence of the work, not- 
withstanding some roughness of execution, proves that 
the Pharaoh of that period could command the services 
of an experienced sculptor, trained in a school that 
was rapidly gaining power and certainty of treatment. 
It is to be hoped that future excavations will pro- 

Fig. 200. — Rahotep, Third Dynasty, fiom Medum. 

duce many more works of the primitive dynasties 
that yet sleep undiscovered beneath the sands of 
Egypt. Those of the Old Kingdom are daily ex- 
humed from the tombs and temples scattered over 
the great pyramid area. These have not yielded 
Egyptian art as a whole, but they have familiarised 
US with one of its schools, the school of Memphis. 
There were other schools, notably those of the Delta, 
Ilermopolis, Ekhmim, Abydos, Denderah, Thebes, 



Assuan, whose work does not begin to appear earlier 
than about the Sixth Dynasty. Memphis was the 
capital, and the presence of the Pharaoh must have 
attracted all the talent of the vassal principalities. 
Judging from the result of excavation in the Mem- 
phite necropolis alone, it is possible to determine the 
characteristics of both sculpture and painting in the 

Fig. 201. — Nefert, wife of Rahotep, Third Dynasty, from Medum. 

time of Seneferii and his successors with as much 
exactness as if we were already in possession of all 
the monuments which the valley of the Nile still holds 
in reserve for future explorers. 

Of the close of the Third Dynasty we have 
two remarkable works from Mediim. Rahotep 
(fig. 200), notwithstanding his high title of General, 
is of humble birth, Well-made and powerfully built 



as he is, there is a rustic element of surprise and 
subserviency in his expression. His wife Nefert 
(fig. 201), on the contrary, is a princess of the blood 
royal, and her whole figure denotes dignity and 
resolution, which are very skilfully rendered by the 
sculptor. She is wearing a close-fitting garment 

opening in a point in front. 
Beneath the material the 
shoulders, the bosom, the body, 
and the thighs are modelled 
with a grace and purity of out- 
line which it is impossible to 
praise too highly. The round, 
plump face is surrounded by 
a ponderous wig, confined by 
a richly ornamental bandeau. 
Here, as in most statues of 
women of the Old Kingdom, 
the natural hair appears on the 
forehead below the wig. Both 
husband and wife are in lime- 
stone, and are painted, the 
husband a reddish brown, the 
wife a light buff. 

The six wooden panels of 
the tomb of Hesi in the Cairo Museum are perhaps 
the most important that we possess of their kind. 

Fig. 202. — Panel from tomb 
of Hesi, Third Dynasty. 

There is no err 

ouping. In each of them Hesi is 

either standing (fig. 202) or sitting, and above his 
head are four or five lines of hieroglyphs, but the 
purity of line, the rendering of the human frame, 
and the fineness of execution are admirable. Never 


has wood been carved by a more skilful hand nor 
with a more delicate chisel. 

But the art of the sculptor was not steadily 
progressive. The contemporary sculptors of any 
given period were not all possessed of equal skill, 
and though several might show themselves capable 
of good work, there would be others who were merely 
craftsmen, and we must beware of mistaking what is 
due to their incompetence or inexperience for archaic 
clumsiness. Thus there are certain pieces known to 
belong to the Fifth and Sixth Dynasties which 
possess all the characteristics which are quoted as 
belonging to works of far greater antiquity. 

One of the most ancient and remarkable pieces of 
statuary known is a colossus — the sphinx of Gizeh. 
Its date has been the subject of endless discussion. 
Recent discoveries point to its being Khafra himself, 
a portrait head of the Pharaoh with the body of 
a lion guarding his pyramid and temples from all 
evil by the magic power possessed by a sphinx, or, 
as others have thought, it may be far older, a relic of 
even more remote times. 

Carved out of the solid rock at the extreme edge 
of the desert, the sphinx seems to raise his kingly 
head, conscious of divine descent, in order to be the 
first to behold the rising of his father the sun (fig. 203). 
For centuries it was buried to the chin in the sand, 
but even this did not preserve it from ruin. The 
battered body now only bears a general resemblance 
to a lion, the feet and chest, repaired under the 
Ptolemies and Caesars, retain only a portion of the 
stone facing with which they were then covered to 

2 3 8 


conceal the ravages of time. The lower part of the 
head-dress has fallen away, andjthe narrow portion of 

Fig. 203. — The Great Sphinx of Gizeh. 

neck still remaining does not seem strong enough to 
support the weight of the head. The nose and beard 


have been broken by fanatics, and the red colour 
that gave life • to the features is almost entirely 
effaced. And yet the whole figure in its decay 
preserves a commanding expression of power and 
grandeur. The eyes gaze into the distance with an 
intensity of profound thought, the mouth still smiles, 
the mutilated face breathes power and repose. The 
art that conceived and carved this prodigious statue 
out of the solid rock is a complete art, master of 
itself, certain of its results. 

The artists of Memphis excelled in the use of the 
brush and chisel, and the scenes traced by them in 
thousands on the walls of the tombs bear witness to 
unusual artistic ability. The relief is low, the colour- 
ing sober, and the composition is good. Buildings, 
trees, vegetation, and the incidents of country life are 
summarily indicated, and introduced only when they 
are absolutely indispensable for complete under- 
standing of the scene represented. Men and animals, 
on the contrary, are treated with abundance of detail 
and with a fidelity and facility of rendering such as 
we rarely find rivalled in the schools of later date. 

In the statues we do not find the same variety of 
attitude that we observe in the pictured scenes. 
A professional mourner, a woman grinding corn, the 
baker kneading bread, are as rare in the round as 
they are numerous in bas-relief. In the greater 
number of statues the figure is either walking with 
one leg advanced or seated on a chair or a block of 
stone ; sometimes kneeling, more often seated cross- 
legged, the body upright, and the legs flat on the 
ground in the squatting attitude of the modern 


fellahin. This monotony is explained by the purpose 
for which these statues were made. They represented 
the actual body of the individual for whom the tomb 
or temple was built, and the bodies of his relations 
and retainers, his slaves, and the members of his 
household. The master is always either sitting or 
standing, and it would be impossible to give him any 
other position. The tomb was, in fact, the eternal 
house where he continued the life he formerly lived 
in this world, and the scenes depicted on the walls 
show the details of his life after death. In one place 
he is presiding over the preliminaries of the offerings 
by which he is to be fed, sowing and harvesting, the 
care of cattle, fishing, hunting, and working at various 
trades, and he superintends all zvorks that are done f or 
the dwelling-place of eternity \ for this he stands with 
raised head, his arms either hanging down or holding 
a staff and baton. Elsewhere he is provided with a 
succession of dishes containing offerings, and for this 
he is seated at ease in a chair of state. These two 
positions of the bas-reliefs he also retains in the 
statues. Standing, he is supposed to receive the 
homage of his vassals ; seated, he shares the family 
meals. The household also adopt the attitude adapted 
to their rank and occupation. The wife stands by his 
side, or she is seated on the same seat with him, or on 
a separate one, or she is crouched at his feet as she 
did during life. The son is dressed like a child if the 
statue was made during his infancy, or if he was 
represented when a man he has the bearing and 
equipments proper to his position. The slaves are 
grinding the corn, the cellarers are sealing up the 


wine-jars, the mourners are weeping and tearing their 
hair. His social world followed the Egyptian to the 
tomb and there stood in the same relation to him 
that it had done before his death. The Pharaoh 
must still remain the monarch, seated on his throne, 
protected by the sacred serpent the urasus, or over- 
shadowed by the guardian hawk. Whether, like 
Menkaiira, he is standing in company with the gods, 
or with his wife in the affectionate attitude adopted 
by sovereign and subjects alike, he is unmistakably 
Pharaoh, conscious of supreme power, of divine 
descent, and of actual divinity. 

The influence exerted on the sculptor by this 
conception of the other world did not end here. As 
soon as the ka statue was regarded as the posthu- 
mous support of the double, it became absolutely 
necessary that the new body of stone should be a 
copy — even if only a summary one — of the body 
of flesh in order that the double might adapt itself 
with ease to its new support. The head is there- 
fore a faithful portrait, while the body, on the con- 
trary, is that of a person in the highest state of 
development in order that he may fully enjoy his 
physical powers in the company of the gods. The 
men are always in the prime of life, and their 
women have the slender proportions of girlhood. 
This ideal was only abandoned when the anomaly 
was too obvious. The statue of a dwarf possessed 
all the innate deformities of a dwarf, for if an 
ordinary body were placed in the tomb, the double 
accustomed to the deformities of its members wculd 
be unable to accommodate itself to the new con- 


ditions, and would be deprived of the support neces- 
sary for further existence. The sculptor was only at 
liberty to vary the details and general accessories ; he 
could make no change in the usual attitude and 
resemblance without diminishing the utility of his 

This continued repetition of pose and subject pro- 
duces a feeling of monotony in the mind of the 
spectator, an impression which is increased by the 
peculiar appearance of the columns or shafts which 
are placed behind the statues. These are sometimes 
rectangular and end at the base of the skull, or they 
narrow near the top and are lost in the hair, or the 
top is rounded and appears above the head. The 
arms are often separated from the body, they are in 
one piece with the sides and hips. When the leg is 
advanced for walking it is often united up the entire 
length to the pediment at the back by a narrow band 
of stone. It may be thought that this is accounted 
for by the lack of adequate tools, and that the sculptor 
hesitated to remove the superfluous stone for fear of 
injuring the statue. This explanation may hold good 
for the earliest work, but not after the Fourth Dynasty, 
for we can point to many examples even in granite 
where all the limbs are free, whether they are 
worked with the chisel or with the drill. Although 
the use of tenons persisted to the last, it was not 
owing to the difficulty of removing them, but from an 
exaggerated respect for the teaching of former ages. 

Until recently very few museums possessed statues 
of the Memphitc school. Egypt and Paris, besides 
many of inferior work, possessed about twenty fine 



examples : the crossed-leggcd scribe, Sekhemka, and 
Pahurnefer in Paris ; the Sheikh el Beled, Khafra, 
Ranefer, the kneeling scribe, and a cross-legged scribe 
at Cairo. Recent excavations in the Pyramid area 
have yielded many more fine works of this period. 
Among the most perfect we have the statues of 
Menkaura and the wonderful 
series of slate triads from his 
valley temple ; the alabaster 
statuette that probably repre- 
sents Khufu (Kheops) and the 
statue of Ne-user-ra in rose 
granite. A very fine series of 
limestone statuettes painted 
and quite uninjured have been 
recovered by Dr. Reisner from 
serdabs of Fourth and Fifth 
Dynasty mastabas at Gizeh. 
These statuettes show the same 
vigorous characteristics as the 
larger statues, and many of 
them are exceedingly fine. _~ 
Some of them are now at 

Boston. Fig. 204.— King Khafra, 

Khafra is a king (fig. 204). 

Fourth Dynasty. 

He sits squarely and proudly on the throne of the 
Pharaohs, his hands on his knees, his head raised, 
and his gaze assured. If the inscription that bears 
his name were destroyed and all insignia of his 
rank obliterated, we should still recognise him as 
a king by his bearing. Every trait shows the man 
accustomed from infancy to feel himself invested 


with supreme authority. His statue carved in diorite 
was found with others less perfect in his valley 
temple. Of Khufu we possess as a certainty only 
a small ivory carving, now at Cairo, but minute 
as it is, it is a fine piece of portraiture that 
will bear examination through a magnifying-glass. 
The valley temple of Menkaura has yielded royal 
statues that are exceedingly fine. The slate triads 
are worked with extraordinary finish of texture. In 
the triad now at Boston the king is standing by the 
side of the goddess Hathor, and wears the crown of 
Upper Egypt and the false beard. In the centre is 
a seated figure of the goddess, her left arm round the 
king, and her right hand on his arm. On her other 
side is the goddess of the nome. A very fine group 
is of Menkaura and his queen carved in a fine dark 
slate. The portraits are life-like, and a comparison 
of the numerous statues shows that they belong to 
two periods ; some represent Menkaura early in his 
reign, and others as an older man. A beautiful head 
carved in alabaster of Shepseskaf, his son and suc- 
cessor, was found among a mass of fragments. The 
face is that of a youth wearing the royal urasus. The 
shrewd somewhat projecting under-lip closely repre- 
sents that of his father. The mouth is firmly set and 
the cheery powerful face is strongly individual. 

The bronze statue of Pepi I. of the Sixth Dynasty 
found by Quibell at Kom el Ahmar represents the 
Pharaoh standing, the right arm down, the left raised 
to hold the sceptre or staff. The bust, legs, and arms 
were hammered out and fitted together most accu- 
rately ; the face, hands, and feet were cast. Round 


the loins was a dress of gold, and a wig of blue stone 
was on the head, but both have disappeared. The 
eyes were black and white enamel inserted in bronze 

Ranefer belonged to one of the great noble families 
of his time. He stands upright in the attitude of a 
prince inspecting a march-past of his vassals, but 
he does not impress us with the intense power and 
calm decision of Khafra. 

The original of the cross -legged scribe at the Louvre 
was not a handsome man (fig. 205), but the fidelity and 
vigour of his portrait compensate in great measure 
for what it lacks in ideal beauty. With his legs crossed 
beneath him in one of the attitudes familiar to 
Orientals, but almost impossible for a European to 
maintain, the upright bust well balanced from the 
hips, his head raised, his hand holding the reed-pen, 
and placed ready on the outstretched papyrus, he 
still waits, as he has done for six hundred years, for 
the moment when his master will consent to resume 
his interrupted dictation. The face is almost square, 
the strongly marked features indicate a man of mature 
age, the broad thin-lipped mouth is slightly raised 
at the corners, which are almost lost in the projec- 
tion of the surrounding muscle, the cheeks are hard 
and bony, the thick heavy ears stand out from the 
head, and the hair is coarse and closely cropped over 
the low forehead. The large well-opened eyes owe 
their peculiar vivacity to an ingenious contrivance of 
the ancient artist. The stone orbit that forms the 
setting has been hollowed out and filled with black 
and white enamel ; a bronze setting defines the edge 



of the eyelids, while a small spangle of ebony inserted 
behind the iris arrests and reflects the light and gives 
an appearance of actual sight. The flesh is slightly 
flaccid, as it should be with a man of middle age, whose 

Fig. 205. — Cro3s-legged scribe at theiLouvre, Old Kingdom, 

occupations do not admit of active exercise. The 
back and arms stand out well, the hands are hard and 
bony, the fingers are unusually long, the details of the 
knees are carefully modelled. The whole body is 



governed by the dominating sense of waiting, which 
also prevails in the expression of the face. The 
muscles of the arm, the bust, and shoulder are all in 
semi-repose, ready to resume their interrupted task. 
The cross-legged scribe of Cairo (fig. 206) was dis- 

Fig. 206.- -Cross-legged scribe, from Saqqara. 

covered by M. de Morgan at Saqqara in 1893. This 
statue exhibits much the same vigour of expression 
and execution as its fellow of the Louvre, while 
representing a young man of full, firm, and supple 

The Sheikh el Beled (fig. 207), Raemka, was over- 
seer of the works, probably one of the chiefs of 

> 4 8 


the corvee who built the Great Pyramids. By birth 
one of the middle class, he is very conscious of the 
importance conferred on him by his office, and his 
whole bearing denotes contentment and official self- 
assurance. We seem to see him with his knotted 
staff of acacia-wood in his hand 
superintending his gangs of work- 
men. The body is stout and heavy, 
the neck is thick, the head, despite 
its vulgarity (fig. 208), is not wanting 
in energy, the eyes are inlaid. The 
original feet have perished and new 
ones have been provided. When 
the figure was first discovered at 
Saqqara, it closely resembled the 
SJieikli el Be/ed, the headman of 
the place. The fellahin immediately 
named it the Sheikh el Beled, and 
the name has clung to it. It is 
carved in wood, and so is another 
figure of the same period from an 
adjacent tomb (fig. 209). It is now 
Fig. 207. — Sheikh a mere trunk without arms or legs, 
el Beled, Old t cnouC rh remains to show that 

Kingdom. J & 

it represented a good type of the 
middle-aged Egyptian matron. 

The kneeling scribe of Cairo (fig. 210) must have 
belonged to one of the lower ranks of a bureaucracy 
similar to that which exists at the present day on 
the borders of the Nile. If he had not died more 
than six thousand years ago I could swear that I 
met him six months ago in one of the villages of 



Upper Egypt. He has just brought a roll of papyrus 
or a tablet covered with writing to be examined by 
his chief. Kneeling as custom ordained, his hands 
crossed, his shoulders stooping, his head slightly 
tilted, he waits in suspense until the reading is over. 
What were his thoughts as he waited ? The scribes 
were not without apprehension when they had to 
submit their work to their superiors. The staff 



Fig. 208.— Head of the Sheikh el Beled. 

played a large part in administrative relationships, 
and an error in addition or an order misunderstood 
was followed in due course by blows. The sculptor 
has rendered with inimitable skill the expression of 
resigned uncertainty and sheepish gentleness that 
resulted from a life passed entirely in servitude. 
The mouth smiles, because etiquette enjoined that 
it should, but there is nothing joyous in the smile, 
while the cheeks and nose are puckered up in 



fix his gaze or con- 

agreement with the expression of the mouth. The 
enamelled eyes have the fixed stare of a man who 

is waiting without any 
definite object on which 

centrate his 
The face is lacking in 
intelligence and vivacity; 
but then his occupation 
did not demand great 
powers of mind. 

The statues of the 
scribes are in painted 
limestone, but whatever 
the material, dioritc, 
alabaster, slate, wood, or 
limestone, the chiselling 
is everywhere free,subtle, 
and delicate. The head 
of the scribe and the 
bas-relief portrait of the 
Pharaoh Menkauhor in 
the Louvre, the dwarf 
Xemhotep, and the 
slaves preparing food 
offerings, at the Cairo 
Museum, are in no way 
inferior to the cross- 
legged scribe or the 
Sheikh el Be led. The 
baker kneading his dough (fig. 211) belongs entirely 
to his work. The flexion of the thighs and the 

Fig. 2C9. — Wooden statue of a 
woman, Old Kingdom. 



effort with which he presses on the kneading- 
trough are perfectly natural. The dwarf has a long, 

big head and huge 

ears (fig. 212). The 

face is foolish, the 

eyes are narrow slits 

sloping upwards to 

the temples, and the 

mouth is misshaped. 

The chest is powerful 

and well developed, 

but the trunk not in 

proportion with the 

rest of the body, 

and the sculptor has 

been well advised in 

concealing the lower 

part under an ample 

white skirt, for one 
feels it is too long 
for the arms and 
legs. The abdomen 
is abnormally pro- 
minent, while the 
hips are set so far 
back that they act 
as a counterpoise. 
The thighs are little 
more than rudi- 
mentary, and the entire figure, resting on small, 
misshapen feet, seems as though it must overbalance 
and fall forward. It would be difficult anywhere 

Fig. 210. — The kneeling scribe, 
Old Kingdom. 



to find a work of art where such deformities are 
represented in so lifelike a manner, free from ex- 

Theban art is closely related to that of Memphis. 
Its methods, materials, composition, and designs are 
those of the Memphite school, but there are also 
points of divergence. By the beginning of the 

Fig. 211. — A bread-maker, Old Empire. 

Eleventh Dynasty the legs became longer and 
slighter, the hips less powerful, the body and neck 
more slender. Works of this period of the Middle 
Kingdom are not to be compared with the best 
productions of the earlier centuries. The wall- 
paintings of Siut, of Bersheh, of Beni Hasan, and 
of Assuan arc not equal to those of Saqqara and 
Gizeh ; nor are the most carefully executed statues 


of that time worthy to rank with the Sheikh el Beled 
or the cross-legged scribe. Nevertheless, the seated 
statue of Mentuhotep I. discovered at Deir el Bahari 

Fig. 21 2. — The dwarf Nemhotep, Old Kingdom. 

in 1900 is a very vigorous and effective piece of work. 
Many of the royal statues of this period that we 
possess have been usurped by later sovereigns. 
Senusert III., whose head and feet are in the Louvre, 
was appropriated by Amenhotep III., and the sphinx 


at the Louvre and the colossi at Cairo by Rameses II. 
More than one museum possesses statues supposed 
to be of Rameses II. which on careful examination 
we are compelled to ascribe to the Pharaohs of the 
Thirteenth or Fourteenth Dynast}*. Those statues 
of which there is no doubt, Sebekhotep III. of the 
Louvre, the Sebekemsaf of Cairo, and the colossi 
of the island of Argo, show dexterity of manipula- 
tion, but are wanting in vigour and originality, as 
though the sculptors had attempted to reduce them 
all to the same feeble and expressionless type. 

The contrast is great when we turn from these 
poor puppets of the early Theban school to work 
of the Tanite school of the same period, the black 
granite sphinxes discovered by Mariette at Tanis 
in 1 86 1. The body of the lion is powerful and 
compact, and is shorter than in sphinxes of the 
usual type. Instead of a head-dress of folded linen 
the head is covered with an ample mane that frames 
the face and encloses the lion's ears. Small eyes, 
an aquiline nose rounded at the base, high check- 
bones, the lower lip slightly protruding, a countenance 
so little in accord with what we are accustomed to 
find in Egypt that they were at one time supposed 
to be of Asiatic origin (fig. 213). M. Golenischeff, 
however, has shown that they were executed for 
Amenemhat III. of the Twelfth Dynast)', and with 
his features. Whatever the origin of the Tanite 
school that produced these specimens, it continued 
to exist long after the expulsion of the Hyksos 
invaders, since one of its works, the group of the 
two Niles of the North and of the South, bearing 



trays laden with flowers and fish, was consecrated 
by Pisebkhanu of the Twenty-first Dynasty. 

The first three dynasties of the New Kingdom have 
bequeathed us more monuments than all the others 
put together ; bas-reliefs, paintings, statues of kings 
and of private persons, colossi, and sphinxes can 
be counted by hundreds between the Fourth Cataract 

Fig. 213. — One of.the Tanis sphinxes. 

and the mouths of the Nile. The old sacerdotal 
cities, Memphis, Thebes, Abydos, are naturally the 
richest, and the ancient schools of Memphis and 
Tanis still preserved their traditions, but so great 
was the impetus given to art that even remote pro- 
vincial towns could boast of producing chefs- d'ceuvre. 
But it is to the Theban school, the royal city and 
workshops of Thebes, and the funerary workshops 


of the western valley that most of the work of this 
period is due. The royal workshops at Karnak pro- 
duced the official portraits of the Pharaohs. Amcn- 
hotep I. is at Turin, Thothmes I. and Thothmes III. 
are at the British Museum and at Turin, as well 
as at Cairo. The favissa at Karnak discovered by 
M. Legrain in 1903 contributed about eight hundred 
statues of the Theban school, of Pharaohs, and of 
eminent personages. The bas-reliefs in temples and 
tombs show a marked advance upon those of the earlier 
ages. The modelling is finer, the figures are more 
numerous and better grouped, the relief is higher, 
and the perspective is studied with more care and 
insight. The sculptured scenes of the terraces of 
Deir el Bahari and in the rock-tombs of Hiii, of 
Rekhmara, of Anna, of Khamha, and of many 
others at Thebes are surprisingly rich, brilliant, 
and varied. Feeling for the picturesque is aroused, 
and architectural details, the rise and fall of the 
ground, exotic plants, all factors hitherto neglected 
or only summarily indicated, are now introduced 
into the composition. 

The cow found at Deir el Bahari by M. Naville is 
a fine piece of work ; it reproduces all the character- 
istics of the kindly animal with marvellous fidelity, 
and also succeeds in imparting to the sacred symbol 
of the goddess Hathor a feeling of remoteness and 
mystery which is the result of real genius. Hathor 
is standing among the marsh plants, on her head 
is the solar disc, and under her protection are figures 
of Amenhotcp II. in two positions, suckled by the 
sacred mother, and also leaning against her chest. 


The taste for the colossal, somewhat modified since 
the construction of the great sphinx, now revived. 
Amenhotep III. was not satisfied with statues 20 or 
30 feet in height, such as had contented his ancestors. 
Those erected by him in front of his funerary chapel 
on the west bank of the Nile at Thebes, one of which is 
the Memnon of the Greeks, are 50 feet high. They are 
monoliths carved in sandstone, and are as carefully 
worked as though they were of ordinary size. The 
avenues of sphinxes that stretch in front of the temples 
at Luxor and Karnak do not end some few feet from 
the entrance, they extend a long distance ; in one avenue 
they are human-headed lions, in another they are 
kneeling rams. Akhenaten,the revolutionary successor 
of Amenhotep 1 1 1., far from discouraging the progress 
of art. did his utmost to promote it. Never, perhaps, 
were Egyptian artists more unrestricted than by him 
at his new capital of Tell el Amarna. While throwing 
off the trammels of the ancient religion, art was able 
to expand, enriched by the foreign influences that for 
more than a generation had penetrated the court and 
country. It is probable that Akhenaten introduced 
artists from the neighbourhood. The school of Cusae 
was mature as early as the Twelfth Dynasty. In the 
tomb chapels of Meir, 15 miles south of Tell el 
Amarna, are to be seen not only the naturalistic 
treatment of animal forms, but also of the human 
figure, and many of the peculiarities which we find 
reproduced under the Eighteenth Dynasty by the 
artists of Akhenaten and his court.* 

* A. M. Blackman, Aichccological Survey, Egypt Exploration Fund, 
191 1-I2, p. 9 et seq. 



Among the subjects treated on the bas-reliefs of 
Tell el Amarna are military reviews, chariot driving, 
festivals of the fellahin, state receptions, the distribu- 
tion of honours and rewards by the king, representa- 
tions of palaces, villas, and gardens, and other subjects 
which differed from the traditional mode of treatment 
in so many points that the artists could follow their 
own ideas and natural genius without restraint. They 
did so with admirable results. The perspective of 
some of their bas-reliefs is almost entirely correct, 
and all of them express the movements of large 
numbers of people with astonishing success. 

Admirable statues of the king and of members of 
his family have been found, many of them shattered, 
and others left unfinished in the sculptors' workshops. 
A very charming statuette of Akhenaten in painted 
limestone (fig. 214) was discovered at Tell el Amarna 
in 1 91 2 by Borchhardt, and is now at Cairo. The 
monotheistic king is holding a table of offerings. 
The delicate features are those we are well acquainted 
with in other portraits of him both in the round and 
in bas-relief; the sensitive expression of the face is 
admirably rendered. The conventions are the same 
as in other royal statues ; the pediment is there, and 
the full-face pose is unaltered. 

The political and religious reaction that followed 
this reign arrested this development of art, and the 
Theban school was once more triumphant. The 
school of Tell el Amarna continued, however, at 
least as late as the Twenty-second Dynasty, and 
although it returned to the ancient religious con- 
ventions, the style of the school persisted to the 

Fig. 214.— Statuette in painted limestone of Akhenaten. 
Deutsch-Orient. Gesellschaft. 



end.* Its influence, moreover, made itself felt under 
Horemheb, under Seti I., and even under Rameses II. 
If during more than a century Theban art remained 
free, graceful, and refined, that improvement was due 
to the school of Tell el Amarna. It would be 
difficult to find anything finer than the bas-reliefs 
of the temple of Abydos, or those of the tomb of 

Seti I. The head of 
the Pharaoh (fig. 2 1 5), 
which must neces- 
sarily be always very 
favourably presented, 
is a model of re- 
served and dignified 
beauty. Rameses II., 
represented as a war- 
rior in the speos of 
Abu Simbel, is almost 
as admirable as Seti I., 
though very differ- 
ently rendered. The 
action of the arm with 
which he brandishes 
his lance is somewhat 

Fig. 215. — Head of Seti I., bas-relief. 

angular, but the expression of courage and triumphant 
vigour that pervades the whole body, and the de- 
spairing and yet resigned attitude of the vanquished 
foe, completely atone for that defect. The group of 
Horemheb and the god Amon in the Turin Museum 
(fig. 216) is slightly heavy and ill-balanced. The 
fine colossi in red granite which Horemheb placed 
* I.. Borchhardt, Mitt. Orient. Gesellschaft, No. 50, Oct. 1912. 



against the uprights of the inner door of his first 
pylon at Karnak, the statue of Khonsu which he 
placed in the sanctuary of the god, and the bas- 
reliefs on the wall 
of his speos at Gebel 
Silsileh, his own 
portrait and that of 
one of the ladies of 
his family now at 
Cairo, may be said 
to be faultless. The 
queen's face (fig. 2 1 7) 
is animated and in- 
telligent ; the eyes 
are large and some- 
what prominent, and 
the mouth, though 
rather large, is well 
shaped. The head 
is carved in hard 
limestone, the 
creamy tint of which 
softens the satirical 
expression of her 
glance and smile. 
Horemheb is in 
black granite (fig. 
218), and the sombre colour is unpleasing and depress- 
ing to the spectator. The face, which is a young one, 
is pervaded by a morbid air, which we find in other 
royal statues of the period. The nose is straight and 
delicate, the eyes are long, the lips are large and full, 

Fig. 216. — The god Amon and 



slightly contracted at the corners, and strongly de- 
fined at the edges, the chin is barely covered by the 
false beard. Every detail is treated with as much 
skill as if the artist had to deal with a soft stone 
instead of with one that offers such resistance to the 
chisel. It is annoying that Egyptian artists never 
signed their work. The man to whom we owe the 
statue of Horemheb deserves to be remembered. 

Like the Eighteenth 
Dynasty, the Nineteenth 
Dynasty erected colossi. 
Those of Rameses II. at 
Luxor measured from 25 
to 35 feet in height, the 
colossal Rameses of the 
Ramesseum was 57 feet 
high, and that at Tanis 
about 65 feet. The colossi 
of Abu Simbel, although 
not of such gigantic size, 
present a formidable ap- 
pearance on the river 

At the present day it is almost a commonplace to 
say that the decadence of Egyptian art commenced 
under Rameses II., but nothing can be more untrue. 
It must be conceded that many of the statues and 
bas-reliefs executed during his reign are almost incon- 
ceivably rude and ugly, but they are chiefly to be 
found in provincial towns, where schools did not 
flourish and the artists had no ancient models to 
guide them. At Thebes, Memphis, Abydos, Tanis, 

Fig. 217. — Head of a queen, 
Eighteenth Dynasty. 



in localities in the Delta where the court habitually 
resided, and even at Abu Simbel and Bet el Wally 
the sculptors of 
Rameses II. were in 
no way inferior to 
those of Seti I. and 
Horemheb. Decad- 
ence began after the 
reign of Merenptah. 
When civil war and 
foreign invasion had 
brought Egypt to the 
verge of ruin, art also 
suffered and rapidly 
declined. It is 
melancholy to watch 
the downward pro- 
gress under the later 
Ramessides, in the 
well scenes of the 
royal tombs, in the 
reliefs in the temple 
of Khonsu, or on the 
columns of the hypo- 
style hall of Karnak. 
Carving in wood 
maintained its level 
for some time longer. 

The Charming figur- Fig. 2 i8.-Hea'd of Horemheb. 

ines of priests and 

of children in the Turin Museum date from the 

Twentieth Dynasty. The advent of Sheshonk and 



internal dissensions at length completed the ruin of 
Thebes, and of the school which had produced so 
many masterpieces. That the school of Tanis still 
persisted as late as the Twenty-first Dynasty is 
proved by the fine group of the two Niles now at 
Cairo, and the school of Tell el Amarna survived 
aarsj still longer. Towards the end of the 

Ethiopian Dynasty, Theban art revived 
after an interval of three hundred 
years. The statue of Queen Ameniritis 
(fig. 219) manifests some noteworthy 
qualities. The limbs are slender and 
rounded, the lines arc delicate and 
pure, but the head, over-weighted with 
the head-dress usually worn by god- 
desses, is dull and lifeless. Psamme- 
tichus I., when victoriously seated on 
the throne, devoted himself to the 
restoration of the temples. Under his 
auspices the valley of the Nile became 
one vast studio of painting and 
#im sculpture, which owed its inspiration 
Fig. 219.— Queen to the artists of the Delta. The 

Ameniritis. . . 

carving of hieroglyphs attained re- 
markable precision, and fine statues and bas-reliefs 
were produced in large numbers. The Sai'te school 
is characterised by a somewhat stiff elegance, by 
attention to detail, and by an incomparable facility in 
the working of stone. The Memphites preferred 
limestone, the Thebans chose red or grey granite, but 
the Sa'itcs by preference worked in basalt, breccia, or 
serpentine, and with these fine grained and almost 


>6 5 

homogeneous materials they obtained surprising 
results. They courted difficulty for the pleasure of 
overcoming it, and one finds distinguished artists 
spending year after year in chiselling the cover of a 
sarcophagus or carving statues out of the most stub- 
born materials. The statue of Taurt (fig. 220), and 
the four pieces of the tomb of the scribe Psammetichus 
of the Thirtieth Dynasty in 
the Cairo Museum are the 
most remarkable pieces 
hitherto discovered of this 
class of work. Taurt, the 
Greek Thueris, was the 
goddess who protected preg- 
nant women and presided 
over childbirth. This figure 
of the goddess was dis- 
covered at Thebes by fellah in 
digging for sebakh,\\\e nitrous 
manure that is found round 
the ruins of ancient build- 
ings. She was standing in 
a chapel of white limestone ■.J|f' 
dedicated to her by the 
priest Pabesa in the name Fig. 220.— The goddess Taurt, 

c r\ vr-i. • ti • Sa'i'te work. 

01 Oueen JNitocris. 1 Ins 

charming hippopotamus carved in green serpentine, 
with her disproportionate snout, her ample smile, 
rounded belly, pendant breasts, and shortened paws, is 
a fine example of difficulties overcome, the only merit 
I have any wish to ascribe to her. The Psammetichus 
group on the contrary has real artistic merit as well 



as excellence of technique. It consists of four pieces 
of green basalt, a table of offerings, a statue of Osiris, 
a statue of Isis, and a Hathor cow against which 
Psammetichus is leaning (fig. 221). All four are some- 
what artificial, but the faces of the divinities and of 
the deceased man are not wanting in sweetness. The 
cow is admirable. She is stretching her head over 

the man to protect 
him in the same 
manner as the cow 
of Deir el Bahari, 
and the little figure 
she is supporting 
groups well with her. 
Other less known 
pieces compare well 
with these. The Sai'te 
style is easily recog- 
nised. It does not 
show the broad 
scholarly treatment 
of the first Mem phi te 
school, nor the grand 
and sometimes rude manner of the second Thcban 
school, the proportions of the body are more slender, 
and the limbs lose in vigour what they gain in 
elegance. A remarkable change in the attitude is 
also observable. Orientals assume attitudes which 
to us would be most fatiguing. They spend long 
hours kneeling or seated cross-legged in tailor fashion, 
or they squat like frogs with bent knees, only 
supported by the toes and ball of the foot on the 

Fig. 221. — Hathor-cow in green basalt, 
.Sai'te work. 



ground, or again they sit on the ground with their 
legs drawn up and arms crossed on their knees. 
The bas-reliefs show that these four attitudes were in 
use as early as the Old Kingdom, but the two last 
were not adopted for the early statuary. The early 
artists probably considered 
them ungraceful, and 
scarcely ever used them. 
The cross-legged scribe of 
the Louvre, and the kneel- 
ing scribe of Cairo, show 
how they availed them- 
selves of the two first. 
The third attitude was 
neglected by the Theban 
sculptors, no doubt for the 
same reason. About the 
time of the Eighteenth 
Dynasty we find the fourth 
attitude coming 
into general use. 
It is possible that 
earlier it was 
not fashionable 
among the weal- 
thier classes, who 
alone were able to order statuary, and also it is prob- 
able that customers would not choose to appear in the 
form of a square package surmounted by a human 
head. The sculptors of the Sai'te period had not the 
same objection as their predecessors to this position, 
and they contrived to arrange the limbs with some 

Fig. 222. 

-Squatting statue of Pedishashi, 

Sai'te work. 



grace, while they rendered the heads in a fashion that 
redeemed any defect of posture. That of Pedishashi 
(fig. 222) has an expression of youthfulness and in- 
telligent kindliness such as we rarely meet with from 
an Egyptian chisel. Others again are brutal in their 
sincerity. The wrinkles on the forehead, the crows- 
feet at the corners of the eyes, the folds of the mouth, 
and the prominences on the head are marked with 

scrupulous fidelity on a 
small head of a scribe at 
the Louvre (fig. 223), and 
in another belonging to 
Prince Ibrahim at Cairo. 
The Sai'te school divided 
into two parties. One 
attempted to model itself 
on the remote past, and 
endeavoured to revive the 
enfeebled art of their own 
times by adopting the 
methods of the ancient 
Memphite school. They 
succeeded so well that their work has been mistaken 
for some of the finest productions of the Fourth and 
Fifth Dynasties. The other fashion, without departing 
too obviously from tradition, elected to study from 
life, and approached more closely to nature than had 
ever been done previously. They might probably 
have carried the day, had not prolonged contact with 
the Greeks and the Macedonian conquest turned the 
art of Kgypt into new channels. 

The new departure progressed slowly. The 

Fig. 223. — Head of a scribe, 
Sai'te work. 






successors of Alexander were portrayed by the 
sculptors in the guise of Egyp- 
tians, and they were transformed 
into Pharaohs, as had happened 
in turns to the Hyksos and the 
Persians. The sculptures that 
can be assigned to the time of 
the early Ptolemies can scarcely 
be distinguished from those of 
the good Sa'i'te period, and it is 
only rarely that one can detect 
imitation of Hellenic models : 
thus the colossus of Alexander II. 
at Cairo (fig. 224) has some 
flowing material as a head-dress, 
below which is a row of curls. 
Soon, however, the sight of 
Greek masterpieces determined 
the Egyptians of Alexandria, 
Memphis, and the great cities 
of the Delta to modify their 
methods of procedure. A mixed 
school was established that com- 
bined certain elements of the 
indigenous art with others bor- 
rowed from the foreign art. The 
Alexandrian Isis of the Cairo 
Museum still wears the attire of 
the Pharaonic Isis, but she has 
lost the slender form and stilted, 
unnatural bearing. There is a 
mutilated figure of a prince of Siut that might perhaps 




Fig. 224. — Colossus of 
Alexander II. 



pass' for a poor Roman statue. The statue of a 
personage named Horus discovered in 1 88 1 not far 

from the site of the tomb 
of Alexander is the most 
powerful example that we 
possess of this hybrid 
school (fig. f 225). The 
head is a good piece of 
work, though perhaps 
somewhat dry in style. 
The thin straight nose, the 
eyes placed close together, 
the straight mouth pinched 
in at the corners, and the 
square chin all conduce 
to give an expression of 
harshness and obstinacy to 
the face. The hair is short, 
but not so cropped as to 
prevent its separating 
naturally into thick wavy 
locks. The body clothed 
in the chlamys is clumsy 
and not in accord with the 
head. One arm is hanging 
down, the other is bent 
and resting on the body, 

Fig. 225. — Statue of Horns. 

the feet are gone. All this 

statuary is the result of 
recent finds, and there is no doubt that systematic 
excavations at Alexandria would produce much 
more. The school that produced them gradually 

<;r/eco-egyptiaN art. 271- 

approached more and more nearly to the style of 
the Greek schools, and the stiffness, from which 
it never entirely freed itself, would scarcely be 
regarded as a defect at a time when certain 
sculptors employed in Rome prided themselves on 
their archaisms. I should not be surprised if the 
statues of priests and priestesses with which Hadrian 
decorated the Egyptian part of his villa on the Tiber 
might be attributed to this Alexandrian hybrid 

The native schools outside the Delta, left to their 
own resources, gradually perished. And yet they 
were not without models, or even Greek artists. In 
the Thebaid, in the Fayum, and at Assuan, I have 
bought or discovered statues and statuettes which are 
Hellenic in style and of correct and careful 
workmanship. One of them, bought at Koptos, 
appears to be a small replica of a Venus analogous to 
the Venus of Milo. But the provincial artists, from 
lack of knowledge and intelligence, failed to take 
advantage of the new ideas as the Alexandrians had 
done. When they endeavoured to give to their 
models the suppleness and plenitude of the Greek 
figures they only succeeded in losing the somewhat 
dry but masterly precision acquired by their predeces- 
sors. In place of the fine, delicate low relief, they 
adopted a relief deeply cut, but feebly rounded and 
modelled and wanting in vigour. The eyes smile 
foolishly, the slope of the nostril is exaggerated, the 
corners of the lips, the chin, and all parts of the 
face are contracted and seem to converge towards a 
central point placed in the ear. We have the work 



of two schools each independent of the other. The 
least known flourished in Ethiopia at the court of 
the semi-barbarous kings who reigned at Meroe. A 
group sent from Naga in 1882 shows us to what 
this art had attained in the first century of our era 

(fig. 226). A divinity and a 
queen standing side by side are 
roughly carved out of a block 
of grey granite. The work is 
coarse and heavy, but it is not 
without energy and truth. The 
school that produced it, isolated 
among an uncivilised people, 
soon fell into barbarism and 
probably came to an end shortly 
after the age of the Antonines. 
Egyptian art survived somewhat 
longer under the aegis of the 
Roman domination. The Ca j sars, 
no less astute than the Ptolemies, 
realised that they strengthened 
their dominion over the Nile 
^" r "^> valley by humouring the reli- 
Fig. 226.— Group from pious feelings of their Egyptian 

subjects. At enormous cost 
they caused the temples of the national gods to 
be rebuilt or restored according to the plans and 
ideas of the past. Thebes had been destroyed by 
a earthquake in the year 22 B.C. and it was now 
no more than a place of pilgrimage where devotees 
came at daybreak to listen to the voice of Mcmnon, 
but at Denderah and Ombos the decoration of the 


temples was completed by Tiberius and Claudius, 
Caligula worked at Koptos, and the Antonines at 
Philae and Esnah. The workmen employed had 
sufficient knowledge to execute thousands of bas- 
reliefs according to the ancient rules. The work 
done by them is feeble, ungraceful, and absurd, 
inspired merely by routine, but nevertheless it is 
founded on ancient tradition, enfeebled and de- 
generate, but still living and capable of being 
invigorated with new life. The changes that occurred 
in the middle of the third centurv, the incursions 
of the barbarians, and the progress and triumph of 
Christianity led to the abandonment of the work and 
the dispersion of the workmen. With them died all 
that yet survived of the national art. 




We have briefly surveyed the fine arts ; it now 
remains to turn our attention to the industrial arts. 

Fig. 227. — Slate palettes, predynastic and First Dynasty. 
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. 

Love of luxury and of beauty very early invaded all 
classes of society. Living or dead, the Egyptian liked 
to load himself with jewellery and costly amulets, and 
to surround himself with elaborate furniture and 

2 74 



artistic household utensils. 
He desired that every 
object used by him should 
contribute to satisfy this 
taste by beauty of form, if 
not by richness of material ; 
and pottery, stone, metal, 
and wood were all laid 
under contribution by him. 
whether they were the 
products of the country, 
or obtained from distant 

The Egyptian of the 
predynastic and earliest 
dynastic periods was laid 
in his grave surrounded by 
pottery jars filled with food, 
or with scented fat, while 
close to his hand was his 
slate palette (fig. 227) of 
many varied forms on 
which was rubbed the paint 
with which he coloured 
his eyes. Beads of agate, 
carnelian, brown and white 
quartz, steatite, calaite, and 
of glazed pottery, are found 
in abundance in the pre- 
historic graves, while 
beads of glazed stone, of 


amethyst, lapis lazuli, serpentine, haematite, obsidian, 
porphyry, silver, gold, and iron are found in some- 
what later graves. The Egyptian of that period 
excelled in flint working, which he brought to the 
highest perfection (fig. 228). Knives with recurved 
tips were finished with unequalled dexterity. They 
were first ground to an even surface, and then 
flaked in two rows of perfect regularity, and the 
cutting edge finely serrated. Hoe blades and teeth 

Fig. 229. — Flint teeth for sickles. 

for sickles (fig. 229) were also made of flint, and 
tanged arrow-heads and spear-heads of the finest 
workmanship were manufactured. Copper was early 
introduced into Egypt and largely superseded the use 
of flint knives, the working of which deteriorated early 
in the dynastic period. The funerary outfit of the 
predynastic Egyptian included jewellery, ivory carv- 
ings, stone vases, and also a variety of amulets, 
some of which we meet with again in the historic 
period, such as the bull's head, the fly, the frog, and 
the serpent. 



It is impossible to visit a collection of Egyptian 
antiquities without being struck by the prodigious 
number of small objects in fine stone that have 
survived to the present day. At present we have 
found no diamonds, rubies, or sapphires, but with 
these exceptions the domain of the lapidary was 
almost as extended as at the present day ; it 
comprised amethyst, emerald, garnet, aquamarine, 
rock-crystal, chrysoprase, the miny varieties of onyx 
and agate, jasper, lapis lazuli, felspar, obsidian, granite, 
serpentine, and porphyry ; fossiliferous substances 
such as amber and some kinds of turquoise ; animal 
secretions such as coral, pearls, and mother-of-pearl ; 
metallic oxides such as haematite, oriental turquoise, 
and malachite. Most of these substances were used 
for making beads of various shapes, round, square, 
oval, pear-shaped, lozenge-shaped, or of an elongated 
spindle form. Threaded and arranged in rows these 
beads were made into necklaces and they are found 
in myriads in the sand of the great cemeteries. The 
perfection with which they are cut and polished, and 
the precision with which they are drilled, do honour 
to those who made them. But the craftsmen accom- 
plished more than this. With the saw, drill, point, 
and grindstone they worked the stones into a variety 
of different shapes, hearts, fingers, human limbs, 
cartouches, serpents, animals, and figures of divinities. 
All of these were amulets or charms, and they were 
probably valued less for the beauty of the work than 
for the supernatural virtues attributed to them by the 


national religion. The girdle tie in red carnclian was 

the blood of Isis and washed away the sins of its 

possessor (fig. 230); the frog represented the 

§ goddess Hekt, guardian of mothers and new- 
born infants, and was emblematic of renewed 
birth (fig. 231); the little lotus-flower column 
in green felspar (fig. 232) typified the gift 
of eternal youth ; the uza/> the mystic eye 
The^gir- (fig. 233), when tied by a cord round the 
die tie oi th roa t or the an -n ) W as a protection against 

ghosts, snake bites, and against envious or 
angry words. These amulets were distributed through- 
out the ancient world, and many of them, especially 
those that represented the sacred beetle, 
were copied outside Egypt by the 
Phoenicians and Syrians, and in Greece, 
Asia Minor, Etruria, and Sardinia. 

This insect was called kheper and it Fig. 231.- 
is supposed that its name was derived amulet. 
from the root k/iepra, "to become." By an obvious 
play on the words the beetle was made the emblem 
of terrestrial existence, and the successive 
developments of a man during his career in 
the world beyond. The amulet in the form 
of a scarab (fig. 234) is therefore a symbol 
of present or future duration, and to carry 
it was to obtain security against annihila- 

Fl£r 2^2. ' o 

Lotus tion. These scarabs were made in all 
column ma terials and of various sizes ; some with 


the head of a sparrow-hawk, a ram, a man, 
or a bull. Some are as carefully carved on the under- 
side as on the back, others are plain below, and there 



eye or nzat. 

Fig. 233 

are others that have almost lost the form of the 
beetle, and are called scaraboids. They are pierced 
lengthways with a hole through which a thin slip of 
wood was passed or a gold or silver wire by which 
they were suspended. The largest were regarded as 
taking the place of the heart. They were laid on the 
breasts of mummies, with wings out- 
stretched ; a prayer engraved on the 
flat side adjured the heart not to bear 
witness against its owner in the day 
of judgment. Various scenes of 
adoration were occasionally added to 
the formula. On the wing cases two 
seated Amons, on the shoulder the moon saluted by 
two cynocephali, and on the fiat side the solar bark 
with a group below of the mummied Osiris between 
Isis and Nephthys, who are protecting him with out- 
stretched wings. The small scarabs at first used as 
prophylactics finally became nothing more than orna- 
ments, with no religious value. They were used as 
seals, as pendants or earrings, the bezel of a ring, or 
threaded to form a bracelet. The 
flat side is usually carved with 
various designs cut in the material 
without modelling of any kind ; 
relief, properly so called, as employed 
in the cameo, was unknown among Egyptian lapi- 
daries before the Greek period. The subjects have 
not yet been classified, nor has a complete collection 
been made. They include simple combinations of 
lines, spirals, and interlaced curves, without any 
special meaning ; symbols to which the proprietor 

Fig. 234. — Scarab. 


attached some mysterious signification known only 
to himself; the names, parentage, and titles of some 
individual ; royal cartouches of historical interest ; 
good washes, pious ejaculations, and magical formulae. 
There are many scarabs in crystal and obsidian that 
date back as far as the Sixth Dynasty ; others, roughly 
cut and uninscribed, in amethyst, emerald, and even 
in garnet, belong to the commencement of the first 
Theban empire. From the time of the Eighteenth 
Dynasty they can be counted by thousands, and the 
fineness and finish of the work vary according to the 
hardness of the stone. 

This is the case with all the varieties of amulets. 
The hippopotamus heads, the sou/s or Ba birds, and 
the hearts that are picked up in numbers at Taud f 
to the south of Thebes, are scarcely more than out- 
lined, the amethyst and felspar of which they are 
made having proved almost impossible to work with 
the point. On the contrary, the girdle ties, squares, 
and head-rests that are carved out of red jasper, 
carnelian, and haematite are finished down to the 
smallest detail. Lapis lazuli is soft and friable, liable 
to break away at the edges, and it might be supposed 
that it would not lend itself to any minute work. 
Nevertheless, the Egyptians chiselled figures of god- 
desses out of it — Isis, Nephthys, Neith, Sekhet — which 
are marvellous examples of delicate carving. The 
modelling of the body is as boldly cut as if it were 
carved out of some material of no more than ordinary 
difficulty, and the features will bear examination with 
a magnifying-glass. Generally, however, a different 
method was adopted. The figure was subjected to a 


breadth of treatment that sacrificed the details to the 
general effect. The projections and hollows of the 
face are accentuated, and the thickness of the neck, 
the curve of throat and shoulder, the slenderness of 
the waist, the hollows and roundness of the body, are 
exaggerated ; the thigh and tibia are defined bv a 
line that is almost sharp, the feet and hands are 
slightly enlarged. All this is the result of bold and 
judicious calculation. An exact mathematical repro- 
duction of a model is, when applied to sculpture 
in miniature, not as happy as might be supposed. 
The head loses its character, the neck appears too 
slight, the bust is no more than a cylinder with 
irregular bumps on it, the feet and legs do not appear 
sufficiently solid to support the weight of the body, 
while the principal lines are lost in the complexity of 
the secondary ones. 

By suppressing most of the accessory features and 
accentuating the important ones, the Egyptians 
escaped the danger of producing insignificant or 
meaningless work : the eye instinctively modifies any 
exaggeration, and supplies what is lacking. Owing 
to this skilful treatment, a minute figure of a divinity, 
barely ih inches high, has almost the breadth and 
dignity of a colossus. 

As early as the close of the predynastic period 
stone vases were worked in the hardest materials, 
such as breccia, syenite, quartz, crystal, and diorite, 
and great alabaster bowls were so finely worked as to 
be translucent. Stone vases intended for suspension 
were provided with handles carved out at the sides 
and pierced (fig. 235). Some of the finest of these 


stone vessels belong to the later prehistoric and early 
dynastic times ; they are found also in porphyry, 
slate, alabaster, diorite, basalt, and other fine stones 
in the temples of the Fourth and Fifth Dynasties, and 
the use of them in the softer materials of alabaster 
and serpentine continued into the Middle Kingdom. 
Revolving seal cylinders of steatite, gold, and ivory 
have been found at Thinis, and abundant examples 
of their use occur on the sealings of jars in the royal 
tombs at Abydos (fig. 236). They closely resemble 

Fig. 235.— Stone vases, predynastic and First Dynasty. 
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. 

the cylinder seals of Babylonia. By the time of the 
Middle Kingdom they were superseded by scarabs, 
which were employed almost universally as seals 
during the later dynasties. Of stone were also the 
small funerary obelisks which come from the tombs 
of Saqqara, the bases of altars, the stelae, and the 
tables of offerings. At the time of the Pyramids the 
favourite material for the tables of offering; was 
alabaster or limestone, under the Theban kings, 
granite or red sandstone, and from the time of the 
Twenty-sixth Dynasty, basalt or limestone ; but this 



was not obligatory, and we find them at all periods 
in all kinds of stone. 

Some of them were merely flat or slightly hollowed 
discs, others were rectangular, and carved on the 
upper face with loaves, vases, haunches of oxen and 
gazelle, birds, vegetables, and fruit. On the offering 
table of Situ the libation, instead of being allowed to 
run off, was collected in a square basin divided into 
stages marking the height of the Nile in the Memphis 

rig. 236. — Impression of cylinder-seal, First Dynasty 7 . 

reservoirs at the different seasons — 2 5 cubits in summer 
during the inundation, 23 in autumn and at the 
beginning of winter, 22 at the end of winter and in 
the spring. These unusual forms do not as a rule 
contribute to beauty, but one of the tables of offerings 
from Saqqara is a real masterpiece ; it is in alabaster. 
Two lions standing side by side support a rectangu- 
lar, slightly sloping table with a groove that carried 
off the libations into a vase placed between the tails 
of the animals. 



Fig. 237. — Perfume 
vase, alabaster. 

The alabaster geese of Lisht are not without merit. 
They are cut in two lengthways, and are hollowed 
like a box. But as a rule the tables 
of offerings in painted limestone are 
poor in taste and workmanship, and so 
are the figures of offerings, the loaves, 
cakes, heads of oxen and gazelle, and 
the bunches of black grapes. 

They are not very numerous, and 
come chiefly from tombs of the Fifth 
and Twelfth Dynasties. The canopic jars, on the 
contrary, were always carved with great 
care. They are generally either of limestone 
or alabaster, but the heads that form the 
covers are often of painted wood. The 
canopic jars of Pepi I. are in alabaster, and 
so are those of the kinjj who was buried in 
the southern pyramid of Lisht, as well as 
the human heads upon the lids. The carving 
of one of them is so finely executed that 
it can only be compared with that of the 
statue of Khafra. The earliest funerary statuettes 
yet found, those of the Eleventh Dynasty, 
are of alabaster, but from the time of the 
Thirteenth Dynasty they were also carved 
in limestone. The quality of the work is 
very unequal. Some of them are master- 
pieces, and are as faithful portraits of the 
deceased as any statue of ordinary pro- 
portions. Vases for perfume formed part 
of the outfit provided for temples and tombs. The 
nomenclature of these is very far from being fixed, 

Fig. 238.— 

vase, ala- 

Fig. 239. - 
Pe rfu me 
vase, ala- 



:8 5 

g. 240. - 

vase, ala- 

and at present we can identify very few of the vases 
with the special names given them in the texts. The 
larger number are of alabaster, turned and polished. 
Some are heavy and ugly (fig. 237), while others 
possess an elegance and diversity of form 
that do credit to the inventive genius of 
the men who made them. They are 
spindle-shaped (fig. 238), or round, with a 
fiat base and straight rim (fig. 239) ; they 
have no ornament, unless occasionally 
handles formed of two lotus buds, two 
lions' heads, or possibly a small female 
head projecting at the lower part of the 
neck (fig. 240). The smallest of these 
did not contain liquids, but pomades, 
medical unguents, or salves made with 
honey. One of the most usual type is a small round 
jar with a short cylindrical neck and flat rim (fig. 241). 
In these the Egyptians kept powdered charcoal or 
antimony, with which they blackened their eyes and 
eyebrows. This kohl-jar was perhaps the only article 
for the toilette that was in common use among all 
classes of society. Some of them were 
very fantastic in form, and we find 
many of them in the shape of men, 
plants, or animals. Among others, 
there are a full-blown lotus blossom, a 
sparrow-hawk, a hedgehog, a monkey 
clasping a column against his breast or climbing up 
a jar, a grotesque figure of the god Bes, a kneeling 
woman whose body contained the powder, or a young 
girl, nude, holding a wine-jar. The ingenuity of the 

Fig. 241. — Kohl- 



craftsmen when once exercised in this direction was 
unbounded, and they adapted everything to their 
purpose — granite, diorite, breccia, pink jade, alabaster, 

Fig. 242. — Black-topped pottery. 

a soft limestone adapted for fine work, and a material 
even more easily worked, namely, pottery painted 
and glazed. 

Although the art of modelling, decorating, and 
firing pottery was never carried to such perfection 


>.S 7 

in Egypt as it was in Greece, it was not for the 
want of the crude material. The valley of the Nile 
supplies a variety of fine ductile clays from which 
great results might have been obtained had it been 
carefully prepared, but in many cases the clay was 


Fig. 243. — Red burnished pottery. 

taken without selection from any place where the 
potter happened to be at the moment. Badly 
washed, badly kneaded, it was then fashioned with 
the hand or a primitive hand-worked wheel. The 
firing was very uncertain, some pieces were scarcely 
burnt at all and fall to pieces while in water, while 
others are as hard as a tile. 



Fig. 244. — Tottery fish, 

Pottery is found in abundance in the graves of 
the predynastic period. There are rough, heavy jars 
of coarse red pottery weighing sometimes twenty 

or thirty pounds, each of which 
contained food offerings. Of 
the finer varieties there are 
several. A finely polished red 
pottery was shaped by hand 
before the invention of the 
potter's wheel. Washed with 
haematite and carefully bur- 
nished, a brilliant black was obtained on the upper 
part during the firing. Placed upside down in the 
kiln, the rim was covered by the charcoal, and the 
iron in the clay became deoxi- 
dised from red peroxide to black 
magnetic oxide, with a sub- 
crystalline surface (fig. 242). 
There is also a red burnished 
pottery (fig. 243) sometimes 
made in a variety of shapes in 
the form of fish (fig. 244) or 
birds, and red pottery painted 
with cross lines in white slip 
in imitation of basket-work 
(fig. 245), or with floral and Fig. 245. —Red pottery 
other designs Wlth bask , el - work de " 

uiuci u^g" 3 - s j gnS( predynastic. 

The class of drab-coloured 
pottery painted with designs and figures in dull red 
is of peculiar interest as presenting us in a few 
instances with pictorial records of that remote time. 
Beside cordage designs, chequers, marbling in imitation 



Fig. 246. — Vase painted to imitate 
mottled stone. 

of stone vases (fig. 246), and spirals, many oared 
galleys with cabins, ensigns, and other details are 
rudely represented, and also figures of men, animals, 
and birds (fig. 247). 

The black incised 
pottery found in many 
parts of the Mediter- 
ranean basin was also 
known in Egypt. Deep 
bowls made of a soft 
fat clay lightly baked, 
pricked with basket- 
work patterns and the 
punctures filled in with white clay (fig. 248), are 
found in predynastic graves, and again in various 
localities, and at later periods, at Medum of the 

Third Dynasty, and at 
Kahun of the Twelfth 

All tombs of the Old 
Kingdom contain pottery 
of a red or yellow ware, 
often mixed, like the 
bricks, with finely chopped 
straw or weeds. It con- 
sists mostly of large solid 
jars with oval bodies, short 
necks, and wide .mouths 
without foot or handle. 

Fig. 247. — Decorated vase, 

With them are found pipkins and pots in which to 
store the dead man's provisions, bowls of various 
depths, and flat plates. The surface is seldom 



smooth or glazed. It is generally washed over with 
a coating of white paint which flakes off at the 
slightest touch. 

The town of Kahun supplied domestic pottery of 
the Middle Kingdom. Ring-stands for water-jars, 
flower-vases with three separate openings or spouts 
to support and divide the flowers, and cylindrical 
vessels with a small hole at the base are among the 
most remarkable. Heavy dishes with deeply incised 
patterns are also found. 

The Theban tombs of the great period of conquest 

have provided us with 
sufficient pottery to fill 
many museums, but un- 
fortunately it is of little 
interest. There are the 
small funerary or usJiabti 
figures shaped by hand 
out of a lump of clay. 
A bit of the pottery 
pinched with the fingers 
formed the nose, while two dots and two short strips 
added after the firing supply eyes and arms. The 
better ones were shaped in terra-cotta moulds, many 
of which have been found. They were generally 
moulded in one piece, then carefully reworked, burnt> 
painted red, yellow, and white, and finally the hiero- 
glyphs were added either with the point or the brush. 
Many of them are excellent in style and almost equal 
to those carved in limestone. The usJiabti figures of 
the scribe Hon', preserved in the Cairo Museum, 
are about 16 inches high, and they show what the 

Fig. 248. — Black incised pottery, 



Fig. 249. — Lenticular 

ampulla of Mykenaean 

type, Eighteenth 


Egyptians could have accomplished had they chosen 

to cultivate this branch of art. 

The funerary cones were purely devotional objects 

which no skill could have succeeded 

in rendering beautiful. They are 

merely conical lumps of clay drawn 

out to a point at one end, and 

stamped at the broader end with a 

seal bearing the names, titles, and 

parentage of its possessor, the 

whole covered with a wash of 

whitish colour. They were, per- 
haps, intended to represent offerings 

of bread to secure an endless supply 

of food for the deceased. Many of the jars deposited 

in the tombs are painted in imitation of alabaster, 

granite, basalt, bronze, and even gold, and were 

probably cheap 
substitutes for 
the valuable vases 
lavished by the 
rich on their dead. 
Of the latter part 
of the Eighteenth 
Dynasty pottery is 
found of distinctly 
Mykenaean type, 

Fig. 250. — False-necked vase of Mykenaean such as the len- 
tvpe, Eighteenth Dynasty. , , , 

ticular ampulla? 
(fig. 249) and the false-necked vases (fig. 250). 
Among the vases intended to hold flowers and Nile 
water, some are covered with designs outlined in red 



Fig. 251. 

and black (fig. 251) circles and concentric lines 
(fig. 252), wavy lines, religious emblems (fig. 253), 
cross lines resembling fine meshed netting, garlands 
of flowers or of buds, or leafy stems 
carried down from the neck to the body 
of the vase, or rising from the body to 
the neck. The vases from the tomb of 
Sennetmu have a large collar on one 
side similar to the necklaces placed on 
mummies, painted with the brightest 
colours in imitation of natural flowers or of enamel. 
The canopic jars in pottery, rare during the Eighteenth 
Dynasty, became increasingly numerous as the wealth 
of Thebes diminished. The heads, more 
especially the human heads with which they 
are covered, are generally well carved. 
Modelled by hand, hollowed to lessen their 
weight, and then slowly baked, each was ,g ' 252 ' 
painted with the special colours peculiar to the genius 
whose head was represented by it. Towards the 
Twentieth Dynasty the custom was established of 
depositing the bodies of sacred animals in 
these canopic vases. Those found near 
Ekhmim contain jackals and hawks ; those 
at Saqqara contain mummied snakes, rats, 
and eggs ; while those at Abydos enclose 
the ibis. These last are by far the finest. 
The body of the vase is surrounded by 
the outstretched wings of the protecting 
goddess Khuit, while Horus and Thoth present the 
bandage and jar of unguents ; the whole is painted 
blue and red on a white ground. Early in the 

Fig. 253. 

GLASS. 293 

Greek period, when the poverty of the country had 
increased, pottery was used not only for canopic 
jars, but also for coffins. In the Isthmus of Suez, 
at Ahnas el Medineh, in the Fayum at Assuan, and 
in Nubia there are entire cemeteries where one finds 
no other coffins than those made of pottery. Many 
resemble oblong boxes, rounded at both ends, and 
with a saddle-back cover. Some are of human form, 
but barbarous in style, the head surrounded by a 
sort of sausage that represents the ancient headdress, 
the features scooped out with the thumb, or perhaps 
some tool, while two small lumps placed haphazard 
on the breast indicate the corpse of a woman. But 
even in these closing years of Egyptian civilisation 
it is only the very roughest specimens that are left 
in their natural colours. Now, as formerly, they are 
almost invariably covered with paint, or with richly 
coloured glazes. 

Glass was known to the Egyptians from the 
earliest period. Chemical analysis shows that the 
composition was almost identical with our own, 
but in addition to silica, lime, alumina, and soda, it 
contains a relatively considerable proportion of 
foreign substances, copper, oxide of iron, and oxide 
of manganese, which the Egyptians did not succeed 
in eliminating. Thus the glass is very rarely colour- 
less. It possesses an indefinite tint that approxi- 
mates to green or yellow. Some pieces of poor 
manufacture have completely rotted, and fall into 
fragments or into iridescent powder at the slightest 
touch. Others have not suffered so much from the 
action of time, but they are streaked and full of 


bubbles. Others again, very few in number, are 
perfectly clear and homogeneous. 

Uncoloureci glass was not in favour as it is with 
us. Until the Roman period, whether opaque or trans- 
parent, glass was almost invariably coloured. This was 
effected by mixing metallic oxides with the ordinary 
ingredients — copper or cobalt for the blue, copperas 
for the greens, manganese for the violets and browns, 
iron for the yellows, lead or tin for white : one variety 
of red contains at least 30 per cent, of copper, and 
when exposed to damp becomes coated with 
verdigris. All this chemistry was empirical and 
purely instinctive. The workmen collected around 
them the necessary materials or received them from 
afar, and they then proceeded to use them, often 
without definite knowledge of the effect they were 
about to produce : many of their most harmonious 
combinations were the result of chance, and they 
could not reproduce them at will. In this way they 
sometimes produced very large pieces : classical 
authors speak of glass sarcophagi stelae and columns 
made in one piece, but glass generally was only used 
for small objects, and more especially in imitation of 
precious stones. 

Cheaply as these could be bought in the Egyptian 
markets, they were not accessible to all, and the glass- 
blowers imitated emerald, jasper, lapis lazuli, and 
carnelian with such precision that we are often 
puzzled at the present day to distinguish the real 
from the false. The glass was run into stone moulds 
of the desired size and shape, beads, discs, rings, 
pendants for necklaces, narrow rods, and plaques 


bearing figures of men or animals, gods and goddesses. 
Eyes and eyebrows for stone or bronze statues were 
made of glass, and so were bracelets for their wrists. 
Glass was used as an inlay for hieroglyphs, and 
entire figures, scenes, and inscriptions in glass were 
inlaid in wood, stone, or metal. The mummy-cases 
of Netemt are decorated this way, and so are the 
coffins of Iuiya and Tuiyu, the grandparents of 
Akhenaten.* They are entirely covered with gold 
leaf with the exception of the headdress and some 
details ; the inscriptions and the principal part of the 
decoration are formed of these brilliantly coloured 
enamels, which contrast well with the gold back- 
ground. The mummies of the Fayum were covered 
with plaster or stucco on which the scenes and 
texts, which elsewhere were merely painted, were 
inlaid by means of adjusting the pieces of glass 
and then reworking them with the chisel, after 
the fashion of a bas-relief. Thus in the case of 
the goddess Maat the face, hands, and the feet 
are in turquoise blue, the headdress in very dark 
blue, the feather in alternate strips of blue and 
yellow, the robe is dark red. On the wooden naos 
from the neighbourhood of Daphnae, and on a 
fragment of a coffin in the Turin Museum, the 
hieroglyphs of multi-coloured glass stand out 
directly on the dark wooden background, and the 
result of this arrangement is extraordinarily rich and 

Glass filigree, cut and engraved glass, soldered 
glass, and imitation of wood, straw, or cord, in glass 

* T. M. Davis, The Tomb of loitiya and Toniyou. 


were all known to the Egyptians. At Cairo there is 
a square rod made of a number of strips of glass 
of varied colours fused together and forming the 
cartouche of one of the Amenemhats. The strips 
run through the whole length of the rod ; wherever it 
may be cut, the section will show the same cartouche. 
Small glass objects are so numerous as to fill an 
entire case in the Cairo Museum. One represents 
a monkey on all fours smelling some large fruit 
lying on the ground, another is a portrait of a 
woman, full face, on a white or pale green background 
framed in red. Most of the plaques merely represent 
rosettes, stars, and flowers, either single or in a 
bouquet. One of the smallest represents an Apis 
bull, black and white, walking ; the work is so 
delicate that it can well bear examination with a. 
microscope. Most of these objects are not anterior 
to the first Sai'te dynasty ; but excavations at 
Thebes and at Tell el Amarna have proved that 
as early as the eighteenth century B.C. the taste for 
coloured glass had arisen, and in consequence it was 
commonly manufactured in Egypt. At Deir el 
Bahari, in the Valley of the Kings, at Gurnet Murrai 
and at Sheikh abd el Gurneh not only have amulets 
been found intended for the use of the dead, such as 
columns, hearts, mystic eyes, hippopotami standing 
on their hind legs, and pairs of ducks, in pottery of 
mixed colours, blue, red and yellow, but also vases 
of a type one has been accustomed to consider as 
Phoenician or Cypriote workmanship. 

Here, for instance, is a small cenochoe of semi- 
opaque light blue glass (fig. 254) inscribed with the 



name of Thothmes III., the ovals on the neck and the 
palms on the body of the vase traced in yellow. 
Here again is a lenticular ampulla 3} inches in 
height (fig. 255) in dark blue glass of 
admirable purity and intensity ; over this 
is a bold, delicate pattern of fern-leaves 
in yellow. Two small handles of trans- 
parent light green are attached to the 
neck, and the rim is surrounded by a 
yellow fillet. An amphora of the same 
height is dark olive-green and semi- 
transparent (fig. 256) ; a band of blue Fj , 
and yellow chevrons confined within four I'arti-coloured 
yellow lines surrounds the body of the iJ^gn^W 
vase at the widest part. In the vault ofThoth- 

mes III 

of Deir el Bahari by the side of the 
Princess Nesikhonsu there were goblets of similar 
workmanship ; seven were of plain glass, light green,, 
yellow, or blue, four in black spotted 
with white, and one was covered 
with a pattern of multi-coloured 
fern-leaves arranged in two rows 
(fig. 257). Thus the manufacture 
of glass was in full activity as early 
as the time of the great Theban 
dynasties. Heaps of scoriae mixed 
with slag mark the site of their 
furnaces at Medinet Habii, Tell el 
Amarna, at the Ramesseum, at El 
Kab, and at the Tell of Eshmuneyn. 

From predynastic times the Egyptians enamelled 
stone. At least half of the scarabs, cylinders, and 

Fig. 255.— Parti- 
coloured lenticular 
glass vase. 



amulets we admire in our museums are in limestone 
or schist covered with a coloured glaze. Ordinary 
clay, no doubt, did not appear to them suitable for 
this method of decoration. They re- 
placed it by various kinds of frit, some 
white and sandy : another sort was 
brown and fine and was obtained by 
pulverising a special sort of limestone 
that abounds in the neighbourhood of 
Keneh, Luxor, and Assiian. A third 
sort was reddish and mixed with 
powdered sandstone and powdered 
brick. These various substances are 
known as Egyptian porcelain or Egyptian faience, 
both terms being equally inaccurate. The earliest 
specimens of the so-called faience were covered with 

Fig. 256. — Parti- 
coloured glass 

Fig. 257. — Parti-coloured glass goblets of Nesikhonsu. 

an exceedingly thin coat of glaze except in the 
hollows of the hieroglyphs and figures where the 
vitreous substance accumulated and the brilliant 
colour stands out in vivid contrast to the somewhat 


dull tone of the surrounding surface. Under the early 
dynasties, green was by far the most usual colour ; 
but white, red, yellow, brown, violet, and blue were 
also used, and as early as the time of Menes glazing 
in two colours was understood. Blue predominated 
in the Theban manufactories from the early years 
of the Middle Kingdom. It is a soft brilliant blue 
much like that of lapis lazuli or turquoise. The 
Cairo Museum formerly possessed three hippopotami 
in this colour discovered at Drah abu'l Neggeh in the 
tomb of an Antef. One of these was lying down, the 
others standing in 
the marshes ; on 
their bodies the 
potter has drawn in 
black ink sketches 
of reeds and lotus 
among which birds ^SISibm^"""^""!!^*!^ 

and butterflies are Fig 258.— Hippopotamus in blue glaze. 

flying (fig. 258). It 

was his method of representing 1 the animal among 

his natural surroundings. 

The blue is deep and brilliant in tone, and we 
must take a flight over twenty centuries to find its 
equal among the funerary statuettes from Deir el 
Bahari. The green reappears under the Sai'te 
dynasties, but paler than it was in the earlier period. 
It predominated in Lower Egypt, at Memphis, 
Bubastis, and Sai's, but without entirely eliminating 
the blue. The other colours were only in common 
use during four or five centuries, from the time of 
Aahmes I. to the time of i the Ramessides. It is 


then, and then only, that the so-called Respotidaiits, or 
ushabti figures, in white or red glaze, rosettes and 
lotus flowers in yellow, red, and violet, and kohl- 
boxes in a mixture of colours abounded. The 
potters of the time of Amenhotep III. had a decided 

preference for shades of violet and 
grey. The olive-shaped amulets 
stamped with the names of this 
Pharaoh and the princesses of 
his family bear hieroglyphs of 
pale blue on a very delicate mauve 
background. The vase of Queen 
Fig. 259.— Glazed ware, Tyi in the Cairo Museum is grey 

from Thebes. . , . r , , , 

with a mixture 01 blue ; round 
the .neck there are bands of ornamentation and 
inscriptions in two colours. 

These polychrome glazes attained their highest 
development under Akhenaten ; at least, it is in the 
plain of Tell el Amarna that the finest and best 
specimens have been found — 
green, yellow, or violet rings, 
white or blue flowers, fish, lutes, 
figs, and bunches of grapes. There 
is a small figure of Horus with 
a red face and a blue body, and Fig. 260.— Glazed ware, 
the bezil of a ring with the from Thebes. 

name of the king in violet on a light blue ground. 

However small the space, the colours have been 
laid on with so sure a hand that they are never 
confused, but contrast vividly with each other. A 
vase for powdered antimony, chased and mounted on 
a pierced stand, is of a uniform reddish brown 



(fig. 259) ; another, in the form of a mitred hawk, is 
blue with black spots, it belonged formerly to 
Aahmes I. ; a third, carved in the form of a cheery 
little hedgehog, is of a variable green (fig. 260). The 
head of a Pharaoh in dead blue wears a striped linen 
headdress of dark blue. But, fine as these 
pieces are, the finest of the whole series is 
the statuette, now at Cairo, of Ptahmes, chief 
prophet of Amon. The hieroglyphs and the 
details of the mummy wrappings have been carved 
in relief on a white background of admirable uni- 
formity, filled in with enamels ; the face and hands 
are of turquoise blue, the headdress is yellow with 
violet stripes, the hieroglyphs and the vulture that 

spreads its wings over the 
breast are also violet. The 
whole figure is harmonious, 
delicate, and brilliant ; no 
flaw mars the purity of the 
contour nor the sharpness of 
the lines. Glazed pottery was 
common at all times. The 
cups with a foot (fig. 261), 
the blue bowls decorated with 
mystic eyes lotus flowers 
fish (fig. 262), and palms, 
drawn in black ink, are usually of the Eighteenth, 
Nineteenth, and Twentieth Dynasties. The lenticular 
ampullae, covered with a greenish glaze, and decorated 
with rows of beads or ovals on the neck, an elaborate 
necklace on the shoulders, and supplied by way 
of handles with two crouching monkeys, belong 

Fig. 262.— Decoration of in- 
terior of small bowl, 
Eighteenth Dynasty. 



almost, if not entirely, to the reigns of Apries (the 
Hophra of the Old Testament) and of Aahmes II. 
(fig. 263). 

The Egyptians loved this ware, which was so cool 
to the touch, so pleasant to the eye, and so easily 
kept clean ; they used it for the handles of sistra and 
of mirrors, for drinking-cups in the form of half- 
opened lotus buds, dishes, and plates. An immense 

piece of glazing is a sceptre 
5 feet high with a separate 
head, made for Amen- 
hotep II., and now in the 
South Kensington Museum. 
It appears that the Egyp- 
tians carried their prefer- 
ence for glazed pottery so 
far, in some instances, as 
to cover the walls of their 
palaces, temples, and tombs 
with it. Glazed tiles for 
fixing on walls were used 
during the Thinite period. 
As late as the nineteenth 
century one of the chambers of the step pyramid of 
Saqqara still retained its mural decoration of glazed 
ware (fig. 264). Up to three-quarters of its height 
it was faced with green tiles, oblong in shape, slightly 
convex in front, but flat at the back (fig. 265) ; a 
square projection pierced with a hole served to fix 
the tiles at the back by means of a flexible strip of 
wood passed horizontally through the whole row. 
The three rows of tiles that frame the lower part of 

Fig. 263. — Lenticular vase, glazed 
ware, Sai'te period. 



the doorway are inscribed with the titles of the 
Pharaoh Zeser of the Second or Third Dynasty. The 
hieroglyphs are in blue, red, green, and yellow on a 
tawny background. Of the Sixth Dynasty there is 
a yellow tile on which is the name and Ka name 
of Pepi I., and there are fragments of red and white 


, -k. -x -*r ^ -x -^ - ir 

-¥. _ -K -X X ■ -X- -T 

-* ^ -K „. <*-* -k -x *~ *r „ 

-K -K -K -K ■#- -*- *y 

Fig. 264. — Chamber decorated with tiles in step pyramid of Saqqara. 

tiles of Seti I. and of Sheshonk (Shishak), besides 
a green tile bearing the name of Rameses III. 

In the palace of Tell el Amarna glazed tiles were 
used in abundance. The stone columns of the harem 
were covered with glazed and moulded tiles, ribbed 
to imitate bundles of reeds, and filled in with lotus 
buds and flowers all in glazed ware. The great hall 
of columns had a very beautiful dado, of green tiles 



Fig. 265.— 

Tile from step 

pyramid of 


inlaid with white daisies and violet thistles. The 
limestone walls were inlaid with glazed ware and 
gleamed with great hieroglyph inscrip- 
tions of gorgeous colouring, while both 
in the temple and the palace stones were 
inlaid in other stones, white alabaster in 
red granite, or tesserae of black granite 
in yellow quartzite.* This method of 
decoration was adopted to some extent 
by the successors of Akhenaten. At Tell 
el Yahudieh, Rameses III. employed 
much the same scheme for his temple. 
The main part of the building was lime- 
stone and alabaster, but the scenes, instead of being 
sculptured in the usual manner, were formed of a 
mosaic of stone tesserae and glazed 
pottery in about equal proportions. The 
element most frequently introduced into 
the scheme of decoration was a circle, 
made of sandy frit coated with grey or Tile inlay, Tell 

, , , 1 • 1 el Yahudieh. 

blue glaze, on which was a cream- 
coloured rosette (fig. 266). Some of these rosettes 
are surrounded by geometric designs (fig. 267) or 
spider-web patterns, and some represent 
open flowers, the central boss in relief, 
the petals and tracery inlaid. These 
circular plaques, which vary in size from 
Tile inlay, Tell three-eighths of an inch to 4 inches, 

el Yahudieh. wefe fixed tQ ^ waU ^^ yery fine 

cement. They were combined to form ordinary 
designs, such as scrolls, foliage, or parallel fillets such 

* W. M. F. Petrie, Tell el Amama, 



Fig. 268. — Inlaid tiles, 
Tell el Yahiidieh. 

as can be seen on the foot of an altar and the base 
of a column now in Cairo. The cartouches were 
usually made in one piece, and so were the figures ; 
the details, either incised or moulded in the clay- 
before baking, were afterwards covered with a paste 
of the desired colour. The lotus 
blossoms and leaves that decorated 
the base of the walls or the cornice 
were, on the contrary, formed of 
a variety of pieces. There every 
colour is separate, and made to fit 
into the surrounding pieces with 
great exactness (fig. 268). 

The temple was pillaged at the beginning of the 
nineteenth century, and ever since the time of 
Champollion the Louvre has possessed figures of 
prisoners brought from there. All that was left was 
destroyed years ago by dealers in antiquities, and the 

debris dispersed. 
Some have found 
their way to the 
British Museum. 
Mariette recovered 
with great diffi- 
culty some of the 
most important 
fragments, includ- 
ing the name of Rameses III., which gives us the 
date of the building, some of the borders of lotus 
flowers and human-handed birds (fig. 269), and the 
heads of Asiatic and negro slaves (fig. 270). The 
destruction of this building is especially annoying, 


Fig. 269. — Tile in relief, Tell el Yahiidieh. 



because apparently the Egyptians did not build many 
of the same type. Rameses III. also decorated some 

part of his temple at Medinet 
Habu with inlaid enamels. The 
Boston Museum possesses a fine 
series of tiles that apparently came 
from there, and a doorway from 
Medinet Habu is now at Cairo. 
Glazed bricks and enamelled tiles 
are easily injured, and that would be a very serious 
drawback in the eyes of a people who regarded 
durability as being of the highest importance. 

Fig. 270.— Tile in re- 
lief, Tell el Yahiidieh. 


Ivory, bone, and horn are somewhat rare in our 
museums, but this is no reason for supposing that 
they were not freely used by the Egyptians. Horn 
does not last well, certain insects are partial to it and 
destroy it very rapidly ; bone and ivory soon lose their 
consistency and become friable. The elephant was 
known to the Egyptians from the earliest times, and 
it is possible that at a very remote period the animal 
existed in the Thebaid. As early as the Memphite 
dynasties the name of the island of Elephantine is 
written with the figure of an elephant. Before the 
time of Menes, ivory was freely used for combs and 
hairpins, decorated with figures of men, birds, or 
animals, and for spoons (fig. 271). Rudely carved tusks 
were also placed in the graves (fig. 272). Figures of 
men and women — the latter wrapped in long cloaks — 
inscribed plaques, cylinders, and tusks inscribed with 

Ivory carvings. 


rows of animals, birds, and human figures (fig. 273) 
are also found of the earliest dynastic period. 

During historical times ivory 
was imported into Egypt from the 
Upper Nile in the form of tusks, 
or half-tusks. It was generally left 
its natural colour, but occasionally 

Fig. 271,— Ivory spoon, combs, and hairpins, 
predynastic. At Oxford. 



Fig. 272. — Tusk 
carved with 
human face. 

it was stained green or red. It was in great request 
for inlaying furniture, chairs, beds, and coffers ; 



combs, hairpins, toilette 
ornaments, and delicately 
wrought spoons (fig. 274) 
continued to be made of 
ivory, and so were dice, 
kohl -bottles made in the 
form of a hollow column 
surmounted by a capital, 
incense-burners shaped like 
a hand holding a bronze 
bowl in which perfume was 
burnt, and also boomerangs 
covered with outlines of 
divinities and fantastic 
animals. Some of these 
objects are fine works of 
art, as for instance a dagger 
handle at Cairo in form of 
a lion, or the carved ivory 
plaques on a box belonging 
to Tua'i", who lived at the 
end of the Seventeenth 
Dynasty. Of the Middle 
Kingdom there is an ivory 
gaming-board 6 inches long 
by 4 inches broad with 
playing pieces also carved 
in ivory. The board is 
shaped like an axeblade, 
and rests on four ivory bull's 
legs ; below there is a small 
drawer of ivory and ebony 


closed by an ivory bolt that works in copper staples. 
There are ten ivory playing pieces, five with dogs' 
heads and five with jackals' heads. The ivory of 
the board is backed with sycamore wood, and round 
the edges is an ebony veneer fixed with glue.* 
Another object which also comes from the same 
excavations in the eastern valley of Deir el Bahari 
is a toilet box of cedar wood veneered with ebony 
and ivory. Below the lid there is a tray with /-\ 
partitions and a hollow to hold a mirror ; 
below this again is a drawer fitted to hold 
eieht alabaster vases of cosmetics ; both lid 
and drawer are fitted with silver knobs. This 
was the property of Kemen, keeper of the 
kitchen department to Amenemhat IV. 
Engraved on the ivory plaque in front is 
a scene of Kemen offering vases to his 

Some fine statuettes are carved in ivory. 
The seated figure of Khufii found at Abydos 
is only 5 inches high, but it is of perfect Fig. 274. 
and most delicate workmanship. There is a — s P oon - 
figurine dating from the Fifth Dynasty that has 
unfortunately been damaged, but which still bears 
traces of rose colour, and a miniature figure of Abi 
who died under the Thirteenth Dynasty. Abi is 
perched on the top of a lotus-flower column and 
gazes straight in front of him with a majestic air, 
which contrasts comically with his very prominent 
ears. The work is broad and spirited and will bear 
comparison with the ivories of the Renaissance. 

* Lord Carnarvon, Five Years Exploration of Thebes, 1913. 




Egypt is not rich in trees, and most of those she 

possesses are useless to the sculptor. The two which 

are most abundant, the date-palm and the dom-palm, 

are coarse and uneven in fibre. Some varieties of 

the sycamore and acacia are the only 

trees that provide wood suitable for 

carving. Wood was nevertheless a 

favourite material for cheap and rapid 

work, and at times it was chosen for 

important pieces such as ka statues. 

The statue of the Sheikh el Beted shows 

with what boldness and breadth wood 

could be treated. But the blocks and 

beams the Egyptian had at his disposal 

were seldom either broad or long enough 

to make a statue in one piece. The 

Sheikh el Beled, which is under life size, 

is carved in several pieces, joined with 

square pegs. The custom therefore 

arose of reducing the subject that was 

to be carved in wood to a size that could 

be rendered in one single piece, and 

under the Theban Dynasties the statues 

of early days have become statuettes. 

Art lost nothing by this reduction, and 

more than one of these small figures is 

comparable with the finest work of the Old Kingdom. 

The best of them all is perhaps one in the Turin 

Museum belonging to the Twentieth Dynasty. It 

represents a young girl whose only clothing is a 

narrow girdle round the waist. She is at that 

indefinite age when the undeveloped figure is almost 

Fig. 275.— 
Wooden statu- 
ette of officer, 




as much like that of a boy as of a girl. The expres- 
sion of the face is roguish and pleasant, and the 
figure at a distance of thirty centuries 
is in fact a portrait of one of those 
graceful little maidens of Elephantine 
who without shame or immodesty 
walk unclothed in sight of strangers. 
The three small figures of men at 
Cairo are probably of the same date 
as the Turin figure. They are 
clothed in robes of state, as indeed 
they should be, for one of them, 

Hori, surnamed Ra, was a favourite 
of the Pharaoh. They are walking 
with calm and even pace, the bust 

thrown well forward and the head 

held high ; their expression is know- 
ing and somewhat furtive. 

An officer (fig. 275) now retired to 

the Louvre is in the semi-military 

costume of the time of Amen- 

hotep III., and his successors, a 

small wig, a tight-fitting vest, with 

short sleeves. A kilted skirt,stretched 

tightly over the hips and reaching 

scarcely half-way to the knees, has 

the free end plaited lengthways and 

puffed out in front by some artificial 

contrivance. Near him stands a 

priest (fig. 276) with a wig made of 

rows of small curls, wearing the long skirt that reached 

half-way down the legs, and spread out in front in a 

Fig. 276. — Wooden 

statuette of priest, 

Eighteenth Dynasty. 

3 12 


sort of plaited apron. With both hands he is holding 
a divine symbol, consisting of the head of a bull 
crowned with the solar disc, supported on a massive 
staff. Both officer and priest are painted a reddish 
brown with the exception of the hair, which is black, 
the corner of the eyes, which is white, and the sacred 
standard, which is yellow. Curiously enough their 
companion in a glass case, the little lady 
Naif, is also painted brown, and not 
yellow, the regular colour for women in 
kgypt: (fig. 277). She is represented in a 
tight-fitting garment, trimmed down the 
front with white embroidery. Round her 
throat she is wearing a gold necklace of 
three rows, gold bracelets on her wrists, 
and on her head is a wig with tresses 
hanging over her shoulders. Her right 
arm is hanging down, and the hand 
grasped some object, now lost, probably 
a mirror ; the left hand is holding a lotus 
jvofc^u^ bud. The figure is supple, the throat 
Wooden - youthful and rounded, the expression of 
statuette of the broad smiling face is pleasant, though 
not entirely free from vulgarity. The 
headdress is heavy, but the bust is modelled with 
purity and grace of form ; the dress defines the 
contour and without rendering them too visible the 
attitude is natural, and the movement by which 
the young lady presses the flowers to her breast is 
rendered with realistic skill. These are portraits, 
and as the originals were not people of exalted birth, 
they probably did not employ artists of the highest 



repute. They must have had recourse to unpretentious 
craftsmen, and the knowledge of composition and 
the dexterity of manipulation show the powerful 
influence exercised even on artisans by the great 
school of sculpture that still flourished at Thebes. 

This influence is even 
more apparent when we 
study the small objects 

, . , ., , Fig. 278. — Spoon, wood. 

devoted to the toilet and 

those for household use. It would be no light task 
to attempt to describe the immense variety of knick- 
knacks on which the ingenious fancy of the artists 
was expended. The handles of mirrors are generally 
in the form of a lotus or papyrus stem, ending in a 
full-blown flower to which the disc of polished 
metal is affixed. Or they are sometimes 
formed of the figure of a girl either nude, 
or clad in a tight-fitting garment, bearing 
the disc on her head. 

The tops of hairpins were formed of a 
coiled snake, of the head of a jackal, a dog, 
or a hawk, very similar to those of the archaic 
period. The stands intended to hold these 
pins are in the form of a tortoise or a hedge- 
hog with holes pierced in a regular pattern 
on the carapace. Headrests which served 
instead of pillows for the head are decorated 
with scenes in sunk relief from the myths of Bes and 
Sekhet, and the forbidding countenance of Bes is 
carved on the lower side or the base. But the 
inventive genius of the craftsmen was more specially 
roused by the spoons for perfumes and the kohl-vases. 

Fig. 279 



In order to save their fingers, spoons were used for 
essences, pomades, and for the various dyes with 
which both men and women stained their cheeks and 
lips, their eyelids, nails, and the palms of their hands. 
I ra The designs are generally derived from the 
flora and fauna of the Nile. A spoon in 
the Cairo Museum represents a fox in full 
flight, carrying off an enormous fish in his 
mouth, the body of the fish forming the 
bowl of the spoon (fig. 278). Another is a 
cartouche that rises out of an open lotus 
flower, or a lotus fruit placed on a bouquet 
of flowers (fig. 279), or a simple triangular 
bowl, flanked by two flower buds (fig. 280). 
The most elaborate spoons combine a human 
figure with these designs. A girl, nude 
except for a girdle round the hips, is swim- 


Fig. 280.- 

ming with her head well above water (fig. 281). Her 
extended arms support a duck, the body of which 
is hollowed out, while the two movable wings serve 
as a cover. 

Not in ivory or wood, but very delicately modelled 

Fig. 281.— Spoon, wood. At New York. 

in glazed ware is another spoon found in 191 3 in the 
Oxford excavations at Merawi. This dates from 
about the Twenty-sixth Dynasty. The figure of 
the swimming girl is almost identical with that just 



described (fig. 281), but the arrangement of the hair 

is slightly different. It is brushed back 

close to the head and then arranged in 

a large knot behind ; her outstretched 

arms support an oblong tray. The 

details of the tiny figure are perfectly 

rendered. The ears pierced for earrings, 

the slender hands and fingers, the fingers 

and toes all bear close examination. 
At the Louvre there is also a girl 

(fig. 282) partly concealed among the 

lotus plants, from which she is gathering 

a bud. A bundle of stems, from which 

two full-blown flowers emerge, unite the 

handle to the bowl of the spoon, which 

in this case is reversed, the pointed 

end being attached to the handle. In 

another the girl is framed by two flowering stems, 
and is playing on a long-necked lute as 
she walks (fig. 283), or, again, the musician 
is standing on a boat (fig. 284), or her 
place is taken by a woman bearing offer- 
ings. Sometimes a slave is represented 
bending under the weight of an enormous 

The physiognomy and the age of each 
of these tiny persons are very clearly 
characterised. The girl gathering lotus is 
of good birth, as is indicated by the 
dressing of her hair and the pleated linen 
of her skirt. The young Theban ladies 

wore long garments, and she has only gathered up 


Fig. 282.— 

Fig. 283.- 



her dress in order to avoid wetting it as she makes 
her way through the reeds. The two 
girls playing lutes are, on the contrary, 
of inferior birth. One is satisfied with 
a mere girdle round the hips, and the 
other has only a short petticoat carelessly 
arranged. The girl bearing offerings 
(fig. 285) wears the long pendant tress 
which was distinctive of childhood. She 
is one of the slim, slender girls we know 
so well among the fellahin of to-day. 
Her lack of clothing therefore does not 
prove that she was not of gentle birth, 
for even the children of 
the nobles did not wear 
the garments of their 
sex before the period of 
The slave (fig. 286), with 

his thick lips, his flat nose, his heavy 

animal jaw, his retreating forehead, and 

his conical head, is evidently a carica- 
ture of some foreign prisoner. The 

sullen demeanour with which he 

slouches along under his burden is 

admirably caught, and the angularities 

of his body, the shape of his head, and 

the disposition of the various parts all 

recall the general appearance of the 

grotesque terracotta figures of Asia 

Minor. The natural objects, such as ' g ' ' poon ' 

leaves, flowers, or birds that are grouped round these 

principal figures, are skilfully and truthfully arranged. 

Fig. 284. — 
v Spoon. 


household furniture. 


Thus in the case of the three ducks tied together by 
the legs, carried by the girl bearing offerings, two 
have resigned themselves to their fate, and are swing- 
ing with outstretched necks and open eyes, while the 
third has lifted up its head and is 
flapping its wings in protest. The two 


f &< 

water-birds we see perched on the 
lotus plants listening to the lute are 
entirely at ease with their heads on 
their breasts. They know by experi- 
ence that they need not disturb them- 
selves for a song, and that they have 
nothing to fear from a girl who carries 
no alarming weapon. The sight of a 
bow and arrow would put them to 
flight. The Egyptians were thoroughly 
acquainted with the habits of wild 
creatures, and they delighted in re- 
presenting them with exactitude. The 
habit of observing the minutest facts 
was instinctive with them, and in 
consequence even the smallest piece of 
work was certain to be characterised 
by a marvellous degree of realism. 

The variety of furniture used in 
ancient Egypt was no greater than it 
is at the present day. The poor were 
contented with a few mats which they rolled up by 
day. Those who were somewhat better off possessed 
stools, low frame beds like the Nubian angareb, and 
some chests and boxes of various sizes to hold tools 
or linen. The nobles had chairs and divans in 

Fig. 286. — Spoon. 



addition, such as those found in the tomb of the 
parents of Queen Tyi. The art of the cabinet-maker 
had attained a very high degree of perfection early 
in the dynastic period. Boards were 
worked with the adze, mortised, glued, 
and fitted together, and fastened with 
pegs of hard wood, or with the thorns 
Fig. 287.— Chest °*" tne acacia > never with metal nails. 
They were then polished and ready to 
be painted. Chests generally stand on four straight 
feet, sometimes of considerable height. The cover 
is either flat or rounded ^ 

according to a special curve ^pH|ill|i 

Fig. 288.— Chest. 

which was popular with Lc 

the Egyptians at all periods } flS; "MM- f|] j 

(fig. 287), or, very rarely, ||§|5 * 

they were sloped to a ridge If (][ 

like the roofs of our houses 

(fig. 288). Generally the 

whole lid lifts off, but occasionally it turns on a peg 

inserted in one of the corners at the top, or it opens 

at the side on two wooden 
pivots (fig. 289). The panels 
are admirably adapted for 
decoration and are covered 
with paintings, or inlaid with 
ivory, silver, enamel plaques, 
or with valuable woods. It 
Fig. 289.— Chest. j s possible that we are not 

in a position to judge of the skill possessed by 

the Egyptians in this branch of art, nor of the 

variety of shapes invented by them at various 



periods, as most of their furniture that we possess has 
been found in tombs, and some of it may have been 
cheap imitation provided for the purpose, or of 
special design reserved for the use of mummies. 

It was these mummies who were the most profit- 
able customers of the cabinet-makers. Everywhere 
else man carried only a small number of objects with 
him into the next world, but in Egypt he was content 
with nothing less than a complete outfit. The coffin 
itself was a serious piece of work that employed a 
whole gang of workmen (fig. 290). The method 

Fig. 290. — Construction of a mummy case, wall scene, 
Eighteenth Dynasty. 

varied at different periods. At the time of the 
Memphite empire and the first Theban empire, the 
coffins are almost without exception huge rectangular 
chests of sycamore-wood, fiat both at top and bottom, 
the various parts joined together with wooden pegs. 
The shape is not elegant, but the decoration is very 
interesting. The cover has no cornice, and the 
centre of it is occupied by a long band of hieroglyphs 
on the outside, sometimes written with ink or painted, 
sometimes carved in the wood and then filled in with 
a bluish paste. This inscription gives merely the 
name and titles of the deceased, occasionally followed 


by a short formula of prayer on his behalf. The 
inside is covered on the surface with a thick coating of 
stucco, or it is whitewashed. On this the seventeenth 
chapter of the Book of the Dead is generally written 
with red and black ink in fine cursive hieroglyphs. 
The coffin itself consists of eight vertical planks, two 
at each side and at the ends, and three horizontal 
planks at the bottom. On the outside it is some- 
times decorated with wide parallel lines of colour 
ending in intertwined lotus leaves, correspond- 
ing to the grooves on the stone sarcophagi. More 
often the coffin has two large open eyes, and two 
monumental doors on the left, and three doors on the 
right, precisely like those found in the rock-cut tombs 
of the period. The coffin is in fact the house of the 
deceased, and as such it was necessary that its walls 
should bear a summary of the prayers and pictures 
that covered the walls of the tomb. The formula 
and necessary representations were inscribed and 
shown on the inside, in about the same order in 
which we find them in the mastabas. Every side is 
divided into three registers and every register con- 
tains either a dedication in the name of the occupant 
or a picture of the objects belonging to him, or texts 
of the ritual recited for his benefit. When this was 
skilfully done on a background painted to look like 
fine wood, the whole effect was bold and harmonious. 
Only a small share of the work fell to the cabinet- 
maker, and the long boxes in which the earliest 
mummies were enclosed demanded little skill on his 
part. But this was not the case with coffins that 
were made as nearly as possible in the human form. 


Of these we have two types. In the earliest of the 
two the coffin followed the lines of the mummies. 
The feet and legs are joined together throughout 
their length : the slight projection of the knees, the 
rounding of the calf, and the outline of the thighs and 
the trunk are summarily indicated, as though they 
were vaguely modelled under the wood. The head, 
the only living part of the inert body, is entirely 
disengaged. In this type the man was imprisoned 
in a sort of statue of himself, which was so well 
balanced that it could be stood up on end when 

In the second type the man appears to be lying 
down on his coffin ; his statue carved in the round 
forms a cover for his body. On his head is his large 
curled wig, the breast is scarcely concealed by his 
vest of almost transparent white material, the petti- 
coat with its symmetrical folds covers his legs, on his 
feet are elegant sandals, and his hands clasp various 
emblems, the atik/i, the girdle tie, the dad, or in the 
case of the wife of Sennetmu at Cairo, a wreath 
of ivy. 

This sort of mummiform casing is rare under the 
Memphites. Menkaiira, the Mycerinusof the Greeks, 
has, however, left us a noteworthy example. They 
were very common under the Eleventh Dynasty, but 
at that time they were often little more than the 
hollowed trunk of a tree, with a human head and feet 
roughly hewn out. The face is daubed with brilliant 
colours, yellow, red, and green ; the hair and head- 
dress are painted with black or blue stripes. A 
necklace is ostentatiously displayed at the breast ; 



the remainder is either covered with the gilded 
feathers of Isis and Nephthys, the two mourning 
goddesses, or plastered with a thick wash of uniform 
colour either yellow or white, on which is a scanty 
decoration of figures and bands of hieroglyphs 

" Si'™ 

Fig. 291. — Mask of coffin of Rameses II., 
/nupo, Twenty-first Dynasty. 

painted black and blue. The most elaborate royal 
coffins of the Eighteenth Dynasty that I excavated 
at Deir el Bahari belong to this type, and are only 
distinguished by the finish of the work and by the 
extraordinary perfection with which the artist re- 
produced the features of the sovereign. The mask 
of Aahmes I., of Amenhotep I., and of Thothmes II. 





are actual masterpieces of this species of work. The 
mask of Rameses II. shows no trace 
of painting except a black groove 
inserted to accentuate the eye. It 
is undoubtedly a portrait of the 
Pharaoh Herihor who restored the 
funerary furniture of his powerful 
predecessor, and is almost com- 
parable to the best examples of 
contemporary statuary (fig. 291). 
Two coffins, those of Queen 
Aahmesnefertari and her daughter 
Aahhotep II., are of immense size 
and measure more than ioi feet in 
height. When standing upright 
(fig. 292) they might almost be mis- 
taken for some of the caryatids in 
the court of Medinet Habu, though 
on a smaller scale. The body is 
represented swathed in bandages 
and only faintly suggests a human 
form. A network in relief, with 
each mesh standing out in blue on 
the yellow background, fits tightly 
to the neck and shoulders, and 
forms a kind of mantle, from 
which the hands emerge, and are 

crossed on the breast clasping the 

1 D tig. 292. — 

ankk, the sign of life. The head Mummy-case ofQueen 
. ■, .1 r j j Aahmesnefertari. 

is a portrait, the lace round and 
broad, the eyes wanting in intelligence, the expres- 
sion mild and characterless. Above the heavy 








wig are the headdress and stiff feathers of Amon 
or Mut. 

It may well be asked what motive the Egyptians 
could have had in manufacturing these extraordinary 
productions. Both queens were small women and their 
bodies were lost in such huge coffins. They had to be 
wedged in and padded with rags to prevent their 
rolling about and being injured. Apart from their 
size the coffins are characterised by the same sim- 
plicity as that which distinguishes all of that period, 
whether of royal or private personages. About the 
middle of the Nineteenth Dynasty there was a change 
of fashion : one single coffin soberly adorned was no 
longer sufficient ; it was necessary to have two or 
three or even four inside one another, profusely 
decorated with paintings or inscriptions. At this 
time the outer casing was often a sarcophagus with 
short square posts or handles at the corners and a 
ridged or saddle-back lid painted in white on the 
lower side and covered with figures of the deceased 
in adoration before the gods of the Osirian group. 
When the coffin is shaped in human form, some of 
the former bareness of decoration is still retained : the 
face is coloured, there is a necklace spread on the 
breast, and a band of hieroglyphs extends to the feet. 
The rest is of a uniform colour, black, brown, or a 
dull yellow. The inner coffins are decorated to an 
almost extravagant degree. The face and hands arc 
red, rose-coloured, or gilded. The jewellery is re- 
presented either by painting or by enamels inlaid 
in the wood, and there are scenes and texts in a 
variety of colours, the whole covered with the yellow 


varnish already referred to. The contrast between 
the abundant ornamentation of this period, and the 
simplicity of the earlier work is very striking. It is 
to Thebes itself that we must look for an explana- 
tion. Private people as well as the Pharaohs of the 
period of conquest devoted their full energy of 
resources to the construction of their rock tombs. 
There the walls formed one vast picture, and the 
sarcophagus was a colossal block of finely worked 
granite or alabaster. It mattered little that the 
coffin in which the mummy reposed should be only 
slightly decorated. But the Egyptians of the de- 
cadence and their rulers could no longer draw on the 
wealth of Egypt and of surrounding countries as their 
predecessors had done. They were poor, and most 
of them had to renounce any attempt at constructing 
elaborate tombs. They devoted the money they had 
at command to providing themselves with fine coffins 
of sycamore-wood. The splendour of their mummy- 
cases is therefore only another proof added to those 
we already possess of their weakness and poverty. 
When the Sai'te Pharaohs succeeded in re-establish- 
ing the prosperity of the country, stone sarcophagi 
once more appeared, and the wooden coffin to some 
extent returned to the simplicity of the time of 
prosperity and fine art ; but this revival was not of 
long duration, and the Macedonian conquest led to 
changes in funerary customs similar to those that 
followed the downfall of the Ramessides. The 
custom of employing double or treble coffins with 
excess of painting and crude gilding once more 
revived. The skill of the workpeople who prepared 



the inhabitants of Ekhmim for their last resting-place 
was even less than that of the funerary undertakers 
who lived under the obscure Ramessides of the 
Twentieth Dynasty, and in the matter of bad taste 
they were fully equal to them. A series of Graeco- 
Roman examples from the Fayum exhibits the stages 

Fig. 293. — Panel portrait, (iraco-Roman, at National Gallery. — 
Haivara. Binluiui and Arsinoc, W. M. F. Petrie. 

by which portraiture in the flat then replaced the 
modelled mask, until towards the middle of the second 
century A.D. it became customary to bandage over 
the face of the mummy a panel portrait of the dead 
as he was in life (fig. 293). 

The remainder of the funerary outfit involved as 


much work for the cabinet-maker as the coffins 
themselves. Chests of different sizes were required 
to hold the garments of the deceased, and to contain 
the viscera, and for the respondants, the ushabti 
figures ; tables for his meals, chairs, stools, beds for 
the mummy ; hearses to convey him to his tomb, and 
chariots both for war and for pleasure. The boxes 
that contained the canopic vases, the ushabti figures, 
and the libation vases were divided into several 
compartments, sometimes guarded on the lid by a 
jackal, which also served as a handle. Each box 
was mounted on a small sledge, on which it could be 
drawn in the funeral procession. 

Beds are not uncommon. Those that resemble the 
Nubian angareb are mere wooden frames, with coarse 
linen or crossed strips of leather stretched across 
them. The greater number are less than 5 feet in 
length ; the sleeper, therefore, could never have 
stretched himself at full length, but must have curled 
himself up. The decorated bedsteads were of very 
much the same type as our own. Generally they were 
horizontal, but occasionally they sloped slightly from 
the head to the foot. They often stood some height 
from the ground, and were climbed into with the help 
of a stool or a set of portable steps. These details 
were only known to us by pictured wall paintings till 
1884-5, when I discovered two complete beds, one at 
Thebes, in a tomb of the Thirteenth Dynasty, 
another at Ekhmim, in the Graco-Roman necropolis. 
The sides of the later bed were formed of two lions, 
kindly animals, whose heads supported the top of the 
bed, and whose tails curved over the foot. Over this 



bed there was a species of canopy, which was used at 
any rate during the funeral ceremonies. A similar 
canopy had already been found by Rhind, and pre- 
sented by him to the Edinburgh Museum (fig. 294). 
It is in the form of a temple, with a rounded top, 
supported by graceful miniature columns of painted 
wood. A door guarded by two serpents was supposed 
to afford access to the interior. Three winged discs, 

1 i •'! i.M^^ii? 

Fig. 294. — Carved and painted mummy canopy, Thirteenth Dynasty. 

graduated in size, are ranged in the three superposed 
cornices over the doorway, and the structure is 
crowned by uraei drawn up in line. The canopy of 
the Thirteenth Dynasty bed is much less complicated. 
It is a sort of wooden balustrade carved and painted 
to resemble bundles of reeds, the liotesu pattern em- 
ployed to decorate the upper part of temple walls. 
Above this there is the usual cornice. In the mummy 
couch of the Gneco-Roman period (fig. 295) the side 
balustrade is replaced by crouching figures of the 



goddess Maat, sculptured and painted, with her 
feather in her hand. At the head and foot stand 
Isis and Nephthys, waving their arms fringed with 
wings. The upper part is in open work, and three 
vultures hover over the mummy, and kneeling figures 
of Isis and Nephthys weep over it. 

The sledges that conveyed the dead to their tombs 
were also provided with canopies, but totally different 
in appearance. The sledge canopy is also a naos, 
but with solid sides, similar to those found by me in 

Fig. 295.— Mummy-couch with canopy, Graeco-Roman. 

1886 in the chamber of Sennetmu. When there were 
any openings they were square, and so arranged as to 
allow the head of the mummy to be seen. Wilkinson 
describes one of these canopies from paintings in a 
Thcban tomb (fig. 296). In all cases the panels 
could be removed. When the mummy had been 
placed in the sledge, the panels were replaced and 
the curved roof, with its many-coloured cornice, was 
shut down, and the whole closed in. 

Many of the chairs in the British Museum and the 
Louvre date back to the Eleventh Dynasty, and are 





Fig. 296. — Mummy-sledge and canopy. 

equal to some of later date. One of them (fig. 297) has 

retained its brilliance of colour to a remarkable extent. 

The frame, for- 
merly filled in with 
a network of cords, 
stands on four 
lion's feet. The 
back is decorated 
with two flowers 
and a row of 
lozenges in mar- 
queterie work of 
ebony and ivory 

on a red ground. Stools of similar workmanship 

(fig. 298), or folding stools with feet in form of the 

flattened heads of geese, 

are to be found in all % 

museums. Pharaohs and 

functionaries of high rank 

sought for more elaborate 

designs, and their seats arc 

at times very high. A 

painting of a royal chair 

shows the lower supports 

made of prisoners of war 

bound back to back (fig. 

299). A step placed in 

front Of the chair served Fi - 297— Inlaid chair, Eleventh 


also as a footstool. No 

complete example of this type of chair has yet been 
found. Arms were also provided for the chairs 
formed of leopards or of two running lions. From 



the tomb of the parents of Queen Tyi, discovered by 

Mr. T. Davis in 1903, come three charming chairs. 

The carved lion's feet are 

very similar to those of 

the Eleventh Dynasty, but 

the chairs are provided 

with arms. The back and 

sides of one chair are of 

solid wood elaborately 

sculptured and gilded. In 

front of the arms are tWO Fig. 29S.— Inlaid stool, Eleventh 

i_- 1 Dynasty. 

small female heads, which 

balance the lion's feet below. The sides of the two 

other chairs are carved in open- 
work designs. 

The hardness of the seats was 
obviated by adding a stuffed 
cushion richly worked. There 
is no doubt that tapestry was 
known to the Egyptians. One 
of the reliefs at Beni Hasan 
(fig. 300) shows that it was 
made on a frame similar to that 
used by the weavers of Ekhmim 
up to the present day. The 
loom is horizontal, although the 

Fig. 2 99 .-Royal chair of Egyptian lack of perspective 
state, wall painting, e { ves the impression of its being 

Rameses III. & r 

upright. It is composed ol two 
slender cylinders, placed about 54 inches apart, and 
held in place by two large pegs driven into the 
ground about $4 inches from each other. The 



threads of the warp were firmly knotted, and then 
rolled round the upper cylinder until the proper 
tension was attained — cross sticks placed at intervals 
facilitated the insertion of the spindles filled with 
thread. The work was commenced at the bottom, 
as is done with the Gobelins tapestries. The tissue 
was beaten down and equalised by means of a coarse 
comb, and the finished work was wound upon the 
lower cylinder as it progressed. In this way both 

Fig. 300. — Women weaving, from wall scene in tomb of 
Khnumhotep, Beni Hasan, Twelfth Dynast}'. 

tapestry and carpets were produced, one decorated 
with figures, the other with geometrical designs and 
zigzags and chequers (fig. 301), but at the same time 
a careful examination of the painted scenes has con- 
vinced me that the greater number of instances that 
have been thought to represent tapestry arc in reality 
intended for leather, cut and painted. The leather 
industry flourished. There are few museums that 
do not possess at least one pair of sandals, or of those 
braces provided for mummies with pink and yellow 



ends stamped with the figure of a god or of a Pharaoh, 
a hieroglyph text or a rosette, and sometimes with 
a combination of all four. These small objects are 
rarely of earlier date than the time of the high- 
priests of Amon or of the earlier Bubastites, and it 
is to this period that we must assign the cut leather 
canopy of the Cairo Museum. The catafalque that 
was placed over the mummy during its final journey 
to the tomb was often simplified, and consisted 
merely of a covering of some woven material or of 

rig. 301. — Man weaving hangings or carpet, from Eeni Hasan, 
Twelfth Dynasty. 

pliable leather. This covering sometimes hung 
straight, and sometimes it was caught back, allowing 
the mummy to be seen. The canopy now at Cairo 
was made for the Princess Isiemkheb, daughter of 
the high-priest Masahirti, wife of the high-priest 
Menkheperra, and mother of the high-priest 
Pinotem II. The central portion, which formed the 
top, is longer than it is broad, and is divided into 
three sections of sky blue leather, now faded to 
pearl grey. The two side pieces are strewn with 




yellow stars ; on the central piece are vultures 
guarding the deceased with outstretched wings. The 

curtains that fill in the sides are 

in green and red chequer work. 

>> The two side curtains have each 

£ a border at the top. That on the 

Q right consists of scarabs with out- 

stretched wings alternating with 

& cartouches of Pinotem II., and a 


jj frieze above of lance heads. On 
the left the design is more com- 
J= plicated (fig. 302). In the centre 
g is a tuft of lotus flanked by royal 
™ cartouches. Beyond on either side 
t, are gazelles kneeling on baskets, 
° then two bunches of papyrus, and 
£ finally two scarabs similar to those 
•5 on the other border ; the frieze 
~ of lance heads again extends the 
3 whole length. The technique of 
° the piece is very curious. The 
S hieroglyphs and figures were cut 
^ out of large pieces of leather. Into 
-S the gaps thus made other pieces 
m of leather of the desired 'colours 
were fitted, and the whole was 
strengthened and made good by 
a second piece of leather in white 
or pale yellow fastened behind it. 
Notwithstanding the difficulties 
that attended such a piece of work, the result 
obtained is very remarkable. The outline of the 





gazelles, the scarabs, and the flowers is as clear and 
graceful as if it had been drawn with a brush on the 
wall or on a roll of papyrus, the choice of subjects 
is happy, and the colouring is both bright and 
harmonious. The craftsmen who planned and exe- 
cuted the work of the canopy of Isiemkheb were 
highly experienced in this form of decoration and 

Fig. 303. — Bark with cut leather sail ; wall painting in 
tomb of Rameses III. 

the class of design required for it. I myself have no 
doubt that the cushions of chairs and of the royal 
divans and the sails of the funerary or sacred boats 
used for mummies or for statues of deities were 
frequently made of this leather work. There is a 
sail covered with chequer pattern and lateral rows of 
chevrons on one of the boats painted in the tomb of 
Rameses III. (fig. 303), and the chequers appear to 
be exactly similar to those on the canopy. 



The vultures and fantastic birds on another sail 
painted in the same tomb (fig. 304) are no more 
strange or difficult to cut in leather than the vultures 
or gazelles of Isiemkheb. 

The classical writers afford abundant testimony 
that the Egyptians of their time embroidered with 
rare skill. The two votive cuirasses presented by 

Fig. 304. — Bark with cut leather ; wall painting in 
tomb of Rameses III. 

Amasis, one to the Lacedemonians, the other to the 
temple of Athena at Lindos, were of linen embroidered 
with figures of animals in gold thread and purple, 
each thread of which consisted of 365 separate stran Js. 
For earlier evidence we find from the Theban tombs 
that the garments of the Pharaohs had borders cither 
woven or embroidered. The most simple of these 
consisted of one or more lines of a darker shade 

Tapestry and brocades. 337 

parallel with the edge of the material. Elsewhere 
we find palmettos, or rows of discs and points, leaves, 
coils, or curves, and occasionally figures of men 
divinities, or animals. On the garment of one of the 
Deir el Bahaii princesses I found a royal cartouche 
embroidered in pale rose colour. In the tomb of 
Thothmes IV., discovered by Mr. Davis in 1903, 
were found some pieces of linen with a pattern of 
flowers and hieroglyphs worked or woven in most 
charming colouring. 

The Egyptians of the best periods had a special 
esteem for materials in plain colours, especially white. 
They wove them with remarkable skill on a loom 
identical in all points with those employed for 
tapestry. The pieces of linen in which the hands and 
arms of Thothmes III. were wrapped are as delicate 
as the finest India muslin, and they deserved the 
name of ivoven air fully as much as did the gauzes of 
Cos : this is of course purely a matter of handicrafts 
into which art does not enter. The use of embroidery 
and tapestry only became general in Egypt towards 
the close of the Persian domination, and the com- 
mencement of the Greek period. Alexandria was 
partially populated by prosperous colonies of Phoeni- 
cians, Syrians, and Jews, who brought their native 
industries with them. Ptolemy attributes to the 
Alexandrians the invention of weaving with a variety 
of threads and producing the material now called 
brocade (polymita), and in the time of the earlier 
Caesars it was a recognised fact that " the needle of 
Babylon was henceforth surpassed by the comb of 
the Nile." The materials thus made were not like 


the ancient Egyptian tapestries, decorated almost 
exclusively with geometric designs, but, as the classical 
writers state, plants, animals, and even men were 
represented. Nothing now remains of the master- 
pieces which filled the palace of the Ptolemies, but 
fragments are frequently found that can be safely- 
attributed to the later Roman period, such as the 
child with the goose described by Wilkinson, or the 
marine divinities purchased by me at Koptos. The 
numerous fragments of shrouds with elaborate patterns 
woven on the borders discovered in the Fayum and 
near Ekhmim are almost all of them from Coptic 
burials, and they belong rather to Byzantine than to 
Egyptian art. 

3. —METAL. 

Metals were divided by the Egyptians into two 
groups, separated from each other in Egyptian writings 
by the mention of various kinds of precious stones 
such as lapis lazuli or malachite. The noble metals 
were gold, electrum, and silver ; the base metals were 
copper, iron, and lead, to which tin was added later. 
— Iron was known as early as the predynastic period ; 
some iron beads of that time proved on analysis to 
be of wrought iron. It is very rarely found, however, 
during the early dynasties, and in later times it was 
reserved for weapons of war, for tools intended for 
hard work such as chisels, sculptors' and masons' 
chisels, for axeheads and saws and the blades of 
adzes and knives. Lead was rarely used. It was 
occasionally employed as an inlay for the doors of 
temples, for coffers and other furniture, and it was 

BRONZE. 339 

cast for small figures of divinities more especially of 
Osiris and Anubis. From the earliest prehistoric 
graves copper implements are found in small quanti- 
ties, and its use rapidly increased and was almost 
universal up to the Sixth Dynasty, when it was 
gradually superseded by bronze. The vessels made 
of it are of hammered work and shaped on a core 
or mould. Accessories, such as spouts, were cast 
separately, and welded on with the help of a blowpipe. 
Rivets were also used to fasten one part of a metal 
vase to another. By the Sixth Dynasty bronze had 
come into use ; casting also was far more freely 

It has often been affirmed that the Egyptians 
succeeded in tempering bronze so that it became 
as hard as iron or steel, and it is certainly the case 
that they were able to produce bronze of very 
different qualities by varying the constituents and 
their relative proportions. The greater number of 
the specimens examined up to the present contain 
copper and tin in the same proportions that are used 
to-day in the manufacture of bronze. The bronze 
analysed by Vauquelin in 1825 contained 84 per 
cent, of copper 14 per cent, of tin, and 1 per cent, of 
iron and of other substances. A chisel brought to 
Europe by Wilkinson had only 5'9 per cent, of tin, 
O'l of iron, and 94 of copper. Fragments of statuettes 
and mirrors analysed more recently have rendered a 
sensible quantity of gold or silver and correspond 
with the bronzes of Corinth. Others have the colour 
and composition of brass. Many of the finest have a 
marvellous power of resisting the effects of damp, and 



ronze jug. 

oxidise with difficulty. While still hot they were 
rubbed over with a resinous varnish which filled up 
the pores, and formed an unalterable patina. Each 
kind had its special use. The ordinary bronze was 
employed for weapons, and for'the common amulets ; 
alloys similar to brass were used for 
household utensils, the gold or silver 
bronzes for mirrors, valuable weapons, 
and fine statuettes. None of the tomb 
paintings that I have examined repre- 
sent the manufacture of bronze, but 
that omission is supplied by an ex- 
amination of the objects themselves. 
Tools, weapons, rings, and cheap vases were parti}' 
hammered, partly cast whole in moulds of hard clay, 
or stone. Everything in the nature of a work of art 
was cast in one or more pieces according to circum- 
stances, and the pieces were then adjusted, soldered 
together, and worked over with the 
burin. The method most generally in 
use was casting by means of a core. 
The core was made of sand or earth 
mixed with pounded charcoal, roughly 
formed in the same shape as the mould. Fig. 306— Sa 
This was placed inside the mould, and J l, s seen ho,n 


the metal with which it was coated was 

often so thin that it would have yielded to the slightest 

pressure if the core had not been left inside it. 

The greater number of domestic utensils and small 
household implements were usually made of copper 
or bronze ; they are to be found by thousands in our 
museums. In Egypt trade was not incompatible 


with art, and the coppersmith endeavoured to give 
beauty of form and of ornament even to the humblest 
of his productions. The stockpot in which the cook 
of Rameses III. patiently allowed his most elaborate 
dishes to simmer is provided with lion's feet. Here 
is a pitcher that does not appear to differ in 
any way from the modern pitcher (fig. 305), 
but let us examine it more closely. The 
handle is a papyrus flower, and the petals 
drooping on their stem rest on the rim of the 
jug (fig. 306). The handle of a knife or spoon 
is almost always the curved neck of a duck or 
a goose. The bowl of the spoon may be an 
animal, such as a gazelle bound ready for 
sacrifice (fig. 307), and on the handle of a 
sabre a small jackal is seated. The upper half 
of a pair of scissors at Cairo is formed of an 
Asiatic captive, with arms bound behind his 
back. A mirror is composed of a leaf, the 
stalk forming the handle. One 
box for perfumes is a fish, another 
is a bird, and a third is a grotesque 
deity. Vases for holy water 
carried by priests and priestesses 
to sprinkle the faithful, or the 
ground over which processions Fig. 307.— Lamp, Gr*co- 
were about to pass, merit a Roman period, 

special place of honour among connoisseurs. They 
are pointed or ovoid at the lower end, and 
decorated with designs in outline or relief. Some- 
times there are figures of deities, each enclosed in 
a separate framework, and sometimes scenes of 



prayer or of lustration, and the work is generally 

extremely good. 

Both copper and bronze were early employed for 

statuary. The statue of 
Pepi I. discovered by 
Ouibell at Kom el 
Ahmar has already been 
mentioned. The tech- 
nique is not the least 
interesting thing about 
it. Bust, legs, and arms 
were hammered out and 
fitted together most 
accurately ; the hands, 
face, and feet were cast. 
We possess some pieces 
of the Eighteenth and 
Nineteenth Dynasties ; 
the chased lion's head 
found with the jewels 
and weapons of Queen 
Aahhotep, the Harpo- 
crates of Cairo that 
bears the names of 
Karnes and of Aahmes I., 
and several figures of 
Amon in the same 
museum, said to come 
from Medinet Habu and 

Fig 308. — Bronze statuette of the 
lady Takiishet. 

Sheikh Abd el Gurneh, are of that period. The most 
important pieces belong to the Twenty-second or 
Twenty-sixth Dynasty, while many are no earlier 



than the beginning of the Ptolemaic period. A 
fragment from Tanis in the possession of Count 
Stroganeff formed part of a statue of King Petukhanu 
of the Twenty-first Dynasty. It must have been at 
least two-thirds of life- 
size, and is one of the 
largest pieces we possess. 
The portrait statuette of 
the lady Takushet given 
by M. Demetrio to the 
museum at Athens, the 
four figures at the 
Louvre, and the kneel- 
ing genius at Cairo came 
originally from Bubastis, 
and probably date from 
the years that imme- 
diately preceded the 
accession of Psamme- 
tichus I. The lady 
Takushet is standing, 
one foot advanced, the 
right arm pendent, the 
left arm folded below 
the breast (fig. 308). She 
wears a short robe em- 
broidered with religious 
subjects, and she has bracelets on her arms and wrists. 
Her head is covered with a wig of short curls arranged 
in regular rows. The details of the dress and jewels 
are engraved in outline on the bronze inlaid with a 
line of silver wire. The face is a portrait and indicates 

Fig. 309. — Bronze statuette of Horus. 



a woman of mature age, while the body, following the 
traditions of the Egyptian school, is that of a girl, 
upright, firm, and supple. There is a large admixture 
of gold in the copper, and the soft lustre harmonises 
in the happiest manner with the rich ornamentation 

of the embroidery. The kneeling 
genius of Cairo, on the contrary, 
produces a rough and harsh effect. 
He is adoring the rising sun as 
was the bounden duty of the genii 
of Heliopolis; he is hawk-headed, 
his right arm is sharply raised, 
the left is folded on his breast. 
The whole style is dry and the 
impression of harshness is in- 
creased by the granulated surface 
of the skin, but the movement is 
correct and energetic, and the 
bird's head is adjusted to the 
human body with consummate 

The same merits and demerits 
distinguish the Horus of the 
Louvre (fig. 309). Standing with 
outstretched arms, he is carefully 
pouring the contents of a libation 
Both vase and king have now 
disappeared. The other three figures are far better 
finished, especially one that bears the name of Mosu 
inscribed on the breast (fig. 310). Like Horus, he 
is standing with the left leg advanced, the left arm 
pendent, while the right hand once held the staff of 

Fig. 310. — Bronze sta- 
tuette of Mosu. 

vase over a king;. 


office. He is girdled with a striped waist-cloth, 
the end of which falls squarely in front. On the 
head is a wig formed of rows of small fine curls. 
The ear is large and round, the well-opened eyes 
were once inlaid with silver, which has been stolen 
by some native. The features bear a marked ex- 
pression of pride and determination. 

Of the numberless statuettes of Osiris, Isis, 
Nephthys, Horus, and Nefertiim that have been 
recovered from Saqqara, Bubastis, and other cities of 
the Delta, there is little to be said. Many, no doubt, 
are charming subjects for a glass case. The casting 
is faultless, and they are worked with great delicacy, 
but most of them are merely articles of commerce, 
made on the same pattern, and possibly cast in the 
same moulds, for centuries, for the edification of 
pilgrims and devotees. They are feeble and common- 
place, and can no more be distinguished from each 
other than the figures or coloured pictures of saints 
sold by hundreds in Europe to-day. Figures of animals, 
rams, sphinxes, and more especially of lions, on the 
contrary, maintained their individuality. The Egyp- 
tians had a special predilection for the feline tribe ; 
they represented the lion in all possible attitudes, 
chasing the antelope, attacking the huntsman, 
wounded and biting the wound, or in calm, dis- 
dainful repose. No nation has represented him with 
so intimate a knowledge of his habits, nor with such 
intensity of life. Several of the divinities, Shu, 
Anhiiri, Bast, Sekhet, Tefnut, were of cat or lion 
form, and as their cult was specially popular in the 
Delta, scarcely a year passes without discoveries 



being made at Bubastis, Tanis, Mendes, or some 
other less well-known town of large deposits of 
thousands of figures of these animals, or of human 
ficures with lions' or cats' heads. Our museums are 
crowded with the cats of Bubastis or the lions of 
Tell es Saba. 

The Horbeit lions may be reckoned among the 
masterpieces of Egyptian statuary. The name of 
Apries is inscribed on the largest of them (fig. 311). 

Fig. 311. — Bronze lion from Horbeit, Saite period. 

It formed part of the fastening of a temple door, and 
the back of the object was fixed with a wooden beam. 
The animal is caught in a trap, or is lying in a cage 
from which its head and forepaws protrude. The 
lines of the body are simple and full of power, and 
the expression of the face shows calm strength. In 
breadth of treatment and majestic demeanour it 
almost rivals the fine limestone lions of Araen- 
hotep III. 

The idea of overlaying stone or wood with gold 


was familiar in Egypt before the time of Menes. 
Many of the earliest stone vases have handles and 
rim covered with gold-leaf, and limestone beads are 
also overlaid with it. The gold is often mixed with 
silver. When amalgamated to the extent of 20 per 
cent, it changes its name, and is called electrum. 
Electrum has a fine pale yellow colour, which 
becomes paler as the proportion of silver is in- 
creased, and at 60 per cent, it is almost white. Silver 
was brought from Asia in rings, sheets, and blocks 
of standard weight. Gold was also brought from 
Syria in rings and blocks, and from the Sudan and 
from the Libyan Desert to the 
west of the Red Sea in nuggets 
and gold-dust. The processes 
of refining and smelting gold 

are represented on monuments 
of the early dynasties. On a 

/ J . Fig. 312.— Gold worker. 

bas-reliet at baqqara there is a 
record of the amount of gold entrusted to a craftsman 
for some piece of work, on another at Thebes the 
goldsmith is seated in front of his crucible holding 
his blowpipe to his lips to fan the flame, while his 
right hand grasps the pincers ready to seize the 
ingot (fig. 312). 

The Egyptians struck neither coins nor medals, but 
with this exception they made the same use that we 
do of the precious metals. We gild the crosses and 
cupolas of our churches ; they covered the doors of 
the temples with gold, as well as the lower part of 
the walls, certain bas-reliefs, pyramidions of obelisks, 
and even the obelisks themselves. The obelisks of 


Queen Hatshepsut at Karnak were thickly coated 
with electrum. " They were beheld from the two 
banks of the Nile ; both the lands of Egypt were 
illuminated by the splendour of their reflection 
when the sun rose between them as it rises on the 
horizon of heaven." 

The sheets of gold employed for these obelisks 
were forged on an anvil with a hammer, but for 
smaller objects small pellets were beaten flat between 
two pieces of parchment. The Louvre possesses a 
perfect goldsmith's book, and the gold-leaf it contains 
is as fine as that used in Germany in the eighteenth 
century. It was applied to bronze by means of an 
ammoniacal mordant. 

A wooden statuette that had to be gilded was first 
covered with a fine linen material or a thin coating 
of stucco, and then overlaid with gold or silver. 
Statues of Thoth,Horus, and Nefertum in gilded wood 
existed as early as the time of Khiifu. The temple of 
Isis, " Mistress of the Pyramid," contained a dozen of 
these, and this chapel was by no means one of the 
largest in the Memphite necropolis. The Theban 
temples seem to have possessed some hundreds, at 
any rate under the conquering dynasties of the New 
Kingdom, and the Ptolemaic temples were no less 
well provided. 

But bronze or gilded wood did not always content 
the Egyptian deities. They demanded solid gold, 
and it was unhesitatingly lavished upon them. The 
sovereigns both of the Ancient and the Middle King- 
doms dedicated statues cast or worked in the precious 
metals, while the Pharaohs of the Eighteenth and 


Nineteenth Dynasties, who could draw almost at will 
on the treasures of Asia, surpassed all that had been 
done in this respect by their predecessors. Even 
during the decadent period we find feudal lords 
continuing the tradition of the past, and like 
Mentuemhat, prince of Thebes, they replaced the 
images of gold or silver carried off from Karnak by 
the generals of Ashurbanipal during the Assyrian 
invasions. The amount of precious metal thus 
devoted to the service of the supreme god must have 
been considerable. Numbers of small figures mea- 
sured only an inch or two in height ; others measured 
three or more cubits. Some were made entirely 
either of silver or gold, others are partly gold, partly 
silver; others, again, rival the Greek chrys-elephantine 
statuary, where the gold is combined with carved 
ivory, ebony, and precious stones. Bas-reliefs at 
Karnak, Medinet Habu, at Denderah and elsewhere, 
represent these statues, and show us what they were 
like, and so does the statuary in limestone or wood ; 
the material may be different, but the style is the 
same. There is nothing more perishable than such 
work— the value of the materials foredooms it to 
destruction. All that survived the civil wars, foreign 
invasion, and the rapacity of the Pharaohs and 
Roman governors, fell a prey to the iconoclasm of 
the Christians. A few small figures in guise of 
amulets concealed in the mummies, a few statuettes 
once adored as domestic Lares, found among the 
ruins of houses, and some ex-votos lost in obscure 
corners of a temple, are all that have come to us of 
figures of divinities. An electrum statue of a youth 



Fig. 313.— Gold cup of Tahuti, 

Eighteenth Dynasty. 

of the time of the Eighteenth Dynasty was found in 
a private tomb close to the valley temple of 
Hatshepsut at Deir el Bahari. It is 5} inches high. 

The figure is nude. 
In one hand the 
boy clasps a lotus 
bud with its long 
stem. The work 
is not highly 
finished, but the 
modelling is deli- 
cate and subtle.* 

This is not a re- 
ligious piece. The 
figures of Ptah and 
Amon, belonging 
to Queen Aahhotep, another Amon at Cairo, and the 
silver vulture from Medinet Habii, are so far the only 
other pieces that can with certainty be attributed to 
the New Kingdom. The re- 
mainder belong to the Sai'tic 
and Ptolemaic periods, and are 
only distinguished by perfection 
of workmanship. 

The vessels of the temples 
and palaces have varied little 
better than the statuary. Early "1*3^*' 

in the nineteenth century the Fig. 314.— Silver vase of 

T ., n , Thmuis. 

Louvre acquired some flat- 
bottomed bowls or cups that had been presented by 
Thothmes III. to Tahuti, one of his generals, as a 

* Earl of Carnarvon, Five Years' Explorations at Thebes, I912. 




i S . 315. — Silver vase 


reward for valour. The silver cup is much mutilated ; 
the gold cup is perfect, and of a very charming 
design (fig. 313). On the lateral side is a hieroglyph 
inscription ; on the base a rosette is engraved, round 
which six fish arc swimming ; a border of lotus 
flowers united by a curved line 
surrounds the central design. 
The five vases of Thmuis, in 
the Cairo Museum, are of silver. 
They formed part of the temple 
property, and were concealed in 
a hiding-place from which they 
have only recently been removed. 
They date from the end of the 
Sai'tic age or the beginning of the Ptolemaic period, 
but the workmanship is purely Egyptian. Of one, 
only the cover remains, with a handle consisting of 
two flowers on one stem. The others are perfect, and 

decorated in repousse work 
with lotus lilies in bud and 
blossom (fig. 314). The 
form is simple and graceful, 
the ornamentation sober 
and delicate, the relief low. 
Fig. 316.— Ornamental vase in One,however,is surrounded 

by a row of ovoid bosses 
(fig- 3 r 5). with well-marked 
projections that somewhat alter the outline of the bowl. 
In 1906 the Cairo Museum was enriched by a large 
number of gold and silver vessels, discovered with 
other treasures at Zagazig and elsewhere. Some of 
them date from the Nineteenth Dynasty, and bear 

precious metal, from wall 
painting, Twentieth Dynasty. 



witness to the great skill of the gold-workers of that 
time. There are numerous flat silver cups, similar in 
form to that of General Tahuti, but far more elabo- 
rately decorated with repousst 
work and with the point. Two 
gold jugs belonged to Queen 
Tausert. Oneof these iscovered 
all over the body with a series 
of bosses in repousse work ; 
round the neck four bands of 
floral designs are engraved, and 
immediately below the rim is 
I V. 317.— Craterof precious a figure of an ox, with a hole 

metal, wall painting, 


Eighteenth Dynasty. 

through which is passed a ring 
for suspension. There is also 

a silver jug, with a gold handle in form of a goat. 

The animal is straining upwards, and its lips rest 

on the rim of the jug. The lower part of the jug is 

covered with rows of flowers 

in repousst work.* The whole 

forms a real masterpiece. 
The Pharaohs had not our 

commercial resources, and 

could not circulate the gold 

and silver extorted from con- 
quered nations in the form of 

coin. After deducting the 

share devoted to the gods 

they had no alternative but 

to melt the remainder into ingots or to convert their 

share of the booty into vessels of gold and silver or 

* G. Maspero, Guide to the Cairo Museum, 1910, pp. 401 ct seq. 


Fig. 31S. -Hydria of precious 
metal, wall painting, Eigh- 
teenth Dynasty. 



Fig. 319. — En- 
amelled cruet, 
wall painting, 
Eight e e n t h 

into jewellery. This was the case also with private 

persons, and from the time of Aahmes I. during at 

least six or eight centuries the taste 

for worked silver was indulged to an 

extravagant extent. Ail houses of any 

consequence contained not only what 

was required for the service of the 

table, dishes, ewers, cups, goblets, and 

baskets on which fantastic figures of 

animals were engraved and embossed 

(fig. 316), but they were also provided 

with large vases intended to be filled 

with flowers and displayed on gala 

days before invited guests. We have 

seen from the specimens we possess that some of 

them were of extraordinary richness, and also that 
some at least of the vases depicted on 
the monuments were copied from those 
in actual use, and we can turn to the 
wall paintings to show us the variety 
of forms in which they were fashioned. 
Here for instance is a crater with 
handles formed of two papyrus buds, 
and the foot of two full-blown blossoms; 
two Asiatics in sumptuous garments 
appear to be lifting it by exerting their 
full strength (fig. 317). Or again we 
find a kind of elongated hydria with a 
cover in the form of a lotus flanked by 

the heads of two gazelles (fig. 318) ; two horses' heads, 

bridled and caparisoned, are placed back to back at 

the foot. The body of the vase is divided into 


Fig. 320. — En- 
amelled cruet, 
wall painting, 



horizontal zones of which the centre one represents 
a marsh, with an antelope careering at full speed. 
Two enamelled cruets are surmounted, one with the 
plumed head of an eagle (fig. 319), the other with 

the head of the 
god Bcs between 
two serpents (fig. 
320). A gold cen- 
trepiece (fig. 321) 
sent to Amcn- 
hotep III. by a 
viceroy of Ethiopia 
represents one of 

Fig. 321. — Gold centrepiece of Araen- 
hotep III., wall painting, Eighteenth 

the most usual scenes of Egyptian conquest. A group 
of men and apes arc gathering fruit in a grove of 
dom-palms, two natives in striped waist-cloths, with 
a long feather stuck in their hair, are each of them 

Other men of the same tribe are 
kneeling on the ground and beg- 
ging for mercy from the Egyptian 
soldiery, while negro prisoners 
laid fiat on the ground are with 
difficulty raising their heads and 
shoulders. A cup with a shallow 
base and a high conical cover 
stands up among the trees. 
Evidently the workmen who carried out this design 
studied richness and effectiveness more than grace 
and beauty of design. It mattered little to them 
that the whole effect was heavy or in bad taste if 
only they could display their skill and the amount of 

Fig. 322. — Crater of 
precious metal, wall 
painting. Eighteenth 



precious metal they had at their disposal. Other 
centrepieces of the same type are represented among 
the offerings made to Rameses II. at Abu Simbel. 
Here buffaloes instead of giraffes are wandering loose 
among the palms. These were 
costly toys similar to those col- 
lected by the Byzantine emperors 
of the ninth century in their 
palace at Magnaura, and which 
they exhibited on gala days to Fig. 323.— Crater of pre- 
impress strangers. When the cious metal, wall paint- 

. ing, Eighteenth Dynasty. 

Pharaoh returned victorious from 

his distant campaigns these vases were carried in 
state in his triumphal processions, of which his 
unfortunate captives also formed part. 

Vases for ordinary use were of simpler form and 
less loaded with unnecessary ornament. The two 
leopards that serve as handles to a crater of the time 

of Thothmes III. (fig. 322) are 
not well proportioned and do 
not harmonise with the form of 
the crater. They are far from 
equal to the goat on the jug of 
pre _ Tausert. The crater, however 

cious metal, wall paint- (fi~ , 2? \ an J ewer /fi~ , 2 <\ 
ing, Eighteenth Dynasty. v ° J m JJi V & J t/ 

belonging to the same service 
are very happily conceived and have much beauty 
of form. 

These gold and silver vases, engraved, hammered, 
and repousse, and some of them bearing battle or 
sporting scenes arranged in zones were imitated in 
Phoenicia, and when exported into Asia Minor, 


Greece, and Italy, introduced into those countries 
many other shapes and designs of Egyptian gold and 
silver work. The passion for precious metals went 
so far under the Ramessides that they were not 
content to employ them for the service of the table. 
Both Rameses II. and Rameses III. had thrones 
of gold, not merely overlaid, but of solid gold en- 
crusted with precious stones. These were far too 
costly to last, and they disappeared on the first 
opportunity. Their artistic importance did not 
equal their intrinsic value, and we need not mourn 
their loss. 

All orientals, whether men or women, are great 
lovers of jewellery, and the Egyptians were no excep- 
tion to the rule. Not content with wearing it in 
profusion during their lifetime, they also loaded the 
arms, fingers, neck, ears, forehead, and ankles of their 
dead with ornaments. The quantity they deposited 
in the tombs was so great that even now, after thirty 
centuries of active search, mummies are still found 
from time to time that may be said to be sheathed 
in gold. Many of these gold ornaments were merely 
made for show on the day of the funeral, and the 
workmanship bears witness to the purpose for which 
they were intended. But in many cases the favourite 
jewellery of the deceased was buried with them and 
then the careful workmanship leaves nothing to be 
desired. As is only natural, a great number of rings 
and chains have survived to our time ; the ring was 
not merely an ornament as it is with us, but an 
object of primary necessity ; it was used for official 
sealing, and the seal held good in law. Thus every 


Egyptian had his own ring that he carried with him 
in case of need. The ring of the poor man was 
merely of copper or silver, the ring of the rich was 
more or less elaborately chased and ornamented With 
reliefs. The movable bezel turned on a pivot, and 
was frequently set with an engraved stone bearing 
a device or emblem chosen by the owner, such as a 
scorpion (fig. 325), a lion, a sparrow-hawk, or a 
cynocephalous ape. For the Egyptian woman the 
chain was of as great importance as was the ring for 
her husband ; it was her chief ornament. I have seen 
one in silver that measured 63 inches in length, while 
others are barely 2 or 2\ inches long. 
They are made in every variety of 
pattern, in double or treble rows, with 
large or small links, solid and heavy, 
or as light and flexible as the finest Fi „- 
Venetian chain. The poorest peasant Signet-ring 

with bezel 

could possess one as well as the ladies 
of the royal harem, but the woman must indeed 
have been poor whose dowry did not include some- 
thing more. No list could give an adequate idea 
of the amount and variety of jewellery known to 
us, Berlin possesses the jewellery of an Ethiopian 
Candace, and the Louvre has that of Prince Psar, but 
the jewel room at Cairo possesses a wealth of gold, 
silver, and enamelled work which forms a complete 
history of Egyptian jewellery. 

There are the four bracelets found on a piece of an 
arm of a woman in the tomb of King Zer, of the 
beginning of the First Dynasty, at Abydos. The 
bracelets are made of pure soft gold, turquoise, dark 



purple lazuli, amethyst, and a kind of glaze or vitreous 
paste. One (fig. 326) is made of alternate plaques of 
gold and torquoise, the design being a house door 
surmounted by a hawk, the symbolic figure that 


Fig. 326. 

Fig. r 327- 



+*>■*• ' ••* <^ 

Fig. 328. 

Fig. 329. 

Bracelets,' First Dynasty. 

throughout historic times encloses the " Horus name" 
of the Pharaohs. The turquoise plaques show signs of 
re-threading, and the style of the carving indicates 
that they are somewhat earlier than the rest of the 
work. Two bracelets (figs. 327, 328) are formed of 
beads of various shapes finely cut and elaborately 



threaded. The fourth (fig. 329) has a gold flower of 
very beautiful workmanship. 

The jewellery of the Old Kingdom is still very 
rare. There are necklaces formed of ?old links 

t o 

copied from a shell the cyprcea ; a minute gold lion, 
and a fine wasp used as pendants, and some repousse 
figures of animals in thin gold-leaf.* 

Fig. 330. — Gold cloisonne pectoral, bearing cartouche of 
Senusert III. Fro n Dahshur. 

The treasure of Dahshur consists of a mass of 
pectorals, rings, bracelets, necklaces, chains, pendants, 
and diadems that belonged to the wives of three of 
the Pharaohs of the Twelfth Dynasty. The pectorals 
of gold cloisonne work inlaid with vitreous paste 
or precious stones, which bear the cartouches of Senu- 
sert II., Senusert III. (fig. 330), and Amenemhat III., 

* G. Maspero, Guide to the Cairo Museum, 1910, p. 383. 



exhibit marvellous precision of taste, lightness of 
touch, and dexterity of fine workmanship. There 
are two crowns. One is merely a delicate frame- 
work of gold threads united at six regular intervals 
by flowers with a carnelian centre and blue petals 
and sprinkled with tiny flowers also in red and blue. 
It could never have been worn ; the weight of the 
flowers would have been too much for the delicate 
framework, and it must have been 
made expressly to be placed in a 
tomb. The second diadem has an 
alternative pattern of rosettes and 
lyres formed of gold, carnelian, lapis 
lazuli, red jasper, and felspar. 

The ornaments of Queen Aah- 
hotep are far more substantial, and 
were made for use by the living. 
Aahhotep was the wife of Karnes, 
a king of the Seventeenth Dynasty, 
and she was probably the mother 
Fig. 331.— Mirror of of Aahmes I., first king of the 
o ep. Eighteenth Dynasty. Her mummy 
had been stolen by one of the robber bands that 
infested the Theban necropolis towards the close of 
the Twentieth Dynasty. They buried the royal 
corpse till they had an opportunity of despoiling it 
unobserved. They were probably seized and executed 
before they were able to carry out their project. The 
secret of their hiding-place remained undiscovered 
until some Arab diggers hit on the spot in 1859. 
The equipment provided for this queen consisted 
almost entirely of women's gear, jewellery, and 


weapons ; there was a fan handle laminated with 
gold and a mirror of bronze-gilt with an ebony handle 
ending in a gold lotus flower (fig. 331). 

The bracelets are of various types. Some were 
intended for anklets or to be placed on the upper part 
of the arm. These are plain gold circles either solid 
or hollow, edged with a species of filigree made of 
plaited gold wire. Others were intended for the 
wrist, and they are made of beads in gold, lapis lazuli, 

tfii/ctpr </")" 

Fig. 332. — Bracelet of Queen Aahhotep, bearing cartouche 
of Aahmes I. 

carnelian, or in green felspar, threaded on strips of 
gold and arranged in squares, each divided diagonally 
in halves of different colours. Two gold plates on 
which the cartouche of Aahmes I. are lightly engraved 
with the point form the fastening, and are connected 
by means of a gold pin. A very beautiful hinged 
bracelet belonging to the same king (fig. 332) suggests 
to some extent the methods employed in the manu- 
facture of cloisonne enamels. Aahmes is kneeling 
before the god Geb, and his acolytes the genii of 
Sopu and Khonu. The figures and hieroglyphs are 



Fig. 333. — Bracelet of Queen 

delicately worked with the burin on a gold plaque. 

The background is filled in with blue paste and lapis 

lazuli artistically carved. A bracelet of more compli- 
cated design, but of less fine 
workmanship, was placed 
on the wrist of the Queen 
(fig- 333)- It is of solid 
gold and consists of three 
parallel bands set with 
turquoises. In front is a 
vulture with outspread 
wings ; the feathers, ren- 
dered in green enamels, 
lapis lazuli, and carnelian 
are inserted in gold 

cloisons. The hair of the Queen was drawn through 

a massive gold crown, scarcely larger than a bracelet. 

On the oblong plaque fixed to the circlet is the name 

of Aahmes inlaid in blue 

paste, while a small sphinx 

at each end, appear to 

keep watch and ward over 

him (fig. 334). A thick 

flexible gold chain was 

twisted round the neck, 

finished at each end by 

the head of a goose which 

served to fasten the chain. 

Attached as a pendant to this chain was a scarab 

with feet and body of solid gold, and thorax and 

wing-cases of blue vitreous paste striped with gold. 
The decorations laid on the breast of the mummy 

Fig. 334. — Diadem of Queen 



were completed by a large necklace of the kind 
known as the Asekh (fig. 335). The fastening was 

Fig. 335. — Gold usekh of Queen Aahhotep. 

formed of two falcons' heads in gold, the details worked 
out in blue enamel. The rows of the necklace are 
composed of scrolls, of four-petalled flowers, of ante- 


r ] MlBllf.ariGBL''BULB^ 

Fig. 336. — Pectoral of Queen Aahhotep, bearing cartouche 
of Aahmes I. 

lopes pursued by tigers, of crouching jackals, winged 
uraei, falcons and vultures. All of these are in gold 
repousse work, and were attached to the winding- 




sheet by a ring fixed to the back of each 

object. Below this, one of the square 

plaques to which the name of pectoral is 

given (fig. 336) was hung on the breast. 

In general appearance this resembles a 

naos. Aahmes is standing between Amon 

and Ra, who are pouring over his head and 

body the water intended for his purification. 

The figures are outlined in gold cloisons, 

once filled in with small stones and enamels, 

many of which have fallen out. The piece 

is somewhat heavy, and it is not easy to 

understand the use to which it was put. 

In order to do so we must recall the clothing 

worn by Egyptian women, a sort of tight 

dress of semi-transparent material that 

ended just above the waist, leaving the 

upper part of the body bare except for 

the narrow pair of braces that held up the 

garment. This bare space was covered 

with jewellery by the rich. The necklace 

half concealed the shoulders and neck, the 

pectoral filled in the space between the 

breasts, and the breasts themselves were 

frequently covered with two gold caps 

either painted or enamelled. 

In addition to the jewellery, weapons 

and amulets were heaped up in confusion, 

There were large massive gold flies sus- 

cartouche of pended on a fine gold chain, nine small 
Aahmes I. , . ....... . 

axes, three in gold and six in silver, the 

head of a lion in gold of minutely detailed work, a 

Fig. 337-- 


of Queen 




sceptre in black wood decorated with gold spirals, 

two anklets, and two poniards. One of these (fig. 337) 

has a gold sheath ; the wooden handle is decorated 

with triangles of carnelian, lapis lazuli, felspar, and 

gold; the knob is formed of four female heads in gold 

repousse work ; a bull's head in gold 

conceals the juncture of the handle 

and the blade. The edges of the 

blade are of solid gold, the central 

part of black bronze damascened in 

gold. On the upper face, below the 

prenomen of Aahmes, there is a lion 

chasing a bull opposite four huge 

grasshoppers, placed one behind 

another ; on the lower face we find 

the name of Aahmes, followed by 

fifteen flowers opening one out of 

another and diminishing in size to 

the point. Several daggers discovered 

by Dr. Schliemann at Mycenae are 

similarly decorated. The second 

dagger found with the Queen (fig. 338) 

is of a pattern not infrequently found 

at the present day in Persia and 

India. The blade is of yellowish 

bronze, very heavy, with a handle 

formed of a lenticular silver disc. 

the handle was held in the hollow of the hand, and 

the blade was passed between the index and the 

middle fingers. It may be asked what use a woman, 

and moreover a dead woman, could possibly have for 

so many weapons. The other world swarmed with 

Fig. 338.— 

Poniard of 
Queen Aahhotep. 

When in use 



enemies against whom it was necessary to struggle 

unceasingly — there 
were Typhonian genii, 
serpents, gigantic 
scorpions, tortoises, 
monsters of every de- 
scription. The daggers deposited in the 
coffin with the mummy helped the soul 
to protect itself, and as they could only 
be used in a fight at close quarters, pro- 
jectiles were added, bows and arrows, 
boomerangs of hard wood, and a war axe. 
The handle of the axe is in cedar-wood 
covered with gold-leaf (fig. 339). The 
name and titles of Aahmes are inscribed 
on it in characters of lapis lazuli, carne- 
lian, turquoise, and green felspar. The 
head is inserted in a notch in the wood 
and held in place by strips of gold bound 
round it. It is in black bronze and has 
been gilded ; one of the two faces has 
lotus flowers in precious stones on gold ; 
on the other face is Aahmes striking a 
prostrate barbarian, whom he is grasping 
by the hair ; and below is Mont, the 
Theban war-god, in the likeness of an 
eagle-headed griffin. Two boats in gold 
Battle-axe of ar >d silver represent the barge on which 
Queen the mummy crossed the river to reach 


its last resting-place, and in which the 
Queen would also navigate the waters of the West 
in the company of the gods. The silver boat was 



mounted on a wooden chariot with four bronze 
wheels, but as it was in bad condition it was taken 
off its carriage and replaced by the boat made of 
gold (fig. 340). The hull is long and narrow, the 
prow and stern end in tufts of papyrus gracefully 
curved inwards. On the poop and at the prow are 
two raised platforms surrounded by a solid balustrade, 
to take the place of a quarter-deck. The pilot is 
standing on one of them, and the steersman in front 
of the other is working the wide oar that serves as a 

Fig. 340. — Funerary bark of Queen Aahhotep. The boat is gold, 
the men are silver. 

rudder. Twelve oarsmen in solid silver are rowing 
under the orders of these two officers. In the centre 
Karnes is seated holding the sceptre and axe. 

All this provision was made for one single mummy, 
and I have only enumerated the most remarkable 
objects. The technique is irreproachable, and the 
good taste of the craftsman is as assured as the 
dexterity of his work. This high degree of perfection 
was not long maintained. Fashions changed, and 
jewellery became heavier in design. The ring of 
Rameses II. in the Louvre, with the pawing horse on 


the bezel (fig. 341), the bracelet of Prince Psar 
(fig. 342), with griffins and lotus in cloisonne enamel, 
are less happy in design than the bracelet of Aahmes. 
The jewellers who made them were no less expert 
than the craftsmen of Queen Aahhotep, but their 
taste and inventive faculty were inferior. Rameses II. 
must either refrain from wearing his ring or be 
prepared to see his little horses damaged by the 
slightest blow. This decadence, already observable 
in the Nineteenth Dynasty, becomes more marked 
as we approach the Christian era. The ear-studs of 
Rameses IX. in the Cairo Museum are an inartistic 

Fig. 341. — Ring of Rameses II. 

medley of filigree work, small chains, and pendent 
uraei, such as no ear could have worn without the 
lobe being greatly enlarged and deformed. They 
were found attached to the wig on the head of the 

The bracelets of the high-priest Pinotem III., 
found on the arms of the mummy, are mere circles 
of gold rounded and encrusted with coloured glass 
and carnelian, similar to those still made by the 
Sudanese blacks. The settlement of Greeks in 
Egypt only very gradually modified the style of 
Egyptian gold work, although eventually Greek types 
were substituted for native art. The gold jewels 



discovered at Saqqara in coffins of the Persian period 
are purely indigenous in style. The jewellery of an 
Ethiopian queen, purchased from Ferlini by the 
Berlin Museum, comprised, in addition to objects 
that might well be attributed to the Pharaonic period, 
others of a mixed style where Hellenic influence is 
easily recognisable. The treasures discovered at 
Zagazig in 1878, at Keneh in 1881, and at Damanhur 
in 1882 are completely alien to Egyptian art and 
traditions ; here are hairpins surmounted by a figure 

Fig. 342. — Bracelet of Prince Psar. 

of Venus, waist-buckles, agraffes for the peplum, 
rings and bracelets set with cameos, and coffers 
flanked at the four corners with Ionic columns. The 
ancient models were, ho.vever, still held in honour in 
the country districts, and the village goldsmith 
followed with fair success the ancient traditions, while 
their servile fellow craftsmen of the cities copied 
Greek and Roman models. 

In this rapid survey of the industrial arts there are 
only too many omissions. I have been forced to 
confine myself to quoting examples only from well- 


known collections, but there is much to be learnt 
from those who have the leisure to visit our provincial 
museums, and also to examine the specimens that 
have passed by purchase into private hands. There 
is an immense variety of small objects which illus- 
trate the industrial arts of ancient Egypt, and a 
methodical study of them has yet to be done. It is 
a task that holds out a promise of infinite pleasure 
and interest to the student who undertakes it. 



96, 230, 260, 

107, 132, 163. 

Aahhotep 181, 342, 350, 360-7. 

Aahhotep II. 323. 

Aahmes I. 299, 301, ^^^, 34 2 > 

352, 360-7. 
Aahmes II. 302. 
Aahmesnefertari 323. 
Aalu, fields of 198 (see Elysian 

Abacus 61, 63, 68, 133. 
Abi 309. 
Abu Gurab 78. 
Abu Roash 130, 
Abu Simbel 61, 

262, 263, 355. 
Abusir 65, 68, 78 
Abydos 1, 2, 3, 26, 28, 29, 171, 
230, 255, 292, 309. 

art of 234, 262. 

fort of 32, 33. 

royal tombs of 3,26,282, 357. 
Acacia 229, 248, 310, 318. 
Adze 55, 338. 
Agate 275, 277. 
Agraffes 369. 
Annas el Medineh 293. 
A'i 16, 179. 
Akhenaten 14, 16, 20, 179, 257, 

Alabaster 7, 48, 53, 74, 76, 101, 

189, 194, 243, 250, 281, 282, 

283, 284, 286, 304, 309, 325. 
Alexander, tomb of 270. 
Alexander II., colossus of 269. 
Alexandria 60, 269, 270, 271. 
Altar 73, 80, 100, 125, 282, 305. 
Alumina 293. 
Amasis 336. 
Amber 277. 
Amenemhat II. 90. 

Amenemhat III. 90, 168, 254, 

Amenemhat IV. 309. 
Amenhotep I. 181, 182, 256, 

Amenhotep II. 61 , 256, 302. 
Amenhotep III. 61, 82, 92, 94, 

121, 172, 206, 253, 257, 300, 

3". 346, 354- 

Ameni 174, 176. 
Ameni Entef Amenemhet 125. 
Ameniritis 264. 
Amethyst 276, 277, 280, 358. 
Anion 114, 119, I2i, 123, 127, 
260, 279, 280, 301, 342, 350, 

Amon Ra 113. 
Amphora 42, 211, 297. 
Amulets 55, 116, 118, 191,274, 

276, 277, 296, 298, 300, 340, 

349, 364- 
Andro-sphinx 105, 257. 
Angareb, or Nubian bed 317, 

Angulated grooving 9, 31, 86, 

Anhuri 345. 
Animal figures 201, 239, 257, 

3°6, 336, 337- 345. 359- 
sacrifice 55, 88, 112,1 13, 184. 
skins as shields 201. 

Ankh amulet 321, 323. 

Anklets 361, 365. 

Anna 256. 

Antef 299. 

Antelope 202, 345, 354, 363. 

Antimony 285, 300. 

Antonines, the 272, 273. 

Antoninus Pius 118. 




Anubis 139, 1S8, 193, 339. 

Anvil 348. 

Ape 196, 225, 354 (see also 

Apis bull 172, 296. 
Apopi (serpent) 188. 
Apries (Hophra) 302, 346. 
Aquamarine 277. 
Arch 9, 59. 
Archaic period 44, 130 (see 

Predynastic and Thinite 

Archers 210, 216. 
Architraves 53, 59, 63, 112, 175. 
Argo, Island of 254. 
Arrow-heads 276. 
Art, decadence of 186, 263, 368. 

duality in 114. 

influence of court on 235, 

schools 234, 255, 263, 264, 
269, 271, 272. 
Artists' models 195. 

palettes 195. 
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford 

44, 192, 193, 231, 233. 
Ashurbanipal 349. 
Asia Minor 278, 355. 
Asiatics 109, 305, 341, 353. 
Ass 196, 202. 

Assuan 51, 82, 91, 173, 174, 
252, 271, 293, 298. 

art school of 235, 271. 
Assyria 349. 

Astronomical figures 112, 187. 
Athena 336. 
Athens 343. 
Ati 168. 
Attitudes in statuary 239, 240, 

245, 266, 267. 
Atum 123. 

Axe 338, 364, 366, 367. 
Axum 123. 

Ba, the soul 128, 280. 

transmigration of 188. 
Babylonia 2ii2. 
Baityle 12 1. 
Bakenrenf 189. 


34 7. 


Bark, sacred 81, 91, 126 (see 

Boat of the Sun). 
Barrage 47. 
Basalt 48, 163, 194, 222, 264, 

Basket 353. 

work designs on pottery 289. 
Bas-reliefs 40, 163, 219, 223, 

225, 250, 255, 256, 258, 

261, 264, 267, 271, 273, 


Bast 193, 345. 

Bath 11, 25. 

Beads 275, 277, 294, 338, 
358, 361 

Beams laid in brickwork 6 

Bed 307, 317, 327, 328. 

Bedouin 48, 119. 

Begig 123. 

Beit el Wally 98, 230. 

Belief in rewards and punish- 
ments 178, 179. 

Benben stone 121. 

Beni Hasan 66, 96, 173, 174, 
176, 179, 191, 203, 252, 331. 

Berlin 357, 369. 

Bersheh 172, 173, 252. 

Bes 61, 65, 285, 313, 354. 

Biographies on tombs 179, 180. 

Birds with human arms 109, 

Birket el Kariin 45. 
Block houses 38. 
Blow pipe 339, 347. 
Boat 191, 212, 289, 315, 

of the sun 80, 126, 183, 
Bone 306. 
Book of the Dead 169, 

189, 197, 230, 320. 
Book of Knowing that which is 

in the Underworld 197. 
Book of Opening of the Mouth 

Boomerangs 308, 366. 
Boston 148, 243, 244, 306. 
Bracelet 279, 295, 343, 357, 

358, 359. 361, 3 62 - 3 68 , 3 6 9- 
Braces 332, 364. 






Breccia 48, 264, 281, 286 
Bricks, — 

burnt 4. 

concave courses of 34, 104. 

glazed 5, 302 et seq., 306. 

made with straw 131. 

marked with royal name 4. 

moulds for 3,4. 

sizes of 4, 131. 

unburnt 3, 104, 131, 169. 
Bridge 41, 42. 

British Museum 256, 305, 329. 
Bronze 122, 221, 223, 244, 245, 
291, 339, 34°. 34 2 , 34 8 > 

gilded 361, 366. 
Brush, artist's 195, 196, 200, 

219, 228, 290. 
Bubastis 2, 60, 105, 299, 343, 

345, 34 6 - 
Bubastites 93, 333. 
Buffaloes 355. 
Builders of Great Pyramid 148, 

Bull 276, 308, 365 (see Apis). 
Burin 362. 
Byzantine emperors 355. 

Cabinet-making 318, 319, 327 
et seq. 

Caesars (Graeco-Roman period) 
5, 66, 81, 107, 116, 198, 237, 
271, 326, 327, 328, 337. 

Cairo Museum 5, 123, 125, 199, 
221, 222, 227, 233, 236, 242, 
243, 244, 248, 250, 254, 256, 
258, 261, 264, 265, 269, 289, 
296, 299, 300, 301, 305, 306, 
308, 311, 314, 321, 333, 341, 

342, 343, 344- 35o, 35i, 357, 

Calaite 275. 
Caligula 273. 
Cameo 369. 
Canaanite cities 38. 
Canal 8, 41, 44, 51, 212. 
Candace 357. 
Canopic jars 191, 284, 292, 327. 

Canopy 328, 329, 333, 335. 
Capitals 51, 60, 65 et seq. (see 

also Columns). 
Caricature 196. 
Carnelian 275, 278, '280, 294, 

360, 361, 362, 365, 366, 368 
Carpets 332. 
Cartouches 55, 56, 68, 107, 

280, 296, 297, 305, 314, 334, 

Casting 339, 340, 342, 345. 
Cats 197, 345, 346. 
Causeway, of temples 73, 76, 

78, 10b, 163. 
Cedar-wood 309, 366. 
Ceilings 2, 19, 108, no, 166, 

Cella 83. 
Cellars 42, 104. 
Chains 356, 357, 359, 362, 364, 

Chairs 307, 317, 327, 329, 330, 

33 1 - 

Chariot 113, 209, 258, 327, 367. 

Chests 317, 318, 327. 

Chisel 221, 222, 242, 338. 

Chlamys 270. 

Christianity 273, 349, 368. 

Chrysoprase 277. 

Cinnabar 228. 

Claudius 273. 

Cloisonne enamels 359, 361, 

362, 364, 368. 
Cobalt 294. 
Coffers 307, 338, 369. 
Coffins 173, 181, 191, 193, 292, 

293, 3*9, 321 et seq., 325, 369. 
Coins 347, 352. 

Colossi 96, 120, 121, 237, 254, 
^ 255, 257, 260, 262, 269. 
Colours employed in painting, 
201, 228. 

for flesh tints, 229, 230, 236. 

for glass 294, 296, 297. 

for glaze 299, 300, 301. 

for ivory 307. 
Columns 10, 53, 54, 60, 66, 70, 
71, 107, 109, 163, 294. 



Columns, campaniform or bell- 
shaped 63, 64, 86. 

Hathor-head 69, 70, 97. 

lotus-bud 66, 86, 92. 

palm-leaf 68, 78. 
Combs 306, 308. 
Composition, in art 194, 199, 

205 et seq., 256. 
Conception of earth and sky 

of future life 128, 129, 181. 
Constellations in, 187. 
Contra Latopolis 69. 
Conventions of drawing 203 et 

Copper 42, 163, 223, 276, 294, 
309, 338, 339, 34°. 34 2 , 

344. 357- 
gilt 123. 
sulphate of 228. 

Copperas 294. 

Copts 338 (see also Christi- 

Coral 277. 

Corbelled vaulting 59, 103, 161, 

Cordage designs 288, 295. 

Corinth, bronzes of, 339. 

Corvee 248. 

Counterforts 36. 

Covering walls 32, 36, 37. 

Cow 102, 256, 266. 

Craters 353, 355. 

Crio-sphinx 106. 

Crocodile 196, 216. 

Crowns 44, 360, 362. 

Cruets 354. 

Crypts 88, 97. 

Crys-elephantine statuary 

Crystal 280, 281. 
Cuirass 336. 
Cuneiform tablets 24. 
Cups, of precious metal 350, 

352, 353, 354- 
Cusac, art of 257. 
Cushions 331, 335. 
Cynocephali 122, 188, 191, 357. 
Cypriote type of vase 296. 

Dad amulet 321. 

Dado 109, 303. 

Dagger 308, 365. 

Dahshur 81, 130, 132, 168, 359. 

Damanhur 369. 

Dancing 141, 203, 206. 

Daphnae 43, 295. 

Darkness of temples 87. 

Decani in. 

Deceased, name and titles of 

^39. 143. 175. 291, 319- 
Decoration of temples and 
tombs 77, 78, 8o, 107, 112 
et seq., 137, 166, 177, 187, 
199, 213. 

of the golden collar 78. 
Deir el Bahari 53, 69, 80, 98 

etseq., 171,206,253,256,296, 

297, 299, 309, 322, 337, 

Deir el Gebrawi 230. 
Delta, art of 234, 263, 264,. 

269, 271, 345. 
Denderah 61, 65, 69, 72, 105, 
in, 118, 172, 272. 

art school of 234. 
Derr 98. 
Dice 308. 
Diorite 48, 75, 189, 194, 222, 

244, 250, 281, 282, 286. 
Divans 317, 335. 
Divine descent of Pharaohs 

237, 241. 
Dogs 196, 202, 313. 
Doors, false 132, 136, 141, 143, 

on sides of coffins 320. 
Double or Ka 128, 129, 136, 

139, 143, 166, 181, 186, 187, 

Dovetails 56. 

Drah Abul, Neggeh 171, 299. 
Drain of hammered copper 163. 
Drawing 186, 194, 202, 204. 
Drill 221, 242, 277. 
Ducks 296, 314, 317, 341. 
Dwarf 241, 250, 251 
Dyke 45. 

stone 47. 



Eagle 354, 366. 
Earrings 279, 315. 
Earstuds 368. 
Earthquake 94, 162, 272. 
Ebony 246, 308, 309, 330, 349, 

Edfu 64, 65, 72, 105, in, 118. 
Edinburgh Museum 328. 
Eggs, mummied 292. 
Ekhmim 234, 292, 326, 327, 

331. 338. 
El Hibeh 2, 40. 
El Kab 2, 28, 29, 33, 34, 63, 

84, 105, 230, 297. 
Electrum 338, 347, 348, 349. 
Elephant 306. 

Elephantine 82, 83, 173, 306. 
Elysian fields 186, 187, 191, 

Embalming 128, 143, 191. 
Embroidery 336. 
Emerald 48, 277, 280, 294. 
Enamel 245, 248, 295, 301, 

306, 318, 357, 362 (see also 

Glaze and Cloisonne). 
Eshmuneyn 297. 
Esneh in, 168, 273. 
Eternal house 129, 136, 191, 

Ethiopia 123, 168, 272, 264, 

354. 357. 369- 
Etruria 278. 
Ewers 353, 355. 
Exorcisms 167. 
Eyes, inlaid 245, 248, 295, 

mystic 278, 301. 
on sides of coffin 320. 

Falcon 363. 

False doors 132, 136, 141, 143, 

necked vases 291. 
Fan 361. 

Fayum 123, 293, 295, 326, 338. 
Feast days 136. 
Felspar 277, 278, 280, 360, 361, 


Feudalism 173, 191, 349. 
Filigree 295, 361, 368. 
Fingers as amulets 277. 
Fireplace 13, 23. 
Fish 288, 301, 314, 341, 351 
Flint working 276. 
Flooring of cylindrical pots 26. 
Flowers 303, 304, 314, 316, 337, 

353. 359, 360, 363, 365. 
Fly, amulet 276, 364. 
Fortnight 136, 187. 
Fortress 2, 28 et seq. 
Foundation 5, 6, 30, 54, 79. 

animal sacrificed for 55, 56. 

deposits 55. 
Fox 314. 
Frit 298, 304. 
Frog 276, 278. 

Funerary barge 141, 190, 335, 

ceremonies 177, 187. 

cones 190, 291. 

feast 205, 211. 

furniture 189, 274, 307, 314, 

3*7. 3i8. 
offerings 136, 139, 189, 190. 

procession 174, 177. 

ritual 169, 174, 181. 

temples 68, 98, 101, 257. 

workshop 256. 

Gaming board 141, 308. 
Garden 13, 15, 16, 25. 
Garnet 277, 280. 
Gazelle 141, 178, 190, 202, 203, 
206, 217, 283, 284, 334, 341, 

Geb 361. 

Gebel Abu Fedah 51. 
Gebel Barkal 61. 
Gebel Sheikh Herida 51. 
Gebel Silsileh 96, 261. 
Gebeleyn 40. 

Genii 112, 183, 344, 361, 366. 
Genius, the kneeling 343, 344. 
Gerf Hossein 98. 
Giraffe 354, 355. 
Girdle tie, amulet 278, 2X0, 




Gizeh 53, 60, 102, 131, 165, 
237. 252. 
granite temple of 73, 102 (see 
Glass 293 et seq., 368. 

imitation of precious stones, 

inlay 295. 
Glazed pottery 190, 193, 275, 
286, 293, 301, 302, 304. 
stone 275, 297. 
tiles 303 et seq., 306. 
Glazes for inlay 21, 304, 358. 
Goat 202, 352, 355. 
Gold 141, 276, 279, 291, 295, 
312, 338 et seq., 346, 347, 

34 8 . 349, 35i. 355 et seq. 
!eaf 347, 348, 359, 366. 
Goose 189, 203, 284, 320, 338, 

34 1 . 362. 
Graffiti 73. 

Granary 2, 11, 14, 42, 104, 141. 

Granite 53, 79, 98, 101, 120, 

122, 161, 162, 164, 189, 

194, 222, 227, 264, 272, 

277, 286, 325. 

black 48, 189, 223, 254, 261, 


red 48, 60, 74, 189, 243, 260, 
264, 304. 
Grasshoppers 365. 
Graves, predynastic 129. 

of the middle classes 191. 

of the poor 191, 192. 
Gra^co-Egyptian art 270, 271. 
Greece 278, 356, 368, 369 
Greek period 199, 268, 279, 293 

(see also Ptolemaic period). 
Greyhound 202. 
Gurneh 67. 
Gurnet Murrai 296. 

Hadrian 271. 
1 l.iinatitc 276, 277, 280. 
Hairpins 306, 308, 313, 369. 
Half-months, feasi oi [36 (sec 

Hammer 34 8. 

Harhotep 1S1. 
Harpocrates 342. 
Hathor 63, 97, 100, 102, 193, 
244, 256, 266. 

head columns 69, 70, 97. 
Hatshepsut 49, 55, 91, 98, 100, 

122, 127, 182, 348, 350. 
Hawara 168. 
Hawk 241, 292, 301, 313, 344, 

Headrest 189, 280, 313. 

Heart, amulet 277, 296. 

scarab 279. 

Hearth 13. 

Hedgehog 285, 301. 

Hekalli 168. 

Heliopolis 2, 33, 39, 121, 122, 


Hellenic influence 269, 271, 
368, 369. 

Hemispeos 98 et seq. 

Hepzefa 174. 

Herihor 182, 323. 

Hermopolis 234. 

Herodotus 45, 105. 

Hesi 236. 

Hierakonpolis 200, 217, 233. 

Hieroglyphs 77, 78, no, 112, 
116, 123, 136, 186, 196, 208, 
236, 264, 290, 295, 298, 300, 
301, 304, 319, 322, 324, 333, 

334. 337- 35i, 361. 
Hippopotamus 216, 265, 280, 

296, 299. 
I littites 38, 211, 214. 
Holy of Holies 85 (see Saxc- 

1 1 wry). 
Hophra (Apries) 302. 
Horbeit 346. 
Horemheb 179, 205, 206, 211, 

230, 260, 261, 262, 263. 
Hori 290. 
Hori Ra 311. 
I lorn 31 ><>. 

Horse 178, _•<»», t,^,^, ^c>j, 368. 
1 torus 113. 1 23, 292, 300, 344, 

345. 34' s - 
name, on plaque 358. 

Servants of 72. 



Horus, statue of one 270. 
Hotesu pattern 328. 
Houses, facades of 17, 18. 

foundations of 5, 6. 

models of 27. 

plans of 9, 22 et seq. 

primitive 3. 

stories of 6, 7, 9, n, 16, 18. 
Human figure 202, 204, 231, 
239, 257, 289, 292, 306, 

. 307. 337- 

limbs as amulets 277. 
Human-handed birds 109, 305. 
Hunefer 198. 
Hunting scenes 201, 217. 
Hydria 353. 
Hyksos 254, 269. 
Hypostyle halls 85, 88, 90, 92, 

97, 101, 103, 106, in, 119, 

187, 263. 

Ibis 292. 
Illahun 168. 
Incantations 167. 
Incense 113, 143. 

burners 308. 
Incised patterns in pottery 289. 
India 365. 
Inlay 21, 295, 304, 318, 343, 

Iron 108, 221, 222, 223, 276, 

Irrigation 42, 44, 45. 
Isiemkheb 206. 

canopy of 333 et seq. 
Isis 113, 266, 269, 278, 279, 

280, 322, 329, 345, 348. 
Isthmus of Suez 293. 
Italy 356. 
Iuiya and Tuiyii, parents of 

Tyi 295. 
Ivy 321. 

Jack, for lifting 56. 

Jackal 191, i<)i, 309, 313, 327, 

34 1 - 

Jade, pink 286. 

Jar stoppers 43. 

Jasper 280, 294, 360. 
Jewellery 274, 276, 353, 356 
et seq. 
Egyptian love of 274, 356. 
Jugs 340, 352, 355. 

Ka (double) 128, 129, 136, 139, 
143, 166, 181, 186, 187, 

chamber 136, 138. 

statues 143, 144, 187, 190, 
241, 243, 310. 
Kadesh 38, 118, 211, 214. 
Kahun 1, 10, 289, 290. 
Kalaat Addah 96. 
Kalabsheh 62. 
Kames 342, 360, 367. 
Karnak 9, 53, 54, 58, 60, 6i, 

62, 65, 90 et seq., 105, no, 

118, 124, 220, 225, 256, 257, 

261, 263. 
Kasr es Said 172. 
Kemen, toilet box of 309. 
Keneh 298, 369. 
Khafra (Khephren) 73, 76, 78, 
107, 162, 237, 243, 284. 

temple of 73 et seq. (see also 
Granite Temple of Gi- 
Khamha 256. 

Khasekhemui, statue of 233. 
Kheops (see Khufu). 
Khephren (see Khafra). 
Kheti 179. 
Kheti, the 118, 213 (see Hit- 

Khnum 173. 
Khnumhotep 174, 176, 179, 

Khonsu 113, 114, 127, 261. 

temple of 67, 85, 263. 
Khu 128. 

Khufu 148, 243, 309, 348. 
Khuit 292. 
King as mediator 112. 

as priest 119 et seq. 

of divine descent 119, 237, 



Knives, bronze 338. 

flint 276. 
Kohl 285, 300, 308, 313. 
Kom el Ahmar 2, 33, 244, 342 
Kom Ombo 1, 9, 35. 
Koptos 26, 273, 338. 
Kosheish 45 
Kummeh 35.. 

Labyrinth 66. 

Lacedemonians 336. 

Lake Moeris 45, 46. 
of temple 91. 

Lamps 25, 341. 

Lance-head decoration 334. 

Lapis lazuli 228, 276, 277, 280, 
294- 338, 358, 360, 361, 365, 

Lead 294, 338. 

Leather 327, 332, 334. 
cut and painted 332. 

Lenticular ampulla 291, 297, 

Leopard 202. 

Libation 283. 

vases 327, 341, 344. 

Libyan desert 347. 

Limestone 7, 21, 48, 50, 52, 53, 
72, 79, 100, 101, 120, 131, 
163, 164, 166, 189, 195, 196, 
221, 225, 227, 233, 236, 243, 
250, 258, 261, 265, 282, 284, 
286, 298, 304, 346, 347, 349. 

Linen 327, 336, 337. 

Lintels 53. 

Lion 196, 202, 225, 283, 285, 
308, 327, 330, 342, 345, 

357. 359. 364. 365- 
Lions' feet for furniture 330, 

33 1 - 34 1 - 

Lisht 107, 168, 284. 

Loaves, feast of 136. 

Loggia 23. 

Loom 331, 337. 

Loop of cord on column 69. 

Lotus 9, 65, 109, 133, 206, 285, 
299. 3°°. 3 OI > 302, 303, 
305, 3!2, 313, 314. 3!5. 
3*9, 334. 350. 35L 353. 

361, 366, 368 (see also 
flower column amulets 278, 
296, 309. 
Louvre 242, 245, 250, 253, 
254. 268, 305, 315, 330, 

343. 347. 357. 367- 
Luminous, the 128, 129. 
Lute 206, 300, 315, 316, 317. 
Luxor 54, 60, 65, 94, 105, 120, 

122, 124, 125, 227, 257, 262, 

Lyres 360. 

Maat 295, 329. 
Mace heads 118, 233. 
Macedonian conquest 325. 
Magic formula? 139, 280. 

powers of sphinx, obelisk, 
etc. 116, 121, 193, 237 
(see also Amulets). 
Malachite 277, 338. 
Manfalut 168. 
Manganese 294. 
Marqueterie 330. 
Masahirti 333. 
Massarah 50. 
Mastaba 27, 130 et seq., 134, 

171, T72, 173. 
Mastabat el Faraiin 167. 
Masts in front of temples 52, 

86, 120. 
Matting, coloured 27. 
Medamot 64, 66, 72. 
Medinet Habii 9, 39 et seq., 60, 

61, 65, 66, 104, 119, 182, 

209, 220, 223, 225, 297, 306, 

323, 342, 349, 350. 
Medum 72, 130, 235, 289. 
Meir 230, 257. 
Memnon 120, 257, 272. 
Memphis 1, 39, 45, 53, 60, 
105, 130, 172, 178, 189, 
255, 269, 283, 299. 

art of 234 et seq., 243, 252, 
255, 262, 264, 266, 268, 
Mendes 346. 



Menes 52, 72, 168, 299, 306, 

Menkauhor 250. 
Menkaura 77, 162, 241, 243, 

244, 321. 
Menkhepperra 333. 
Mentu 114. 
Mentuemhat 349. 
Mentuhotep I. 253. 
Mentuhotep II. 101, 171. 
Merawi, Nubia 314. 
Merenptah 263. 
Merenra 165, 166. 
Merlon 31. 
Meroe 169, 272. 
Mesheikh 84. 
Metals 338. 

Migdol (Magadilu) 38, 39. 
Min, feast of, 136. 
Mines 42, 48. 
Minieh 173. 
Mirror 302, 309, 312, 313, 339, 

340. 34 1 - 
Models 225, 226. 
Mokattam mountains 161. 
Moeris 45 et seq. 
Monkey 285, 296, 301. 
Monoliths 60, 257. 
Monotheism 258. 
Mont 366. 

Months, feast of 136. 
Mortar 56, 131. 
Mosii 344. 

Mother-of-pearl 277. 
Moulds 190, 290, 340. 
Mourners 190, 239, 241. 
Mulkaf 13, 28. 

Mummy 143, 163, 164, 170, 
174, 187, 190, 191, 198, 
279, 295, 3*9, 325. 329, 
335. 349, 356, 3 6 °. 366, 

couches 328 et seq. 

of animals 292. 
Musical instruments 190, 196 

(see also Lute). 
Musicians 141 
Mut 114. 
Mycenae 365. 

Mycenaean type of pottery 

Mycerinus (see Menkaura) 

162, 321. 
Mystic eye amulet 278, 301. 

Naga 272. 

Nagada 172. 

Nai 312. 

Naos 69, 74, 125, 126, 295, 

329, 364- 
Napata 169. 
Necklace 277, 292, 294, 302, 

3!2, 321, 359, 363, 364- 
Nectenebo 70. 
Nefer-ar-ka-ra 163. 
Neferhotep 179. 
Nefert 236. 
Nefertari 97. 
Nefertum 345, 348. 
Negroes 109, 305, 354. 
Neith 280. 
Nekheb no. 
Nemhotep 250. 
Nephthys 279, 280, 322, 329, 

Netemt 295. 
Nesikhonsu 297. 
Ne-user-ra 78, 80, 163, 243. 
New York 197. 
Niche in tombs 129, 132 (see 

also False Door). 
Niles 109, 254, 264. 
Nilometer, table of offerings as, 

Nitocris 265. 
Nome no. 

goddess 244. 
Nubia 53, 80, 96, 130, 293, 314. 
Nubian bed 317, 327. 
Nurri 169. 

Oared galley 289. 
Obelisk 79, 82, 91, 120, 121, 
122, 123, 347, 348. 
magic power of 121. 
Obsidian 276, 277, 280. 
Ochre 201, 228. 

3 So 


(Enoch oe 296. 

Offerings for the dead 100, 

112, 125, 138, 166, 189, 288, 

Ombos 34, 43, 105, in, 272 
On (Heliopolis) 113. 
Oracles 126, 127. 
Orders of architecture 72. 
Orientation, of body 129, 165. 

of mastabas 131. 
Osirian cycle 186, 324. 
Osiride figures 6i, 77, 97, 123, 

Osiris 28, 61, 63, 88, 113, 139, 

167, 193, 266, 279, 339, 345. 
Ostraca 43, 197. 
Oval 297 (see Cartouche). 
Ox 51, 202, 205, 283, 284, 352. 
Oxford 44, 231, 233, 250, 314. 
Oxide of iron 293. 

of manganese 293. 

Pabesa 265. 

Pahurnefer 243. 

Painting 194 et seq., 228 et seq., 

on pavements 20, 21, 22, 108. 

on walls 12, 21. 
Pakhet 49, 96. 
Palestine 121. 
Palettes 129, 233, 275. 

painters 195, 228. 

scribes 189. 
Palm 192, 301, 354. 

columns 68, 78. 
Palmettos 337. 
Papyri 101, 184, 191, 195, 198, 

Papyrus 65, 109, 216, 230, 

249, 313, 34i. 353- 
columns 163 (see Campani- 

form Columns). 
Paris 243 (see Louvre). 
Pearl 277. 
Pectoral 359, 364. 
Pedishashi 268. 
I Ynnants 86. 
Pepi I. 166, 244, 284, 303, 342. 

199, 269, 
203, 208, 

Pepi II. 166, 168. 

Peplum 369. 

Perfume 82, 145, 187, 313, 34] 

Peristyle 97, 98, 123. 

Persia 365. 

Persian period 127, 

Perspective 201, 202 

210, 233, 258. 
Petamenoph 189. 
Pctukhanu 343. 
Philse 43, 65, 69, 70, 94, in, 

118, 273. 
Phoenicia 278, 355. 
Phoenician vase, type of 296 
Piankhi 41. 
Pig 188, 221, 222. 
Pigments 201, 228. 
Pillars 20, 60, 61, 62, 98, 174. 
Pinotem 199. 
Pinotem II. 333, 334. 
Pinotem III. 368. 
Pisebkhanu 255. 
Pithom 2, 43. 
Place d'armes 32, 33. 
Plan of tomb of Rameses IV. 

Planets in. 
Plants emblematic of union 

of North and South 109. 
Point, the 226, 277, 290, 361. 
Polygonal columns 78, 101, 

Porphyry 48, 276, 277, 282. 
Portcullis 153, 161, 162, 164. 
Portico 14, 25, 28, 133, 134, 

Portrait masks on coffins 


panels on coffins 326. 
Postern gate 32, 33. 
Potter's wheel 287, 288. 
Pottery 129, 132, 189, 
286 et seq. 

black incised 289. 

glazed 286, 287. 

painted 293. 
Precious stones $49, $56, 







Predynastic period 34, 129, 
1 3°, 275, 276, 281, 282, 
288, 289, 297, 338. 
tomb of Hierakonpolis 200. 
Priest 113, 136, 139, 166, 187, 
265, 311. 
High 333, 368. 
Primitive huts 3 (see Pre- 
dynastic and Thinite 
temples 52. 
Pronaos 88. 
Psammetichus I. 264, 343. 

the scribe 265, 266. 
Psar, prince 357, 368. 
Ptah 193, 350. 
Ptahhotep 27, 135, 216. 
Ptahmes 301. 

Ptolemaic period 66, 69, 81, 
88, 93, 94, 107, 112, 116, 
127, 225, 237, 268, 272, 

338. 343, 34 8 , 350, 351- 

art of the 268. 
Punt, land of 127. 
Purpose of wall paintings 141. 
Pylons 14, 17, 20, 82, 86, 93, 

103, 104, 107, 112, 120, 122, 

169, 213, 216, 231. 
Pyramid 154 et seq., 101, 170, 
171, 222, 302. 

period 282. 

temples 72, 73, 78. 

texts 187, 189. 
Pyramidion 122, 172, 347. 

Qodshu (Kadesh) 118. 
Quarries 42, 48, 49, 50. 

turned into chapels 49. 
Quarrying, methods of ,50, 122. 
Quartz 275, 281. 
Quartzite, yellow 304. 
Quay, of valley temples 73, 74 

Ra 364. 
Ra Harmakhis 
Raemka 247. 
Rahotep 235. 


Ram 225, 278, 345. 

kneeling as sphinx 105, 257. 
Rameses I. 93. 
Rameses II. 93, 94, 97, 103, 

118, 227, 254, 260, 262, 355, 

356, 3 6 7> 368. 
Rameses III. 39, 40, 119, 121, 
220, 221, 223, 254, 260, 
3°4> 3°5, 3°6, 323. 335. 
34i. 356. 

tomb of 185, 186, 187, 210. 
Rameses IV. tomb of 184. 
Rameses IX. 368. 
Ramesseum 54, 57, 65, 111, 

182, 262, 297. 
Ramesside period 5, 30, 182, 

192, 263, 299, 325, 326, 356. 
Ramps 73, 76, 78, 98, 101. 

for building 56. 
Ranefer 243, 245. 
Rats 196, 292. 
Red Sea 48, 347. 
Reed brush 195, 196, 200, 219, 

pen 199, 201, 228. 
Registers, superposed 115, 116, 

215, 217, 230. 
Rekhmara 212, 256. 
Relative proportions of human 

figures 141, 206. 
Repousse work 351, 352, 355, 

359, 365- 
Respondants 300, 327 (see 

Reversed capital 65. 
Rings 193, 279, 294, 300, 340, 

356, 357, 359, 367, 36 8 , 369- 
Ritual of embalment 181. 

of funerals 187 

of opening of the mouth 181. 
Riveting 339. 
Rock crystal 277. 
Rock temples 95 et seq. 

tombs 169, 173 et seq., 189, 

256, 325- 
Roman period 116, 168, 272, 

349 (see also Caesars). 
Roofs 2, 11, 12, 13, 26, 27, 28, 

59, 112, 129. 



Rosettes 300, 304, 333, 351, 

Royal tombs, Abydos 3, 26, 


Sacred animals 292. 

barks 81, 91, 126. 

beetles 278 (see Scarab). 

eye 278, 301. 
Sacrificial animals 80, 112, 113, 

Sahura 163. 
Sa"is 33. 

art of 264, 265, 267, 268 et 
Sa'ite period 296, 299, 325, 

350, 351. 
Sakkieh 2 1 . 
San 33. 
Sanctuary 77, 81, 85, 87, 88, 

89, 96/97. 98, 100, 103, 106, 

120, 125, 127, 176, 177. 
Sandstone 48, 50, 53, 82, 101, 

120, 194, 227, 257, 282. 
Saqqara 27, 60, 130, 131, 164, 

169, 216, 230, 247, 252, 283, 

292, 302, 345, 347, 369. 
Sarcophagus 161, 163, 165, 181, 

185, 188, 189, 265, 294, 319. 
Sardinia 278. 
Saw 277, 338. 
Scarab 278, 279, 297, 335, 362, 

used as seal 279. 
Scented fat 275. 
Sceptre 302, 365, 367. 
Schist 76, 233, 298. 
Scissors 341. 
Scorpion 357, 366. 
Scribe 265, 268, 290, 311. 

cross-legged 242, 243, 245, 
247. 253, 267. 

kneeling 243, 248, 267. 
Sculptor's models 224, 225. 

sketch 219, 220. 

trial piece 223. 

workshop 258. 
Sculpture 107, 163, 186, 194, 

218 et seq., 231 et seq., 258. 

Seal cylinders 153, 282. 

rings 356, 357. 

scarabs 282. 
Sealings of jars 282. 
Sebakh 25, 265. 
Sebekemsaf 227, 254. 
Sebekhotep III. 254. 
Sekenenra 181. 
Sekhemka 243. 
Sekhet 280, 313, 345. 
Semneh 28, 35, 36, 58. 
Seneferu 72, 107, 168. 
Sennetmu 292, 321, 329. 
Senuit 206. 
Senusert I. 35, 90, 168. 
Senusert II. 168, 359. 
Senusert III. 253, 359. 
Serdab 77, 143, 144, 165, 176, 

189, 190, 243. 
Serpent 183, 188, 278, 328, 
354- 366. 

amulet 276. 
Serpentine 194, 221, 222, 264, 

265, 276, 277, 282. 
Set 113. 

Seti I. 56, 93, 94, 102, 118, 
221, 260, 263, 303. 

tomb of 185, 186, 187, 220, 
Sharona 84. 

Sheikh abd el Gurneh 296, 342 
Sheikh el Beled 243, 247, 248, 

-2.53. 310. 
Sheikh Said 172. 
Shell 359. 
Shepseskaf 244. 
Sheshonk (Shishak) 41, 263, 

Shrine 101, 119. 
Shu 345. 
Sickle teeth 276. 
Silica 293. 
Silsilis 50, 51. 

Silver 276, 279, 309, 318, 338 
et seq., 347, 349, 350, 351 

353. 355. 357- 
inlay for eyes 345. 
Sinai 80, 119. 
Sistrum 69, 113, 302. 



Situ 283. 

Siut 132, 173, 174, 251, 269. 

Slate 233, 250, 275, 282. 

triads of Menkaura 243, 244. 
Slaves 48, 212, 250, 305, 315, 

Sledge 327, 329. 
Sleeping bench 21 (see also 

Sleeping chamber 13, 21, 25. 
Smelting 347. 
Snakes 167, 292, 313. 
Soda 293. 
Solar bark 187 (see Sun). 

disc 312. 
Sothis 136. 
Soul (Ba) 128, 129, 17S, 180, 

181, 183, 188, 280. 
South Kensington Museum 302 . 
Sow 188. 
Sparrow hawk 191, 278, 285, 

Speos 96 et seq. 

Artemidos 49, 96. 
Sphinx 74, 100, 104, 105, 121, 

253. 254, 255, 345. 362. 

avenues of 82, 257. 

magic powers of 121, 237. 

the Great 74, 162, 237. 
Spinning 141. 

Spoon 306, 308, 314 et seq., 341. 
Square as amulet 280. 
Squaring lines 219, 224, 225. 
Stables 42, 104. 
Stairs 12, 17, 24, 28, 31, 34, 70, 

81, 85, 86, 102, 173. 
Stars on ceilings 78, no, 187, 

Statues 76, 77, 120, 121, 124, 

163, 227, 231 et seq., 255, 

258, 264, 265, 272, 335, 

346, 348. 
from favissa at Karnak 124, 

in false door 137. 
Ka statues 143, 144, 187, 

189, 190, 241, 243, 310. 
moving oracles 126, 127. 
usurpation of 253. 

Statuettes 258, 301, 310, 339, 

34°. 343, 348, 349, 3"- 
Steatite 275. 
Steel 222. 

Stela 77, 133, 139, 141, 143, 
177, 179, 198, 282. 

of Bakhtan 127. 

upright stones 73, 121. 
Stone 104, 275, 277, 282, 325, 

blocks 53. 
inlay 304. 
quarrying of 50. 
transporting of 51. 
vases 276, 281, 282, 295, 

Stools 327, 330. 

Store chambers 76, 82. 

house 43. 
Stories of houses 6, 7, 9, n, 12, 

16, 18. 
Sudan 347, 368. 
Sun, boats of the 80, 126, 183, 
identity of deceased with 

journey of the 114, 183, 187, 

temple of the 78. 
Sun-dried brick 131 (see Crude 

Superposition in drawing 208. 
of registers 115, 116, 215, 
217, 230. 
Sycamore-wood 56, 230, 310, 

Syene 91 (see Assuan). 
Syenite 91, 164, 222, 281. 
Syria 121, 278, 347. 

Table 327. 

of offerings 124, 133, 189, 
258, 266, 282, 283, 284. 
Taharka 60, 93. 
Tahuti, cups of 350 et seq. 
Takushet 343. 

Tanis 2, 53, 121, 225, 254, 262, 
343, 346. 
art of 254, 255, 262, 264. 



Tank io, 24, 28. 
Tapestry 332, 337, 338. 
Taskmasters 48. 
Taud 280. 

Taurt (Thueris) 265. 
Tausert 55, 352, 355. 
Taxes 42. 
Tefnut 345. 

Tell el Amarna 1, 14, 16, 22, 
178, 257, 296, 297. 

art of 257, 258, 260, 264. 

palace of 20 et seq., 303. 
Tell el Yahudieh 304. 
Tell es Saba 346. 
Temple 7, 72 et seq. 

as image of the world 107. 

ceremonies 81, 112, 113, 119 
et seq. 

levels of 87. 

store-houses 43. 

terraced 99, 100. 
Tenons in statuary 242. 
Tesserae 304. 
Teti 165, 166. 
Thebaid 271, 306. 
Thebes 1, 105, 106, 173, 189, 
230, 255, 257, 265, 272, 
296, 325. 3 2 7. 347. 34 8 > 

art of 234, 252, 255, 256, 
258, 260, 262, 264, 266. 

necropolis of 169, 172, 178, 

town walls of 33, 40. 
Thinis 282. 

Thinite period 148, 231, 275, 
282, 303, 307. 

graves of 129. 

jewellery of 357. 

towns of I, 13. 
Thmuis, vases of 351. 
Thoth 113, 292, 348. 

feast of 136. 
Thothmes I. 90, 182, 256. 
Thothmes II. 91, 182, 322. 
Thothmes III. 49, 65, 67, 91, 

102, no, 182, 256, 297. 
Thothmes IV. 230, 337. 
Ti 134, 144. 

Tiberius 273. 

Tiger 363. 

Tin 294, 338, 339. 

Toilet-box 309. 

Tomb, chamber 142, 145, 146, 

161, 162, 165, 170, 171, 
178, 183, 189, 190. 

chapel 136, 174, 175, 178. 

of Rameses III. 185, 186, 

of Rameses IV. 184. 

of Seti I. 186, 187, 220. 
Tombs 129. 

excavated 169, 172 et seq. 

of the kings 1S1 et seq. 
Tortoise 313. 
Torus 58. 
Towns, plan of 7. 
Transmigration 188. 
Transport of stone 51, 122. 
Trees, varieties in Egypt 310. 
Trenches for common graves 

Tiiai 308. 
Turah 50, 51. 
Turin 126, 184, 196, 256, 260, 

263, 295, 310, 311. 
Turquoise 275, 277, 357, 358, 

362, 366. 
Tusks, carved 306. 
Tyi 300, 318, 331. 

Ilaga, feast of 136. 

Uazit no. 

Una 179. 

Unas 164, 165, 166, 186, 187. 

Uraei 68, 115, 226, 241, 244, 

328, 363, 368. 
Usekh necklace 363. 
Ushabtiu 190, 191, 290, 300, 

Usurpation of statues 253. 
Uzat 278 (see also Mystic 


Valley temples 73, 100, 107, 

162. 163, 244. 

of the tombs of the kings 
182, 296. 



Varnish 229, 324-5, 34O. 
Vases 189, 284, 289, 292, 296, 
300, 340, 341, 344, 347, 

35i, 355-- 

for flowers 290, 291, 353. 

stone 276, 281, 347. 
Vaulting 59, 174. 
Venus 271, 369. 
Vessels with cabins 201. 
Vignettes 198, 199. 
Vitreous paste 35S, 359, 362. 
Vultures 229, 301, 329, 334, 

336, 350, 362, 363. 

Wady es Sabua 98 

Wady Genneh 47. 

Wady Gerraweh 47. 

Wady Hammamat 48. 

Wall scenes 112 et seq., 141, 

200, 201. 
Walls 56 et seq,, 104, 105, 

covered with gold 347. 

covering 32, 36, 37. 

decorated with glazed tiles 

3°2, 3°3- 
Wasp 359. 

Water channel in street 7. 

cisterns 48. 

of youth and life 114. 
Waters of the West 366 (see 

Elysian Fields). 
Wattle and daub 2, 3, 52. 
Weapons in graves 129, 361, 

364. 365. 
Weaving 141, 332, 336, 337. 
Wells 20, 25. 

Windows 3, 10, 12, 28, 58, 86, 
Wine 42, 43, 206. 
Winged disc 328. 
Woman's face, in glass 296. 
Wood 125, 194, 195, 248, 250, 
275, 284, 295, 310, 318, 
321, 346, 349, 365. 

carving 263, 310, 311. 

gilded 347. 
Wooden panel of Hesi 236. 

Zagazig 351, 369. 
Zaru 41. 

Zcr 357- 
Zeser 168, 303. 
Zodiac, signs of the 112. 
Zowyet el Aryan 159. 




JAN i 7 1959