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Title: A History of Art in Ancient Egypt, Vol. II (of 2)
Author: Perrot, Georges, 1832-1914, Chipiez, Charles, 1835-1901
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A History of Art in Ancient Egypt, Vol. II (of 2)" ***










    New York: A. C. ARMSTRONG AND SON.







       § 1. The Graphic Processes  employed by the Egyptians in their
            representations of Buildings
       § 2. The Palace
       § 3. The Egyptian House
       § 4. Military Architecture


       § 1. An Analysis of Architectural Forms necessary
       § 2. Materials
       § 3. Construction
       § 4. The Arch
       § 5. The Pier and Column.--The Egyptian Orders
                 Their Origin
                 General Types of Supports
       § 6. The Ordonnance of Egyptian Colonnades
       § 7. Monumental Details
       § 8. Doors and Windows
       § 9. The Illumination of the Temples
      § 10. The Obelisks
      § 11. The Profession of Architect


       § 1. The Origin of Statue-making
       § 2. Sculpture under the Ancient Empire
       § 3. Sculpture under the First Theban Empire
       § 4. Sculpture under the Second Theban Empire
       § 5. The Art of the Saite Period
       § 6. The Principal Themes of Egyptian Sculpture
       § 7. The Technique of the Bas-reliefs
       § 8. Gems
       § 9. The Principal Conventions in Egyptian Sculpture
      § 10. The General Characteristics of the Egyptian Style


       § 1. Technical Processes
       § 2. The Figure
       § 3. Caricature
       § 4. Ornament


       § 1. Definition and Characteristics of Industrial Art
       § 2. Glass and Pottery
       § 3. Metal-work and Jewelry
       § 4. Woodwork
       § 5. The Commerce of Egypt






      Thebes, the Pavilion of Medinet-Abou, restored
      Portico in the temple of Medinet-Abou, restored
      Rahotep and Nefert, Boulak Museum
      The _Scribe_, Louvre
      The Queen Taia, Boulak Museum
      Funerary offerings, fragment of a painting upon plaster, Louvre
      Tomb of Ptah-hotep, fragment of Western Wall
      Tomb of Ptah-hotep, ceiling and upper part of Western Wall


           1. House
           2. The adoration of the solar disk by Amenophis IV.
           3. Egyptian plan of a villa
           4. Part of the plan of a house and its offices
           5. Partial restoration of a palace at Tell-el-Amarna
           6. Ground plan of the "Royal Pavilion"
           7. Plan of the first floor of the "Royal Pavilion"
           8. Longitudinal section of the pavilion
           9. Transverse section of the pavilion
          10. Brackets in the courtyard of the Royal Pavilion
          11. Plan of a part of the city at Tell-el-Amarna
          12. Bird's-eye view of a villa
          13. Model of an Egyptian house
       14-17. Plans of houses
          18. Piece of furniture in the form of a house
          19. House from a Theban wall painting
          20. House with a tower
          21. Battlemented house
          22. Decorated porch
          23. House with inscription
          24. House, storehouse, and garden
          25. Brewing
          26. Granaries
          27. Granaries
          28. Military post at Abydos
          29. Military post
          30. Bird's-eye view of the fortress of Semneh
          31. A besieged fort
          32. Siege of a fortress
          33. Brick stamped with the royal ovals
          34. The Sarcophagus of Mycerinus
          35. Door of a tomb at Sakkarah
          36. Stele from the fourth dynasty
          37. Stele from the fourth dynasty
          38. Flattened form of lotus-leaf ornament, seen in front and
                in section
          39. Lotus-leaf ornament in its elongated form
          40. Wooden pavilion
          41. Horizontal section, in perspective, of the first pylon at
          42. Workmen polishing a monolithic column
          43. Transport of a colossus
          44. Arch in the necropolis of Abydos
          45. Arch in El-Assassif
          46. Arch in El-Assassif
          47. Vaults in the Ramesseum
          48. Vault in the Ramesseum
          49. Elliptical vault
          50. Foundations with inverted segmental arches
          51. Transverse section of a corridor at Dayr-el-Bahari
          52. Section in perspective through the same corridor
          53. Vaulted chapel at Abydos
          54. Bas-relief from the fifth dynasty
          55. Detail of capital
          56. Bas-relief from the fifth dynasty
          57. Details of columns in Fig. 56
          58. Pavilion from Sakkarah
          59. Details of columns in Fig. 58
          60. Bas-relief from the fifth dynasty
          61. Details of the columns
       62-65. Columns from bas-reliefs
          66. Quadrangular pier
          67. Tapering quadrangular pier
          68. Pier with capital
          69. Hathoric pier
          70. Osiride pillar
          71. Ornamented pier
          72. Octagonal pillar
          73. Sixteen-sided pillar
          74. Polygonal column with a flat vertical band
          75. Polygonal pier with mask of Hathor
          76. Column from Beni-Hassan
          77. Column at Luxor
          78. Column at Medinet-Abou
          79. Column at Medinet-Abou
          80. Column from the Great Hall at Karnak
          81. Column from the Hypostyle Hall of the Ramesseum
          82. Column of Soleb
          83. Column of Thothmes at Karnak
          84. Corner pier from the temple at Elephantiné
          85. Pier with capital
          86. Osiride pier
          87. Hathoric pier from Eilithya
          88. Hathoric pier from a tomb
          89. Column at Kalabché
          90. Column of Thothmes III.
          91. Base of a column
          92. Bell-shaped capital
          93. Capital at Sesebi
          94. Capital from the temple of Nectanebo, at Philæ
          95. Capital from the work of Thothmes, at Karnak
          96. Arrangement of architraves upon a capital
          97. The Nymphæa Nelumbo
          98. Papyrus plant
          99. Small chamber at Karnak
         100. Apartment in the temple at Luxor
         101. Hall of the temple at Abydos
         102. Plan of part of the Hypostyle Hall at Karnak
         103. Tomb at Sakkarah
         104. Hall in the inner portion of the Great Temple at Karnak
         105. Portico of the first court at Medinet-Abou
         106. Portico of the first court at Luxor
         107. The portico of the pronaos, Luxor
         108. Part plan of the temple at Elephantiné
         109. Luxor, plan of the second court
         110. Portico in the Temple of Khons
         111. Luxor, portico of the first court
         112. Part of the portico of the first court, Luxor
         113. Portico in front of the façade of the temple of Gournah
         114. Part of the Hypostyle Hall in the Great Temple at Karnak
         115. Second Hypostyle Hall in the temple of Abydos
         116. Hall in the speos of Gherf-Hossein
         117. Medinet-Abou; first court
         118. Medinet-Abou; second court
         119. Portico of the Temple of Khons
         120. Portico of first court at Luxor
         121. Anta, Luxor
         122. Anta, Gournah
         123. Anta, Medinet-Abou
         124. Anta in the Great Hall of Karnak
         125. Antæ, Temple of Khons
         126. Anta and base of pylon, Temple of Khons
         127. Antæ, Medinet-Abou
         128. Antæ, Medinet-Abou
         129. Anta and column at Medinet-Abou
         130. Column in the court of the Bubastides
         131. Stereobate
         132. Stereobate with double plinth
         133. Pluteus in the intercolumniations of the portico in the
                second court of the Ramesseum
         134. Doorway
         135. Cornice of the Ramesseum
         136. Cornice of a wooden pavilion
         137. Pedestal of a Sphinx
         138. Cornice under the portico
         139. Fragment of a sarcophagus
         140. Fragment of decoration from a royal tomb at Thebes
         141. Plan of doorway, Temple of Elephantiné
         142. Plan of doorway, Temple of Khons
         143. Plan of doorway in the pylon, Temple of Khons
    144, 145. The pylon and propylon of the hieroglyphs
         146. Gateway to the court-yard of the small Temple at
         147. A propylon with its masts
         148. A propylon
         149. Gateway in the inclosing wall of a Temple
         150. Doorway of the Temple of Khons
         151. Doorway of the Temple of Gournah
         152. Doorway of the Temple of Seti
    153, 154. Windows in the Royal Pavilion at Medinet-Abou
         155. Attic of the Great Hall at Karnak
         156. _Claustra_ of the Hypostyle Hall, Karnak
         157. _Claustra_ in the Hypostyle Hall of the Temple of Khons
         158. Method of lighting in one of the inner halls of Karnak
         159. Auxiliary light-holes in the Hypostyle Hall at Karnak
         160. Method of lighting one of the rooms in the Temple of Khons
         161. Light openings in a lateral aisle of the Hypostyle Hall in
                the Ramesseum
         162. The Temple of Amada
         163. _Claustra_
         164. Window of a house in the form of _claustra_
         165. Window closed by a mat
         166. Funerary obelisk
         167. The obelisk of Ousourtesen
         168. The obelisk in the Place de la Concorde
         169. The obelisk of Beggig
         170. Upper part of the obelisk at Beggig
         171. Limestone statue of the architect Nefer
         172. Sepa and Nesa
         173. Ra-hotep
     174-176. Wooden panels from the tomb of Hosi
         177. Limestone head
         178. Wooden statue
         179. Bronze statuette
         180. Bronze statuette
         181. Ra-nefer
         182. Statue in the Boulak Museum
         183. Statue of Ti
         184. Wooden statue
         185. Statue in limestone
         186. Limestone group
         187. Wooden statuette
         188. Nefer-hotep and Tenteta
         189. Limestone statue
         190. Limestone statue
         191. Limestone statue
         192. Limestone statue
         193. Woman kneading dough
         194. Woman making bread
         195. Bread maker
    196, 197. Details of head-dresses
    198, 199. Nem-hotep
         200. Funerary bas-relief
         201. Bas-relief from the tomb of Ti
         202. Bas-relief from the tomb of Ti
         203. Sepulchral bas-relief
         204. Bas-relief from the tomb of Ra-ka-pou
         205. Statue of Chephren
         206. Wooden statue
         207. Sebek-hotep III.
         208. Sphinx in black granite
         209. Head and shoulders of a Tanite Sphinx in black granite
         210. Group from Tanis
         211. Side view of the same group
         212. Upper part of a royal statue
         213. Fragmentary statuette of a king
         214. Thothmes III.
         215. Thothmes III.
         216. Statuette of Amenophis IV.
         217. Funeral Dance
         218. Bas-relief from the tomb of Chamhati
         219. Portrait of Rameses II. while a child
         220. Statue of Rameses II.
         221. Prisoners of war
         222. Statue of Rameses II. in the Turin Museum
         223. Head of Menephtah
         224. Seti II.
         225. The Goddess Kadesh
         226. Statue of Ameneritis
         227. Bronze Sphinx
         228. Statue of Nekht-har-heb
         229. Statue of Horus
    230, 231. Bas-relief from Memphis
         232. Horus enthroned
         233. Roman head
         234. Wooden statuette
         235. Bronze cat
         236. Lion
         237. Bronze lion
         238. Sphinx with human hands
         239. Quadruped with the head of a bird
         240. Portrait of Rameses II.
         241. Intaglio upon sardonyx, obverse
         242. Reverse of the same intaglio
         243. Intaglio upon jasper
         244. Reverse of the same intaglio
         245. Seal of Armais
         246. Bas-relief from Sakkarah
         247. The Queen waiting on Amenophis IV.
         248. Bas-relief from the eighteenth dynasty
         249. Horus as a child
         250. Bas-relief from the tomb of Ti
         251. Bas-relief at Thebes
         252. From a painting at Thebes
         253. Painting at Thebes
         254. Painting at Thebes
         255. Painting at Thebes
         256. Bronze statuette
         257. Spoon for perfumes
         258. Design transferred by squaring
         259. Design transferred by squaring
         260. Head of a Cynocephalus
         261. Head of a Lion
         262. Head of a Lioness
         263. Outline for a portrait of Amenophis III.
         264. Portrait of Queen Taia
         265. Painting at Beni-Hassan
         266. Painting at Beni-Hassan
         267. Painting at Beni-Hassan
         268. Painting at Beni-Hassan
         269. Painting at Thebes
         270. Painting at Thebes
         271. Harpist
         272. European prisoner
         273. Head of the same prisoner
         274. Ethiopian prisoner
         275. Head of the same prisoner
         276. Winged figure
         277. Winged figure
         278. Battle of the Cats and Rats
         279. The soles of a pair of sandals
    280, 281. The God Bes
         282. Vultures on a ceiling
    283, 284. Details from the tomb of Ptah-hotep
         285. Carpet hung across a pavilion
         286. Specimens of ceiling decorations
         287. Painting on a mummy case
         288. Winged globe
    289, 290. Tables for offerings
         291. Pitcher of red earth
         292. Red earthenware
         293. Gray earthenware
         294. The God Bes
         295. Pendant for necklace
    296, 297. Enamelled earthenware
         298. Enamelled faience
         299. Doorway in the Stepped Pyramid at Sakkarah
     300-302. Enamelled plaque from the Stepped Pyramid
     303-305. Enamelled earthenware plaques
    306, 307. Glass statuettes
         308. Mirror-handle
         309. Bronze hair-pin
         310. Bronze dagger
         311. Pectoral
    312, 313. Golden Hawks
         314. Ægis
         315. Necklace
         316. Osiris, Isis, and Horus
    317, 318. Rings
    319, 320. Ear-rings
         321. Ivory Plaque
         322. Ivory Castanet
         323. Fragment of an Ivory Castanet
         324. Workman splitting a piece of wood
         325. Joiner making a bed
         326. Coffer for sepulchral statuettes
    327, 328. Chairs
     329-331. Perfume spoons
     332-334. Walking-stick handles
         335. Wooden pin or peg
         336. Hathoric capital




§ 1.--_The Graphic Processes employed by the Egyptians in their
representations of Buildings._

We have seen that sepulchral and religious architecture are
represented in Egypt by numerous and well preserved monuments. It is
not so in the case of civil and military architecture. Of these, time
has spared but very few remains and all that the ancient historians
tell us on the subject amounts to very little. Our best aids in the
endeavour to fill up this lacuna are the pictures and bas-reliefs of
the tombs, in which store-houses, granaries, houses and villas of the
Pharaonic period are often figured.

It is not always easy, however, to trace the actual conformation and
arrangement of those buildings through the conventionalities employed
by the artists, and we must therefore begin by attempting to
understand the ideas with which the Egyptians made the representations
in question. Their idea was to show all at a single glance; to combine
in one view matters which could only be seen in reality from many
successive points, such as all the façades of a building, with its
external aspect and internal arrangements. This notion may be compared
to that which recommends itself to a young child when, in drawing a
profile, he insists upon giving it two ears, because when he looks at
a front face he sees two ears standing out beyond either cheek.

In these days when we wish to represent an architectural building
exhaustively, we do it in geometrical fashion, giving _plans_,
_elevations_, and _sections_. To get a plan we make a horizontal
section at any determined height, which gives us the thickness of the
walls and the area of the spaces which they inclose. An elevation
shows us one of the faces of the building in all its details, while
the transverse or longitudinal section allows us to lay the whole of
the structural arrangements open to the spectator. Plan, elevation,
and section, are three different things by the comparison of which a
just idea of the whole building and of the connection of its various
parts may be formed.

The Egyptians seem to have had a dim perception of these three
separate processes, but they failed to distinguish clearly between
them, and in their paintings they employed them in the most _naïve_
fashion, combining all three into one figure without any clear
indication of the points of junction.

Let us take as an example a representation of a house from a Theban
tomb (Fig. 1), and attempt to discover what the artist meant to show
us. In the left-hand part of the picture there is no difficulty. In
the lower stage we see the external door by which the inclosure
surrounding the house is entered; in the two upper divisions there are
the trees and climbing plants of the garden. It is when we turn to the
house, which occupies two-thirds of the field, that our embarrassments
begin. The following explanation is perhaps the best--that, with an
artistic license which is not rare in such works, the painter has
shown us all the four sides of the building at once. He has spread
them out, one after the other, on the wall which he had to decorate.
This process may be compared to our method of flattening upon a plane
surface the figures which surround a Greek vase, but in modern works
of archæology it is customary to give a sketch of the real form beside
the flat projection. No such help is given by the Egyptian painter and
we are forced to conjecture the shapes of his buildings as best we
can. In this case he was attempting to represent an oblong building.
The door by which the procession defiling across the garden is about
to enter, is in one of the narrow sides. It is inclosed by the two
high shafts between which a woman seems to be awaiting on the
threshold the arrival of the guests. On the right we have one of
the lateral faces; it is pierced at one angle by a low door, above
which are two windows and above them again an open story or terrace
with slender columns supporting the roof. Still further to the right,
at the extremity of the picture, the second narrow façade is slightly
indicated by its angle column and a portal, which appears to be
sketched in profile. Want of space alone seems to have prevented the
artist from giving as much detail to this portion of his work as to
the rest. The left wing, that which is contiguous to the garden,
remains to be considered. Those who agree with our interpretation of
the artist's aims, will look upon this as the second lateral façade.
It presents some difficulty, however, because it shows none of the
plain walls which inclose the rest of the building and exclude the eye
of the spectator; its walls are left out and leave the interior of the
house completely open.

[Illustration: FIG. 1.--House; from Champollion, pl. 174.]

It may be said that this part of the picture represents an awning or
veranda in front of the house. But, in that case, how are we to
explain the objects which are arranged at the top of it--jars, loaves
of bread, and other house-keeping necessaries? It cannot be a veranda
with a granary on the top of it. Such a store-room would have to be
carefully closed if its contents were to be safe-guarded from the
effects of heat, light, and insects. It would therefore be necessary
to suppose that the Egyptian painter made use of an artistic license
not unknown in our own days, and suppressed the wall of the store-room
in order to display the wealth of the establishment. By this means he
has given us a longitudinal section of the building very near the
external wall. There is no trace of an open story above. The latter
seems to have existed only on that side of the house which was in
shade during the day and exposed after nightfall to the refreshing
breezes from the north.

This picture presents us, then, with a peculiar kind of elevation; an
elevation which, by projection, shows three sides of the house and
hints at a fourth. Representations which are still more
conventionalized than this are to be found in many places. The most
curious of these are to be found in the ruins of the capital of
Amenophis IV., near the village of Tell-el-Amarna. It was in that city
that the heretical prince in question inaugurated the worship of the
solar disc, which was represented as darting rays terminating in an
open hand (see Fig. 2). Among these ruins we find, upon the sculptured
walls of subterranean chambers, representations of royal and princely
villas, where elegant pavilions are surrounded by vast offices and
dependencies, by gardens and pieces of ornamental water, the whole
being inclosed by a crenellated wall. These representations were
called by Prisse _plans cavaliers_, a vague term which hardly gives a
fair idea of the process, which deserves to be analysed and explained.

[Illustration: FIG. 2.--The adoration of the solar disk by Amenophis
IV.; from Prisse.]

They are, as a fact, plans, but plans made upon a very different
principle from those of our day. Certain elements, such as walls, are
indicated by simple lines varying in thickness, just as they might be
in a modern plan, giving such a result as would be obtained by a
horizontal section. But this is the exception. The houses, the trees,
and everything with any considerable height, are shown in projection,
as they might appear to the eye of a bird flying over them if they had
been overthrown by some considerate earthquake, which had laid them
flat without doing them any other injury. As a rule all objects so
treated are projected in one and the same direction, but here and
there exceptions to this are found. In a country villa figured upon
one of the tombs at Thebes (Fig. 3), one row of trees, that upon the
right, is projected at right angles to all the others. The reason for
this change in the artist's system is easily seen. Unless he had
placed his trees in the fashion shown in the cut, he would not have
been able to give a true idea of their number and of the shade which
they were calculated to afford.

[Illustration: FIG. 3.--Egyptian plan of a villa; from Wilkinson, vol.
i. p. 377.]

The process which we have just described is the dominant process in
Egyptian figuration. Here and there, as in Fig. 1, it is combined with
the vertical section. This combination is conspicuous in the plan
found at Tell-el-Amarna, from which we have restored the larger of the
two villas which we illustrate farther on. In this plan, as in the
case of the Theban house figured on page 3, the artist has been
careful to show that there was no want of provision in the house; the
wall of the store-room is omitted, and the interior, with its rows of
amphoræ, is thrown open to our inspection.

No scale is given in any of these plans, so that we are unable to
determine either the extent of ground occupied by the buildings and
their annexes, or their absolute height. But spaces and heights seem
to have been kept in just proportion. The Egyptian draughtsman was
prepared for the execution of such a task by education and the
traditions of his art, and his eye seems to have been trustworthy.

Accustomed as we are to accuracy and exactitude in such matters, these
Egyptian plans disconcert us at first by their mixture of conscience
and carelessness, artlessness and skill, by their simultaneous
employment of methods which are contradictory in principle. In the
end, however, we arrive at a complete understanding with the Egyptian
draughtsman, and we are enabled to transcribe into our own language
that which he has painfully written with the limited means at his
command. In the two restorations of an Egyptian house which we have
attempted, there is no arrangement of any importance that is not to be
found in the original plan.

§ 2. _The Palace._

Their tombs and temples give us a great idea of the taste and wealth
of the Egyptian monarchs. We are tempted to believe that their
palaces, by their extent and the luxury of their decoration, must have
been worthy of the tombs which they prepared for their own occupation,
and the temples which they erected in honour of the gods to whom, as
they believed, they owed their glory and prosperity. The imagination
places the great sovereigns who constructed the pyramids, the rock
tombs of Thebes, the temples of Luxor and Karnak, in splendid palaces
constructed of the finest materials which their country afforded.

Impelled by this idea, the earlier visitors to Egypt saw palaces
everywhere. They called everything which was imposing in size a
palace, except the pyramids and the subterranean excavations. The
authors of the _Description de l'Égypte_ thought that Karnak and
Luxor, Medinet-Abou, and Gournah, were royal dwellings. Such titles as
the Palace of Menephtah, applied to the temple of Seti, at Gournah,
have been handed down to our day, and are to be found in works of
quite recent date, such as Fergusson's _History of Architecture_.[1]

    [1] FERGUSSON (in vol. i. p. 118, of his _History of
    Architecture in all Countries_, etc.) proposes that Karnak
    should be called a _Palace-Temple_, or _Temple-Palace_.

Since the time of Champollion, a more attentive study of the existing
remains, and especially of the inscriptions which they bear, has
dissipated that error; egyptologists are now in accord as to the
religious character of the great Theban buildings on either bank of
the river. But while admitting this, there are some archæologists who
have not been able to clear their minds entirely of an idea which
was so long dominant. They contend that the royal habitation must have
been an annexe to the temple, and both at Karnak and Luxor they seek
to find it in those ill-preserved chambers which may be traced behind
the sanctuaries. There the king must have had his dwelling, and his
life must have been passed in the courts and hypostyle halls.[2]

    [2] DU BARRY DE MERVAL, _Études sur l'Architecture Égyptienne_
    (1875), p. 271.

[Illustration: FIG. 4.--Part of the plan of a house and its offices,
figured in a tomb at Tell-el-Amarna; from Prisse.]

Among all the inscriptions which have been discovered in the chambers
in question there is not one which supports such an hypothesis.
Neither in the remains of Egyptian literature, nor in the works of the
Greek historians, is there a passage to be found which tends to show
that the king lived in the temple or its dependencies, or that his
palace was within the sacred inclosure at all.

There is another argument which is, perhaps, even more conclusive than
that from the silence of the texts. How can we believe that the kings
of such a pleasure-loving and light-hearted race as the ancient
Egyptians took up their residence in quarters so dark and so rigidly
inclosed. Their dispositions cannot have differed very greatly from
those of their subjects, and no phrase is more often repeated in the
texts than this: _to live a happy day_. The palace must have been a
pleasant dwelling, a place of repose; and nothing could be better
fitted for such a purpose than the light and spacious edifices which
lay outside the city, in the midst of large and shady gardens, upon
the banks of the Nile itself, or of one of those canals which carried
its waters to the borders of the desert. From their high balconies,
galleries, or covered terraces, the eye could roam freely over the
neighbouring plantations, over the course of the river and the fields
which it irrigated, and out to the mountains which shut in the
horizon. The windows were large, and movable blinds, which may be
distinguished in some of the paintings, allowed the chambers to be
either thrown open to the breeze or darkened from the noonday sun, as
occasion arose. That shelter which is so grateful in all hot climates
was also to be found outside, in the broad shadows cast by the
sycamores and planes which grew around artificial basins garnished
with the brilliant flowers of the lotus, in the shadows of the spring
foliage hanging upon the trellised fruit-trees, or in the open
kiosques which were reared here and there upon the banks of the lakes.
There, behind the shelter of walls and hedges, and among his wives
and children, the king could taste some of the joys of domesticity. In
such a retreat a Thothmes or a Rameses could abandon himself to the
simple joy of living, and might forget for a time both the fatigues of
yesterday and the cares of to-morrow; as the modern Egyptians would
say, he could enjoy his _kief_.

In such architecture as this, in which everything was designed to
serve the pleasures of the moment, there was no necessity for stone.
The solidity and durability of limestone, sandstone, and granite, were
required in the tomb, the eternal dwelling, or for the temples, the
homes of the gods. But the palace was no more than a pleasure marquee,
it required no material more durable than wood or brick. Painters and
sculptors were charged to cover its walls with lively colours and
smiling images; it was their business to decorate the stucco of the
walls, the planks of acacia, and the slender columns of cedar and
palmwood with the most brilliant hues on their palettes and with gold.
The ornamentation was as lavish as in the tombs, although in the
latter case it had a much better chance of duration. The palaces of
the Egyptian sovereigns were worthy of their wealth and power, but the
comparative slightness of their materials led to their early
disappearance, and no trace of them is left upon the soil of Egypt.

During the whole period of which we have any record, the East has
changed but little, in spite of the apparent diversity between the
successive races, empires, and religions which have prevailed in it.
We know how vast an array of servants and followers Oriental royalty
or grandeeship involves. The _konak_ of the most insignificant bey or
pacha shelters a whole army of servants, each one of whom does as
little work as possible. The domestics of the Sultan at
Constantinople, or of the Shah at Teheran, are to be counted by
thousands. No one knows the exact number of eunuchs, cooks, grooms,
and sweepers, of _atechdjis_, _cafedjis_, and _tchiboukdjis_, which
their seraglios contain. Such a domestic establishment implies an
extraordinary provision of lodgings of some sort, as well as an
extensive accumulation of stores. Great storehouses were required
where the more or less voluntary gifts of the people, the tributes in
kind of conquered nations, and the crops produced by the huge estates
attached to the Crown, could be warehoused. In the vast inclosures
whose arrangements are preserved for us by the paintings at
Tell-el-Amarna there was room for all these offices and granaries.
They were built round courtyards which were arranged in long
succession on all four sides of the principal building in which the
sovereign and his family dwelt. When, in the course of a long reign,
the family of the king became very numerous (Rameses II. had a hundred
and seventy children, fifty-nine of whom were sons), and it became
necessary to provide accommodation for them in the royal dwelling, it
was easy to encroach upon the surrounding country, and to extend both
buildings and gardens at will.

Although the great inclosure at Karnak was spacious enough for its
purpose, the families of the Pharaohs would hardly have had elbow room
in it. They would soon have felt the restraint of the high and
impassable barriers insupportable, and the space within them too
narrow for their pursuits. The palaces of the East have always
required wider and more flexible limits than these. If we examine
their general aspect we shall find it the same from the banks of the
Ganges to those of the Bosphorus. The climate, the harem, and the
extreme subdivision of labour, gave, and still gives, a multiplex and
diffuse character to royal and princely dwellings; memories of Susa
and Persepolis, of Babylon and Nineveh, agree in this with the actual
condition of the old palaces at Agra, Delhi, and Constantinople. They
were not composed, like the modern palaces of the West, of a single
homogeneous edifice which can be embraced at a glance; they in no way
resembled the Tuileries or Versailles.[3] They consisted of many
structures of unequal importance, built at different times and by
different princes; their pavilions were separated by gardens and
courts; they formed a kind of royal village or town, surrounded and
guarded by a high wall. In that part of the interior nearest the
entrance there were richly-decorated halls, in which the sovereign
condescended to sit enthroned at stated times, to receive the homage
of his subjects and of foreign ambassadors. Around these chambers,
which were open to a certain number of privileged individuals, swarmed
a whole population of officers, soldiers, and servants of all kinds.
This part of the palace was a repetition on a far larger scale of the
_sélamlik_ of an Oriental dwelling. The _harem_ lay farther on, behind
gates which were jealously guarded. In it the king passed his time
when he was not occupied with war, with the chase, or with the affairs
of state. Between the buildings there was space and air enough to
allow of the king's remaining for months, or years if he chose, within
the boundary walls of his palace; he could review his troops in the
vast courtyards; he could ride, drive, or walk on foot in the shady
gardens; he could bathe in the artificial lakes and bath-houses.
Sometimes even hunting-grounds were included within the outer walls.

    [3] The contrast between the palaces of the East and Versailles
    is hardly so strong as M. Perrot seems to suggest. The curious
    assemblage of buildings of different ages and styles which forms
    the eastern _façade_ of the dwelling of Louis XIV. does not
    greatly differ in essentials from the confused piles of Delhi or
    the old Seraglio.--ED.

These facilities and easy pleasures have always been a dangerous
temptation for Oriental princes. A long list might be formed of those
dynasties which, after beginning by a display of singular energy and
resource, were at last enfeebled and overwhelmed in the pleasures of
the palace. By those pleasures they became so completely enervated
that at last a time came when the long descended heir of a line of
conquerors was hurled from his throne by the slightest shock. The
tragic history of Sardanapalus, which has inspired so many poets and
historians, is a case in point. Modern criticism has attacked it
ruthlessly; names, dates, and facts have all been placed in doubt; but
even if the falsehood of every detail could be demonstrated, it would
yet retain that superior kind of truth which springs from its general
applicability--a truth in which the real value of the legend consists.
Almost all the royal dynasties of the East ended in a Sardanapalus,
for he was nothing more than the victim of the sedentary and luxurious
existence passed in an Oriental palace.

If we knew more about the internal history of Egypt, we should
doubtless find that such phenomena were not singular in that country.
The Rammesides must have owed their fall and disappearance to it. The
Egyptian palace cannot have differed very greatly from the type we
have described, all the characteristic features of which are to be
recognised in those edifices which have hitherto been called
villas.[4] There was the same amplitude of lateral development. We
have not space to give a restoration of the most important of the
"villas" figured at Tell-el-Amarna in its entirety; but we give enough
(Fig. 4) to suggest the great assemblage of buildings, which, when
complete, must have covered a vast space of ground (Fig. 5). By its
variety, by its alternation of courts and gardens with buildings
surrounded here by stone colonnades, there by lighter wooden
verandahs, this palace evidently belongs to the same family as other
Oriental palaces of later times. Within its wide _enceinte_ the
sovereign could enjoy all the pleasures of the open country while
living either in his capital or in its immediate neighbourhood; he
could satisfy all his wishes and desires without moving from the spot.

    [4] NESTOR L'HÔTE--a fine connoisseur, who often divined facts
    which were not finally demonstrated until after his visit to
    Egypt--also received this impression from his examination of the
    remains at Tell-el-Amarna: "Details no less interesting make us
    acquainted with the general arrangement ... of the king's
    palaces, the porticos and propylæa by which they were
    approached, the inner chambers, the store-houses and offices,
    the courts, gardens, and artificial lakes; everything, in fact,
    which went to make up the royal dwelling-place." _Lettres
    écrites d'Égypte_ (in 1838-9; 8vo, 1840); pp. 64-65.

We have chosen for restoration that part of the royal dwelling which
corresponds to what is called, in the East, the sélamlik, and in the
West, the reception-rooms. A structure stands before the entrance the
purpose of which cannot readily be decided. It might be a reservoir
for the use of the palace inmates, or it might be a guard-house; the
question must be left open. Behind this structure there is a door
between two towers with inclined walls, forming a kind of pylon. There
is a narrower doorway near each angle. All three of these entrances
open upon a vast rectangular court, which is inclosed laterally by two
rows of chambers and at the back by a repetition of the front wall and
three doorways already described. This courtyard incloses a smaller
one, which is prefaced by a deep colonnaded portico, and incloses an
open hall raised considerably above the level of the two courts. The
steps by which this hall is reached are clearly shown upon the plan.
In the middle of it there is a small structure, which may be one of
those tribune-like altars which are represented upon some of the
bas-reliefs. Nestor L'Hôte gives a sketch of one of these reliefs. It
shows a man standing upon a dais with a pile of offerings before him.
The same writer describes some existing remains of a similar structure
at Karnak: it is a quadrilateral block, to which access was obtained
by an inclined plane.[5]

    [5] _Lettres écrites d'Égypte_, p. 62. In some other plans from
    Tell-el-Amarna, given by Prisse, several of these altars are
    given upon a larger scale, showing the offerings with which they
    are heaped. One of them has a flight of steps leading up to it.

Perhaps the king accomplished some of the religious ceremonies which
were among his duties at this point. In order to arrive at the altar
from without, three successive gates and boundary walls had to be
passed, so that the safety of the sovereign was well guarded.

Upon the Egyptian plan, which forms a basis for these remarks, there
is, on the right of the nest of buildings just described, another of
more simple arrangement but of still larger extent. There is no
apparent communication between the two; they are, indeed, separated by
a grove of trees. In front of this second assemblage of buildings
there is the same rectangular structure of doubtful purpose, and the
same quasi-pylon that we find before the first. Behind the pylon there
is a court surrounded on three sides by a double row of apartments,
some of which communicate directly with the court, others through an
intervening portico. Doubtless, this court was the harem in which the
king lived with his wives and children. Ranged round courts in its
rear are storehouses, stables, cattle-stables, and other offices, with
gardens again beyond them. The finest garden lies immediately behind
the block of buildings first described, and is shown in our
restoration (Fig. 5). Here and there rise light pavilions, whose
wooden structure may be divined from the details given by the
draughtsman. Colonnades, under which the crowds of servants and
underlings could find shelter at night, pervade the whole building.
The domestic offices are partly shown in our figure. As to the
reception halls (the part of the building which would now be called
the _divan_), we find nothing that can be identified with them in any
of the plans which we have inspected. But it must be remembered that
the representations in question are greatly mutilated, and that
hitherto they have only been reproduced and published in fragmentary

We have now sketched the Egyptian palace as it must have been
according to all historic probability, and according to the graphic
representations left to us by the people themselves. Those of our
readers who have followed our arguments attentively, will readily
understand that we altogether refuse to see the remains of a palace,
properly speaking, in the ruin which has been so often drawn and
photographed as the _Royal Pavilion of Medinet-Abou_, or the Pavilion
of Rameses III.[6] It would be difficult to convey by words alone a
true idea of this elegant and singular building. We therefore give two
plans (Figs. 6 and 7), a longitudinal and a transverse section (Figs.
8 and 9), and a restoration in perspective (Plate VII.). To those
coming from the plain the first thing encountered was a pair of lodges
for guards, with battlements round their summits like the pavilion
itself and its surrounding walls. The barrier which is shown in our
plate between the two lodges is restored from a painting at Thebes,
but the two half piers which support its extremities are still in
existence. The pavilion itself consists of a main block with two lofty
wings standing out perpendicularly to its front. The walls of these
wings are inclined, and there is a passage through the centre of the
block. There are three stories in all, which communicate with one
another by a staircase.

    [6] In this we are supported by the opinions of MARIETTE
    (_Itinéraire_, p. 213) and EBERS (_L'Égypte, du Caire à Philæ_,
    p. 317).

[Illustration: FIG. 5.--Partial restoration of a palace at
Tell-el-Amarna; by Charles Chipiez.]

[Illustration: FIG. 6.--Ground plan of the "Royal Pavilion"; from

[Illustration: FIG. 7.--Plan of the first floor of the "Royal
Pavilion"; from Lepsius.]

[Illustration: FIG. 8.--Longitudinal section of the pavilion;

[Illustration: FIG. 9.--Transverse section of the pavilion; restored.]

This pavilion is entirely covered with bas-reliefs and hieroglyphic
texts. The best way to solve the problem which it offers is to accept
the teaching of history, and of all that we know concerning the
persistent characteristics of royal life in the East. Even in our own
day there are few eastern potentates who do not think it necessary to
lay down, on the day after their accession, the foundations of a new
palace. The Syrian Emir Beschir did so at Beit-el-din in the Lebanon,
and Djezzar-Pacha another at St. Jean d'Acre; so too, in Egypt,
Mehemet Ali and his successors built palaces at Choubra and other
places in the neighbourhood of Cairo and Alexandria. At Constantinople
recent Sultans have spent upon building the last resources of their
empire. In these matters the East is the home of change. The son
seldom inhabits the dwelling of his father. The Pharaohs and the kings
of Nineveh and Babylon must have been touched to some extent with the
same mania and eager to enjoy the results of their labour at the
earliest moment. The sovereigns of Egypt must have chosen the sites
for their palaces within the zone covered by the annual inundations.
In any part of Egypt forced labour would rapidly build up the
artificial banks necessary to raise the intended buildings above the
reach of the highest floods, while in such a situation trees and
shrubs would grow almost as fast as the palace walls. In a few years
the royal dwelling would be complete, and with its completion would
find itself surrounded by smiling parterres and shadowy groves.

When the whole of the fertile plain was at their disposal, why should
they have chosen a site where no vegetation could be reared without
the help of the _sakyeh_ and the _shadouf_? Why should they, of their
own free will, have built their dwellings close to those cliffs in the
Libyan chain which give off at night the heat they have absorbed from
the sun during the day? The buildings of Medinet-Abou are immediately
at the foot of the hill _Gournet-el-Mourraï_, which detaches itself
from the chain near the southern extremity of the Theban necropolis,
and thrusts itself forward, like a cape into the sea, towards the
outer limits of the cultivated ground.

We should not have looked for a palace in such a situation. We may add
that the site of the pavilion is not large enough to accommodate the
household of a king. It is closely circumscribed by the temple of
Thothmes and its propylæa on the right, and by that of Rameses at the
back, so that its dimensions would have seemed even more insignificant
than they are in comparison with those gigantic fabrics. The greatest
width of the pavilion is not more than about 80 feet and its greatest
depth than 72, and the small court which almost cuts the building into
two parts (see Fig. 6) occupies a good third of the surface inclosed
by these measurements. Taken altogether, the three stories could not
have contained more than about ten chambers, some of which were rather
closets than anything more ambitious. In spite of the comparative
simplicity of modern domestic arrangements a middle-class family of
our day would be cramped in such a dwelling. How then could a Pharaoh,
with the swarm of idlers who surrounded him, attempt to take up his
residence in it?

What, then, are we to call the little edifice which stands in front of
the temple of Rameses II.? Is it a temple raised by the conqueror in
his own honour? If we examine the bas-reliefs which decorate it both
within and without, we shall see that it thoroughly deserves the name
of _Pavillon Royal_ which the French savants gave to it. The
personality of Rameses fills it from roof to basement. In the interior
we find him at home, in his harem, among his wives and children. Here
one of his daughters brings him flowers of which he tastes the scent;
there we see him playing draughts with another daughter, or receiving
fruit from the hands of a third, whose chin he playfully caresses.
Upon the external walls there are battle scenes. Aided by his father,
Amen, Rameses overthrows his enemies. With wonderful technical
precision the sculptor has given to each figure its distinguishing
costume, weapons, and features. The triumph of the king is complete;
none of his adversaries can stand before him.

May we not seek the explanation which the arrangements of the building
fail to suggest, in this perpetual recurrence of the royal image,
figured in all the public and private occupations in which the life of
the monarch was passed? The way in which it pervades the whole
structure ought to be enough to convince us that the pavilion, like
the adjoining temple, is nothing but a monument to his prowess. It is
an ingenious and brilliant addition to the public part of the tomb, to
the cenotaph. In other buildings of the same kind the temple, with its
courts and pylons, is everything; but here, as if to distinguish his
cenotaph from those of his predecessors and to impress posterity with
a higher notion of his power and magnificence, Rameses has chosen to
add a building which groups happily with it and serves as a kind of
vestibule. It is difficult to say whence he borrowed the form of this
unique edifice. Perhaps from one of the numerous pavilions which went
to make up a pharaonic palace. Such, however, was not the opinion of
Mariette, who discusses the question more than once. His final opinion
was as follows: "The general architectural lines of this pavilion of
Rameses, especially when seen from some distance, agree with those of
the triumphal towers (_migdol_) which are represented in the
bas-reliefs of Karnak, Luxor, the Ramesseum, and Medinet-Abou. These
towers were erected on the frontiers of the country by the Egyptian
monarchs, where they served both as defensive works and as memorials
of the national victories. The royal pavilion of Medinet-Abou was,
therefore, a work of military rather than of civil architecture."[7]
The warrior-king _par excellence_ could not have preserved his memory
green in the minds of his subjects by any more characteristic

    [7] _Itinéraire_, p. 213.

    [8] See the curious extracts from the _Papyrus Anastasi III._,
    given by MASPERO, _Histoire Ancienne_, pp. 267-269.

But whether it is to be considered a palace or a fortress, this is the
proper place to study the details of this curious edifice. It forms,
indeed, part of an assemblage of funerary buildings, and its situation
is immediately in front of a temple, facts which might suggest that
its arrangements ought to have been discussed in an earlier chapter.
But these arrangements are in fact imitated from those of the ordinary
dwellings of the living. Its economy is not that of either tomb or
temple. The superposition of one story upon another is found in
neither of those classes of buildings but it is found both in
military and domestic architecture. So, too, with the mode of lighting
the various apartments. The darkness of the tomb is complete, the
illumination of the temple is far from brilliant, in its more sacred
parts it is almost as dark as the tomb. Prayers could be said to
Osiris without inconvenience by the scanty daylight which found its
way through the narrow doorway of the sepulchral chapel, but the
active pleasures of life required a broader day. We find, therefore,
that the pavilion was lighted by windows, real windows, and some of
them very large. Nothing is more rare, in the buildings which have
come down to us from the pharaonic epochs, than such windows; but then
most of those buildings are either tombs or temples. Civil
architecture in Egypt had to fulfil pretty much the same requirements
as in other countries. It was, therefore, obliged to employ the means
which have been found necessary in every other country and at every
other period.

[Illustration: FIG. 10.--Brackets in the courtyard of the Royal

The employment of the window is not the only structural peculiarity in
the pavilion of Medinet-Abou: upon the walls which surround the small
court, and between the first and second stories, there are carved
stone brackets or consoles, supporting flat slabs of stone. It has
sometimes been asserted that these brackets formed supports for masts
upon which a velarium was stretched across the court. But neither in
engravings nor in photographs have we been able to discover the
slightest trace of the holes which would be necessary for the
insertion of such masts.

But, leaving their purpose on one side, we must call attention to the
curious sculptures which are interposed between the upper and lower
slabs of these brackets. They are in the shape of grotesque busts,
resting upon the lower slab and supporting the upper one with their
heads. In the wall above a kind of framed tablet is inserted.[9] In
these figures, which are now very much worn and corroded by exposure,
we have a repetition of those prisoners of war which occur frequently
upon the neighbouring bas-reliefs in similar uncomfortable positions.
Such a motive is entirely in place in a building which, by the general
features of its architecture, seems a combination of fortress and
triumphal arch.

    [9] A careful examination of these tablets has yet to be made;
    at present we are without any information as to their probable
    uses. The authors of the _Description_ thought it likely that
    they were meant to receive metal trophies of some kind. They
    might have been covered with a painted decoration, or they might
    have been intended to be cut into barred windows and left
    unfinished. In the photographs the stone of which they are made
    seems to be different in grain from the rest of the walls.

It is difficult to admit that such a building as this was never
utilized. We may well believe that it was never built for permanent
occupation, but we must not therefore conclude that chambers so well
lighted and so richly decorated were without their proper and
well-defined uses. The floors of the first and second stories have
disappeared, but that they once existed is proved by the staircase,
part of which is still in place. The floors were of wood; the stairs
of stone. The general economy of the building shows that it was
intended that every room, from the ground-floor to the topmost story,
should be used when occasion arose. It is possible that they were
employed as reception rooms for the princes and vassal chiefs who came
together several times a year for the celebration of funerary rites.
In chambers richly decorated like these, and, doubtless, richly
furnished also, people of rank could meet together and await at their
ease their turn to take part in the ceremonies.[10]

    [10] EBERS, _L'Égypte, du Caire à Philæ_, pp. 317-318.

Although the pavilion of Medinet-Abou may, then, have no right to the
name of palace, the foregoing observations have justified their
position in this chapter by helping us to understand some of the
conditions imposed upon the Egyptian architect when he had to meet
civil wants. Some of our readers may have expected to find, in this
chapter, a description of a more famous monument, of that _Labyrinth_
of which Herodotus, Diodorus, and Strabo wrote in such enthusiastic

    [11] HERODOTUS, ii. 148; DIODORUS SICULUS, i. 64; STRABO, xvii.

[Illustration: Chipiez del Hibon sc.



Restored by Ch Chipiez]

But we are by no means sure that the ruins in the Fayoum are those of
the Labyrinth. These ruins, which were first discovered and described
by Jomard and Caristie,[12] and afterwards in greater detail by
Lepsius,[13] are upon the western slope of the Libyan chain, about
four miles and a half east-by-south from Medinet-el-Fayoum, at a point
which must have been on the borders of Lake Mœris, if the position of
that lake as defined by Linant de Bellefonds be accepted.[14] Mariette
did not admit that the ruins in question were those of the vast
building which was counted among the seven wonders of the world. "I
know," he once said to us, "where the Labyrinth is: it is under the
crops of the Fayoum. I shall dig it up some day if Heaven gives me a
long enough life."

    [12] _Description de l'Égypte_, vol. iv. p. 478.

    [13] _Denkmæler_, vol. i. plates 46-48. _Briefe aus Ægypten_,
    pp. 65-74.

    [14] See a remarkable paper on this question contributed by Mr.
    F. Cope Whitehouse to the _Revue Archéologique_ for June,

However this may be, the ruins are at present in such a state of
confusion that every traveller who visits the place comes away
disappointed. "If," says Ebers, "we climb the pyramid of powdery grey
bricks--once however coated with polished granite--which, as Strabo
tells us, stood at one extremity of the Labyrinth, we shall see that
the immense palace in which the chiefs of the Egyptian nomes assembled
at certain dates to meet the king was shaped like a horse shoe. But
that is all that can be seen. The middle of the building and the whole
of the left wing are entirely destroyed, while the confused mass of
ruined halls and chambers on the right--which the natives of El-Howara
think to be the bazaar of some vanished city--are composed of wretched
blocks of dry grey mud. The granite walls of a few chambers and the
fragments of a few inscribed columns form the only remains of any
importance. From these we learn that the structure dates from the
reign of Amenemhat III., of the twelfth dynasty."[15]

    [15] EBERS, _Ægypten_, p. 174.

The plan and description of the building discovered by Lepsius hardly
correspond with the account of Strabo and with what we learn from
other antique sources as to the magnificence of the Labyrinth and the
vast bulk of the materials of which it was composed. We shall,
therefore, reproduce neither the plan of Lepsius nor the text of the
Greek geographer. The latter gives no measurements either of height or
length, and under such circumstances any attempt to restore the
building, from an architectural point of view would be futile.

§ 3.--_The Egyptian House._

The palace in Egypt was but a house larger and richer in its
decorations than the others. The observations which we have made upon
it may be applied to the dwelling-places of private individuals, who
enjoyed, in proportion to their resources, the same comforts and
conveniences as the sovereign or the hereditary princes of the nomes.
The house was a palace in small, its arrangements and construction
were inspired by the same wants, by the same national habits, by the
same climatic and other natural conditions.

Diodorus and Josephus tell us that the population of Egypt proper,
from Alexandria to Philæ, was 7,000,000 at the time of the Roman
Empire, and there is reason to believe that it was still larger at the
time of the nation's greatest prosperity under the princes of the
eighteenth and nineteenth dynasties.[16] A large proportion of the
Egyptian people lived in small towns and open villages, besides which
there were a few very large towns. That Sais, Memphis, and Thebes were
great cities we know from the words of the ancient historians, from
the vast spaces covered by their ruins, and from the extent of their

    [16] DIODORUS, i. 31, 6.--JOSEPHUS (_The Jewish War_, ii. 16, 4)
    speaks of a population of seven millions and a half, exclusive
    of the inhabitants of Alexandria.

Neither the Greek nor the Egyptian texts give us any information as to
the appearance of an Egyptian town, the way in which its buildings
were arranged, or their average size and height. The Greek travellers
do not seem to have been sufficiently impressed by anything of the
kind to think it worthy of record. The sites of these ancient cities
have hardly ever been examined from this point of view, and perhaps
little would be discovered if such an examination were to take place.
In every country the ordinary dwelling-house is constructed of small
materials, and the day arrives, sooner or later, when it succumbs to
the action of the weather.

It is only under exceptional circumstances that the private house
leaves ruins behind it from which much can be learnt. Pompeii, under
its shroud of ashes and fine dust, is a case in point. Sometimes,
also, when the house has entirely disappeared, interesting facts may
be gleaned as to its extent and arrangement. Instances of this are to
be seen at Athens, where, upon several of the hills which were
formerly included within its walls, may be traced the foundations of
private dwellings cut in the living rock. Neither of these favourable
conditions existed in the valley of the Nile.

The sands of the deserts would, no doubt, have guarded the houses of
Memphis and Thebes as effectually as the cinders of Vesuvius did those
of the little Roman town, if they had had but the same chance. We know
how thoroughly they protected the dwellings of the dead upon the
plateau of Gizeh, but the homes of the living were built close to the
river and not upon the borders of the desert, and we can neither hope
to find dead cities under the Egyptian sands, nor such indications of
their domestic architecture as those which may sometimes be gleaned in
mountainous countries.

Their situation upon the banks of the river, or not far from it, made
it necessary for Egyptian cities to be placed upon artificial mounds
or embankments, which should raise them above the inundation. Those
modern villages, which are not built upon the slopes of the mountain,
are protected in the same fashion.

The tradition has survived of the great works undertaken during the
period of national prosperity in order to provide this elevated bed
for the chief cities of the country. According to Herodotus and
Diodorus, Sesostris and Sabaco, that is to say the great Theban
princes and the Ethiopian conquerors, were both occupied with this
work of raising the level of the towns.[17] Some idea of the way in
which these works were carried out has been gained by excavations upon
the sites of a few cities. When a new district was to be added to a
city the ground was prepared by building with crude brick a number of
long and thick walls parallel to one another; then cross walls at
right angles with the first, chessboard fashion. The square pits thus
constructed were filled with earth, broken stone, or anything else
within reach. The foundations of the future city or district were laid
upon the mass thus obtained, and profited by the operation both in
health and amenity. The cities of Memphis and Thebes both seem to have
been built in this manner.[18]

    [17] HERODOTUS, ii. 137; DIODORUS, i. 57.

    [18] ÉDOUARD MARIETTE, _Traité pratique et raisonné de la
    Construction en Égypte_, p. 139.

As a rule this is all that we learn by excavating on these ancient
sites. The materials of the houses themselves have either fallen into
dust, or, in a country which has been thickly populated since long
before the commencement of history, have been used over and over again
in other works. The inevitable destruction has been rendered more
rapid and complete by the fellah's habit of opening up any mounds
which he has reason to believe ancient, for the sake of the
fertilizing properties they possess.

The only point in the Nile valley where the arrangements of an ancient
city are still to be traced is upon the site of the new capital of
Amenophis IV., built by him when he deserted Thebes and its god
Amen.[19] This city, which owed its existence to royal caprice, seems
to have been very soon abandoned. We do not even know the name it bore
during its short prosperity, and since its fall the site has never
been occupied by a population sufficiently great to necessitate the
destruction of its remains. The soil is still covered by the ruins of
its buildings. These are always of brick. The plans of a few houses
have been roughly ascertained, and the direction of the streets can
now be laid down with some accuracy. There is a street parallel to the
river, and nearly 100 feet wide; from this, narrower streets branch
off at right angles, some of them being hardly broad enough to allow
of two chariots passing each other between the houses. The most
important quarter of the city was that to the north, in the
neighbourhood of the vast quadrangular inclosure which contained the
temple of the Solar Disc. In this part of the city the ruins of large
houses with spacious courts are to be found. There is, moreover, on
the western side of the main street a building which Prisse calls the
palace, in which a forest of brick piers, set closely together, may,
perhaps, have been constructed in order to raise the higher floors
above the damp soil. This question cannot, however, be decided in the
present state of our information. The southern quarter of the city was
inhabited by the poor. It contains only small houses, crowded
together, of which nothing but the outer walls and a few heaps of
rubbish remain.

    [19] The first elements for the _Restoration of an Egyptian
    House_ which Mariette exhibited in the Universal Exhibition of
    1878, were furnished, however, by some remains at Abydos. These
    consisted of the bases, to the height of about four feet, of the
    walls of a house. The general plan and arrangement of rooms was
    founded upon the indications thus obtained; the remainder of the
    restoration was founded upon bas-reliefs and paintings. The
    whole was reproduced in the _Gazette des Beaux-Arts_ of November
    1st, 1878, to which M. A. RHONÉ (_L'Égypte Antique_) contributed
    an analysis of the elements made use of by Mariette in his
    attempt to reconstruct an Egyptian dwelling.

[Illustration: FIG. 11.--Plan of a part of the city at Tell-el-Amarna;
from Prisse.]

In the case of Thebes we cannot point out, even to this slight extent,
the arrangement of the city. We cannot tell where the palaces of the
king and the dwellings of the great were situated. All that we know is
that the city properly speaking, the Diospolis of the Greeks, so
called on account of the great temple of Amen which formed its centre,
was on the right bank of the river; that its houses were massed round
those two great sacred inclosures which we now call Karnak and Luxor;
that it was intersected by wide streets, those which united Karnak and
Luxor to each other and to the river being bordered with sphinxes.
These great streets were the δρόμοι of the Greek writers;
others they called βασιλική ῥύμη, king's street.[20] The
blocks of houses which bordered these great causeways were intersected
by narrow lanes.[21] The quarter on the left bank of the river was a
sort of suburb inhabited chiefly by priests, embalmers, and others
practising those lugubrious branches of industry which are connected
with the burial of the dead.[22] The whole of this western city was
known in the time of the Ptolemies and the Romans as the Memnonia.[23]

    [20] See Brugsch-Bey's topographical sketch of a part of ancient
    Thebes in the _Revue archéologique_ of M. E. REVILLOUT, 1880
    (plates 12 and 13).

    [21] See, in the _Revue archéologique_, the _Données
    géographiques et topographiques_ _sur Thébes extraites par MM.
    Brugsch et Revillout des Contrats démotiques et des Pièces
    corrélatives_, p. 177.

    [22] E. REVILLOUT, _Taricheutes et Choachytes_ (in the
    _Zeitschrift für Ægyptische Sprache und Alterthumskunde_, 1879
    and 1880).

    [23] In the Egyptian language, buildings like the Ramesseum and
    Medinet-Abou were called Mennou, or buildings designed to
    preserve some name from oblivion. This word the Greeks turned
    into μεμνόνια, because they thought that the term mennou was
    identical with the Homeric hero Memnon, to whom they also
    attributed the two famous colossi in the plain of Thebes. EBERS,
    _Ægypten_, p. 280.

We shall not attempt to discuss the few hints given by the Greek
writers as to the extent of Thebes. Even if they were less vague and
contradictory than they are, they would tell us little as to the
density of the population.[24] Diodorus says that there were once
houses of four and five stories high at Thebes, but he did not see
them himself, and it is to the time of the fabulous monarch Busiris
that he attributes them.[25] In painted representations we never find
a house of more than three stories, and they are very rare. As a rule
we find a ground-floor, one floor above that, and a covered flat roof
on the top.[26]

    [24] DIODORUS (i. 45, 4) talks of a circumference of 140 stades
    (28,315 yards), without telling us whether his measurement
    applies to the whole of Thebes, or only to the city on the right
    bank. STRABO (xvii. 46) says that "an idea of the size of the
    ancient city may be formed from the fact that its existing
    monuments cover a space which is not less than 80 stades (16,180
    yards) in length (τὸ μῆκος)." This latter statement indicates a
    circumference much greater than that given by Diodorus. DIODORUS
    (i. 50, 4) gives to Memphis a circumference of 150 stades
    (30,337 yards, or 17-1/4 miles).

    [25] DIODORUS, i. 45, 5.

    [26] In a tale translated by M. MASPERO (_Études Égyptiennes_,
    1879, p. 10), a princess is shut up in a house of which the
    windows are 70 cubits (about 105 feet) above the ground. She is
    to be given to him who is bold and skilful enough to scale her
    windows. Such a height must therefore have seemed quite fabulous
    to the Egyptians, as did that of the tower which is so common in
    our popular fairy stories.

It does not seem likely that, even in the important streets, the
houses of the rich made much architectural show on the outside. Thebes
and Memphis probably resembled those modern Oriental towns in which
the streets are bordered with massive structures in which hardly any
openings beside the doors are to be seen. The houses figured in the
bas-reliefs are often surrounded by a crenellated wall, and stand in
the middle of a court or garden.[27]

    [27] In M. MASPERO'S translated _Roman de Satni (Annuaire de
    l'Association pour l'Encouragement des Études grecques_,
    1878), the house in Bubastis inhabited by the daughter of a
    priest of high rank is thus described: "Satni proceeded towards
    the west of the town until he came to a very high house. It had
    a wall round it; a garden on the north side; a flight of steps
    before the door."

[Illustration: FIG. 12.--Bird's-eye view of a villa, restored by Ch.

When a man was at all easy in his circumstances he chose for his
dwelling a house in which all elegance and artistic elaboration was
reserved for himself--a bare wall was turned to the noise of the
street. Houses constructed upon such a principle covered, of course, a
proportionally large space of ground. The walls of Babylon inclosed
fields, gardens, and vineyards;[28] and it is probable that much of
the land embraced by those of Thebes was occupied in similar fashion
by those inclosures round the dwellings of the rich, which might be
compared to an Anglo-Indian "compound."

    [28] QUINTUS CURTIUS, v. 1, 127.

The house, of which a restoration appears on page 31 (Fig. 12), a
restoration which is based upon the plan found by Rosellini in a
Theban tomb (Fig. 3), is generally considered to have been a country
villa belonging to the king. We do not concur in that opinion,
however. It appears to us quite possible that in the fashionable
quarters--if we may use such a phrase--of Memphis and Thebes, the
houses of the great may have shewn such combinations of architecture
and garden as this. There are trees and creeping plants in front of
the house shown in Fig. 1 also. Both are inclosed within a wall
pierced by one large door.

Even the houses of the poor seem generally to have had their
courtyards, at the back of which a structure was raised consisting of
a single story surmounted by a flat roof, to which access was given by
an external staircase. This arrangement, which is to be seen in a
small model of a house which belongs to the Egyptian collection in the
Louvre (Fig. 13), does not differ from that which is still in force in
the villages of Egypt.[29]

    [29] WILKINSON, _The Manners and Customs of the Ancient
    Egyptians_, vol. i. p. 377.

In the larger houses the chambers were distributed around two or three
sides of a court. The building, which has been alluded to as the
Palace at Tell-el-Amarna, with many others in the same city (Figs. 14,
15, 16), affords an example of their arrangement. Sometimes, as in
another and neighbouring house, the chambers opened upon a long
corridor. The offices were upon the ground floor, while the family
inhabited the stories above it. The flat top of the house had a
parapet round it, and sometimes a light outer roof supported by
slender columns of brilliantly painted wood. This open story is well
shown in Fig. 1 and in a box for holding funerary statuettes, which is
in the Louvre. It is reproduced in Fig. 18. Upon that part of the roof
which was not covered a kind of screen of planks was fixed, which
served to establish a current of air, and to ventilate the house (Fig.
19). Sometimes one part of a house was higher than the rest, forming a
kind of tower (Fig. 20). Finally, some houses were crowned with a
parapet finishing at the top in a row of rounded battlements (Fig.
21). In very large houses the entrance to the courtyard was ornamented
with a porch supported by two pillars, with lotus flower capitals, to
which banners were tied upon _fête_ days (Fig. 22). Sometimes the name
of the proprietor, sometimes a hospitable sentiment, was inscribed
upon the lintel (Fig. 23).

[Illustration: FIG. 13.--Model of an Egyptian house; Louvre.]

[Illustration: FIGS. 14-17.--Plans of houses; from Wilkinson, vol. i.
p. 345.]

"Egyptian houses were built of crude bricks made of loam mixed with
chopped straw. These bricks were usually a foot long and six inches
wide. The ceilings of the larger rooms were of indigenous or foreign
wood; the smaller rooms were often vaulted.

[Illustration: FIG. 18.--Piece of furniture in the form of a house;

[Illustration: FIG. 19.--House from a Theban wall painting; from
Wilkinson, i. p. 361.]

[Illustration: FIG. 20.--House with a tower, from a painting;
Wilkinson, i. p. 361.]

"Doors and windows opened generally in the middle. They opened
inwards, and were fastened by means of bolts and latches. Some of them
had wooden locks like those which are still in use in Egypt. Most of
the inner doors were closed merely by hangings of some light material.
For the decoration we must turn to the pictures in the rock-cut tombs.
The walls of the houses were coated with stucco, and painted with
religious and domestic scenes. The galleries and columns of the porch
were coloured in imitation of stone or granite. The ceilings were
covered with what we call arabesques and interlacing ornaments of all
kinds, while the floors were strewn with mats woven of many-coloured

    [30] We have borrowed this short description from a Review of M.
    GAILHABAUD'S _Monuments anciens et modernes, Style Égyptien.
    Maisons_. Those who require further details may consult Chapter
    V. of Sir GARDNER WILKINSON'S _Manners and Customs of the
    Ancient Egyptians_.

[Illustration: FIG. 21.--Battlemented house; from Wilkinson, i. p.

[Illustration: FIG. 22.--Decorated porch; from Wilkinson, i. p. 346.]

[Illustration: FIG. 23.--House with inscription; from Wilkinson, i.

[Illustration: FIG. 24.--House, storehouse, and garden; from Prisse,
p. 218.]

We shall describe the tasteful and convenient furniture which these
rooms contained in our chapter upon the industrial arts.

The flat roof seems to have been universal in Egypt. It added to the
accommodation of the house, it afforded a pleasant rendezvous for the
family in the evening, where they could enjoy the view and the fresh
breezes which spring up at sunset. At certain seasons they must have
slept there.[31] On the other hand the granaries, barns, and
storehouses were almost always dome-shaped (Fig. 24). Those which had
flat roofs seem to have been very few indeed. This we see in a
painting which seems to represent the process of brewing. The
Egyptians were great beer drinkers (Fig. 25). These brick vaults must
have been very thick, and they were well fitted to preserve that
equable and comparatively low temperature which is required for the
keeping of provisions. The bas-reliefs often show long rows of
storehouses one after the other. Their number was no doubt intended to
give an idea of their proprietor's wealth. Some of them seem to have
had their only opening half-way up their sides and to have been
reached by an external incline or flight of steps (Fig. 26). A sketch
made by M. Bourgoin in a tomb at Sakkarah shows us another form of
granary. It (Fig. 27) is shaped like a stone bottle, it has a door at
the ground level and a little window higher up.[32]

    [31] HERODOTUS (ii. 95) says that they did so in the marshy
    parts of Lower Egypt.

    [32] It is difficult to say what the artist meant by the little
    oblong mark under these windows. Perhaps it represents an
    outside balcony by which the window could be reached either for
    the purposes of inspection or in order to add to the store

[Illustration: FIG. 25.--Brewing, Beni-Hassan; from Champollion, pl.

[Illustration: FIG. 26.--Granaries, Beni-Hassan; from Wilkinson.]

[Illustration: FIG. 27.--Granaries; Sakkarah.]

The Egyptians had country houses as well as those in town, but the
structural arrangements were the same in both. The dwelling of the
peasant did not differ very greatly from that of the town-bred
artisan, while the villas of the wealthy were only distinguished from
their houses in the richer quarters of Thebes and Memphis by their
more abundant provision of shady groves, parks, and artificial lakes.
Their paintings prove conclusively that the Egyptians had carried
horticulture to a very high pitch; they even put their more precious
trees in pots like those in which we place orange-trees.[33]

    [33] These trees must have been planted in large terra-cotta
    pots, such as are still used in many places for the same

§ 4. _Military Architecture._

The Ancient Egyptians have left us very few works of military
architecture, and yet, under their great Theban princes, more than one
fortress must have been built outside their own country to preserve
their supremacy over neighbouring peoples. In the later periods of the
empire fortresses were erected in the Delta and in the upper gorges
of the Nile, but, unfortunately such works were always carried out in
brick and generally in crude brick. The Egyptian architect had at hand
in great abundance the finest materials in the world, except marble,
and yet they were used by him exclusively for the tomb and the temple.
When it was a question of providing an indestructible dwelling for the
dead, and so of perpetuating the efficacy of the funeral prayers and
offerings, "eternal stone" was not spared; but when less important
purposes had to be fulfilled they were content with clay. Baking
bricks was a more rapid process than quarrying and dressing stone, and
if the house or fortress in which they were used had comparatively
slight durability, it was easy enough to replace it with another.

Th crude bricks, dried simply in the sun, became disintegrated with
time and fell into powder; the kiln dried bricks were carried off from
the ruins of one building to be used in another. The few piers or
fragments of wall which remain are confused and shapeless. A few
blocks of stone, sometimes even a single chip of marble, is enough to
enable us to tell the history of a building which has been long
destroyed. Such a chip may be the only surviving fragment of the
edifice to which it belonged, but it preserves the impression of the
chisel which fashioned it, that is of the taste and individuality of
the artist who held the chisel. We have nothing of the kind in the
case of a brick. Bricks were almost always covered with a coat of
stucco, so that nothing was required of them beyond that they should
be of the right size and of a certain hardness. It is only by their
inscriptions, when they have them, that the dates of these bricks can
be determined; when they are without them they tell us nothing at all
about the past. Sometimes a brick structure presents, from a distance,
an imposing appearance, and the traveller approaches it thinking that
he will soon draw all its secrets from it. But after carefully
studying and measuring it he is forced to confess that he has failed.
It has no trace of decoration, and it is the decoration of an ancient
building which tells us its age, its character, and its purpose.
Stone, even when greatly broken, allows mouldings to be traced, but
bricks preserve nothing; they are as wanting in individual expression
as the pebbles which go to make a shingly beech.

Even if it had come down to us in a less fragmentary condition, the
military architecture of Egypt would have been far less interesting
than that of Greece. The latter country is mountainous; the soil is
cut up by valleys and rocky hills; the Greek towns, or, at least,
their citadels, occupied the summits of rocky heights which varied
greatly in profile and altitude. Hence the military architecture of
the country showed great diversity in its combinations. In Egypt the
configuration of the soil was not of a nature to provoke any efforts
of invention or adaptation. All the cities were in the plain.
Fortified posts were distinguished from one another only by the
greater or less extent, height, and thickness of their walls. We
shall, however, have to call attention to the remains of a few
defensive works which, like those established to guard the defiles of
the cataracts, were built upon sites different enough from those
ordinarily presented by the Nile valley. In these cases we shall find
that the Egyptian constructors knew how to adapt their military
buildings to the special requirements of the ground.

Egyptian cities seem always to have been surrounded by a fortified
_enceinte_; in some cases the remains of such fortifications have been
found, in others history tells us that they existed. At Thebes, for
instance, no traces have, so far as we know, been discovered of any
wall. Homer's epithet of _hundred-gated_ (ἑκατόμπυλος) may
be put on one side as evidence, because the Greek poet did not know
Egypt. He described the great metropolis of the Empire of the South as
he imagined it to be. The Homeric epithet is capable also of another
explanation, an explanation which did not escape Diodorus,[34] it may
have referred, not to the gates of the city, but to the pylons of the
temples, and should in that case be translated as "_Thebes of the
hundred pylons_" instead of hundred gates. We have better evidence as
to the existence of fortifications about the town in the descriptions
left to us by the ancient historians of the siege of Ptolemy Physcon:
the city could not have resisted for several years if it had been an
open town. It was the same with Memphis. On more than one occasion,
during the Pharaonic period as well as after the Persian conquest, it
played the part of a fortress of the first class. It was the key of
middle Egypt. It even had a kind of citadel which included almost a
third of the city and was called the _white wall_ (λευκὸν
τεῖχος).[35] This name was given, as the scholiast to Thucydides
informs us, "because its walls were of white stone, while those of the
city itself were of red brick." The exactness of this statement may be
doubted. The Egyptians made their defensive walls of a thickness which
could only be attained in brick. It seems likely therefore that these
walls consisted of a brick core covered with white stone. An
examination of the remains of Heliopolis suggested to the authors of
the _Description de l'Égypte_ that the walls of that city also were
cased with dressed stone. They found, even upon the highest part of
the walls, pieces of limestone for which they could account in no
other way.

    [34] DIODORUS, i. 45, 6.

    [35] THUCYDIDES, i. 104. Cf. HERODOTUS, iii. 94, and DIODORUS,
    xi. 74. After the Persian conquest it was occupied by the army
    corps left to ensure the submission of the country.

Nowhere else is there anything to be discovered beyond the remains of
brick walls, which have always been laid out in the form of a
parallelogram.[36] These walls are sometimes between sixty and seventy
feet thick.[37] In some cases their position is only to be traced by a
gentle swelling in the soil; at Sais, however, they seem to have
preserved a height of fifty-seven feet in some parts.[38] No signs of
towers or bastions are ever found. At Heliopolis there were gates at
certain distances with stone jambs covered with inscriptions.[39] The
best preserved of all these _enceintes_ is that of the ancient city of
Nekheb, the Eilithyia of the Greeks, in the valley of El-Kab. The
rectangle is 595 yards long by 516 wide; the walls are 36
feet-thick.[40] About a quarter of the whole _enceinte_ has been
destroyed for the purposes of agriculture; the part which remains
contains four large gates, which are not placed in the middle of the
faces upon which they open. In all the paintings representing sieges
these walls are shown with round-topped battlements, which were easily
constructed in brick.

    [36] Plate 55 of the first volume of Lepsius's _Denkmæler_
    contains traces of the _enceintes_ of Sais, Heliopolis, and
    Tanis. See also the _Description de l'Égypte_, _Ant._, Ch. 21,
    23, 24.

    [37] At Heliopolis they were 64 feet thick (_Description_), at
    Sais 48 feet (_ibid._) while at Tanis they were only 19 feet.

    [38] ISAMBERT, _Itinéraire de l'Égypte_.

    [39] MAXIME DU CAMP, _Le Nil_, p. 64.

    [40] LEPSIUS, _Denkmæler_, vol. ii. pl. 100.--EBERS,
    (_Ægypten_,) makes the _enceinte_ of Nekheb a square.

The only fort, properly speaking, which has been discovered in Egypt,
appears to be the ruin known as _Chounet-es-Zezib_ at Abydos.[41] This
is a rectangular court inclosed by a double wall, and it still exists
in a fair state of preservation, to the west of the northern
necropolis (Fig. 28). After examining many possible hypotheses,
Mariette came to the conclusion that this was a military post intended
to watch over the safety of the necropolis, and to keep an eye upon
the caravans arriving from the desert. Robber tribes might otherwise
be tempted to make use of any moment of confusion for the pillage of
the temple. There were curious arrangements for the purpose of
guarding against a _coup-de-main_. Within the outer wall, which is
provided with small gateways, there is a covered way extending round
the whole fort, and commanded by the inner wall. Before the inner
court could be reached, an enemy had to traverse a narrow and crooked
passage in the thickness of the wall, which was well calculated to
secure the necessary time for a moment of preparation in case of
surprise (Fig. 29).

    [41] MARIETTE, _Abydos, Description des Fouilles_, vol. ii. pp.
    46-49, and plate 68.

[Illustration: FIG. 28.--Military post at Abydos; perspective from the
plans, etc., of Mariette.]

[Illustration: FIG. 29.--Military post. Plan of the entrances; from

The most curious relic of the military engineering of the Egyptians is
to be found in Nubia. Thirty-seven miles south-ward of the cataracts
of Wadi-Halfah the Nile has worn a channel through a long chain of
granite hills which run across the valley from east to west. On each
side of the river-bed these hills rise to some height and across its
torrent there are a few detached rocks, which once formed a natural
dam, but between which the water now rushes impetuously. Navigation
is only possible among these rapids during the inundation. This point
in the river's course was therefore well fitted to be the gate of
Egypt and to be fortified against the incursions of the southern
tribes. During the first Theban Empire, the Pharaohs of the twelfth
dynasty drew the national frontier at this point, and resolved to
establish themselves there in force. The Third Ousourtesen seems to
have built the two fortresses of which substantial remains exist even
now. Each fortress contained a temple and numerous houses. Lepsius
gives the name of _Kummeh_ to that on the right bank and reserves the
name _Semneh_, which has usually been applied to the whole group, to
the building on the left bank only.

[Illustration: FIG. 30.--Bird's-eye view of the fortress of Semneh;
restored by Charles Chipiez.]

For our restoration (Fig. 30) we have had to depend very little upon
conjecture.[42] The only flight of fancy in which we have indulged is
seen in the extra height which we have given to the tower at the
north-eastern angle of the building. It seemed to us probable that at
some point upon such a lofty terrace there would be a belvedere or
watch-tower to facilitate the proper surveillance of the country round
about. For the rest we have merely re-established the upper part of
the works and restored its depth to the ditch, which had been filled
in by the falling of the parapets. The line of walls and bastions can
be easily followed except at one point upon the southern face, where a
wide breach exists. The destruction of this part of the wall alone and
the clearing of the ground upon which it stood, suggests that it was
broken down by man rather than by time. It is probable that the
fortress was taken by some Ethiopian conqueror, by Sabaco or Tahraka,
and that he took care to render its fortifications useless in a way
that could not be easily repaired.

    [42] We have been able to make use, for this reconstruction, of
    two plans which only differ in details, and otherwise mutually
    corroborate each other. One is given by LEPSIUS, Plate 111, vol.
    ii. of his _Denkmæler_; the plans of the two fortresses are in
    the middle of his map of the valley where they occur. In plate
    112 we have a pictorial view of the ruins and the ground about
    them. In the _Bulletin archéologique de l'Athenæum Français_
    (1855, pp. 80-84, and plate 5), M. VOGÜÉ also published a plan
    of the two forts, accompanied by a section and a description
    giving valuable details, details which Lepsius, in his _Briefe
    aus Ægypten_, passed over in silence.

Our view of the fort shows it as it must have appeared from a hill in
the Libyan Chain, to the south-west. The engineer lavished all his
skill on rendering the castle impregnable from the side of the
desert. An attack upon the flank facing the stream was impossible; on
that side the walls rested upon precipitous rocks rising sheer from
the rapids of the Nile.

The trace of the walls was a polygon not unlike a capital L. The
principal arm was perpendicular to the course of the river. Its flat
summit (see Fig. 30) was about 250 feet by 190 feet. The interior was
reached by a narrow passage in the thickness of the masonry, the
entrance to which was reached by an inclined plane. The entrance is
not visible in our illustration but the incline which leads to it is
shown. The walls on the three sides which looked landwards were from
fifty to eighty feet high, according to the ground. They increased in
thickness from twenty-six feet at the base to about twelve or thirteen
at the summit. Externally their upper parts fell backwards in such
fashion that no ladder, however high, would have availed to reach the
parapet. We find a similar arrangement in the walls of a fortress
represented at Beni-Hassan (Fig. 31).[43]

    [43] In this case the inclination is, however, in the lower half
    of the wall; a device which would be far less efficient in
    defeating an escalade than that at Semneh.--ED.

[Illustration: FIG. 31.--A besieged fort, Beni-Hassan; from
Champollion, pl. 379.]

The walls of Semneh were strengthened, both structurally and from a
military point of view, by salient buttresses or small bastions on all
the sides except that which faced the river. These buttresses were
either twelve or thirteen in number and from six to eight feet wide at
the top. In the re-entering angle which faces north-west there is a
long diagonal buttress, by the use of which the engineer or architect
at once economized material and protected a weak part of his structure
in a most efficient manner. The salient angles of the _enceinte_ were
protected by double towers, very well disposed so as to command the
ditch. A symmetrical regularity is not to be found here any more than
in the funerary and religious structures of Egypt. The curtain wall
between two of the towers on the southern face is broken up into small
buttresses of various degrees of salience, instead of being planned on
a straight line like the rest.

[Illustration: FIG. 32.--Siege of a fortress; from the Ramesseum,

When the fortress was prepared for defence the parapets may have been
furnished with wooden structures acting as machicolations, whence the
besieged could cast javelins and stones and shoot arrows at an enemy
attempting to scale or batter the walls. A bas-relief at Thebes which
represents the siege of a fortress seems to indicate that the parapets
were crowned by wooden erections of some kind (Fig. 32).[44]

    [44] Both the plate in the _Description de l'Égypte_ (_Ant._
    vol. ii. pl. 31), and that in LEPSIUS (part iii. pl. 166),
    suggest this interpretation.

The walls were surrounded by a ditch, which was from 95 to 125 feet
wide. We cannot now tell what its depth may have been, but it appears
to have been paved. The counterscarp and certain parts of the scarp
were faced with stone, carefully polished, and fixed so as to augment
the difficulty of approach. Moreover, the crown of the glacis and the
wide glacis itself were also reveted with stone. All this formed a
first line of defence, which had to be destroyed before the assailants
could reach the place itself with their machines. The external line of
the ditch does not follow all the irregularities of the _enceinte_,
its trace is the same as that of the curtain wall, exclusive of the
towers or buttresses. The clear width from the face of the latter is
about sixty-four feet. Neither ditch nor glacis exist on the eastern
face, where the rapids of the Nile render them unnecessary.

We must not forget to draw attention to the curious way in which the
body of the fort is constructed. It is composed of crude bricks
transfixed horizontally, and at rather narrow intervals, by pieces of
wood. The situation of these beams may be easily recognized as they
have decayed and left channels in the brickwork. That the holes with
which the walls are pierced at regular distances (see Fig. 30) were
thus caused, is beyond doubt, especially since a few fragments of
wood which the centuries have spared have been found. These fragments
have been recognized as having come from the _doum_ palm, which is
very common in Upper Egypt, and commoner still in Nubia.

We need not dwell upon the other fortress--that on the right bank. It
may be seen in the distance in our restoration of Semneh. Being built
upon rocks which were on all sides difficult of access, it did not
require any very elaborate works. It was composed of an _enceinte_
inclosing an irregular square about 190 feet each way. It had but a
few salient buttresses; there were only two on the north-east, towards
the mountains, and one, a very bold one, on the south-west, commanding
the river. There was no room for a wide ditch. But at a distance of
thirteen feet from the walls there was a glacis similar to that at
Semneh. It had the same casing of polished stone, but on account of
the irregularities of the rock, the height of its crown varied
considerably, and its slope was very steep, almost vertical. The trace
of the counterscarp followed that of the _enceinte_, including the
buttresses. Moreover, at its northern and southern angles it followed
a line which roughly resembled the bastions of a modern fortification.
Its structure was similar to that of Semneh.

Lepsius does not hesitate to ascribe both these forts to Ousourtesen
III., whose name appears upon all the neighbouring rocks, and who,
with the deities of the south, was worshipped at Semneh.[45] They
would thus date back, according to the chronology which is now
generally adopted, to the twenty-seventh or twenty-eighth century B.C.
In any case they cannot be later than the time of Thothmes III., who,
in the course of the seventeenth century B.C. restored the temples
which they inclose, and covered their walls with his effigies and
royal cartouches. Even if we admit that these two castles are not
older than the last-named epoch, we shall still have to give to Egypt
the credit of possessing the oldest examples of military architecture,
as well as the oldest temples and the oldest tombs.

    [45] LEPSIUS, _Briefe aus Ægypten_, p. 259.--See also MASPERO,
    _Histoire Ancienne_, pp. 111-113.



§ 1. _An Analysis of Architectural Forms necessary._

We have now described the tomb, the temple, and the house in ancient
Egypt. We have attempted to define the character of their
architecture, and to show how its forms were determined by the
religious beliefs, social condition, and manners of the nation, as
well as by the climate of the country. We have therefore passed in
review the most important architectural creations of a people who were
the first to display a real taste and feeling for art.

In order to give a complete idea of Egyptian art, and of the resources
at its disposal, we must now take these buildings to pieces and show
the elements of which they were composed. The rich variety of
supports, the numerous "orders" of pillar and column, the methods
employed for decoration and illumination, must each be studied
separately. We have commenced by looking at them from a synthetic
point of view, but we must finish by a methodical analysis. From such
an analysis alone can we obtain the necessary materials for an
exhaustive comparison between the art of Egypt and that of the nations
which succeeded her upon the stage of history. An examination of the
Egyptian remains carries the historian back to a more remote date than
can be attained in the case of any other country, and yet he is far
from reaching the first springs of Egyptian civilization.
Notwithstanding their prodigious antiquity, the most ancient of the
monuments that have survived carry us back into the bosom of a society
which had long emerged from primitive barbarism. The centuries which
saw the building of the Pyramids and the mastabas of the Memphite
necropolis had behind them a long and well-filled past. Although we
possess no relic from that past, we can divine its character to some
extent from the impression which it made upon the taste and fancy of
latter ages. Certain effects of which the artists of Memphis were very
fond can only be explained by habits contracted during a long course
of centuries. In the forms and motives employed by Egyptian architects
we shall find more than one example of these survivals from a previous
stage of development, such as forms appropriate to wood or metal
employed in stone, and childish methods of construction perpetuated
without other apparent cause.

§ 2. _Materials._

In our explanation of the general character of Egyptian architecture
we have already enumerated the principal materials of which it
disposed, and pointed out the modifications arising from the choice of
one or another of those materials. We should not here return to the
subject but for a misconception which has gained a wide acceptance.

People have seen a few granite obelisks standing in two or three of
the European capitals, and they have too often jumped to the
conclusion that the Egyptians built almost exclusively in granite. The
fact is that there is but one building in Egypt the body of which is
of granite, and that is the ancient temple at Gizeh which is called
the _Temple of the Sphinx_ (Figs. 202 and 203, vol. i.). Even there
the roof and the casing of the walls was of alabaster. Granite was
employed, as a rule, only where a very choice and expensive material
was required. It was brought into play when certain parts of a
building had to be endowed with more nobility and beauty than the
rest. Thus there are, in the great temple at Karnak, a few small
rooms, called _The Granite Chambers_ (Fig. 215, H, vol. i.), in which
the material in question has alone been employed. Elsewhere in the
same building it was only used incidentally. In the pyramid of Cheops
the lining of the Grand Gallery is of granite.[46] In many of the
Theban temples it was employed for the bases of columns, thresholds,
jambs, and lintels of doors. It was also used for isolated objects,
such as tabernacles, monolithic statues, obelisks, and sarcophagi.
The enormous quantity of granite which Egypt drew, from first to last,
from the quarries at Syene, was mostly for the sculptor. The dressed
materials of the architect came chiefly from the limestone and
sandstone quarries. Sometimes we find a building entirely constructed
of one or the other, sometimes they are employed side by side. "The
great temple at Abydos is built partly of limestone, very fine in the
grain and admirably adapted for sculpture, and partly of sandstone.
The sandstone has been used for columns, architraves, and the frames
of doors, and limestone for the rest."[47]

    [46] It is of Mokattam limestone (see vol. i., p. 223). M.
    Perrot probably meant to refer to the two upper "chambers," both
    of which are lined with granite.--ED.

    [47] MARIETTE, _Voyage dans la Haute-Égypte_, vol. i. p. 59.

Bricks were employed to a vast extent by the Egyptians. They made them
of Nile mud mixed with chopped straw, a combination which is mentioned
in the Biblical account of the hardships inflicted upon the
Israelites. "And Pharaoh commanded the same day the taskmasters of the
people and their officers, saying, Ye shall no more give the people
straw to make brick as heretofore; let them go and gather straw for
themselves. And the tale of the bricks which they did make heretofore
ye shall lay upon them; ye shall not diminish aught thereof, for they
be idle."[48]

    [48] _Exodus_ v. 6-8.

This manufacture was remarkable for its extreme rapidity--an excellent
brick earth was to be found at almost any point in the Nile valley. An
unpractised labourer can easily make a thousand bricks a day; after a
week's practice he can make twelve hundred, and, if paid "by the
piece" as many as eighteen hundred a day.[49] Sometimes drying in the
sun was thought sufficient; the result was a crude brick which was
endowed with no little power of resistance and endurance in such a
climate as that of Egypt. When baked bricks were required the
operation was a little complicated as they each had to pass through
the kiln. Egyptian bricks were usually very large. Those of a pyramid
in the neighbourhood of Memphis average 15 inches long by 7 wide and
4-3/4 inches thick.[50] After the commencement of the Theban epoch
they were often stamped with the royal oval--as the Roman bricks had
the names of the consuls impressed upon them--and thus they have
preserved the dates at which the buildings of which they form part
were erected (Fig. 33).[51]

    [49] MARIETTE, _Traité pratique et raisonné de la Construction
    en Égypte_, p. 59. All these operations are shown upon the walls
    of a tomb at Abd-el-Gournah (LEPSIUS, _Denkmæler_, p. 111, pl.
    40). Labourers are seen drawing water from a basin, digging the
    earth, carrying it in large jars, mixing it with the water,
    pressing the clay into the moulds, finally building walls which
    are being tested with a plumb-line by an overseer or foreman
    (see also Fig. 16).

    [50] PRISSE, _Histoire de l'Art Égyptien_, letter-press, p. 179.

    [51] LEPSIUS (_Denkmæler_, part iii. plates 7, 25A, 26, 39) has
    reproduced a certain number of these stamped bricks.

[Illustration: FIG. 33.--Brick stamped with the royal ovals; from

We see, then, that the Egyptians had no lack of excellent building
materials of a lapidary kind. On the other hand, they were very poorly
provided with good timber. Before the conquest of Syria they must have
been almost entirely confined to their indigenous woods. The best of
these were the _Acacia nilotica_, or gum acacia, and the _Acacia
lebhak_, but neither of these trees furnished beams of any size.
Sycamore wood was too soft; its root alone being hard enough for
use.[52] And yet in default of better wood it was sometimes employed.
The same may be said of the date palm, whose trunk furnished posts and
rafters, and, at times, very poor flooring planks. During the hey-day
of Theban supremacy, the timber for such buildings as the pavilion at
Medinet-Abou must have been brought from Syria at great cost. The
Theban princes, like those of Nineveh in later times, no doubt caused
the Phœnicians, who were their vassals, to thin the cedar forests of
Lebanon for their benefit. In structures of less importance carpenters
and joiners had to do as best they could with the timber furnished by
their own country. The difficulty which they experienced in procuring
good planks explains to some extent the care which they lavished upon
their woodwork. They contrived, by an elaborate system of
"parquetting," of combining upright and horizontal strips with
ornamental members, to avoid the waste of even the smallest piece of
material. In some ways this work resembles the ceilings, doorways, and
panels of a modern Arab house, of the _moucharabiehs_ of Cairo. The
principle is the same in both cases, although the decorative lines are
somewhat different; similar necessities have suggested the employment
of similar processes.[53]

    [52] We do not here refer to the kind of maple which is often
    erroneously called a sycamore with us, but to a tree of quite a
    different family and appearance, the _Ficus Sycomorus_ of

    [53] ED. MARIETTE, _Traité Pratique_, etc., p. 95.

§ 3. _Construction._

In spite of the bad quality of Egyptian timber the earliest efforts at
construction made by the ancestors of the people were made in wood.
Their dwellings cannot have been very unlike those which the traveller
even yet encounters in Nubia. These are cabins with walls formed of
palm branches interlaced and plastered over with clay and straw. Their
roofs are branches or planks from the same tree laid horizontally
across. In Lower Egypt, upon the borders of Lake Menzaleh, the huts of
the people are formed of long and thick faggots of reeds. Wherever
wood was abundant and the rain less to be feared than the heat of the
sun, the first dwelling was a hut of branches. The manufacture of
bricks required a good deal more patience, calculation, and effort,
than to plant a few boughs in the soil and weave them together.

We do not mean to pretend that earth, either in the form of bricks or
pisé, did not very soon come into use when men began to form shelters
for themselves, but it seems certain that wooden construction was
developed before any other. It was the first to aim at ornament, and
to show anything which could be called a style. This is proved by the
fact that the most ancient works in stone have no appropriate
character of their own; they owe such decorative qualities as they
possess to their docile imitation of works in the less durable

We may take the sarcophagus of Mycerinus as an example of this. That
sarcophagus had a short but adventurous career after its discovery by
Colonel Howard Vyse in 1837. It was then empty, but in a state of
perfect preservation, with the exception of the lid, which was broken,
but could be easily restored. The precious relic was removed from the
pyramid and embarked, together with the wooden coffin of the king, on
board a merchant ship at Alexandria. On her voyage to England the ship
was wrecked off Carthagena, and the sarcophagus lost. The coffin
floated and was saved. Happily the sarcophagus had been accurately
drawn, and we are enabled to give a perspective view of it compiled
from Perring's elevations (Fig. 34).

From its appearance no one would guess that this sarcophagus was of
basalt. The whole of its forms were appropriate to wooden construction
alone. Each of its longer sides was divided into three compartments by
four groups of minute pilasters, slight in salience, and crowned by a
kind of entablature formed of four transverse members which were
unequal in length and relief. The lower parts of the three
compartments consist of a kind of false door with very complicated
jambs. Above this there are deeply cut hollows with cross bars,
suggesting windows, and still higher a number of fillets run along the
whole length of the sarcophagus. The little pilasters are separated by
narrow panels, which terminate in an ornament which could readily be
cut in wood by the chisel, viz., in that double lotus-leaf which is so
universally present in the more ancient tombs.

The ends of the sarcophagus were similar to the sides, except that
they had only one compartment. The corners and the upper edge,
exclusive of the lid, are carved into a cylindrical moulding which
resembles the rounded and tied angles of a wooden case. The upper
member of the whole, a bold cornice, is the only element which it is
not easy to refer to the traditions of wooden construction.[54]

    [54] In his _Histoire de l'Habitation_, VIOLLET-LE-DUC has
    sought to find the origin of this cornice in an outward curve
    imparted to the upper extremity of the reeds of which primitive
    dwellings were made, and maintained by the weight of the roof.
    He published a drawing in justification of his hypothesis. There
    are, however, many objections to it. It requires us to admit the
    general use of the reed as the material for primitive dwellings.
    Branches which were ever so little rigid and firm could not have
    been so bent, and yet they are often found in the huts to which
    we refer. It may even be doubted whether the reeds employed
    would bear such a curvature as that of the Egyptian cornice
    without breaking.

The first idea suggested by the design of this sarcophagus is that of
a large wooden coffer. When we come to look at it a little more
closely, however, the imitations of doors and windows and other
details incline us to believe that its maker was thinking of
reproducing the accustomed aspect of a wooden house. In that case we
should have in it a reduction of a building belonging to the closed
category of _assembled_ constructions. It is by the study of
imitative works of this kind and by comparing with one another the
forms originally conceived by carpenters and joiners, and afterwards
employed in stone architecture, that, in our chapter upon the general
principles of Egyptian construction, we were enabled to attempt a
restoration which may be taken as a type of the early wooden
architecture (Fig. 83, vol. i.).

[Illustration: FIG. 34.--The Sarcophagus of Mycerinus. Drawn in
perspective from Perring's elevations.]

The foregoing observations may be applied with equal justice to the
sarcophagus of Khoo-foo-Ankh figured on pp. 183, 184, vol. i. It is of
the same period, and displays the same arrangement of panels and
fillets, the same lotus-leaf ornament, and the same imitation of a
barred window. There is no cornice or gorge at the top, but the upper
part of the flat sides is decorated with the perpendicular grooves
which are found in the hollow of the cornice elsewhere. In wood this
ornament, which was well adapted to add richness to the cornice by the
shadows which it cast, could easily be made with a gouge; so that even
if the gorge itself was not borrowed from wooden construction its
ornamentation may well have originated in that way.

If still further proofs be required of the imitative character of this
early stone architecture, we shall find them in the door of a tomb
(Fig. 35). Nothing can be clearer than the way in which the lintel
obtained its peculiar character. It is formed of a thick slab engaged
at each end in the upright beams of stone which form the jambs. This
slab appears beyond the jambs, and ends in a deep groove, which
divides them from the walls. Underneath the lintel, and well within
the shadow which it casts, there is another and more curious slab; it
is, in shape, a thick cylinder, corresponding in length to the width
of the door. In the deep groove already mentioned the ends of the
spindles or trunnions upon which it is supported are suggested. They
are not, indeed, in their right places: they are too near the face of
the building. The workman would have had to make the groove very deep
in order to show them in their proper places, and he was therefore
content to hint at them with sufficient clearness to enable those who
saw them to understand what they meant.

We have none of the wooden models under our eyes which were familiar
to the stonemason who carved these doors, but yet we can easily see
the origin of the forms we have just described. The cylinder was a
circular beam of acacia or palm, upon which a mat or strip of cloth of
some kind was nailed. By means of coils in the groove at the side the
cylinder could be made to revolve, and the curtain would thus be
easily drawn up and down. These curious forms are thus at once
accounted for if we refer them to the wooden structures which were
once plentiful but have now disappeared. Nothing could be more
difficult than to find an explanation of them in forms appropriate to
stone or granite. Of what use could such a cylinder be if carried out
in either of those materials? It could not revolve, and the deep
lateral grooves, which have such an obvious use in a wooden building,
would be purposeless.

[Illustration: FIG. 35.--Door of a tomb at Sakkarah; drawn by

We find these features repeated in a rectangular stele from the fourth
dynasty, which we reproduce on page 61. In Fig. 37 we give some of its
details upon a larger scale. The upper part of this stele displays two
motives which will be recognised at the first glance as borrowed from
carpentry. The first of these is the row of hexagonal studs, which
forms a kind of frieze above the pilasters. In the wooden original
they must have been formed of six small pieces of wood fixed around a
hexagonal centre. Oriental cabinetmakers to this day ornament ceilings
and wainscots in the same fashion. Something like them is certain to
have existed in that _okel_, whose delicately ornamented walls were so
greatly admired by the visitors to the Exhibition of 1867. The same
may be said of the row of billets which forms the upper member of the
frieze, to which something of an ovoid form has been given by rounding
their upper extremities. The same source of inspiration is betrayed by
other details of this monument, which has been treated by time with
extraordinary tenderness.

[Illustration: FIG. 36.--Stele from the 4th dynasty; drawn by

Tombs have been found at Gizeh and Sakkarah, which are referred to the
second and third dynasties. The king Persen, whose name occurs in some
of the inscriptions upon these tombs, belongs to that remote period.
In many of these tombs the ceiling is carved to represent trunks of
palm-trees; even the roughnesses of the bark being reproduced. Most of
the sepulchres in which these details have been noticed are
subterranean, but they are also to be discovered in a chamber in the
tomb of Ti. It is probable that if more mastabas had come down to us
with their roofs intact we should find many instances of this kind of

    [55] This imitation of wooden roofs was noticed by the _savants_
    of the _Institut d'Égypte_. They drew a rock-cut tomb in which
    the ceiling is carved to look like the trunks of palm trees
    (_Description, Antiquités_, vol. v. pl. 6, figs. 3, 4, and 5).
    See also BAEDEKER, part i. p. 360.

ON THE PRECEDING PAGE. --Stele from the 4th dynasty; drawn by

Our Figures 38 and 39 are taken from another tomb, and show varieties
of that ornament which is universally employed as a finial to the
panels we have mentioned. In its most careful form it consists of two
petals united by a band, which allows the deep slit characteristic of
the leaves of all aquatic plants to be clearly visible.

This motive seems to have had peculiar value in the eyes of the
Egyptians. It is also found in the tombs at Thebes, and its
persistence may, perhaps, be accounted for by the association of the
lotus with ideas of a new birth and resurrection.[56] Under the
Rameses and their successors it was, with the exception of the
vertical and horizontal grooves (Fig. 201, vol. i.), the only
reminiscence of wooden construction preserved by stone architecture.
In the doors of the rock-cut tombs at Thebes no trace of the circular
beam, nor of any other characteristic of the joiner-inspired
stone-carving of early times, is to be found. The Egyptian architects
had by that time learnt to use stone and granite in a fashion
suggested by their own capabilities. We see, however, by the
representations preserved for us by the bas-reliefs, that wooden
construction maintained the character which belonged to it during the
first days of the Ancient Empire (Fig. 40).

    [56] PIERRET, _Dictionnaire d'Archéologie Égyptienne_.

[Illustration: FIG. 38.--Flattened form of lotus-leaf ornament, seen
in front and in section; drawn by Bourgoin.]

[Illustration: FIG. 39.--Lotus-leaf ornament in its elongated form;
drawn by Bourgoin.]

We know from the pyramids, from the temple of the sphinx, and from
some of the mastabas, that the Egyptian workmen were thoroughly
efficient in the cutting and dressing of stone, even in the time of
the first monarchs. However far we go back in the history of Egypt we
find no trace of any method of construction corresponding to that
which is called Cyclopean in the case of the Greeks. We find no walls
built like those of Tiryns, with huge and shapeless masses of rock,
the interstices being filled in with small stones. We do not even find
polygonal masonry--by which we mean walls formed of stone dressed with
the chisel, but with irregular joints, and with stones of very
different size and shape placed in juxtaposition with one another. In
the ancient citadels of Greece and Italy this kind of construction is
to be found in every variety, but in Egypt the stones are always
arranged into horizontal courses. Here and there the vertical joints
are not quite vertical, and sometimes we find stones which rise
higher, or sink lower, than the course to which they belong, tying it
to the one above it or below it. Such accidents as these do not,
however, affect the general rule, which was to keep each course
self-contained and parallel with the soil. All these varieties in
Egyptian masonry may be seen in a horizontal section of the first
pylon at Karnak (Fig. 41). This pylon is in such a ruined state that
by means of photographs taken from different sides we can form a very
exact idea of its internal composition.[57]

    [57] This pylon dates from the Ptolemies, but if there was
    anything that did not change in Egypt, it was their processes of

[Illustration: FIG. 40.--Wooden pavilion, from a bas-relief at Luxor
(Champollion, pl. 339).]

Great care in execution, and great size in the units of construction,
are only to be found in comparatively few of the Egyptian monuments.
We have already remarked upon the painstaking skill with which the
granite or limestone casing of the chambers and passages in the Gizeh
pyramids was fixed. Certain buildings of the Theban period, such as
the vaulted chapels in the Great Temple at Abydos, and the courts of
Medinet-Abou, are notable for excellence of a similar kind.
Everything, however, must in this respect give way to the Grand
Gallery in the pyramid of Cheops.

The Egypt of the early Pharaohs set more than one good example which
later generations failed to follow. The extraordinary number of
buildings which the great Theban princes carried on at one and the
same time, from the depths of Nubia to the shores of the
Mediterranean, made their subjects more easily satisfied in the matter
of architectural thoroughness. The habit of covering every plain
surface with a brilliant polychromatic decoration contributed to the
same result. The workmen were always hurried. There were hardly hands
enough for all the undertakings on foot at once. How, then, could they
be expected to lavish minute care upon joints which were destined to
be hidden behind a coat of stucco? We never encounter in Egyptian
buildings any of those graceful varieties of masonry which have been
adopted from time to time by all those artistic nations that have left
their stonework bare. None of the various kinds of rustication, none
of the alternation of square with oblong blocks, none of that
undeviating regularity in the height of the courses and in the
direction of the joints which by itself is enough to give beauty to a
building, is to be found in the work of Egyptian masons.[58]

    [58] This has been well shown by Champollion _à propos_ of one
    of the Nubian buildings constructed by the Theban kings. He
    speaks thus of the _hemispeos_ of Wadi-Esseboua: "This is the
    worst piece of work extant from the reign of Rameses the Great.
    The stones are ill-cut; their intervals are masked by a layer of
    cement over which the sculptured decoration, which is poorly
    executed, is continued.... Most of this decoration is now
    incomprehensible because the cement upon which a great part of
    it was carried out, has fallen down and left many and large gaps
    in the scenes and inscriptions."--_Lettres d'Égypte et de
    Nubie_, 121.

It was for similar motives that the Egyptians did not, as a rule, care
to use very large stones. Their obelisks and colossal statues prove
that they knew how to quarry and raise blocks of enormous size, but
they never made those efforts except when they had good reason to do
so. They did not care to exhaust themselves with dragging huge stones
up on to their buildings, where they would ever after be lost to sight
under the stucco. In the most carefully built Theban edifices the
average size of the stones hardly exceeds that of the materials which
are used by our modern architects. A single course was from 30 to 38
inches high, and the length of the blocks varied between 5 feet and
rather more than 8. In the great pylon of Karnak the lintel over the
doorway is a stone beam more than 25 feet long. In the hypostyle hall
the architraves of the central aisle are at least 29 feet long.[59]
It is said that some attain a length of nearly 32 feet.

    [59] _Description de l'Égypte_, _Antiquités_, vol. ii. p. 437.

The Egyptian architect was therefore quite ready to use monoliths of
exceptional size for the covering of voids when they were necessary,
but he did not wantonly create that necessity, as those of other
nations have often done. Most of the travellers who visit Egypt expect
to find huge monolithic shafts rearing their lofty heads on every
side, and their surprise is great when they are told that the huge
columns of the hypostyle halls are not cut from single blocks. Their
first illusion is fostered by the large number of monolithic granite
columns which are found at Erment, at Antinoé, at Cairo, in most of
the modern Egyptian mosques. When they arrive at Thebes they discover
their error. At Karnak and at Luxor, at Medinet-Abou and in the
Ramesseum, the columns are made up of drums placed one upon another.
In many cases even these drums are not monolithic, but consist of
several different stones. Under the Roman domination the Egyptians
deliberately chose to make their columns of single stones, and most of
those which are of exceptional size date from that late epoch. We know
but one case to which these remarks do not apply; we mean that of the
monolithic supports in the chambers of the labyrinth which were
mentioned by Strabo, and discovered, as some believe, by Lepsius.[60]
We are told by that traveller that they were of granite, but he only
saw them when broken. Strabo says that the chambers were roofed in
with slabs of such a size that they amazed every one who saw them, and
added much to the effect which that famous structure was otherwise
calculated to produce. Prisse describes and figures a column of red
granite which he ascribes to Amenophis III., and which, according to
him, was brought from Memphis to Cairo. Without the base which, as
given in his drawing, must be a restoration, it is 13 feet 8-1/2
inches high, including the capital.[61] It belongs to the same kind of
pillar as those observed by Lepsius in the Fayoum. In a painting in
one of the Gournah tombs, three workmen are shown polishing a column
exactly similar to that figured by Prisse, with the single exception
that its proportions are more slender (Fig. 42). Monolithic columns of
red granite have been discovered to the west of the present city of
Alexandria which are nearly 22 feet high. Their capitals are imitated
from truncated lotus-buds, like that in Fig. 42.

    [60] STRABO, xvii. 37.--LEPSIUS, _Briefe aus Ægypten_, p. 74.

    [61] PRISSE, _Histoire de l'Art Égyptien_, text, p. 364.

[Illustration: FIG. 41.--Horizontal section, in perspective, of the
first pylon at Karnak; by Charles Chipiez.]

It would seem, then, that monolithic columns were in fashion during
the early centuries of the second Theban empire, but that, in later
times, the general custom was to build up columns, sometimes for their
whole height, of moderately sized, and sometimes of very small stones
(Fig. 17).[62]

    [62] The columns at Luxor are constructed in courses. The joints
    of the stone are worked carefully for only about a third of
    their whole diameter. Their centres are slightly hollowed out
    and filled in with a mortar of pounded brick which has become
    friable. (_Description de l'Égypte_, _Antiquités_, vol. ii. p.

[Illustration: FIG. 42.--Workmen polishing a monolithic column;
Champollion, pl. 161.]

To all that concerns the quality of the building similar remarks may
be applied. We have mentioned a few examples of careful and scientific
construction, but, as a rule, Egyptian buildings were put together in
a fashion that was careless in the extreme.[63] The foundations were
neither wide enough nor deep enough. It is not until we come to the
remains of the Ptolemaic period, such as the temples at Edfou and
Denderah, that we discover foundations sinking 16 or 18 feet into the
ground. The Pharaonic temples were laid upon the surface rather than
solidly rooted in the soil. Mariette attributes the destruction which
has overtaken the temples at Karnak less to the violence of man or to
earthquakes than to inherent faults of construction, and to the want
of foresight shown by their architects in not placing them at a
sufficient elevation above the inundations. For many centuries the
waters of the Nile have reached the walls of the temples by
infiltration, and have gradually eaten away the sandstone of which
they are composed. "Similar causes produce similar effects, and the
time may be easily foreseen when the superb hypostyle hall will yield
to the attacks of its enemy, and its columns, already eaten through
for three quarters of their thickness, will fall as those of the
western court have fallen."[64]

    [63] See p. 29, vol. i. (Note 1) and p. 170. The engineers who
    edited the _Description_ make similar remarks with regard to
    Karnak. (_Antiquités_, vol. ii. pp. 414 and 500.)

    [64] MARIETTE, _Itinéraire_, p. 179. The pavement of the great
    temple is now about six feet below the general level of the
    surrounding plain.

At the time when Karnak was built there were in the country buildings
which were from ten to fifteen centuries old, to which the architects
of the time might have turned for information upon doubtful points. In
them the gradual rising of the valley level must have been clearly
shown. This want of foresight need cause us, however, no great
surprise; but it is otherwise with the carelessness of the architects
in arranging their plans, and in failing to compel the workmen to
follow those plans when made. "Except in a few rare instances," says
Mariette, "the Egyptian workman was far from deserving the reputation
he has gained for precision and care in the execution of his task.
Only those who have personally measured the tombs and temples of Egypt
know how often, for instance, the opposite walls of a single chamber
are unequal in height."[65]

    [65] MARIETTE, _Les Tombes de l'Ancien Empire_, p. 10.

The custom of building as fast as possible and trusting to the painted
decoration for the concealment of all defects, explains the method
most usually taken to keep the materials together. The system of using
large dressed stones made the employment of mortar unnecessary. The
Greeks, who used the same method and obtained from it such supreme
effects, put no mortar between their stones. Sometimes they were held
together by tenons of metal or wood, but the builder depended for
cohesion chiefly upon the way in which his materials were dressed and
fixed. The two surfaces were so intimately allied that the points of
junction were almost invisible. The Egyptians were in like manner able
to depend upon the _vis inertiæ_ of their materials for the stability
of their walls, and their climate was far better fitted even than that
of Greece for the employment of those wooden or metal tenons which
would prevent any slipping or settlement in the interior of the
masonry. The dangers attending such methods of fixing would thus be
reduced to a minimum. "In consequence of a dislocation in the walls
caused by the insufficiency of the foundations, it is possible, at
several points of the temple walls at Abydos, to introduce the arm
between the stones and feel the sycamore dovetails still in place and
in an extraordinary state of preservation. A few of these dovetails
have been extracted, and, although walled in for eternity so far as
the intentions of the Egyptians were concerned, they bear the royal
ovals of Seti I., the founder of the temple, the hieroglyphs being
very finely engraved."[66]

    [66] MARIETTE, _Abydos_, vol. i. p. 8.--_Catalogue général des
    Monuments d'Abydos_, p. 585. Similar tenons were found by the
    members of the _Institut d'Égypte_ in the walls of the great
    hall at Karnak (_Description de l'Égypte, Antiquités_, vol. ii.
    p. 442.--See also _Plates_, vol. ii. pl. 57, figs. 1 and 2). We
    took this illustration for our guide in compiling our diagram of
    Egyptian bonding in Fig. 69.

We see, then, that in many buildings the Egyptians employed methods
which demanded no little patience, skill, and attention from the
workman, but as a rule they preferred to work in a more expeditious
and less careful fashion. They used a cement made of sand and lime;
traces of it are everywhere found, both in the ruins of Thebes and in
the pyramids, between the blocks of limestone and sandstone.[67] Still
more did bricks require the use of mortar, which in their case was
often little more than mud.

    [67] _Description de l'Égypte, Ant._, vol. v. p. 153. JOMARD,
    _Recueil d'Observations et de Mémoires sur l'Égypte Ancienne et
    Moderne_, vol. iv. p. 41.

Among the processes made use of for the construction of the great
temple at Thebes there was one which bore marks of the same tendency.
Mariette tells us that traces exist in the front of the great temple
of a huge inclined plane made of large crude bricks. This incline was
used for the construction of the pylon. The great stones were dragged
up its slopes, and as the pylon grew, so did the mass of crude brick.
When the work was finished the bricks were cleared away, but the
internal face of the pylon still bears traces of their position
against it. This work was carried out, according to Mariette, under
the Ptolemies,[68] but the primitive method of raising the stones must
have come down from times much more remote.[69]

    [68] MARIETTE, _Karnak_, p. 18.

    [69] This is clearly indicated by DIODORUS (i. 63, 66): τὴν
    κατασκευὴν διὰ χωμάτων γενέσθαι.

The first travellers who visited Egypt in modern times were struck
with the colossal size of some buildings and of a few monoliths, and
jumped to the conclusion that the Egyptians were peculiarly skilled in
mechanics and engineering. They declared, and it has been often
repeated, that this people possessed secrets which were afterwards
lost; that many an Archimedes flourished among them who excelled his
Syracusan successor. All this was a pure illusion. Their only machines
seem to have been levers and perhaps a kind of elementary crane.[70]
The whole secret of the Egyptians consisted in their unlimited command
of individual labour, and in the unflinching way in which they made
use of it. Multitudes were employed upon a single building, and kept
to their work by the rod of the overseer until it was finished. The
great monoliths were placed upon rafts at the foot of the mountains in
which they were quarried, and floated during the inundation by river
and canal to a point as near as possible to their destined sites. They
were then placed upon sledges to which hundreds of men were harnessed,
and dragged over a well-oiled wooden causeway to their allotted
places. Fig. 43, which is taken from a hypogeum of the twelfth
dynasty, gives an excellent idea of the way in which these masses of
granite were transported. In this picture we see one hundred and
seventy-two men arranged in pairs and, to use a military term, in four
columns, dragging the sledge of a huge seated colossus by four
ropes.[71] This colossus must have been about twenty-six feet high, if
the pictured proportions between the statue and its convoy may be
taken as approaching the truth. Upon the pedestal stands a man, who
pours water upon the planks so that they shall not catch fire from the
friction of so great a mass.[72] The engineer, who presides over the
whole operation, stands upright upon the knees of the statue and
"marks time" with his hands. At the side of the statue walk men
carrying instruments of various kinds, overseers armed with rattans,
and relays of men to take the place of those who may fall out of the
ranks from fatigue. In the upper part we see a numerous troop of
Egyptians carrying palm branches, who seem to be leading the

    [70] WILKINSON, _Manners and Customs_, etc., vol. ii. p. 309. In
    speaking of the pyramids Herodotus mentions what seems to have
    been a kind of crane, but he gives us no information as to its
    principle or arrangement (ii. 125).

    [71] The painting in question dates from the reign of
    Ousourtesen II. and was found at El-Bercheh, a short distance
    above the ruins of Antinoë.

    [72] The position of this man and the general probabilities of
    the case suggest perhaps, that his jar contains oil rather than

[Illustration: FIG. 43.--Transport of a colossus (Wilkinson, vol. ii.,
p. 305).]

From the first centuries of the monarchy blocks of granite of unusual
size were thus transferred from place to place. We learn this from the
epitaph of a high official named Una, who lived in the time of the
sixth dynasty.[73] He recounts the services which he had rendered in
bringing to Memphis the blocks of granite and alabaster required for
the royal undertakings. Mention is made of buildings which had been
constructed for the reception of monoliths. The largest of those
buildings was 60 cubits (about 102 feet) long by 30 cubits wide. A
little farther on we are told that one monolith required 3,000 men for
its transport.

    [73] BRUGSCH, _Histoire d'Égypte_, vol. i. pp. 74 _et seq._

Thanks to their successful wars the great Theban princes had far wider
resources at their command than their predecessors. Their architects
could count upon the labour not only of the fellahs of the _corvée_,
but also upon thousands of foreign prisoners. It was not astonishing,
therefore, that the enterprises of the ancient empire were thrown into
the shade. Neither were the Sait monarchs behind those of Thebes.
According to Herodotus the monolithic chapel which Amasis brought from
the Elephantiné quarries was 39 feet high by nearly 23 feet wide and
13 feet deep, outside measurement.[74] Taking the hollow inside into
consideration such a stone must have weighed about 48 tons. Two
thousand boatmen were occupied for three years in transporting this
chapel from Elephantiné into the Delta. Another town in the same
region must have had a still larger monolithic chapel, if we are to
believe the Greek historian's account of it. It was square, and each
of its sides measured 40 cubits (nearly 70 feet).[75]

    [74] We agree with Wilkinson in taking for the height that which
    Herodotus calls the length. In all monuments of the kind the
    height is the largest measurement. Herodotus's phrase is easily
    explained. The monolith appears to have been lying in front of
    the temple into which they had failed to introduce it. (κείται
    παρὰ τὴν ἔσοδον, he says). Its height had thus become its

    [75] HERODOTUS, ii. 155.

How did they set about erecting their obelisks? Upon this point we
have no information whatever, either from inscriptions or from figured
monuments. They may have used an inclined plane, to the summit of
which the obelisk was drawn by the force of innumerable arms, and
then lowered by the gradual removal of the part supporting its lower
end. It is certain that the process was often a slow and laborious
one. We know from an inscription that the obelisk which now stands
before the church of San Giovanni Laterano in Rome was more than
thirty-five years in the hands of the workmen charged with its
erection in the southern quarter of Thebes.[76] Sometimes, however,
much more rapid progress was made. According to the inscription on the
base of the obelisk of Hatasu at Karnak, the time consumed upon it,
from the commencement of work in the quarry to its final erection at
Thebes, _was only seven months_.[77]

    [76] The text in question is quoted in the notes contributed by
    Dr. BIRCH to the last edition of WILKINSON (vol. ii. p. 308,
    note 2). PLINY'S remarks upon the obelisks are intersprinkled
    with fabulous stories and contain no useful information (H. N.,
    xxxvi. 14).

    [77] PIERRET, _Dictionnaire d'Archéologie Égyptienne_. (The
    dates upon which this assertion depends have been disputed. M.
    CHABAS reads the inscription "from the first of Muchir in the
    year 16, to the last of Mesore in 17," making nineteen months in
    all, a period which is not quite so impossible as that
    ordinarily quoted.--ED.)

Whatever may have been their methods we may be sure that there was
nothing complicated or particularly learned in them. The erection of
the obelisks, like that of the colossal statues, must have been an
affair merely of time and of the number of arms employed.

"One day," says Maxime du Camp, "I was sitting upon one of the
architraves supported by the columns of the great hall at Karnak, and,
glancing over the forest of stone which surrounded me, I involuntarily
cried out: 'But how did they do all this?'"

"My dragoman, Joseph, who is a great philosopher, overheard my
exclamation, and began to laugh. He touched my arm, and pointing to a
palm tree whose tall stem rose in the distance, he said: 'That is what
they did it all with; a hundred thousand palm-branches broken over the
backs of people whose shoulders are never covered, will create palaces
and temples enough. Ah yes, sir, that was a bad time for the date
trees; their branches were cut a good deal faster than they grew!' And
he laughed softly to himself as he caressed his beard."

"Perhaps he was right."[78]

    [78] MAXIME DU CAMP, _Le Nil_, pp. 261 and 262.

§ 4. _The Arch._

We have already said that among the Egyptians the arch was only of
secondary importance; that it was only used in accessory parts of
their buildings. We are compelled to return to the subject, however,
because a wrong idea has generally been adopted which, as in the case
of the monoliths, we must combat evidence in hand. The extreme
antiquity of the arch in Egypt is seldom suspected.

It was an article of faith with the architects of the last century
that the arch was discovered by the Etruscans. The engineers of the
French expedition did not hesitate to declare every arch which they
found in Egypt to be no older in date than the Roman occupation. But
since the texts have been interpreted it has been proved that there is
more than one arch in Egypt which was constructed not only as early as
the Ptolemies, but even under the Pharaohs. Wilkinson mentions brick
arches and vaults bearing the names of Amenophis I., and Thothmes III.
at Thebes, and judging from the paintings at Beni-Hassan, he is
inclined to believe that they understood the principle as early as the
twelfth dynasty.[79]

    [79] WILKINSON, _Manners and Customs_, etc., vol. i. pp.
    357-358: vol. ii. pp. 262, 298-299.

Wilkinson was quite right in supposing these eighteenth dynasty vaults
to be from the first constructed by Egyptian architects. The scarcity
of good timber must soon have set them to discover some method of
covering a void which should be more convenient than flat ceilings,
and as the supply always follows the demand, they must have been thus
led towards the inevitable discovery. The latest editor of Wilkinson,
Dr. Birch, affirms more than once that the arch has been recently
discovered among the remains from the Ancient Empire, and in the
_Itinéraire_ of Mariette we find:[80] "It is by no means rare to find
in the necropolis of Abydos, among the tombs of the thirteenth and
even of the sixth dynasty, vaults which are not only pointed in
section as a whole, but which are made up of bricks in the form of
_voussoirs_." Being anxious that no uncertainty upon such a subject
should remain, we asked Mariette for more information during the last
winter but one that he spent in Egypt. We received the following
answer, dated 29th January, 1880: "I have just consulted my journal of
the Abydos excavations. I there find an entry relating to a tomb of
the sixth dynasty with the accompanying drawing (Fig. 44): _a_ is in
limestone, and there can be no doubt that in it we have a keystone in
the form of a true voussoir; _b_, _b_, are also of stone. The rest is
made up of crude bricks, rectangular in shape, and kept in place by
pebbles imbedded in the cement.

    [80] P. 148.

"Obviously, we have here the principle of the arch. Speaking
generally, I believe that the Egyptians were acquainted with that
principle from the earliest times. They did not make an extensive use
of the arch because they knew that it carried within it the seeds of
its own death. _Une maille rongée emporte tout l'ouvrage_, and a bad
stone in a vault may ruin a whole building. The Egyptians preferred
their indestructible stone beams. I often ask myself how much would
have been left to us of their tombs and temples if they had used the
arch instead."[81]

    [81] "An arch never sleeps" says the Arab proverb.

[Illustration: FIG. 44.--Arch in the necropolis of Abydos;
communicated by Mariette.]

Mariette adds that the Serapeum contains the oldest known example of a
vault of dressed stone, and as it dates from the time of Darius the
son of Hystaspes, we suppose that the fine limestone arch at Sakkarah,
bearing the cartouche of Psemethek I., which is figured at the head of
Sir Gardner Wilkinson's tenth chapter, no longer exists.

It was in their brick buildings that the Egyptians chiefly employed
arches. Such structures were looked upon as less sacred, less
monumental than those in which stone was used, and a process might
therefore be admitted which would be excluded from the latter. We
shall here give several examples of the Egyptian arch and its
principal varieties, and it will not surprise our readers to find that
they are all taken from the New Empire. The remains from earlier
periods consist almost entirely of tombs, while those left to us by
the eighteenth dynasty and its successors are of vast dimensions, such
as the great Theban temples, and have annexes comprising buildings
erected for a vast variety of purposes.

Groined vaults were unknown to the Egyptians, but almost every variety
of arch and of plain vault is to be found in the country.

The semicircular arch is more frequently met with than any other. That
which exists in an old tomb at Abydos has been already figured (Fig.
44), we shall give two more examples, dating from the Sait epoch. The
illustration below (Fig. 45), represents the gate in the encircling
wall of one of the tombs in the valley of El-Assassif, at Thebes. The
wall diminishes gradually in thickness from sixteen feet eight inches
at the bottom to nine feet nine inches at the top, both faces being
equally inclined. This latter feature is a rare one in Egypt, the
slope being as a rule confined to the external face. In order to show
it clearly we have interrupted the wall vertically in our
illustration, isolating the part in which the arch occurs (Fig. 46),
and restoring the summit. The arch itself is formed of nine courses of

[Illustration: FIG. 45.--Arch in El-Assassif, present condition; from

The sarcophagus in "Campbell's Tomb" is protected by a plain
cylindrical vault of four courses (see Fig. 200, vol. i.), which
covers a polygonal vault formed of three large slabs. Both vaults are
pierced by a narrow opening, which may, perhaps, have been intended to
allow the scents and sounds of the world above to reach the occupant
of the sarcophagus. Its arrangement is so careful that it must have
had some important purpose to fulfil.

In the group of ruins which surrounds the back parts of the Ramesseum
(see p. 379, vol. i.) there are vaults of various kinds. A few verge
slightly towards the pointed form (see Fig. 47), others are elliptic
(Fig. 48). The latter are composed of four courses, and their inner
surfaces show a curious arrangement of the bricks; their vertical
joints are not parallel to either axis of the vault. The ends of the
courses are slightly set off from its face (see Fig. 48).

[Illustration: FIG. 46.--Arch in El-Assassif, restored from the plans
and elevations of Lepsius.[82]]

    [82] _Denkmæler_, part i. pl. 94.

A tomb near the _Valley of the Queens_, at Thebes, has a strongly
marked elliptical vault (Fig. 49).[83]

    [83] RAMÉE, _Histoire générale de l'Architecture_, vol. i. p.

Finally, the inverted segmental arch is not unknown. It is found
employed in a fashion which, as described by Prisse, made a great
impression upon Viollet-le-Duc. "The foundations of certain boundary
walls," says the former, "are built of baked bricks to a height of
one-and-a-half metres (about four feet ten inches) above the ground.
The bricks are thirty-one centimetres (about twelve-and-a-quarter
inches) long, and the courses are arranged in a long succession of
inverted segmental arches."[84]

    [84] PRISSE, _Histoire de l'Art Égyptien_, p. 174.--MARIETTE
    (_Voyage dans la Haute-Égypte_, vol. ii. pp. 59-60) was struck
    by a similar arrangement. "Murray's Guide," he says, "tells us,
    in speaking of Dayr-el-Medineh, that the walls which inclose the
    courts of this temple present a striking peculiarity of
    construction. Their bricks are laid in concave-convex courses
    which rise and fall alternately over the whole length of the
    walls." This curious arrangement deserved to be noticed, but
    Dayr-el-Medineh is not the only place where it is to be found.
    The bounding wall of the temple of Osiris at Abydos affords
    another instance of it. It should also be noticed that the
    problem offered to us by such a mode of building is complicated
    by the fact that, in the quay at Esneh and in some parts of the
    temple of Philæ, it is combined with the use of very large
    sandstone blocks.

[Illustration: FIG. 47.--Vaults in the Ramesseum.]

[Illustration: FIG. 48.--Vault in the Ramesseum; compiled from the
data of Lepsius.]

Our figure has been compiled from the plans and elevations of Prisse
with a view to making the arrangement easily understood (Fig. 50); it
represents the lower part of one of the walls in question. According
to M. Viollet-le-Duc, the Egyptian architects had recourse to this
contrivance in order to guard against the effects of earthquakes. He
shows clearly that a wall built in such a fashion would offer a much
more solid resistance to their attacks than one with foundations
composed of horizontal courses.[85]

    [85] VIOLLET-LE-DUC, _Histoire de l'Habitation humaine_, pp.
    85-88. Alberti and other Renaissance architects recommended this
    method of construction for building upon a soft surface.
    (_L'Architettura di Leon Batista Alberti, tradotta in lingua
    fiorentina da Cosimo Bartoli_, Venice, 1565, 4to, p. 70.)

If we are to take it as established that the vault or arch was among
the primitive methods of Egyptian construction, we have no reason to
believe that _off-set_ arches were older, in Egypt at least, than true
arches. We have described this form of arch elsewhere, and explained
the contrivance by which the superficial appearance of a vault was
obtained.[86] The process could obviously only be carried out in
stone. We shall here content ourselves with giving two examples of its

    [86] See p. 110, Vol. I., and Figs. 74, 75, 76.

[Illustration: FIG. 49.--Elliptical vault; Thebes.]

[Illustration: FIG. 50.--Foundations with inverted segmental arches;
compiled from Prisse.]

The first dates from the eighteenth dynasty, and occurs in the temple
of Dayr-el-Bahari.[87] Our Fig. 51 gives a transverse section of a
passage leading to one of the chambers cut in the rock. Fig. 52 offers
a view in perspective of the same passage and of the discharging
chamber which really bears the thrust of the weight above.

    [87] See p. 111, Vol. I., _et seq._

[Illustration: FIG. 51.--Transverse section of a corridor at
Dayr-el-Bahari; from Lepsius, i. pl. 87.]

[Illustration: FIG. 52.--Section in perspective through the same
corridor; composed from the elevation of Lepsius.]

The second example of this construction comes from a famous work of
the nineteenth dynasty, the temple of Seti I. at Abydos. Our figure
(53) shows one of the curious row of chapels in which the originality
of that building consists.[88] This quasi-vault, for which Mariette
finds a reason in the funerary character of the building, has been
obtained by cutting into three huge sandstone slabs in each
horizontal course. The stone forming the crown of the vault is
especially large.

    [88] See also pp. 385-392, Vol. I. and Fig. 224.--Our
    perspective has been compiled from the _Description de
    l'Égypte_, from Mariette's work and from photographs.

[Illustration: FIG. 53.--Vaulted chapel at Abydos.]

Brick vaults and arches must have been far more numerous in Egypt than
might be supposed from the few examples that remain. They must have
suggested the use of off-set vaults in the case of stone, which, it
must not be forgotten, would seem to the Egyptians to offer all the
advantages of a vault without its drawbacks. In other countries the
stages of progression were different, and the true arch came very late
into use; but in Egypt it certainly seems to have preceded the off-set
arch. In the valley of the Nile the latter is an imitative form. The
form of elliptic arch which we find in certain funerary chambers at
Abydos seems to show this. When the architect of a tomb or temple
wished to substitute a concave surface for a flat ceiling he made use
of this hollowed-out vault. He thus saved himself from any anxiety as
to the stability of his structure, he avoided the necessity of
introducing what would seem to him a cause of eventual destruction,
while he gave variety of line and, perhaps, additional symbolic
meaning to his work.

§ 5 _The Pier and Column.--The Egyptian Orders._


After the wall and the covering which the wall supports, we must study
in some detail the pier, and the column which is the perfected form of
the pier. Thanks to these latter elements of construction the
architect is able to cover large spaces without impeding circulation,
to exactly apportion the strength and number of his points of support
to the weight to be carried and to the other conditions of the
problem. By the form of their bases and capitals, by the proportions
of their shafts, by the ornament laid upon them in colour or chiselled
in their substance, he is enabled to give an artistic richness and
variety which are practically infinite. Their arrangements and the
proportions of their spacing are also of the greatest importance in
the production of effect.

In attempting to define a style of architecture and its individual
expression, there is no part to which so much attention should be paid
as the column. It should be examined, in the first place, as an
isolated individual, with a stature and physiognomy proper to itself.
Then in its social state, if we may use such a phrase; in the various
groups which go to make porticos, hypostyle halls, and colonnades. We
shall begin, therefore, by examining what may be called the Egyptian
orders, and afterwards we shall describe the principal combinations in
which they were employed by the Theban architects.

Our readers must remember the distinction, to which we called
attention in the early part of our task, between two systems
co-existing at one and the same time in Egypt; wooden architecture and
that in which stone was the chief material used.[89] Under the Ancient
Empire the only kind of detached support which appears to have been
known in stone architecture, was the quadrangular pier, examples of
which we find in the Temple of the Sphinx (Fig. 204, vol. i.). It was
not so, however, in wooden construction. We find in the bas-reliefs
belonging to that early epoch numerous representations of wooden
columns, which, though all possessing the same slender proportions,
were surmounted by capitals of various designs. In these capitals
occur the first suggestions of the forms which were afterwards
developed with success in stone architecture.

    [89] See Chapter II. vol. i.

The type of capital which occurs most frequently in the buildings of
the New Empire is certainly that which has been compared to a
truncated lotus-bud;[90] we may call it the _lotiform_ capital, and a
bas-relief has come down to us from the fifth dynasty, in which two
columns are shown crowned by capitals of this type, differing only
from later stone examples in their more elongated forms (Figs. 54 and

    [90] These slender columns with lotiform capitals are figured in
    considerable number in the tomb of Ti. MARIETTE, _Voyage dans la
    Haute-Égypte_, vol. i. pl. 10.

[Illustration: Fig. 54.--Bas-relief from the 5th dynasty; from

[Illustration: Fig. 55.--Detail of capital; from the same bas-relief.]

After the type of capital just mentioned, that which occurs most
frequently at Karnak and elsewhere is the _campaniform_ type, in which
the general outline resembles that of an inverted bell. It has been
referred to the imitation of the lotus-flower when in full bloom.
However that may be, it is the fact that in a bas-relief of the fifth
dynasty we find a capital presenting the outline, in full detail, of a
lotus-flower which has just opened its petals (Figs. 56 and 57).

Rarer and later types than these are also foreshadowed in the early
bas-reliefs. We shall hereafter have to speak of a campaniform capital
in which the bell is not inverted, in the part constructed by
Thothmes of the great temple at Karnak. Its prototype may certainly be
recognized in a figured pavilion at Sakkarah, dating from the sixth
dynasty. We reproduce it from a squeeze sent to us by M. Bourgoin
(Figs. 58 and 59).

[Illustration: FIG. 56.--Bas-relief from the 5th dynasty; from

[Illustration: FIG. 57.--Details of columns in Fig. 56.]

[Illustration: FIG. 58.--Pavilion from Sakkarah, 6th dynasty.]

[Illustration: Fig. 59.--Details of column in Fig. 58.]

During the Ptolemaic period, the Egyptian architects made frequent use
of the form of capital which is now called _hathoric_, in which a
masque of Hathor, the cow-headed goddess, is the ruling principle.
This capital is to be seen, in a rudimentary condition, in a pavilion
dating from the fifth dynasty (Figs. 60 and 61). It there occurs, as
will be seen by referring to our illustrations, as the roughly
blocked-out head of a cow.

In connection with the last two bas-reliefs, we must call attention to
the fact that the structures from which they were imitated must have
been erected in some kind of metal. Their forms are inconsistent with
the use of any other material. The way in which the capital is
connected with the member to which it acts as support, in Fig. 59, and
the open-work of the architrave in Fig. 61, are especially suggestive.
In the latter bas-relief the figures introduced are evidently behind a
grille, and the whole structure is expressive of metal-work.

[Illustration: FIG. 60.--Bas-relief from the 5th dynasty; from

[Illustration: FIG. 61.--Details of the columns.]

We suspect that the pavilion shown in Fig. 56 was also of metal, which
seems to have played an important part in all that light form of
architecture with which we make acquaintance in the sepulchral
decorations. This is very clearly seen in the examples of painted
columns, which we borrow from Prisse (Figs. 62-65). They present forms
which could only have been compassed by the use of some metal like
bronze. If the use of metal be admitted, we have no difficulty in
accounting for the playful and slender grace found in some of these
columns, and the ample tufted capitals of others. The natural tendency
in painted decorations of this kind to exaggerate the characteristics
of their models must not, however, be overlooked. Not being compelled
to apportion the strength of supports to the weight which they have to
carry, it is always inclined to elongate forms. The decorations at
Pompeii are a striking instance of this. Pompeian painters gave
impossible proportions to their columns, which evidently existed no
where but in their own fancies. We admit that the Egyptian decorators
did something of the same kind, that they exaggerated proportions and
accumulated motives on a single capital, which were not to be found
co-existing in reality. But, with these reserves, we think it more
than probable that the columns shown in their paintings have preserved
the general aspect of the supports employed in those curiously elegant
pavilions to which they belonged. The forms in Fig. 62 are explained,
on the one hand, by the imitation of vegetable forms, on the other by
the behaviour of a metal plate under the hand of the workman. The
curve which was afterwards, under the name of a _volute_, to play such
an important part in Greek architecture, was thus naturally obtained.

[Illustration: FIGS. 62-65.--Columns from bas-reliefs (Prisse).]

It will thus be seen that during the Ancient Empire the lighter forms
of architecture were far in advance of that which made use of stone.
It possessed a richness and variety of its own, which were rendered
possible by the comparative ease with which wood and metal could be
manipulated, an ease which gradually led the artist onwards to the
invention of forms conspicuous for their playful originality and their
singular diversity.

As for the quadrangular pier, with which the stone architecture of the
Ancient Empire was contented, we are assured that it had its origin in
the rock-cut tombs. In the oldest works of the kind in Egypt, the
funerary grottos of Memphis, "these piers (we are told) owe their
existence to the natural desire to cause the light from without to
penetrate to a second or even to a third chamber. In order to obtain
this result, openings were made in the front wall on each side of the
door, and the parts of the rock which were left for support became for
that reason objects of care, and finally took the form of piers. The
rock over these piers was the prototype of the architrave."[91]

    [91] EBERS, _Ægypten_, vol. ii., p. 186. All this passage of
    Ebers is, however, nothing more than an epitome of a paper by
    LEPSIUS, entitled: _Ueber einige Ægyptische Kunstformen und ihre
    Entwickelung_ (in the _Transactions of the Berlin Academy_,
    1871, 4to). This paper contains many just observations and
    ingenious notions; but, to our mind it is over systematized, and
    its theories cannot all be accepted.

It may be so. But, on the other hand, the pier of dressed stone may
have had a still more simple origin. It may have resulted from the
obvious requirements of construction. As soon as wooden buildings
began to be supplemented by work in stone, it became necessary to find
supports strong enough for the weight of stone roofs. Nothing could be
more natural than to take a block of stone as it came from the
quarry, and to set it up on end. In course of time its faces would be
dressed and its section accommodated to a square, for the love of
symmetry is innate in man. The pier may also be seen foreshadowed in
the squared beams of that closed form of wooden architecture which has
been already noticed.

We see, then, that the earliest Egyptian art of which we have any
remains comprised the principal elements of which later architects
made use. But it is among the ruins of the great monuments constructed
during the Theban supremacy that we must attempt to form an exhaustive
list of their architectural forms, and to show how the genius of the
race, obeying that mysterious law which governs all organic
development, arrived at the complete realization of the ideal towards
which it had been advancing through so many centuries. At Thebes alone
can the architectural genius of the Egyptians be judged.


In the following pages all the principal varieties of Egyptian pier
and column are passed in review. We believe that no type of any
importance has been omitted. The illustrations are all drawn to one
scale of about ten feet to the inch. The difference in the size of the
reproductions is therefore a guide to the relative proportions of the
originals, and an idea can be easily formed of their comparative
importance in the buildings in which they occur.

The quadrangular pier is the simplest form of support, and, as might
be expected, it is also the most ancient. In the example which we have
taken from a tomb in the necropolis of Sakkarah, a tomb dating from
the Ancient Empire, it has already a base (Fig. 66), an addition which
is not to be found in the Temple of the Sphinx (Fig. 204, vol. i.).
Elsewhere it tapers to the top; an instance of this, dating from a
much later period, is found in the speos of Phré, at Ipsamboul (Fig.
67). In all these cases the architrave rests directly upon the shaft,
an arrangement which gives the pier an archaic character in spite of
its base.

A very different appearance was obtained when, in the time of Rameses,
the pier was provided with a more ample base, and covered with
hieroglyphs and figures. It received a capital at the same time, and
became worthy of playing its part in a richly-decorated building like
the great temple at Karnak, from which our Fig. 68 is taken. The same
may be said of the hathoric pier. The example shown in Fig. 69 is
taken from the speos of Hathor at Ipsamboul. The lower part of the
shaft is covered with inscriptions above which appears a mask of

[Illustration: FIG. 66.--Quadrangular pier; from Prisse.]

[Illustration: FIG. 67.--Tapering quadrangular pier; from Gailhabaud.]

[Illustration: FIG. 68.--Pier with capital; from Prisse.]

[Illustration: FIG. 69.--Hathoric pier; from Gailhabaud.]

The form of pier called _osiride_ is still more elaborate and
decorative. These piers consist of two parts; a quadrangular shaft
covered with inscriptions, and a colossal statue of the king who was
the constructor of the building in which they are found, endowed with
the head-dress and other attributes of Osiris. The motive was a
favourite one with the princes of the nineteenth dynasty, and it is
continuously repeated both in the great temples of the left bank at
Thebes and in the rock-cut temples of Nubia. Our illustration is taken
from an osiride pier in the second court of Medinet-Abou. The word
_caryatid_ cannot strictly be applied to these piers, because the
statues do not help to support the mass above, they are merely affixed
to the pier which actually performs that office.

[Illustration: FIG. 70.--Osiride pillar.]

The Ethiopian architects borrowed the motive of these osiride pillars.
They introduced into colonnaded buildings, copied from those of the
Rameses, some colossal figures in which the Typhon of the Greeks has
sometimes been recognized. They probably represent the god Set. They,
too, are only applied to the supports. There is but one instance in
the whole of Egyptian architecture of the human figure being frankly
employed as a support, namely, in the case of those brackets or
balconies which overhang the courts of the Royal Pavilion at
Medinet-Abou (Fig. 10). But even here the support is more apparent
than real, for the slabs between which the figures are crouched are
upheld by the wall at their backs. In this there is nothing that can
be compared to the work done by the dignified virgins of the Erectheum
or the muscular giants of Agrigentum, in upholding the massive
architraves confided to their strength.

[Illustration: FIG. 71.--Ornamented pier; Karnak.]

A last and curious variety of pier is found in the granite chambers of
the Great Temple at Karnak. Upon two of their faces are carved groups
of three tall stems surmounted by flowers. Upon one face these flowers
are shaped like inverted bells (see Fig. 71), on the other they
resemble the curling petals of the lily. Flower and stem are painted
with colours which make them stand out from the red of the polished
granite. These piers are two in number, and the faces which are
without the decoration described are covered with finely executed
sculptures in intaglio.[92]

    [92] See PRISSE, _Histoire de l'Art Égyptien_, pp. 359, 360.

These piers are 29 feet high. "Their height, as well as their
situation, seems to indicate that they never bore any architrave. They
were once, however, crowned by some royal symbol; probably by bronze
hawks, which may have been ornamented with enamel. There are many
representations of such arrangements in the bas-reliefs at
Karnak."[93] Supposing this hypothesis to be well founded, these piers
had something in common with a stele; had their height been less they
might have been called pedestals; had their shape been less
uncompromisingly rectangular, they might have been called obelisks.
Like the steles they are self-contained and independent of their

    [93] _Ibid._

    [94] At Dayr-el-Bahari there are some pillars of the same shape
    but engaged in the wall. They support groups--carved in stone
    and painted--comprising a hawk, a vulture, cynocephali, and so
    on. They are in the passage which leads to the north-western
    _speos_. Their total height, inclusive of the animals which
    surmount them, is nearly 18 feet, of which the groups make up
    nearly a third. The lower part is ornamented by mouldings in the
    shape of panels. These pilasters should be more carefully
    studied and reproduced if they still exist: the sketches from
    which we have described them were made some fifteen years ago.
    In that monument of Egyptian sculpture which is, perhaps, the
    oldest of all, namely, the bas-relief engraved by Seneferu upon
    the rocks of Wadi-Maghara, a hawk crowned with the _pschent_
    stands before the conqueror upon a quadrangular pier which has
    panels marked upon it in the same fashion as at Dayr-el-Bahari.

We see, then, that as time went on the Egyptian architects have
transformed the old, plain, rectangular pier--by giving it capital and
base, by adorning it with painted and sculptured decorations--until it
became fit to take its place in the most ornate architectural
composition. We have yet to follow the same constructive member in a
further series of modifications which ended by making it
indistinguishable from the column proper.

In order thoroughly to understand all these intermediary types we must
return to the rock-cut tombs, in which the ceilings were upheld by
piers left standing when the excavation was made. The desire to get as
much light as possible past these piers led to their angles being
struck off in the first instance, and thus a quadrangular pier became
an octagonal prism (Fig. 72), and was connected with the soil by a
large, flat, disk-shaped base.

By repeating the same process and cutting off the eight angles of this
prism, a sixteen-sided shaft was obtained, examples of which are to be
found at Beni-Hassan in the same tomb as the octagonal column (Fig.

"The practical difficulty of cutting these sixteen faces with
precision and of equalizing the angles at which they met each other,
added to the natural desire to make the division into sixteen planes
clearly visible, and to give more animation to the play of light and
shade, inspired the Egyptian architects with the happy notion of
transforming the obtuse angles into salient ridges by hollowing out
the spaces between them."[95] The highest part, however, of these
pillars remained quadrangular, thus preserving a reminiscence of the
original type, and supplying a connecting link between the shaft and
the architrave which almost exactly corresponds to the Greek _abacus_.
This quadrangular member was advantageous in two ways; it prevented
any incoherence between the diameter of the shaft and the depth of the
architrave, and it supplied an unchanging element to the
composition.[96] The persistence of this square abacus helps to call
our attention to the continual changes undergone by the shaft which it
surmounts. The slight inclination of the sides gives to the latter the
effect of a cone, and the contrast between its almost circular top and
the right-angles of the abacus helps us to remember that the square
pier was its immediate progenitor.

    [95] EBERS, _Ægypten_, vol. ii., p. 184.

    [96] CHIPIEZ, _Histoire critique des Origines et de la Formation
    des Ordres Grecques_, p. 44.

[Illustration: FIG. 72.--Octagonal pillar; Beni-Hassan.]

[Illustration: FIG. 73.--Sixteen-sided pillar; fluted.]

The conical form of the pillars at Beni-Hassan, their want of a
well-marked base, their sixteen flutes, the square abacus interposed
between their shafts and the architrave, made, when taken together, a
great impression upon the mind of Champollion. He thought that in them
he had found a first sketch for the oldest of the Greek orders, and
that the type brought to perfection by the builders of Corinth and
Pæstum had its origin in the tombs of Beni-Hassan; he accordingly
proposed to call their columns _proto-doric_.

Here we shall not attempt to discuss Champollion's theory. It would be
impossible to do so with advantage without having previously studied
the doric column itself, and pointed out how little these resemblances
amount to. The doric column had no base; the diminution of its
diameter was much more rapid; its capital, which comprised an echinus
as well as an abacus, was very different in importance from the little
tablet which we find at Beni-Hassan. The general proportions of the
Greek and Egyptian orders are, however, almost identical; the shafts
are fluted in each instance, and they both have the same air of
simplicity and imposing gravity.

But it is futile to insist upon any such comparison. The polygonal
column had long been disused when the Greeks first penetrated into the
Nile valley and had an opportunity of imitating the works of the
Egyptians. It was in use in the time of the Middle Empire, during the
eleventh and twelfth dynasties. The earlier princes of the Second
Theban Empire introduced it into their stone buildings, but there are
no examples which we can affirm to be later than the eighteenth
dynasty. The Rameses and their successors preferred forms less bold
and severe; their columns were true columns with swelling entasis and
rich and varied capitals. It is no doubt true that towards the seventh
century the Greeks could find the polygonal column which we have
described in many an ancient monument. But those early visitors were
not archæologists. Astonished and dazzled by the pompous buildings of
a Psemethek or an Amasis, they were not likely to waste their
attention upon an abandoned and obsolete type. Their admiration would
be reserved for the great edifices of the nineteenth and later
dynasties, for such creations as Medinet-Abou, the Ramesseum, and the
Great Hall at Karnak; creations which had their equals in those cities
of the Delta which were visited by Herodotus and Hecatæus. If Greek
art had borrowed from the Egypt of that day it would have transferred
to its own home not the simple lines of the porticos at Beni-Hassan,
but something ornate and complex, like the order of the small temple
of Nectanebo at Philæ.

These few words had to be given, in passing, to an hypothesis which
has found much favour since the days of Champollion, but we hasten to
resume our methodical analysis of the Egyptian orders, and to class
them by the varieties of their proportions and by the ever-increasing
complication of their ornaments.

[Illustration: FIG. 74.--Polygonal column with a flat vertical band.]

[Illustration: FIG. 75.--Polygonal pier with mask of Hathor; from

At Beni-Hassan and elsewhere we find pillars with two or four flat
vertical bands dividing their flutes into as many groups. These bands
are covered with incised inscriptions. Sometimes, as at Kalabché (Fig.
74), there are four flat bands inclosing five flutes between each
pair. Such an arrangement accentuates the difference between these
so-called proto-doric pillars and the Greek doric column. They take
away from the proper character of the pillar, the inscribed tablet
becomes the most important member of the composition, and the shaft to
which it is attached seems to have been made for its display. In the
Greek order, on the other hand, we always find the structural
requirements brought into absolute harmony with those of the æsthetic
sentiment; every line of every detail is necessary both to builder and

A later variety of this type is found in a pillar in which the
vertical band is interrupted to make room for a mask of Hathor, which
is placed immediately below the abacus (Fig. 75). We find it in a
temple situated eastwards of El-Kab, dating, according to Lepsius,
from the eighteenth dynasty.

After the eleventh dynasty we find monolithic rock-cut supports at
Beni-Hassan, which, although side by side with true polygonal piers,
are columns in the strictest sense of the word; that is to say, their
vertical section offers curvilinear forms, and they are provided with
capitals. Singularly enough, they are so far from being a development
from the pier that they do not even distantly resemble it. They may
fairly be compared, however, with a type of column which we have
already noticed in speaking of the ephemeral wooden or metal
architecture whose forms have been preserved for us in the bas-reliefs
of the Ancient Empire (see Fig. 54).[97]

    [97] MARIETTE has shown this clearly in his _Voyage dans la
    Haute-Égypte_ (p. 52). "This light column or shaft was not
    abandoned, it reappeared in stone ... it reappeared to give
    birth to the great faggot-shaped column which rivalled the pier
    in size, solidity, and weight. This column, with its capital in
    the shape of a lotus-bud or flower, is seen in its full
    development at Karnak, at Luxor, and in the first temple of the
    New Empire."

[Illustration: FIG. 76.--Column from Beni-Hassan; from Lepsius.]

The shaft is formed of four bold vertical ribs, cruciform in plan, and
bound together at the top by narrow fillets. The re-entering angles
between the ribs are deep. The horizontal section of the capital is
similar to that of the shaft, from which it seems to burst; it then
gradually tapers to the top, where it meets the usual quadrangular
abacus (Fig. 76).

If four stems of lotus, each ending in an unopened bud, be tied
together immediately beneath the point where the stem joins the bud,
something bearing a rude resemblance to this column will be formed,
and to the imitation of such a faggot its origin has often been
attributed. The fillets which surround the shaft at its summit
represent the cord wound several times round the stalks, the reeds
which fill up the upper parts of the hollows between the ribs are
meant for the ends of the knots.

Not far from the remains of the labyrinth some columns formed upon a
similar principle have been discovered. Their shafts are composed of
eight vertical ribs, which are triangular on plan like stalks of
papyrus. The lower part of the shaft has a bold swell. It springs from
a corona of leaves and tapers as it rises. The stalks are tied at the
top with from three to five bands, the ends hanging down between the
ribs. The buds which form the capital are also surrounded with leaves
at their base.

The number of its parts and their complicated arrangement, the leaves
painted upon it and its general proportions, show that this column was
the product of an art much more advanced than that of Beni-Hassan.
Between the first and second Theban empires the form of the column
underwent a development similar to that which we have already
described in the case of the pier. Its surface became less
incoherently irregular; its horizontal section betrayed a constantly
increasing tendency towards a circular form. Moreover, like the
edifices of which it formed a part, as it increased in size it turned
its back upon its monolithic origin and became a carefully constructed
succession of horizontal courses.

Thus we arrive, under the New Empire, at a column of which we find
several varieties in the buildings at Thebes. Its proportions are
various, and so are the methods in which it is capped and decorated.
The variant which preserves most resemblance to the column from
Beni-Hassan is found at Luxor (Fig. 77)[98]. It is faggot-shaped like
its prototype, but the natural origin of its forms is much less
clearly marked. The capital recalls a bunch of lotus-buds in a very
slight degree, the stems are not frankly detached one from another and
the ligatures are repeated in unmeaning fashion. We feel that with the
passage of time the original combination has lost its early

    [98] EBERS, _L'Égypte_, p. 185.

The change becomes still more striking when we turn to another column
from the New Empire, from Medinet-Abou (Fig. 78). The lotiform type
may still be recognised, but the shaft is no longer faggot-shaped,
except in a rudimentary fashion and over a very small part of its
surface. There is a ligature just below the capital, but the latter
is encircled by a smooth band and is decorated with the uræus; the
bottom of the slightly tapering shaft springs from an encircling band
of painted leaves.

[Illustration: FIG. 77.--Column at Luxor; _Description_, vol. iii.,
pl. 8.]

[Illustration: FIG. 78.--Column at Medinet-Abou:; _Description_, vol.
ii., pl. 4.]

Side by side with the type which we have just described we find
another to which the hollow outward curve of the capital has given the
name of _campaniform_. Nothing like it is to be found at Beni-Hassan,
and no example, in stone, is extant from an earlier time than that of
the Second Theban Empire.[99] The base is small. The flutes or
separate stems have disappeared. The shaft is either smooth or
decorated with bas-reliefs and inscriptions. The ligatures under the
capital are still introduced. The springing of the capital is
decorated with leaves and flowers painted in brilliant colours. A
cubic abacus or die of stone stands upon the circular surface of the
capital and transmits the resisting power of the column to the

    [99] We shall call attention, however, to a hypogeum at Gizeh,
    which is numbered 81 in Lepsius's map of that tomb-field. As at
    Beni-Hassan the chamber is preceded by a portico. In Lepsius's
    drawing (vol. i. pl. 27, fig. 1), the columns of this portico
    are campaniform.

The proportions and general appearance of the shaft vary greatly. In
the first court at Medinet-Abou it is short and stumpy, and the
capital alone has received a few ornaments in relief.

In the Great Hall at Karnak, on the other hand, it is taller, more
graceful in form and richer in decoration than in any other Egyptian
building (Fig. 80). To give an idea of the colossal dimensions of
these columns we need only repeat the often-made assertion that a
hundred men can sit upon the upper surface of their capitals, which
measure no less than 70 feet in circumference.

[Illustration: FIG. 79.--Column at Medinet-Abou; _Description_, vol.
ii., pl. 6.]

The shafts of both these columns diminish gradually from base to
summit. The diminution is so slight that it is hardly perceptible by
the eye. In the hypostyle hall of the Ramesseum (Fig. 81), on the
other hand, it tapers rapidly. The columns in the central aisle come,
by their proportions, midway between the thick-set type of
Medinet-Abou and the lofty shafts of Karnak. Their lower parts have
the bulbous form which we have already noticed in speaking of the
lotiform type of column. The painted and sculptured ornament, although
not so rich as that of Karnak, covers about one half of the whole

We may cite, as showing interesting variations upon the campaniform
type, the column of Soleb, dating from the eighteenth dynasty (Fig.
82), and that of Thothmes, from Karnak (Fig. 83). The capital of the
former seems to have been suggested by a bunch of palm leaves arranged
about a central post. In curving outwards the extremity of each leaf
forms a lobe, which is shown in the plan (Fig. 82). The architect here
made free use of the forms occurring in nature, but in the Ptolemaic
temples we find the palm tree copied in a far more literal fashion.
There are capitals at Esneh composed of palm branches grouped in
stages about the central shaft and copied leaf for leaf. Sometimes, as
at Philæ, we even find date clusters mingled with the leaves.

[Illustration: FIG. 80.--Column from the Great Hall at Karnak;
_Description_, iii. 30.]

[Illustration: FIG. 81.--Column from the Hypostyle Hall of the
Ramesseum; from Horeau.]

The other capital to which we have alluded as occurring in the work of
Thothmes at Karnak, is shaped like a suspended bell. The upper part of
the shaft swells slightly so as to coincide with the outer rim of the
bell; it is encircled with fillets below which is cut a vertical band
of hieroglyphs. The capital is decorated with leaves growing downwards
and on the whole it may be taken as showing the companiform type

[Illustration: FIG. 82.--Column of Soleb; from Lepsius, part i., pl.

[Illustration: FIG. 83.--Column of Thothmes at Karnak; from Lepsius,
part i., pl. 81.]

In this comparison between the different forms which were successively
given to the Egyptian column, we might, if we had chosen, have
included other varieties; and yet we do not think we have omitted any
that are of importance. We have figured them to one scale so that
their relative proportions can be at once grasped, and we have now to
analyse the methods in which they were allied with their supports and
superstructures. For that purpose we shall have to reproduce several
of the piers and columns already mentioned and figured, on a larger
scale and in perspective instead of elevation. We count upon these
reproductions to show the individual characteristics of the Egyptian
orders and the origin of their peculiar physiognomy.

When the architects of the New Empire made use of the square pier
without giving it either capital or base, they covered it with
bas-reliefs and inscriptions. Thus adorned it could be used without
incongruity in rich and elaborate compositions. The truth of this
statement may be seen from the adjoining reproduction of an angle from
the peristyle of the Elephantiné temple (Fig. 84).[100]

    [100] See also p. 396, Vol. I., and Fig. 230.

The firm and simple lines of the pier contrast well with the modest
projection of the stylobate and the bolder profile of the cornice, and
help, with the double base, to give dignity and solidity to the
encircling portico.

When the pier is honoured with a capital, that capital does not in the
least resemble those of the column proper. Being, in its essence, a
vertical section of wall, it is treated as such, and given for crown a
capital composed exactly in the same fashion as the cornice which
crowns every Egyptian wall. Between this quasi-capital and the
architrave a low abacus is introduced (Fig. 85).

The figure on page 109, represents one of the seven osiride piers in
the first court of the temple at Medinet-Abou. The pier at the back of
the statue is slightly wider than the base upon which the latter
stands. At each side of the Pharaoh one of his children stands
sculptured in very high relief, almost in the round. Without in any
way compromising the dignity of the colossus the sculptor has bent his
head slightly backwards so as to obtain a natural support for his
lofty and complicated head-dress. Thanks to this artifice the
head-dress in question is securely allied to the massive pier behind
it without the intervention of any unsightly thicknesses of stone, and
the expression of the whole glypto-architectural group is rendered
more forcible and more suggestive of that strength in repose which is
the characteristic of Egyptian architecture.[101]

    [101] There is no pier at Medinet-Abou in so perfect a condition
    as that figured by us. In order to complete our restoration, for
    so it is, we had the use of drawings which had been made long
    ago and of excellent photographs, and by combining one figure
    with another we obtained all the details necessary.

The next illustration (Fig. 87) shows the upper part of a polygonal
column with a hathoric capital of the oldest and most simple form. In
later ages, during the Sait dynasties, the mask of the goddess was
repeated upon the four sides of the column, and sometimes superimposed
upon a bell-shaped capital. In this instance, where there is but one
mask, the vertical band of hieroglyphs below it serves to show that
the face where it occurs is the principal one.

[Illustration: FIG. 84.--Corner pier from the temple at Elephantiné;
from the elevation in the _Description_, i. 36.]

This capital is one of the most singular achievements of Egyptian art.
Why, out of all the multitude of Egyptian gods and goddesses, was
Hathor alone selected for such a distinction? What is the meaning of
the small naos or shrine upon her head? The explanation is still
uncertain. Perhaps it is to be found in the simple fact that the word
Hathor means the dwelling of Horus. This capital is found in the tombs
as well as in the temples. We reproduce (Fig. 88) a hathoric pier from
the tomb of a certain Nefer-Hotep who lived under the eighteenth
dynasty; it is now in the museum at Boulak. The anterior face displays
the mask of Hathor over the symbol _tet_, which has been interpreted
to mean _steadfastness_ or _stability_.[102] A rich collar hangs down
upon her breast.

    [102] See PIERRET, _Dictionnaire d'Archéologie Égyptienne_.

[Illustration: FIG. 85.--Pier with capital, Karnak; from the elevation
of Prisse.]

On a column in the speos of Kalabché we find the band of hieroglyphs
repeated upon four faces (Fig. 89). The flutes of this column are
unusually numerous and closely spaced, and it therefore approaches the
true cylindrical form. The abacus, however, which overhangs the shaft
at every point, still serves to recall the monolithic pier and the
tablet which was reserved at its summit when its angles were first
struck off in order to give freer passage to the light.

The faggot-shaped column (Fig. 90) is not to be explained by any
theory of development from the pier. We have reproduced its upper and
lower extremities, together with the entablature and flat roof which
it supports. The extreme nakedness of the base given by the Egyptians
to their columns is a curious feature. Shaft and capital may be carved
into various shapes and adorned with the most brilliant colours, but
the base is always perfectly bare and simple. Between one column and
another there is no difference in this respect except in size. The
only attempt at ornamentation ever found is a narrow band of
hieroglyphs engraved, as at the Ramesseum, round its circumference
(Fig. 91). On the other hand, the lower part of the shaft is always
richly decorated. The principal element in this decoration is the
circlet of leaves which are found both in the faggot-shaped columns
and in those whose shafts are smooth. In the latter, however, the
ornament is carried farther than in the former. Slender shoots are
introduced between the larger leaves, which mount up the shaft and
burst into leaf at the top. Above these, again, come the royal ovals,
surmounted by the solar disk between two uræus serpents.

In the upper part of the column of Thothmes (Fig. 90), the pendants
which fill the re-entering angles and the four rings at the top of the
shaft, the pointed leaves and other ornaments of the capital, are
rendered conspicuous by being painted in colours, yellow and blue,
which will be found reproduced in Prisse's plate. We should have liked
to give one of these columns with all its coloured decorations, but we
hesitated to do so because we were not satisfied with the accuracy as
to tone and tint of those coloured plates which had been introduced
into previous works. And we wished to give no coloured reproductions
except those made expressly from the monuments themselves, as in the
case of the tomb from the Ancient Empire whose painted decorations are
produced in plates xiii. and xiv.

It will be observed that in this case the abacus does not extend
beyond the architrave, as it does in the Doric order of the Greeks.

We have given a column from the central aisle of the Great Hall at
Karnak, as affording a good type of the bell-shaped capital (Fig. 80).
We also give an example, with slight variations, from the Ramesseum
(Fig. 92). It comes from the principal order in the hypostyle hall,
and shows Egyptian architecture perhaps at its best. The profile of
the capital combines grace with firmness of outline in the most happy
manner. By dint of closely examining and comparing many reproductions
we have succeeded, as we believe, in giving a more exact rendering
of its curves than any of our predecessors. Leaves and flowers are
most happily arranged, and are painted also with an exquisite finish
not to be found elsewhere. The decoration as a whole is of
extraordinary richness. The royal ovals, with the disk of the sun and
the uræus, encircle the shaft; vultures with outspread wings cover the
ceiling, and the architrave is carved on its visible sides, with long
rows of hieroglyphs.[103]

    [103] The slabs of which the roof is formed are grooved on their
    upper surfaces at their lines of junction (see Fig. 92), a
    curious feature which recurs in other Egyptian buildings, but
    has never been satisfactorily explained.

[Illustration: FIG. 86.--Osiride pier; Medinet-Abou]

[Illustration: FIG. 87.--Hathoric pier from Eilithya. Lepsius, part
i., pl. 100.]

[Illustration: FIG. 88.--Hathoric pier from a tomb. Boulak.]

Of the derived and secondary forms of the campaniform capital there
are but two upon which we need here insist. The first is that which is
exemplified by the columns of a temple built by Seti I. at Sesebi, in
Nubia (Fig. 93). It is very like the one at Soleb already figured
(Fig. 82). The motive is the same, but the Sesebi example shows it in
a more advanced stage of development. Its forms are fuller and more
expressive, and the palm branches from which the idea is derived are
more frankly incorporated in the design. It is not an exact copy from
nature, as at Esneh, but a good use has been made of the fundamental
vegetable forms.

[Illustration: FIG. 89.--Column at Kalabché; from the elevation of

The other variation upon the same theme is a much later one; it is to
be found in the temple built by Nectanebo on the island of Philæ (Fig.
94). The simplicity of the Sesebi and Soleb capitals has vanished; the
whole composition is imbued with the love for complex form which
distinguished the Sait epoch. The swelling base of the column seems to
spring from a bouquet of triangular leaves. The anterior face of the
column is ornamented with a band of hieroglyphs; its upper part is
encircled by five smooth rings, above which, again, it is fluted.
According to Prisse, who alone gives particulars as to this little
building, some of the capitals have no ornament beyond their
finely-chiselled palm-leaves; others have half-opened lotus-flowers
between each pair of leaves. Finally, the square die or abacus which
supports the architrave is much higher and more important than in
the columns hitherto described, and it bears a mask of Hathor
surmounted by a naos upon each of its four sides. This unusual height
of abacus, the superposition of the hathoric capital upon the
bell-shaped one, and the repetition of the mask of Hathor upon all
four sides, are the premonitory signs of the Ptolemaic style.

[Illustration: FIG. 90.--Column of Thothmes III.; from the Ambulatory
of Thothmes, at Karnak. From Prisse's elevation.]

[Illustration: FIG. 91.--Base of a column; from the great hall of the
Ramesseum, central avenue.]

The capital from the Ambulatory of Thothmes, at Thebes, presents a
type both rare and original (Fig. 95). Between our illustration and
that of Lepsius there is a difference which is not without
importance.[104] According to the German _savants_, the abacus is
inscribed within the upper circumference of the bell; but if we may
believe a sketch made by an architect upon the spot, the truth is that
the upper circumference of the capital is contained within the four
sides of the abacus, which it touches at their centres. The four
angles of the abacus, therefore, stand out well beyond the upper part
of the capital, uniting it properly to the architrave, and giving a
satisfactory appearance of solidity to the whole.

    [104] LEPSIUS, _Denkmæler_, part i. pl. 81.

This peculiar form of capital has generally been referred to the
individual caprice of some architect, anxious, above all things, to
invent something new.[105] But the same form is to be found in the
architectural shapes preserved by the paintings of the ancient empire
(Fig. 59) which seems fatal to this explanation. It is probable that
if we possessed all the work of the Egyptian architects we should find
that the type was by no means confined to Karnak. It was, however, far
less beautiful in its lines than the ordinary shape, and though
ancient enough, never became popular.

    [105] WILKINSON, vol. i. p. 40. In the _Description de l'Égypte_
    (_Antiquités_, vol. ii. p. 474), we find this shape accounted
    for by opposition of two lotus-flowers, one above another. Such
    an explanation could only be offered by one who had a theory to

The Egyptians were not always content with the paint-brush and chisel
for the decoration of their capitals, they occasionally made use of
metal also. This has been proved by a discovery made at Luxor in the
presence of M. Brugsch, who describes it in these terms: "The work of
clearing the temple began with the part constructed by Amenophis III.
and gave some very unexpected results. The capitals of the columns
were overlaid with copper plates, to which the contour of the stone
beneath had been given by the hammer. They had afterwards been
painted. Large pieces of these plates were found still hanging to the
capitals, while other pieces lay among the surrounding _débris_. Thus
a new fact in the history of Egyptian art has been established,
namely, that stonework was sometimes covered with metal."[106]

    [106] Extract from a letter of M. Brugsch, published by Hittorf
    in the _Athenæum Français_, 1854, p. 153.

This process was not generally, nor even frequently, employed, as we
may judge by the vast number of capitals painted in the most brilliant
colours, which remain. If the surface of the stone was to be covered
up such care would not have been taken to beautify it. The fact that
the process was used at all is, however, curious; it seems to be a
survival from the ancient wooden architecture in which metal was
commonly used.

[Illustration: FIG. 92.--Bell-shaped capital, from the hypostyle hall
of the Ramesseum. From the chief order.]

[Illustration: FIG. 93.--Capital at Sesebi. From the elevation of
Lepsius, _Denkmæler_, part i., pl. 119.]

[Illustration: FIG. 94.--Capital from the temple of Nectanebo, at
Philæ. From the elevation of Prisse.]

The architrave which was employed with all these varieties of capital
was sometimes of a kind which deserves to be noticed (Fig. 102).
Whenever the dimensions of the column were sufficiently great the
stone beams which met upon the die or abacus had oblique joints. The
motive of the architect in making use of such a junction is obvious
enough; it was calculated to afford greater solidity, and it was the
most convenient way in which lateral architraves could be united with
those disposed longitudinally. Any other arrangement would have
involved a sacrifice of space and would have left a certain part of
the abacus doing nothing.

We have now brought our analysis of the principal types of pier and
column used by the Egyptians to an end. They suggest, however, certain
general reflections to which we must next endeavour to give
expression. In spite of the great apparent diversity of their forms,
we are enabled to perceive that the Egyptian orders obeyed an
unchanging law of development, and that certain characteristic
features persistently reappear through all their transformations. We
must attempt to define these laws and characteristics, as, otherwise,
we shall fail to make the originality of Egyptian art appreciated, we
shall be unable to classify its successes, or to mark with accuracy
the limits which it failed to pass.

[Illustration: FIG. 95.--Capital from the work of Thothmes at Karnak.]

[Illustration: FIG. 96.--Arrangement of architraves upon a capital.
From the plans and elevations of Lepsius.]

Between the square pier with neither base nor capital of the early
Empire and the graceful columns of the Ramesseum there is a difference
which marks ages of progress. The general form of the support became
gradually more complex and more refined. As occurred elsewhere, it was
divided into parts, each of which had its proper duty and its proper
name. The base was distinguished from the shaft, and the shaft from
the capital. Each of these parts was shaped by the sculptor and
clothed in colour by the painter. For long centuries the architect
never relaxed his efforts to perfect his art. The simple and sturdy
prismatic column gave way to the elaborate forms which exist in the
great temples of the Ramessids; the latter in turn lost their power to
satisfy and new motives were sought for in the combination of all
those which had gone before. In the series of Egyptian types the
capital of Nectanebo would therefore occupy a place corresponding to
that of the composite capital in the series of Græco-Roman orders.

The general movement of art in Egypt may therefore be compared to that
of art in Greece and Italy; and yet there is a difference. From the
rise of Greek architecture until its decay, the proportions of its
vertical members underwent a continual, _but consistent_, modification
of their proportions. Century after century the figure in which their
height was expressed proportionately with their bulk, became greater.
In the height of the Doric columns of the old temple at Corinth there
are fewer diameters than in those of the Parthenon, and in those of
the Parthenon there are fewer than in the doric shafts of Rome. This
tendency explains the neglect which befel this order about the fourth
century before our era. In the sumptuous buildings of Asia Minor and
Syria and of the "Lower Period" in Egypt, it was replaced by the
graceful and slender outlines of the Ionic order. A similar
explanation may be given of the favour in which the Corinthian order
was held throughout the Roman world.

Such a development is not to be found in Egypt. The forms of Egyptian
architecture did not become less substantial with the passage of the
centuries. It is possible that familiarity with light structures of
wood and metal had early created a taste for slender supports. The
polygonal and faggot-shaped columns of Beni-Hassan are no thicker than
those of far later times. A comparison of the columns at Thebes points
to the same conclusion. The shortest and most thick-set in its
proportions of them all (Fig. 78) is at Medinet-Abou, and is about two
centuries later than those of the same order which decorate the second
court at Luxor (Fig. 77). Its heaviness is even more apparent when we
compare it with the great columns of a different order, at Karnak
(Fig. 80), and the Ramesseum (Fig. 81), which precede it by at least a

The progress of Egyptian art was, then, less continuous and less
regular than that of classic art. It had moments of rest, of
exhaustion, even of retrogression. It was not governed by internal
logical principles so severe as those of the Greeks.

The manner in which the capital is allied to the shaft below, and the
architrave above shows changes of the same kind.

The first duty of the capital is to oppose a firm and individual
contour to the monotony of the shaft. The constructor has to determine
a point in the length of the latter where it shall cease to be, where
its gradual diminution in section, a diminution which could not be
prolonged to the architrave without compromising the safety of the
building, shall be arrested. The natural office of the capital would
seem to be to call attention to this point. The architect, therefore,
gives it a diameter greater than that of the shaft at the point where
they meet. This salience restores to the column the material which it
has lost; it completes it, and determines its proportion, so that it
is no longer capable of either increase or diminution.

Again, when the salience is but the preparation for a greater
development above, it seems to add to the solidity of the edifice by
receiving the architrave on a far larger surface than the shaft could
offer. The support seems to enlarge itself, the better to embrace the

The two requirements which the capital has to fulfil may, then, be
thus summarized: in the first place, it has to mark the point where
the upward movement of the lines comes to an end; and, secondly, it
has to make, or to seem to make, the column better fitted to play its
part as a support. Its functions are dual in principle; it has to
satisfy the æsthetic desires of the eye, and the constructive
requirements of the material. The latter office may be more apparent
than real, but, in architecture, what seems to be necessary is so.

The Greek capital, in all its forms, thoroughly fulfils these double
conditions, while that of Egypt satisfies them in a very imperfect
manner. Let us take the ancient polygonal column as an example. The
feeble tablet which crowns its shaft neither opposes itself frankly to
the upright lines below it, nor, in the absence of an echinus, is it
happily allied with the shaft. It gives, however, a greater appearance
of constructive repose to the architrave than the latter would have
without it.

In the column which terminates in a lotus-bud the capital is of more
importance, but the contrast between it and the shaft is often very
slightly marked. At Luxor and Karnak the smooth capital seems to be
nothing more than an accident, a gentle swelling in the upper part of
the cone; besides which it really plays no part in the construction,
as the surface of the abacus above it is no greater than a horizontal
section through the highest and most slender part of the shaft.

[Illustration: FIG. 97.--The Nymphæa Nelumbo; from the _Description de
l'Égypte_; _Hist. Naturelle_, pl. 61.]

Of all the Egyptian capitals, that which seems the happiest in
conception is the campaniform. This capital, far from being folded
back upon itself, throws out a fine and bold curve beyond the shaft.
But we are surprised and even distressed to find that the surface thus
obtained is not employed for the support of the architrave, which is
carried by a comparatively small cubic abacus, which rests upon the
centre of the capital. At Karnak and Medinet-Abou this abacus is not
so absurdly high as it afterwards became in the Ptolemaic period,[107]
but yet its effect is singular rather than pleasant. We feel inclined
to wonder why this fine calyx of stone should have been constructed if
its borders were to remain idle. It is like a phrase commenced but
never finished. Without this fault the composition, of which it forms
a part, would be worthy, both in proportion and in decoration, of
being placed side by side with the most perfect of the Greek columns.

    [107] A good idea of this can be gained from the building known
    as _Pharaoh's bed_, at Philæ. It is shown on the right of our
    sketch at p. 431, Vol. I.

The last or, it may be, the first question, which is asked in
connection with the form of column employed by any particular race,
has to do with its origin. We have preferred to make it the last
question, because we thought that the analysis of form which we have
attempted to set forth would help us to an answer. There are many
difficulties in the matter, but after the facts to which we have
called attention, it will not be denied that the forms of wooden
construction, which were the first to be developed in Egypt, had a
great effect upon work in stone.

Ever since men began to interest themselves in Egyptian art, this has
found an important place in their speculations. In the two forms which
alternate with one another at Thebes, many have seen faithful
transcriptions of two plants which filled a large space in Egyptian
civilization by their decorative qualities and the practical services
which they rendered; we mean, of course, the lotus and the papyrus.

There were in Egypt many species belonging to the family of the
_Nymphæaceæ_, a family which is represented in our northern climates
by the yellow and white nenuphars or water-lilies. Besides these Egypt
possessed, and still possesses, the white lotus (_Nymphæa lotus_ of
Linnæus), and the blue lotus (_Nymphæa cærulea_ of Savigny); but the
true Egyptian lotus, the red lotus (the _Nymphæa nelumbo_ of Linnæus,
the _Nelumbium speciosum_ of Wild) exists no longer in a wild state,
either in Egypt or any other known part of Africa (Fig. 97). The
accurate descriptions given by the ancient writers have enabled
botanists, however, to recognize it among the flora of India. It is at
least one third larger than our common water-lily, from which it
differs also in the behaviour of its leaves and of the stems which
bear the flowers. These do not float on the surface of the water but
rise above it to a height of from twelve to fifteen inches.[108] The
flower, which stands higher than the leaves, is borne upon a stalk
which instead of being soft and pliant like that of the water-lily has
the firmness and consistency of wood. It has an agreeable smell like
that of anise. In the bas-reliefs the ancient Egyptians are often seen
holding it to their nostrils. The fruit, which is shaped like the rose
of a watering-pot, contains seeds as large as the stone of an olive.

    [108] These upstanding flowers and stalks form the
    distinguishing characteristic of the Nelumbo species.

These seeds, which were eaten either green or dried,[109] were called
_Egyptian beans_ by the Greek and Latin writers because they were
consumed in such vast quantities in the Nile valley.[110] The seeds of
the other kinds of nymphæaceæ, which were smaller (Herodotus compares
them with those of a poppy), gave, when pounded in a mortar, a flour
of which a kind of bread was made. Even the root was not wasted;
according to the old historians, it had a sweet and agreeable

    [109] HERODOTUS, ii. 92.

    [110] For the different species of the lotus and their
    characteristics see _Description de l'Égypte_, _Hist.
    Naturelle_, vol. ii. pp. 303-313 and _Atlas_, plates 60 and
    61.--In the _Recueil de Travaux_, etc., vol. i. p. 190, there is
    a note by M. VICTOR LORET upon the Egyptian names for the lotus.

    [111] STRABO, xvii. 1, 15.--DIODORUS, i. 34.

The papyrus belongs to the family of _Cyperaceæ_, which is still
represented in Egypt by several species, but the famous plant which
received the early writings of mankind, the _Papyrus antiquorum_ of
the botanist, has also practically disappeared from Egypt, where it is
only to be found in a few private gardens. The ancients made it an
object of special care. It was cultivated in the Sebennitic nome, its
roots being grown in shallow water. Strabo gave a sufficiently
accurate idea of its appearance when he described it as a "peeled wand
surmounted by a plume of feathers."[112] This green plume or bouquet
is by no means without elegance (Fig. 98). According to Theophrastus
the plant attained to a height of ten cubits, or about sixteen
feet.[113] This may, however, be an exaggeration. The finest plants
that I could find in the gardens of Alexandria did not reach ten feet.
Their stems were as thick as a stout broom-handle and sharply
triangular in section.

    [112] STRABO, xvii. 1, 15.

    [113] Strabo only speaks of ten feet, which would agree better
    with modern experience.

The reed-brakes which occur so frequently in the paintings consist of
different varieties of the papyrus (Fig. 8, Vol. I.). The uses to
which the plant could be put were very numerous. The root was used for
fuel and other purposes. The lower part of the stalk furnished a sweet
and aromatic food substance, which was chewed either raw or boiled,
for the sake of the juice.[114] Veils, mats, sandals, &c., were made
from the bark; candle and torch wicks from the bark; baskets and even
boats from the stalk.[115] As for the processes by which the precious
fabric which the Greeks called βίβλος was obtained they will
be found fully described in the paper of Dureau de-la-Malle _Sur le
Papyrus et la Fabrication du Papier_.[116] Our word _paper_ is derived
from _papyrus_, and forms a slight but everlasting monument to the
great services rendered to civilization by the inventive genius of the
Egyptians. The importation of the papyrus, which followed the
establishment of direct relations between Greece and Egypt in the time
of the Sait princes,[117] exercised the greatest influence upon the
development of Greek thought. It created prose composition, and with
it history, philosophy, and science.

    [114] DIODORUS, i. 80.

    [115] PIERRET, _Dictionnaire d'Archéologie Égyptienne_, see
    _Papyrus_. Upon the different varieties of papyrus, see also
    WILKINSON, vol. ii. p. 121; pp. 179-189; and EBERS, _Ægypten_,
    pp. 126, 127.

    [116] _Mémoires de l'Académie des Inscriptions_, vol. xix. p.
    140, with one plate.

    [117] EGGER, _Des Origines de la Prose dans la Littérature
    Grecque_. (_Mémoires de Littérature Ancienne_, xi.)

The two plants which we have mentioned were so specially reverenced by
the Egyptians that they constituted them severally into the signs by
which the two great divisions of the country were indicated in their
writings. The _papyrus_ was the emblem of the Delta, in whose lazy
waters it luxuriated, and the lotus that of the Thebaïd.[118]

    [118] MASPERO, _Histoire Ancienne_, p. 8.

Besides this testimony to their importance, the careful descriptions
left by the ancient travellers in Egypt, Herodotus and Strabo, also
show the estimation in which these two plants were held by the
Egyptians; the palm alone could contest their well-earned supremacy.
It is easy, then, to understand how the artist and ornamentist were
led to make use of their graceful forms. We have already pointed out
many instances of such employment, and we are far from underrating its
importance, but we have yet to explain the method followed, and the
kind and degree of imitation which the Egyptian artist allowed

The lotus especially has been found everywhere by writers upon
Egypt.[119] The pointed leaves painted upon the lower parts of
columns have been recognized as imitations of "those scaly leaves
which surround the point where the stem of the lotus, the papyrus,
and many other aquatic plants, merges in the root." According to this
theory the ligneous stem which rises from a depth beneath the water
of, perhaps, six feet, and carries the large open flower at its top,
was the prototype of the Egyptian column. The bulbous form with which
so many shafts are endowed at the base, would be another feature taken
directly from nature. The leaves, properly speaking, which spread
around the flower, are found about and below the capital, while the
capital itself is nothing else, we are told, than the flower,
sometimes fully opened, sometimes while yet in the bud. When the shaft
is smooth it represents a single stem, when it is grooved, it means a
faggot of stems tied together by a cord.

    [119] _Description de l'Égypte_; _Hist. Naturelle_, vol. ii. p.
    311. _Antiquités_, vol. i. _Description générale de Thèbes_, p.
    133: "Who can doubt that they wished to imitate the lotus in its
    entirety? The shaft of the column is the stem, the capital the
    flower, and, still more obviously, the lower part of the column
    seems to us an exact representation of that of the lotus and of
    plants in general."

[Illustration: FIG. 98.--Papyrus plant, drawn in the gardens of the
Luxembourg, Paris, by M. Saint-Elme Gautier.]

Others make similar claims for the papyrus. They refuse to admit that
the whole of the Egyptian orders were founded upon the lotus. Mariette
allowed that the capitals which we have called lotiform were copied
from that plant, but he contended that the bell-shaped capital was
freely copied from the plume of its rival. He proposed that this
latter capital should be called _papyriform_, and to my objections,
which were founded upon the composition of a head of papyrus, he
answered that the Egyptians neglected what may be called internal
details, and were contented with rendering the outward contours. In
support of his idea, he called attention to the fact that some of the
faggot-shaped columns present triangular sections, like that of the
papyrus stem.

In spite of this latter fact, Mariette did not convert me to his
opinion. The columns in which this triangular section is found are not
crowned by an open flower. The profiles of their capitals resemble
that of a truncated bud, a form which cannot possibly be obtained from
the papyrus, and they seem, therefore, to combine characteristics
taken from two different plants. His explanation of the campaniform
capital seems still less admissable. It is impossible to allow that in
the tuft of slender filaments gracefully yielding to the wind, which
is figured on page 127, we have the prototype of those inverted bells
of stone, whose uninterrupted contours express so much strength and
amplitude. No less difficult is it to discover the first idea of those
sturdy shafts which seem so well proportioned to the mighty
architraves which they have to support, in the slender stalk of the
famous water plant. The hypostyle halls may be compared to palm
groves, to forests of pine, of oak, or of beech. In such a comparison
there would be nothing surprising, but the papyrus, with its
attenuated proportions and yielding frame, would seem to be, of all
vegetables, the least likely to have inspired the architects of Karnak
and Luxor.

The lotus seems to us to have no more right than the papyrus to be
considered the unique origin of the forms which we are considering.
All those resemblances, of which so much has been made, sink to very
little when they are closely examined. It requires more than good will
to recognize the formless _folioles_ which cluster round the base of
the stalk in those large and well-shaped triangular leaves with
parallel ribs, which decorate the bases of Egyptian columns. Moreover,
these leaves reappear in other places, such as capitals, in which, if
this explanation of their origin is to be accepted, they could have no
place. They frequently occur, also, at the foot of a wall. As for the
true circular leaf of the lotus, it is not to be found, except,
perhaps in a few Ptolemaic capitals. Its stem, concealed almost
entirely by the muddy water, is very slender, and is hardly more
suggestive than that of the papyrus of a massive stone column. The
bulbous form of the lower part of the shaft would be a constant form
if it were an imitation of nature, whereas it is, in fact,
exceptional. With the capitals, however, it is different. Those which
are to be found at Thebes are referred, by common consent, to the
lotus-bud. And yet, perhaps, they resemble any other bud as much as
that of the lotus. It is, however, when they are fully open, that one
flower is easily distinguishable from another by the shape and number
of their petals, as well as by the variety of their colours. Like
babies in their cradles, unopened buds are strangely alike. But seeing
the place occupied by the lotus in the minds of the Egyptians, in
their wooden architecture and painted decorations, it is natural
enough to believe that it gave them their first hint for the capital
in question; we have, therefore, not hesitated to use the epithet
lotiform which has been consecrated to it by custom.

As for the campaniform capital we find it difficult to allow that it
represents the open flower of the lotus. From a certain distance it no
doubt resembles the general lines of some flowers, but those belong to
the family of the _Campanulaceæ_ rather than to that of the
nymphæaceæ. The profile of this inverted bell, however, does not seem
to have been suggested by the wish to imitate any flower whatever,
least of all that of the lotus. The capitals at Soleb and Sesebi
(Figs. 82 and 93) embody careful imitations of, at least, the general
shapes and curves of date-tree branches. Here there is nothing of the
kind. There is not the slightest indication of the elongated and
crowded petals of the lotus. Both at Karnak and at the Ramesseum, the
latter may be easily recognised among the stalks of papyrus and other
freely imitated flowers, but _upon_ the columns and not in their
shapes. Both base and capital were ornamented with leaves and flowers.
Their contours have been gently indicated with a pointed instrument
and then filled in with brilliant colours, which help to relieve them
from their ground. The whole decoration is superficial; it is not
embodied in the column and has no effect upon its general form and

The following explanation of the resemblances which do undoubtedly
exist between certain details of Egyptian architecture and the forms
of some of the national plants, is the most probable. The stalks of
the lotus and the papyrus are too weak and slender ever to have been
used as supports by themselves, but it is quite possible that on
_fête_ days, they were used to decorate pillars and posts of more
substantial construction, being bound round them like the outer sticks
of a faggot. This fashion has its modern illustration in the Italian
habit of draping the columns of a church with cloth or velvet on
special occasions, and in the French custom of draping houses with
garlands and white cloth for the procession of the _Fête Dieu_.

The river and the canals of Egypt offered all the elements for such a
decoration. The lotus and papyrus stems would be attached to the
column which they decorated, at the top and bottom. The leaves at the
roots would lie about its base, those round the flower and the flower
itself would droop gracefully beneath the architrave, would embrace
and enlarge the capital when it existed, or supply its place when
there was none. The eyes of a people with so keen a perception of
beauty as the Egyptians could not be insensible to the charm of a
column thus crowned with the verdure of green leaves, with the
splendour of the open flower and with the graceful forms of the still
undeveloped bud. It is probable enough that the architect, when he
began to feel the necessity for embellishing the bare surface of his
column, took this temporary and often-renewed decoration for his

The first attempt to imitate these natural forms would be made in wood
and metal, substances which would lend themselves to the unpractised
moulder more readily than stone, but in time the difficulties of the
latter material would be overcome. The deep vertical grooves cut in
the shaft would afford a rough imitation of the round stems of the
lotus and the triangular ones of the papyrus. The circular belts at
the top would suggest the cords by which they were tied to the shaft.
The leaves and flowers painted upon the lowest part of the shaft and
upon the capital, may be compared to permanent chromatic shadows of
the bouquets of colour and verdure which had once hidden those
members. Finally, the artist found in the swelling sides of the bud
and the hollow curves of the corolla those flowing lines which he
desired for the proper completion of his column.

This hypothesis seems to leave no point unexplained, and it receives
additional probability from a detail which can hardly be
satisfactorily accounted for by the advocates of the rival theory. We
mean the cube of stone which is interposed as a kind of abacus between
the capital and the architrave. If we refer the general lines to those
of a plain column bound about with flowering stalks, there is no
difficulty. The abacus then represents the rigid column behind the
decoration, raising its summit above the drooping heads of lotus and
papyrus, and visibly doing its duty as a support. Its effect may not
be very happy, but its _raison d'être_ is complete. On the other hand
its existence is quite inexplicable, if we are to look upon the column
as a reproduction in stone, a kind of petrifaction of a single stem.
To what, in that case, does this heavy stone die correspond? To those
who believe the capital to be the representation of a single flower
with its circlet of graceful petals, its presence must seem nothing
less than an outrage.

In their light structures only do we find the Egyptians frankly
imitating flowers and half-opened buds (Figs. 57, 63, and 64), but
even there the imitation is far from literal. The petals in a single
"bloom" are often of different colours, some blue, some yellow, others
again red or pink, a mixture which is not to be found in nature. The
Egyptian decorator thought only of decoration. He used his tints
capriciously from the botanist's point of view, but he often
reproduced the forms of Egyptian plants with considerable fidelity,
especially those splendid lotus-flowers which occupied so large a
part in his affections long before the poets of India sang their
praise. In fashioning slender shafts which had little weight to
support, the artist could give the reins to his fancy, he could mould
his metal plates or his precious timber into the semblance of any
natural form that pleased his eye, and the types thus created would,
of course, be present in the minds of the first architects who
attempted to decorate rock-cut tombs or temples and constructed
buildings. We affirm again, however, that neither the stone column of
the Egyptians, nor that of the Greeks, in its most complete and
dignified form, resulted from the servile imitation, nor even from the
intelligent interpretation of living nature.

The column was an abstract creation of plastic genius. Its forms were
determined by the natural properties of the material employed, by
structural necessities, and by a desire for beauty of proportion.
Different peoples have had different ideas as to what constitutes this
beauty; they have had their secret instincts and individual
preferences. The artist, too, who wishes to ornament a column, is sure
to borrow motives from any particular form of art or industry in which
the race to which he belongs may have earned distinction. In some
cases, therefore, his work may resemble carved wood, in others chased
or beaten metal. He will also be influenced, to some extent, by the
features and characteristic forms of the plants and animals peculiar
to his country. But wherever a race is endowed with a true instinct
for art, its architects will succeed in creating for stone
architecture an appropriate style of its own. The exigencies of the
material differ from those of metal or wood. Its unbending rigidity
places a great gulf between it and the elasticity and perpetual
mobility which characterize organic life. The Egyptian architects saw
from the first that this difference, or rather contrast, would have to
be reckoned with. They understood perfectly well that the shaft which
was to support a massive roof of stone must not be a copy of those
slender stems of lotus or papyrus which bend before the wind, or float
upon the lazy waters of the canals. The phrase _column-plant_ or
_plant-column_, which has sometimes been used in connection with the
columns of Luxor and Karnak, is a contradiction in terms.

But why should we dwell upon these questions of origin? In the history
of art, as in that of language, they are nearly always insoluble,
especially when we have to do with a race who created all their
artistic forms and idioms for themselves. The case is different when
we have to do with a nation who came under the influence of an earlier
civilization than their own. Then, and then only, can such an inquiry
lead to useful results. The word origin is then a synonym for
affiliation, and an inquiry is directed towards establishing the
method and the period in which the act of birth took place.

In our later volumes we shall have to go into such questions in
detail, but in the case of Egypt we are spared that task. All that we
mean by civilization had its origin in Egypt, so far, at least, as we
can tell. It is the highest point in the stream to which we can mount.
Any attempt to determine the genesis of each particular æsthetic
motive in a past so distant that a glance into its depths takes away
our breath, would be a mere waste of time and ingenuity.

§ 6. _The Ordonnance of Egyptian Colonnades._

A French writer tells us that uniformity is sure to give birth to
weariness sooner or later, and there are many people who would
believe, if they thought about it, that his words exactly apply to the
art of Egypt. The character which was given to it when its creations
first became known to modern Europe clings to it still. Our museums
are full of objects dating from the last centuries of the monarchy and
even from the Greek and Roman period. A very slight study of Egyptian
architecture is sufficient, however, to destroy such a prejudice, in
spite of its convenience for those who are lazily disposed. The pier
and column were extremely various in their types, as we have seen, and
each type was divided into numerous species. The same variety is found
in the arrangement, or ordonnance, of the columns, both in the
interior and exterior of their buildings. We cannot prove this better
than by placing a series of plans of hypostyle halls and porticos
before the eye of the reader, accompanied by a few illustrations in
perspective which will suffice to show the freedom enjoyed by the
Egyptian architect and the number of different arrangements which he
could introduce into a single building.

The fullest development of Egyptian columnar architecture is to be
found in their interiors.

[Illustration: FIG. 99.--Small chamber at Karnak.]

[Illustration: FIG. 100.--Apartment in the temple at Luxor.]

[Illustration: FIG. 101.--Hall of the temple at Abydos; _Description_,
vol. ii. p. 41.]

The simplest arrangement is to be found in the small chambers where
the roof is sustained by a single row of columns (Fig. 98). When the
apartment was slightly larger it contained two rows, the space between
the rows being wider than that between the columns and the wall (Fig.
100). Sometimes in still larger halls we find three rows of columns
separated from one another by equal spaces in every direction (Fig.
101). Finally in those great chambers which are known as hypostyle
halls, the number of columns seems to be practically unlimited. At
Karnak there are a hundred and thirty-four (Fig. 102), at the
Ramesseum forty-eight, at Medinet-Abou twenty-four.

[Illustration: FIG. 102.--Plan of part of the Hypostyle Hall at

The full effect of the hypostyle hall is to be seen at Karnak and at
the Ramesseum. In those halls the central aisle is higher than the
parts adjoining and is distinguished by a different type of column
(Plate IV). It is more than probable that this happy arrangement was
not confined to Thebes. We should no doubt have encountered it in more
than one of the temples of Memphis and the Delta had they been
preserved to our time. Its principle was reproduced in the propylæa of
the acropolis at Athens, where the Ionic and Doric orders figured side
by side.

[Illustration: FIG. 103.--Tomb at Sakkarah.]

[Illustration: FIG. 104.--Hall in the inner portion of the Great
Temple at Karnak.]

In the ancient tombs at Sakkarah the quadrangular pier alone was used
to support the roof (Fig. 103). In the Theban temples it was combined
with the column. In the chamber called the ambulatory of Thothmes (J
in Fig. 215, Vol. I.), at Karnak, a row of square piers surrounds an
avenue of circular columns which to bear the roof (Fig. 104).

[Illustration: FIG. 105.--Portico of the first court at Medinet-Abou.]

[Illustration: FIG. 106.--Portico of the first court at Luxor.]

The external porticos are no less remarkable for variety of plan. At
Medinet-Abou we find one consisting of only a single row of columns
(Fig. 105). At Luxor the columns are doubled upon all four sides of
the first court (Fig. 106), and upon two sides of the second; upon one
side of the latter, the side nearest to the sanctuary, there are four
rows of columns (Fig. 107).

[Illustration: FIG. 107.--The portico of the pronaos, Luxor.]

All these are within the external walls of the courts, but the
peripteral portico, embracing the temple walls, like those of Greece,
is also to be found in a few rare instances (Fig. 108); as, for
example, in the small temple at Elephantiné which we have already

    [120] Chapter iv. pp. 396-400, Vol. I.

[Illustration: FIG. 108.--Part plan of the temple at Elephantiné.]

[Illustration: FIG. 109.--Luxor, plan of the second court.]

In the cases where the portico is within the courts, it is sometimes
confined to two sides, as at Luxor (Fig. 109); the columns shown at
the top of our plan belong to the pronaos and not to the court. In the
Temple of Khons it surrounds three sides (Fig. 110), while the fine
court added to the temple of Luxor by Rameses II. has a double
colonnade all round it (Fig. 111).

Both in the interior of the halls and in the external porticos we find
an apparently capricious irregularity in spacing the columns.
Sometimes intercolumniations vary at points where we should expect
uniformity, as in the outer court of Luxor (Fig. 112). On two of the
faces the columns are farther apart than on the other two. The
difference is not easily seen on the ordinary small plans, but it is
conspicuous in the large one of the _Description_.[121]

    [121] _Description de l'Égypte_, plates, vol. iii. pl. 5.

It is easy to understand why the spacing should have been increased in
front of a door, an arrangement which exists at Gournah (Fig. 113),
and at Luxor (Figs. 109 and 111).

[Illustration: FIG. 110.--Portico in the Temple of Khons.]

[Illustration: FIG. 111.--Luxor, portico of the first court.]

In the hypostyle halls we find columns of different sizes and orders.
Six of the great columns which form the central avenue at Karnak cover
as much ground, measuring from the first to the sixth, as nine of the
smaller pillars. Between supports so arranged and proportioned no
constant relation could be established (Fig. 114). The transverse
lines passing through the centres of each pair of great columns
correspond to the centres neither of the smaller shafts nor of the
spaces which divide them. The central aisle and the two lateral groves
of stone might have been the creations of separate architects, working
without communication with one another and without any desire to make
their proportions seem the result of one coherent idea.

In the inner hypostyle hall at Abydos the intercolumniations which
lead respectively to the seven sanctuaries vary in width (Fig. 115).
This variation is not shown by Mariette, from whose work our plan of
the temple as a whole was taken, but it is clearly seen in the plan
given in the _Description_. These are not the only instances in which
those early explorers of Egypt excelled their successors in minute

[Illustration: FIG. 112.--Part of the portico of the first court,
Luxor. From the _Description_, iii. 5.]

[Illustration: FIG. 113.--Portico in front of the façade of the temple
of Gournah. From the _Description_, ii. 41.]

Here and there we find the spaces in a single row of columns
increasing progressively from the two ends to the centre (Fig. 105).

[Illustration: FIG. 114.--Part of the Hypostyle Hall in the Great
Temple at Karnak.]

The combination of quadrangular with Osiride piers and of the latter
with columns proper was also productive of great variety. In the speos
of Gherf-Hossein six Osiride piers are inclosed by six of quadrangular
section (Fig. 116). In the first court at Medinet-Abou a row of
Osiride piers faces a row of columns (Fig. 117), while in the second
court there is a much more complicated arrangement. The lateral walls
of the court are prefaced each by a row of columns. The wall next the
entrance has a row of Osiride piers before it; while that through
which the pronaos is gained has a portico supported by, first, a row
of Osiride piers, and, behind them, by a row of columns (Fig. 118).

[Illustration: FIG. 115.--Second Hypostyle Hall in the temple of
Abydos. _Description_, iv. 36.]

[Illustration: FIG. 116.--Hall in the speos of Gherf-Hossein (from

[Illustration: FIG. 117.--Medinet-Abou; first court.]

[Illustration: FIG. 118.--Medinet-Abou; second court.]

In the temple of Khons the peristyle is continued past the doorway in
the pylon (Fig. 119), and the inclosure is reached through one of the
intercolumniations.[122] At Luxor, on the other hand, the portico was
brought to an abrupt termination against the salient jambs of the
doorway (Fig. 120).

    [122] This is a mistake. By a reference to Fig. 208, Vol. I., or
    to Fig. 126 in this volume, it will be seen that the peristyle
    was not continued along the inner face of the pylon.--ED.

[Illustration: FIG. 119.--Portico of the Temple of Khons, looking
towards pronaos.]

[Illustration: FIG. 120.--Portico of first court at Luxor.]

The Egyptian architect, like his Greek successor, made frequent use of
the _anta_, that is, he gave a salience to the extremities of his
walls which strengthened his design and afforded structural members,
akin to pilasters or quadrangular pillars, which were combined in
various ways with columns and piers. Sometimes the anta is nothing but
a slight prolongation of a wall beyond the point where it meets
another (Fig. 121); sometimes it is the commencement of a returning
wall which appears to have been broken off to give place to a row of
columns (Fig. 122); a good instance of the latter arrangement is to be
found on the façade of the temple at Gournah. Sometimes, as at
Medinet-Abou, it is a reinforcement to the extremity of a wall, and
serves to form a backing for colossal Osiride statues (Fig. 123),
sometimes it gives accent and strength to an angle, as in the Great
Hall at Karnak (Fig. 124). At the Temple of Khons the terminations of
the two rows of columns which form the portico are marked by antæ on
the inner face of the pylon (Fig. 126), while the wall which incloses
the pronaos is without any projection except the jambs of the door.
This arrangement has an obvious _raison d'être_; if the columns were
brought close up to the pylon their outlines would not combine happily
with its inclined walls. At the other extremity of the court, the wall
being perpendicular, there was no necessity for such an
arrangement.[123] A glance at Fig. 126 will make this readily
understood. At Medinet-Abou the portico is terminated laterally by two
antæ, one corresponding to the row of columns, the other to the row of
caryatid piers. In another court of the same temple the antæ on either
side vary in depth, at one end of the portico there is a bold
pilaster, at the other one which projects very slightly indeed (Fig.
128). This is another instance of the curious want of symmetry and
regularity which is one of the most constant characteristics of
Egyptian architecture.

    [123] The arrangement in question is capable of another and,
    perhaps, more simple explanation. The two rows of columns of
    which the portico in question is composed, run in an unbroken
    line round the court with the exception of the side which is
    filled by the pylon. It was natural enough, therefore, that they
    should each be stopped against an anta, even if there had not
    been an additional reason in the inclination of the pylon. The
    ordonnance as a whole may be compared to a long portico, like
    that in the second court of the temple at Gournah, bent into two
    right angles.--ED.

[Illustration: FIG. 121.--Anta, Luxor; second court. _Description_,
iii. 5.]

[Illustration: FIG. 122.--Anta, Gournah. From Gailhabaud.]

[Illustration: FIG. 123.--Anta, Medinet-Abou.]

[Illustration: FIG. 124.--Anta in the Great Hall of Karnak.]

[Illustration: FIG. 125.--Antæ, Temple of Khons. _Description_, iii.

[Illustration: FIG. 126.--Anta and base of pylon, Temple of Khons.
_Description_, iii. 55.]

The anta is often without a capital, as, for instance, in the temple
of Khons (Fig. 126). Elsewhere the architect seems to have wished to
bring it into more complete harmony with the magnificence of its
surroundings, and accordingly he gives it a capital, as at
Medinet-Abou, but a capital totally unlike those proper to the
column.[124] It was identical in form with that gorge or cornice which
crowns nearly every Egyptian wall. Considering that the anta was
really no more than a prolongation or momentary salience of the wall,
such an arrangement was judicious in every way (Fig. 129).

    [124] In this the Greek architects took the same course as those
    of Egypt.

[Illustration: FIG. 127.--Antæ, Medinet-Abou.]

[Illustration: FIG. 128.--Antæ, Medinet-Abou.]

The width of the intercolumniations also varied between one court or
hall and another, and, at least in the present state of the Egyptian
remains, we are unable to discover any rule governing the matter, such
as those by which Greek architects were guided. We may affirm
generally that the Egyptian constructor, especially in the time of the
New Empire and when using columns of large dimensions, preferred close
spacing to wide. His tendency to crowd his columns is to be explained,
partly by the great weight of the superstructure which they had to
support, partly by the national taste for a massive and close
architecture. The spaces between the great columns in the hypostyle
hall of Karnak, measured between the points of junction between the
bases and the shafts, is slightly less than two diameters. The spaces
between the smaller columns on each side are hardly more than one

A better idea of the original character of these ordonnances may
perhaps be gathered from the plate which faces the next page (Pl.
VIII) than to any plan to which we could refer the reader. It
represents that part of the colonnade, in the second court of the
temple at Medinet-Abou, which veils the wall of the pronaos, and it
shows how little space the Egyptian architects thought necessary for
the purposes of circulation. The spaces between the columns and the
wall on the one hand and the osiride piers on the other, are not quite
equal to the diameter of the bases of those columns, which have,
however, been expressly kept smaller than was usual in Egypt. If they
had been as large as some that we could point out, there would have
been no room to pass between them and the wall.

Did the Egyptians ever employ isolated columns, not as structural
units, but for decorative purposes, for the support of a group or a
statue? Are there any examples of pillars like those which the
Phœnicians raised before their temples, or the triumphal columns of
the Romans, or those reared for commemorative purposes in Paris and
other cities of Modern Europe? It is impossible to give a confident
answer to this question. The remains of the great colonnade which
existed in the first court at Karnak, of which a single column with
bell-shaped capital is still upright (Fig. 130), suggest, perhaps,
that such monumental pillars were not unknown to the Egyptians. These
columns display the ovals of Tahraka, of Psemethek, and of Ptolemy
Philopator. The width of the avenue between them, measuring from
centre to centre, is so great, about fifty-five feet, that it is
difficult to believe that it could ever have been covered with a roof.
Even with wood it would have been no easy matter--for the
Egyptians--to cover such a void. We have, moreover, good reason to
believe that they never used wood and stone together in their temples.
A _velarium_ has been suggested, but there is nothing either in the
Egyptian texts or in their wall paintings to hint at their use of such
a covering.

It would have been quite possible to connect the summits of these
columns together lengthwise. The architraves would have had less than
twenty feet to bridge over. But not the slightest relic of such a
structure has been found, and it is difficult to see what good purpose
it could have served had it existed.

The authors of the _Description_ came to the conclusion that there had
been no roof of any kind to the avenue formed by the columns, that
they merely formed a kind of monumental approach to the hypostyle
hall.[125] Mariette also discards the idea of architraves, which would
have to be unusually long, but he cannot accept the notion that the
columns were merely colossal venetian masts bordering the approach to
the sanctuary. He supposes the centre of the courtyard to have
contained a small hypæthral temple built by Tahraka. This temple
figures upon his plan, but neither he himself, by his own confession,
nor any one else has ever found the slightest trace of it in
reality.[126] In the excavations made by him in 1859, he did not find
a vestige even of the two columns which he inserts upon each of the
two short sides of the rectangle. These columns were necessary in
order to complete a peripteral arrangement, similar to that which
exists in the hypæthral temples at Philæ and in Nubia. The closest
study of the site has brought to light nothing beyond the twelve
columns shown in our plan (Fig. 214, E, Vol. I.).

    [125] _Description, Antiquités_, vol. v. pp. 120, 121. In their
    _Description Générale de Thèbes_ (ch. ix. section 8, § 2), the
    same writers add: "We are confirmed in our opinion by the
    discovery on a bas-relief of four lotus stems with their flowers
    surmounted by hawks and statues, and placed exactly in the same
    fashion as the columns which we have just described. They are
    votive columns. We are also confirmed in this opinion by the
    fact that we find things like them among those amulets which
    reproduce the various objects in the temples in small." This
    bas-relief is figured in the third volume of plates of the
    _Description_, pl. 33, Fig. 1.

    [126] MARIETTE, _Karnak_, p. 19, pl. 4. _Voyage dans la
    Haute-Égypte_, pp. 13, 21, 22.

[Illustration: Ch. Chipiez del Hibon sc.



Restored by Ch. Chipiez.

Imp. Ch. Chardon]

[Illustration: FIG. 129.--Anta and column at Medinet-Abou.]

[Illustration: FIG. 130.--Column in the court of the Bubastides, at

The most probable explanation is that which we have hinted at
above.[127] These great columns were erected to give majesty to the
approach to the hypostyle hall, and to border the path followed by the
great religious processions as they issued from the hall and made for
the great doorway in the pylon. They must always have been isolated,
and it is possible that formerly each carried upon the cubic die which
still surmounts the capital, groups of bronze similar to those which,
to all appearance, crowned those stele-like piers which we described
in speaking of the work of Thothmes in the same temple (page 94). This
was also the opinion of Prisse d'Avennes, who studied the monuments of
Egypt, both as an artist and as an archæologist, more closely,
perhaps, than any one else.[128] It has been objected that the
columns would hide each other, and that the symbolic animals perched
upon their summits could not have been seen; but this would only be
the case with those who looked at them from certain disadvantageous
positions--from between the columns, or exactly on their alignment.
From the middle of the avenue, or from one side of it, they would be
clearly visible, and the vivid colours of their enamels would produce
their full effect.

    [127] This explanation seems to have been accepted by Prof.
    EBERS; _Ægypten im Bild und Wort_, vol. ii. p. 331.

    [128] MAXIME DU CAMP, _Le Nil_, p. 251.

The question might be decided in a very simple fashion. The summit of
the column which is still upright might be examined, or the abacus of
one of those which have fallen might be discovered; in either case
traces of the objects which they supported would be found, supposing
our hypothesis to be correct. More than one doubtful question of this
kind would long ago have been solved had the Egyptian monuments been
studied on the spot by archæologists and artists instead of being left
almost entirely to the narrower experience of engineers and

In the absence of evidence to the contrary, we shall, then, look upon
it as probable that the Egyptians sometimes raised columns, like other
people, not for the support of roofs and architraves, but as gigantic
pedestals, as self-contained decorative forms, with independent parts
of their own to play. Such a proceeding was doubtless an innovation in
Egyptian art--one of those fresh departures which date from the latter
years of the Monarchy. Even in Egypt motives grew stale with
repetition at last, and she cried out for something new.

§ 7. _Monumental Details._

We have seen that the proportions, the entasis, the shape, and the
decoration of the Egyptian column, were changed more than once and in
many ways. The Egyptian artist, by his fertility of resource and
continual striving after improvement, showed that he was by no means
actuated by that blind respect for tradition which has been too often
attributed to him. Besides, the remains which we possess are but a
small part of Egyptian architecture. The buildings of Memphis and of
the Delta have perished. Had they been preserved we should doubtless
have found among them forms and details which do not exist in the
ruins of Abydos, of Thebes, or in the Nubian hypogea; we should have
been able to describe arrangements and motives which do not occur in
the works of the three great Theban dynasties.

[Illustration: FIG. 131.--Stereobate, Luxor.]

[Illustration: FIG. 132.--Stereobate with double plinth, Luxor.]

On the other hand, the mouldings and other details of the same kind
are monotonous in the extreme. Their want of variety is not to be
explained, like that of Assyria, by the nature of the materials.
Brick, granite, limestone, and sandstone constituted a series of
materials in which a varied play of light and shade, such as that
which characterized Greek architecture, should have been easy. The
real cause of the poverty of Egyptian design in this particular is to
be found in their habit of covering nearly every surface with a carved
and painted decoration. More elaborate or bolder mouldings might have
interfered with the succession of row upon row of pictures from the
bottom to the top of a wall. The eye was satisfied with the rich
polychromatic decoration, and did not require it to be supplemented by
architectural ornament.

When the slope of a wall was ornamented with projections in the shape
of mouldings it was because the wall was bare. At Luxor, for example,
in the external face of the wall which incloses the back of the
temple, the lowest course projects beyond the others, forming a step,
and a few courses above it there is a hollow moulding similar in
section to the cornice at the top; the lower part of the wall is thus
formed into a stereobate (Fig. 131). At another point in the
circumference of this temple there is a stereobate of a more
complicated description. It is terminated above by a cornice-shaped
moulding like that just described, but it rests upon two steps instead
of one (Fig. 132). By this it appears that the Egyptian architects
understood how to add to apparent solidity of their buildings by
expanding them at their junction with the ground. This became a true
continuous stylobate, carrying piers, in peripteral temples like that
at Elephantiné (Fig. 230, Vol. I.). In the latter building its form is
identical with that which we have just described.

We have now to describe an arrangement which, though rare in the
Pharaonic period, was afterwards common enough. The portico which
stretches across the back of the second court in the Ramesseum is
closed to about a third of its height by a kind of pluteus (Fig.
133).[129] This barrier formed a sort of tablet, surrounded by a
fillet, and crowned by a cornice of the usual type, between each pair
of Osiride piers. In the Ptolemaic temples the lower part of the
portico was always closed in this fashion. It constitutes the only
inclosure in front of the fine hypostyle hall at Denderah.

    [129] The _Description de l'Égypte_ indicates the existence of
    this pluteus both in the Ramesseum (vol. ii. pl. 29) and at
    Medinet-Abou (vol. ii. pl. 7, Fig. 2). Photographs do not show a
    trace of it, but many parts of those buildings had disappeared
    before the beginning of the present century. There is no reason
    to suppose that the Ramesseum underwent any modification after
    the termination of the Theban supremacy. In his restoration of
    Dayr-el-Bahari, M. Brune has introduced a similar detail, which
    he would assuredly not have done unless he had found traces of
    it under the portico. Unfortunately his restoration is on a very
    small scale. That at Dayr-el-Bahari must have been the earliest
    example of such an arrangement.

We have now studied buildings in sufficient number to become familiar
with the _Egyptian Gorge_. As early as the Ancient Empire the
architects of Egypt had invented this form of cornice, and used it
happily upon their massive structures. It is composed of three
elements, which are always arranged in the same order. In the first
place there is the circular moulding or torus with a carved ribbon
twisting about it. This moulding occurs at the edge where two faces
meet in most Egyptian buildings. It serves to give firmness and accent
to the angles and, when used at the top of the wall, to mark the point
where the wall ends and the cornice begins. Above this there is a
hollow curve with perpendicular grooves, which, again, is surmounted
by a plain fillet which makes a sharp line against the sky. In all
this there is a skilful opposition of hollows to flat surfaces, of
deep shadow to brilliant and unbroken sunlight, which marks the upward
determination of the great masses upon which it is used in the most
effective manner.

[Illustration: FIG. 133.--Pluteus in the intercolumniations of the
portico in the second court of the Ramesseum.]

Although the Egyptian architect repeated this cornice continually, he
contrived to give it variety of effect by modifying its proportions,
and by introducing different kinds of ornaments. In the pylons, for
instance, we often find that the cornice of the doorway was both
deeper and of bolder projection than those upon the two masses of the
pylon itself (Fig. 134). It was generally ornamented with the winged
globe, an emblem which was afterwards appropriated by the nations
which became connected with Egypt.

[Illustration: FIG. 134.--Doorway, Luxor. _Description_, iii. 6.]

This emblem in its full development was formed of the solar disk
supported on each side by the _uræus_, the serpent which meant
royalty. The sun was thus designated as the greatest of kings, the
king who mounted up into space, enlightening and vivifying the upper
and lower country at one and the same time. The disk and its
supporters were flanked by the two wide stretching wings with rounded,
fan-shaped extremities, which symbolized the untiring activity of the
sun in making its daily journey from one extremity of the firmament to
the other. Egyptologists tell us that the group as a whole signifies
the triumph of right over wrong, the victory of Horus over Set. An
inscription at Edfou tells us that, after the victory, Thoth ordered
that this emblem should be carved over every doorway in Egypt, and, in
fact, there are very few lintels without it.[130] It first appears at
about the time of the twelfth dynasty, according to Mariette, but its
form was at first more simple. There were no _uræi_, and the wings
were shorter, and pendent instead of outstretched.[131] Towards the
eighteenth dynasty it took the shape in which it is figured in our
illustrations, and became thenceforward the Egyptian symbol _par

    [130] The history and signification of this symbol were treated
    by BRUGSCH in a paper entitled: "_Die Sage von der geflügelten
    Sonnenscheibe nach alt Ægyptischen Quellen dargestellt._"

    [131] In this restricted and comparatively mean form the emblem
    in question is found at Beni-Hassan. (LEPSIUS, _Denkmæler_, part
    ii. pl. 123.)

[Illustration: FIG. 135.--Cornice of the Ramesseum. _Description_, ii.

[Illustration: FIG. 136.--Cornice of a wooden pavilion; from Prisse.]

In the more richly decorated buildings, such as the Ramesseum, we
sometimes find cartouches introduced between the vertical grooves of
the cornice (Fig. 135). In the representations of architecture on the
painted walls the upper member of the cornice as usually constituted,
is often surmounted by an ornament composed of the uræus and the solar
disk, the latter being upon the head of the former (Fig. 136). This
addition gives a richer and more ample cornice, which the Ptolemaic
architects carried out in stone. It is not to be found thus
perpetuated in any Pharaonic building, but the same motive occurs at
Thebes, below the cornice, and its existence in the bas-reliefs shows
that even in early times it was sometimes used. Perhaps it was
confined to those light structures in which complicated forms were
easily carried out.

This cornice seemed to the Egyptians to be so entirely the proper
termination for their rising surfaces, that they placed it at the top
of their stylobates (Figs. 131 and 132) and their pedestals (Fig.
137). They also used it within their buildings at the top of the walls
behind their colonnades, as, for instance, in the peripteral temple at
Elephantiné (Fig. 138).

The number of buildings in which this cornice was not used is very
small. The Royal Pavilion at Medinet-Abou is surrounded, at the top,
by a line of round-headed battlements; in the Temple of Semneh, built
by Thothmes I.,[132] and in the pronaos of the Temple of Amada, the
usual form gives place to a square cornice which is quite primitive in
its simplicity.

    [132] LEPSIUS, _Denkmæler_, vol. ii. pl. 83, and vol. v. pl. 56.

[Illustration: FIG. 137.--Pedestal of a Sphinx at Karnak.
_Description_, iii. 29.]

[Illustration: FIG. 138.--Cornice under the portico, Elephantiné.]

Traces of other mouldings, such as those which we call the _cyma_, and
the _cyma reversa_, may be found in Egyptian temples, but they occur
so rarely that we need not dwell upon them here or figure them.[133]

    [133] See CHIPIEZ, _Histoire Critique des Ordres Grecques_, p.

Besides these mouldings, which were used but very rarely, we need only
mention one more detail of the kind, namely, those vertical and
horizontal grooves which occur upon the masonry walls and were derived
from the structures in wood. They were chiefly used for the
ornamentation of the great surfaces afforded by the brick walls (Fig.
261, Vol. I.), but they are also to be found upon stone buildings. We
give, as an example, a fragment found at Alexandria, which is supposed
to belong to the lower part of a sarcophagus. A curious variation of
the same ornament exists in one of the royal tombs at Thebes (Fig.
140), in which each panel is separated from its neighbours by the
figures of headless men with their hands tied behind their backs. They
represent, no doubt, prisoners of war who have been beheaded, and the
decorator has wished, by the use of a somewhat barbarous though
graceful motive, to suggest the exploits of him for whom the sepulchre
was destined.

[Illustration: FIG. 139.--Fragment of a sarcophagus. _Description_, v.

Not much variety was to be obtained from the use of these grooves, but
yet they disguised the nudity of great wall spaces, they prevented
monotony from becoming too monotonous, while they afforded linear
combinations which had some power to please the eye. The Assyrians
made use of hardly any other mode of breaking up the uniformity of
their brick walls.

[Illustration: FIG. 140.--Fragment of decoration from a royal tomb at
Thebes. _Description_, ii. 86.]

It has been asserted that the first signs of that egg-moulding which
played so great a part in Greek architecture are to be found in
Egypt. Nestor L'Hôte thought that he recognised it in the entablature,
under the architrave, of some pavilions figured in decorations at
Tell-el-Amarna and at Abydos.[134] He was certainly mistaken. The
outline of the ornament to which he referred has a distant resemblance
to the moulding in question, but the place which it occupies gives it
an entirely different character; it seems to be suspended in the air
under the entablature. In other painted pavilions the same place is
occupied by flowers, bunches of grapes, and fruits resembling dates or
acorns, suspended in the same fashion.[135] If such forms must be
explained otherwise than by the mere fancy of the ornamentist, we
should be inclined to see in them metal weights hung round the edges
of the awnings, which supplied the place of a roof in many wooden

    [134] _Lettres_, pp. 68, 117.

    [135] See the plate in PRISSE entitled _Details de Colonnettes
    de Bois_.

The same remarks may be applied to those objects, or rather
appearances, to which the triglyphs of the Doric order have been
referred. It is true that in the figured architecture of the
bas-reliefs many of the architraves seem to show vertical incisions
arranged in groups of three, each group being separated from the next
by a square space which recalls the Greek metope (Figs. 62-64). But
sometimes these stripes follow each other at regular intervals,
sometimes they are in pairs, and sometimes they are altogether absent,
the architrave being either plain or decorated with figures and
inscriptions. Where the stripes are present they represent sometimes
applied ornaments, sometimes the ends of transverse joists appearing
between the beams of the architrave. Similar ornaments surround the
paintings in the tombs, and are to be found upon the articles of
furniture, such as chairs, which form part of most Egyptian museums.
Neither these so-called triglyphs and metopes, which do slightly
resemble the details so named of the Doric order, nor the egg
moulding, which is a pure delusion, ever received that established
form and elemental character which alone gives such things importance.
Architecture--stone architecture--made no use of them, and the
analogies which some have endeavoured to establish are misleading. The
apparent coincidence resulted from the nature of the material and from
the limited number of combinations which it allowed.

§ 8. _Doors and Windows._

So far we have been concerned with the structure and shape of Egyptian
buildings; we have now to describe the openings pierced in their
substance for the admission of light, for the circulation of their
inhabitants and for the entrance of visitors from without. The doors
and windows of the Egyptians were peculiar in many ways and deserve to
be carefully described.


The plans of Egyptian doorways do not always show the same
arrangements. The embrasure of which we moderns make use is seldom met
with. It occurs in the peripteral temple at Elephantiné, but that is
quite an exception (Fig. 141). The doorways of the temples were
generally planned as in Fig. 142, and in the passage which traverses
the thickness of the pylons, there is in the middle an enlargement
forming a kind of chamber into which, no doubt, double doors fell back
on either side (Fig. 143).

In their elevations doorways show still greater variety.

Let us consider in the first place those by which access was gained to
the _temenos_, or outer inclosure, of the temple. They may be divided
into three classes.

First of all comes the pylon proper, with its great doorway flanked on
either side by a tower which greatly exceeds it in height (Fig. 207,
Vol. I.). Champollion has pointed out that even in the Egyptian texts
themselves a distinction is made between the _pylon_ and that which he
calls the _propylon_. The latter consists of a door opening through
the centre of a single pyramidoid mass, and instead of forming a
façade to the temple itself, it is used for the entrances to the outer
inclosure. Figs. 144 and 145 show the different hieroglyphs which
represent it.[136]

    [136] From CHAMPOLLION, _Grammaire Égyptienne_, p. 53.

These propylons, to adopt Champollion's term, seem to have included
two different types which are now known to us only through the
Ptolemaic buildings and the monumental paintings, as the boundary
walls of the Pharaonic period have almost entirely disappeared and
their gateways with them.

[Illustration: FIG. 141.--Plan of doorway, Temple of Elephantiné.]

[Illustration: FIG. 142.--Plan of doorway, Temple of Khons.]

We have illustrated the first type in our restoration, page 339, Vol.
I. (Fig. 206). The doorway itself is very high, in which it resembles
many propylons of the Greek period which still exist at Karnak and
Denderah.[137] The thickness of the whole mass and its double cornice,
between which the covered way on the top of the walls could be
carried, are features which we also encounter in the propylon of
Denderah and in that of the temple at Daybod in Nubia.[138] We have
added nothing but the wall, and a gateway, in Egypt, implies a wall;
for there is no reason to suppose that the Egyptians had anything
analogous to the triumphal arches of the Romans. The temple was a
closed building, to which all access was forbidden to the crowd. The
doors may well have been numerous, but, if they were to be of any use
at all, they must have been connected by a continuous barrier which
should force the traffic to pass through them.

    [137] EBERS, _Ægypten_, p. 250.

    [138] FELIX TEYNARD, _Vues d'Égypte et de Nubie_, pl. 106.

[Illustration: FIG. 143.--Plan of doorway in the pylon, Temple of
Khons. _Description_, iii. 54.]

[Illustration: FIGS. 144, 145.--The pylon and propylon of the

In our restorations this doorway rises above the walls on each side
and stands out from them, on plan, both within and without. We may
fairly conjecture that it was so. The architect would hardly have
wasted rich decoration and a well designed cornice upon a mass which
was to be almost buried in the erections on each side of it. It must
have been conspicuous from a distance, and this double relief would
make it so. There are, moreover, a few instances in which these
secondary entrances have been preserved together with the walls
through which they provided openings, and they fully confirm our
conjectures. One of these is the gateway to the outer court of the
Temple of Thothmes at Medinet-Abou (Fig. 146). This gateway certainly
belongs to the Ptolemaic part of the building, but we have no reason
to suppose that the architects of the Macedonian period deserted the
ancient forms.

[Illustration: FIG. 146.--Gateway to the court-yard of the small
Temple at Medinet-Abou. _Description_, ii. 4.]

[Illustration: FIG. 147.--A propylon with its masts.]

The propylons were decorated with masts like the pylons, as we see by
a figure in a painting in one of the royal tombs at Thebes, which was
reproduced by Champollion[139] (Fig. 147). Judging from the scenes and
inscriptions which accompany it, Champollion thought this represented
a propylon at the Ramesseum. That the artist should, as usual, have
omitted the wall, need not surprise us when we remember how monotonous
and free from incident those great brick inclosures must have been.

    [139] _Monuments de l'Égypte et de la Nubie_, _Notices
    Descriptives_, p. 504.

The second type of propylon differs from the first in having a very
much smaller doorway in comparison with its total mass. In the former
the door reaches almost to the cornice, in the latter it occupies but
a very small part of the front. This is seen in Fig. 147, and, still
more conspicuously, in Fig. 148, which was also copied by Champollion
from a tomb at Thebes.[140] In one of these examples the walls are
nearly vertical, in another they have a considerable slope, but the
arrangement is the same and the proportions of the openings to the
towers themselves do not greatly differ. Our Fig. 149, which was
composed by the help of those representations, is meant to give an
idea of the general composition of which the door with its carved
jambs and architrave, and the tower with its masts and banners, are
the elements. The two types only differ from one another in the
relative dimensions of their important parts, and the transition
between them may have been almost imperceptible. It would seem that in
the Ptolemaic epoch the wide and lofty doors were the chief objects of
admiration, while under the Pharaohs, the towers through which they
were pierced were thought of more importance.

    [140] _Notices Descriptives_, p. 431.

[Illustration: FIG. 148.--A propylon.]

If we examine the doorways of the temples themselves we shall there
also find great variety in the manner in which they are combined
architecturally with the walls in which they occur.

[Illustration: FIG. 149.--Gateway in the inclosing wall of a Temple.
Restored by Ch. Chipiez.]

In the Temple of Khons the jambs of the door are one, architecturally,
with the wall. The courses are continuous. The lintel alone, being
monolithic, has a certain independence (Fig. 150). In the Temple of
Gournah, on the other hand, the doorway forms a separate and
self-contained composition. The jambs are monoliths as well as the
lintel, and the latter, notwithstanding the great additional weight
which it has to carry, does not exceed the former in section. At
Abydos, on the other hand, the capital part which this stone has to
play is indicated by the great size of the sandstone block of which it
is composed (Fig. 154).

[Illustration: FIG. 150.--Doorway of the Temple of Khons.
_Description_, iii. 54.]

[Illustration: FIG. 151.--Doorway of the Temple of Gournah.
_Description_, ii. 42.]

One of the doorways we have represented, that in Fig. 146, requires to
be here mentioned again for a moment. Its lintel is discontinuous. The
doorway in question dates from the Ptolemaic period, but there is
undoubted evidence that the same form was sometimes used in the
Pharaonic period for the openings in inclosing walls. There is a
representation of such a door in a bas-relief at Karnak, where it is
shown in front of a pylon and forms probably an opening in a boundary
wall.[141] It was this representation that decided us to give a broken
lintel to the doorway opposite to the centre of the royal pavilion at
Medinet-Abou (Plate VIII.). This form of entrance may have originated
in the desire to give plenty of head-room for the canopy under which
the sovereign was carried, as well as for the banners and various
standards which we see figured in the triumphal and religious
processions of the bas-reliefs (Fig. 172, Vol. I.).

    [141] PRISSE, _Histoire de l'Art Égyptien_.

[Illustration: FIG. 152.--Doorway of the Temple of Seti, at Abydos.]


[Illustration: FIGS. 153, 154.--Windows in the Royal Pavilion at

The royal pavilion at Medinet-Abou is the only building in Egypt which
has preserved for us those architectural features which we call
windows. They differ one from another, even upon this single building,
as much as the doors. One of them (Fig. 153) is enframed like the
doorway at Gournah; but the jambs are merely the ends of the courses
which make up the wall, and their salience is very slight. On the
other hand a window frame with a very bold relief (Fig. 154) is to be
found in the same building. This window is a little work of art in
itself. It is surmounted by a cornice, over which again appear various
emblems carved in stone, making up one of the most graceful
compositions to be found in Egyptian architecture.

§ 9. _The Illumination of the Temples._

We have described the way in which the Egyptian architects treated
doors and windows from an artistic point of view; we have yet to show
the method which they adopted for allowing sufficient light to
penetrate into their temples, that is, into those buildings, which,
being closely shut against the laity, could not be illuminated from
windows in their side walls. Palaces and private houses could have
their windows as large and as numerous as they chose, but the temple
could only be lighted from the roof, or at least from parts contiguous
to the roof.

[Illustration: FIG. 155.--Attic of the Great Hall at Karnak. Restored
by Ch. Chipiez.]

[Illustration: FIG. 156.--_Claustra_ of the Hypostyle Hall, Karnak.
_Description_, iii. 23.]

The hypostyle hall at Karnak, with its lofty walls and close ranges of
columns, would have been in almost complete darkness had it been left
to depend for light upon its doors alone. But the difference of height
between the central aisle and those to the right and left of it, was
taken advantage of to introduce the light required for the proper
display of its magnificent decorations. The wall which filled up the
space between the lower and upper sections of roof, forming something
almost identical with the clerestory of a Gothic cathedral, was
constructed of upright sandstone slabs, about sixteen feet high, which
were pierced with numerous perpendicular slits. Stone gratings, or
_claustra_ as the Romans would have called them, were thus formed,
through which the sunlight could stream into the interior. The slits
were about ten inches wide and six feet high. The illustration on page
163 shows how the slabs were arranged and explains, moreover, the
general disposition of the roof. Fig. 156 gives the _claustra_ in
detail, in elevation, in plan, and in perspective.

The hypostyle halls are nearly always lighted upon the same principle.
The chief differences are found in the sizes of the openings. At the
Temple of Khons, where the space to be lighted was not nearly so
large, the slabs of the _claustra_ were much smaller and the openings
narrower (Fig. 157). In one of the inner halls at Karnak a different
system has been used. The light penetrates through horizontal openings
in the entablature, between the architrave and the cornice, divided
one from another by cubes of stone (Fig. 158). In the inside the
architrave was bevelled on its upper edge, so as to allow the light to
penetrate into the interior at a better angle than it would otherwise
have done.

[Illustration: FIG. 157.--_Claustra_ in the Hypostyle Hall of the
Temple of Khons. Compiled from the elevations in the _Description_,
iii. 28.]

The use of these _claustra_, full of variety though they were in the
hands of a skilful architect, were not the only methods of lighting
their temples to which the Egyptians had recourse. They were helped in
their work, or, in the case of very small chambers, replaced, by
oblique or vertical openings contrived in the roof itself. These
oblique holes are found in the superior angles of the hypostyle hall
at Karnak (Fig. 159). After the roof was in place it was seen, no
doubt, that the _claustra_ did not of themselves give enough light for
the huge chamber, and these narrow openings were laboriously cut in
its ceiling. One of the inner chambers of the Temple of Khons is
feebly lighted by vertical holes cut through the slabs of the roof
(Fig. 160). Similar openings are to be seen in the lateral aisles of
the hypostyle hall in the Ramesseum. The slight upward projection
which surrounds the upper extremities of these holes should be
noticed (Fig. 161). Finally there are buildings in which these
openings are the only sources of illumination. This is notably the
case in the Temple of Amada. The upper part of our plan (Fig. 162)
represents the roof of that temple and the symmetrically arranged
openings with which it is pierced.

[Illustration: FIG. 158.--Method of lighting in one of the inner halls
of Karnak. Compiled from the plans and elevations of the

[Illustration: FIG. 159.--Auxiliary light-holes in the Hypostyle Hall
at Karnak. _Description_, iii. 26.]

[Illustration: FIG. 160.--Method of lighting one of the rooms in the
Temple of Khons. _Description_, iii. 55.]

[Illustration: FIG. 161.--Light openings in a lateral aisle of the
Hypostyle Hall in the Ramesseum. From a photograph.]

The Ptolemaic Temple of Edfou is much more generously treated in the
matter of light. Its flat roof is pierced by two large rectangular
openings resembling the _compluvium_ of a Pompeian house, and making
it, in a certain sense, hypæthral. No example of such an arrangement
has been met with in the Pharaonic temples. It is possible that its
principle was directly borrowed from the Greeks. It is hardly so
consistent with the national ideas and traditions as the _claustra_.

[Illustration: FIG. 162.--The Temple of Amada.]

[Illustration: FIG. 163.--_Claustra_, from a painting.]

Palaces and private houses were, as we have said, better lighted than
the temples. The illustrations in the preceding chapter show private
houses with their windows. Some of those houses had windows formed of
stone _claustra_. The window copied by Champollion[142] from the walls
of a small chamber in the Temple of Thothmes at Medinet-Abou (Fig.
163), shows this, as well as an opening in the house illustrated in
Fig. 19, which we here reproduce upon a larger scale (Fig. 164). We do
the same for a window belonging to the building shown in Fig. 1. It is
closed by a mat which was raised, no doubt, by means of a roller and
cords (Fig. 165).

    [142] _Notices Descriptives_, p. 332, fig. 2.

[Illustration: FIG. 164.--Window of a house in the form of

[Illustration: FIG. 165.--Window closed by a mat.]

§ 10. _The Obelisks._

We cannot bring our analysis of the forms and motives of Egyptian
architecture to an end without mentioning a monumental type which is
peculiar to Egypt, that of the _obelisks_. These are granite
monoliths[143] of great height, square on plan, dressed on all four
faces, and slightly tapering from base to summit. They usually
terminate in a small pyramid, whose rapidly sloping sides contrast
strongly with the gentle inclination of the main block beneath. This
small pyramid is called the pyramidion.

    [143] In front of the sphinxes which stand before the great
    pylon at Karnak there are two small obelisks of sandstone.

The tall and slender shapes of these monoliths and their pointed
summits have led to their being compared, in popular language, with
needles and spindles.[144] The first Greeks who visited the country
and found a monumental type so unlike anything they had at home,
wished to convey a good idea of it to their compatriots; they
accordingly made use of the word ὀβελός, a spindle. It is
difficult to understand how their descendants came to prefer ὀβελίσκος,
a little spindle.[145] A diminutive hardly seems the right
kind of word under the circumstances; an augmentative would, perhaps,
have been better. But it was this diminutive that the Romans borrowed
from the Greeks of Alexandria and transmitted to the modern world.

    [144] The Italians call them _guglie_, needles, and the Arabs
    _micellet Faraoun_, Pharaoh's needles. The obelisks now in
    London and New York respectively, which were taken by the Romans
    from the ruins of Heliopolis, in order to be erected in front of
    the Cæsareum at Alexandria, were known as Cleopatra's Needles.
    Herodotus only used the expression, ὀβελός. Ἐν τῷ τεμένει
    ὀβελοὶ ἑστάσι μεγάλοι λίθινοι (ii. 172; also ii. 111).

    [145] DIODORUS (i. 57, 59), always uses the word ὀβελίσκος. The
    termination is certainly that of a diminutive. See AD. REGNIER,
    _Traité de la Formation des Mots dans la Langue Grecque_, p.

This is not the place for an inquiry into the meaning of the obelisk.
It may symbolize, as we have often been told, the ray of the sun, or
it may be an emblem of Amen-Generator.[146] It seems to be well
established, that in the time of the New Empire at least, it was used
to write the syllable _men_, which signified _firmness_ or

    [146] DE ROUGÉ, _Étude sur les Monuments de Karnak_.

    [147] PIERRET, _Dictionnaire d'Archéologie Égyptienne_.

The usual situation of the obelisks was in front of the first pylon of
the temples. There they stood in couples, one upon each side of the
entrance. Those instances where they are found, as at Karnak,
surrounded by the buildings of the temple, are easily explained. The
two obelisks in the caryatid court were erected during the eighteenth
dynasty, at a time when those parts of the temple which lie between
the obelisks and the outer wall were not yet in existence. The
obelisks of Hatasu, when first erected, were in front of the Temple of
Amen as it was left by the early sovereigns of the eighteenth dynasty.

But the obelisk was not the exclusive property of the temples. Some
little ones of limestone have been found in the mastabas,[148] and
Mariette has described those which formerly stood in front of the
royal tombs belonging to the eleventh dynasty, in the Theban
necropolis. He has published the inscription which covers the four
faces of one of these obelisks, a monolith some ten feet nine inches
high.[149] Obelisks seem also to have been employed for the decoration
of palaces, as we may conclude from a Theban painting in which one
appears before the principal entrance to a villa surrounded with
beautiful gardens.[150] Judging by the sizes of people in the same
painting, this obelisk must have been about thirteen feet high.

    [148] A small funerary obelisk, about two feet high, is now in
    the museum of Berlin. It is figured in the _Denkmæler_, part ii.
    pl. 88. It was found in a Gizeh tomb dating from the fifth

    [149] MARIETTE, _Monuments Divers_, pl. 50. The obelisks
    illustrated in this chapter are all drawn to the same scale in
    order to facilitate comparison.

    [150] WILKINSON, _Manners and Customs_, etc., p. 396.

Diodorus speaks of obelisks erected by Sesostris which were 120
cubits, nearly 180 feet, high;[151] and different texts allude to
monoliths which were 130, 117, and 114 feet high. We have some
difficulty in accepting the first of these figures. The obelisk of
Hatasu, at Karnak, which is the tallest known, is 108 feet 10 inches
in height.[152] That which is still standing at Matarieh, on the site
of the ancient Heliopolis, is only 67 feet 4 inches high. But the fact
that it is the oldest of the colossal obelisks of Egypt makes it more
interesting than some which surpass it in size (Fig. 167). It bears
the name of Ousourtesen I., of the twelfth dynasty. As a rule, the
inscriptions cut upon the four sides of those obelisks which are
complete are very insignificant. They consist of little but pompous
enumerations of the royal titles.[153]

    [151] DIODORUS, i. 57.

    [152] Recent measurement has shown that the height given on page
    105, Vol. I., is incorrect.--ED.

    [153] In the _Dictionnaire d'Archéologie Égyptienne_ of M.
    PIERRET, a translation of the hieroglyphics upon one side of the
    Paris obelisk will be found under the word _Obélisque_. The
    _Athenæum_ for October 27, 1877, contains a complete translation
    of the inscription upon the London obelisk, by DR. BIRCH.--ED.

[Illustration: FIG. 166.--Funerary obelisk in the Necropolis of
Thebes. From Mariette.[154]]

    [154] _Monuments Divers_, pl. 50.

The two obelisks erected by Rameses II. in front of the first pylon at
Luxor were slightly unequal in height. One was 83 feet 4 inches, the
other 78 feet 5 inches. To hide this difference to some extent they
were set upon bases also of unequal height, and the shorter was placed
slightly in advance of its companion, _i.e._ slightly nearer to the
spectator approaching the temple by the dromos.[155] By these means
they hoped to make the difference between the two less conspicuous.
This difference may have been caused by any slight accident, or by the
discovery of a flaw in the granite during the operation of cutting it
in the quarry. In dealing with huge blocks like these, such
_contretemps_ must have been frequent.

    [155] _Description, Antiquites_, vol. ii. pp. 371-373. In our
    view of Luxor on page 345 we have restored the base of the
    larger obelisk after that belonging to the one now at Paris. We
    were without any other means of ascertaining its form.

The smaller of the two obelisks was chosen for transport to Paris in
1836. In its present situation on the Place de la Concorde it is
separated from the sculptured base upon which it stood at Luxor. The
northern and southern faces of that pedestal were each ornamented with
four cynocephali adoring the rising sun; the other two had figures of
the god Nile presenting offerings to Amen (Fig. 168).

In order to restore this and other obelisks to the form which they
enjoyed in the days of the Pharaohs we should have to give them back
their original summits as well as their pedestals. Hittorf has shown
that these probably consisted of caps of gilded copper fitted over the
pyramidion,[156] in those cases where the latter was not ornamented
with carved figures. A curious passage in Abd-al-latif, which has been
often cited, proves that the pyramid of Ousourtesen preserved its cap
as late as the thirteenth century. "The summit," says the Arab
historian, "is covered with a kind of funnel-shaped copper cap, which
descends about three cubits from the apex. The weather of so many
centuries has made the copper green and rusty, and some of the green
has run down the shaft of the obelisk."[157] In the plate attached to
his essay, Hittorf gives us a plan and elevation of the pyramidion of
the smaller obelisk of Luxor. He shows how its broken and irregular
mass implies a metallic covering, a covering whose existence is
moreover proved by the groove or rebate, about an inch and a half
deep, which runs round the summit of the shaft. His Figs. 3 and 4 show
that this groove was carefully polished. His conclusions have failed
to find acceptance in some quarters. It has been asserted that the
rays of the sun, striking upon such a surface, would be reflected in a
dazzling fashion, and that the general effect would have been
unsatisfactory. The Egyptians had no such fear. They made lavish use
of gold in the decoration of their buildings. According to the
inscription which covers the four sides of the pedestal under the
obelisk of Hatasu at Karnak, the pyramidion was covered "with pure
gold taken from the chiefs of the nations," which seems to imply
either a cap of gilded copper, like that of the obelisk at Heliopolis,
or a golden sphere upon the very apex. An object of this latter kind
is figured in some of the bas-reliefs at Sakkarah. Besides this there
is no doubt that the obelisk in question was gilded from head to foot.
"We remark, in the first place, that the beds of the hieroglyphs were
carefully polished; secondly, that the four faces of the obelisk
itself were left comparatively rough, from which we should conclude
that the latter alone received this costly embellishment, the
hieroglyphs preserving the natural colour of the granite."[158]

    [156] _Precis sur les Pyramidions de Bronze doré Employés par
    les Anciens Égyptiens comme couronnement de quelques-uns de
    leurs Obélisques_, etc. J. J. HITTORF, 8vo, 1836.

    [157] ABD-AL-LATIF, _Relation de l'Égypte_; French translation
    by Silvestre de Sacy, published in 4to, in 1810, p. 181.--ED.

    [158] MARIETTE, _Itinéraire de la Haute-Égypte_, third edition,
    p. 142.

[Illustration: FIG. 167.--The obelisk of Ousourtesen. _Description_,
v. 26.]

[Illustration: FIG. 168.--The obelisk in the Place de la Concorde,
restored to its original base. From Prisse.]

In that transplantation of which the Ptolemies first set the example,
the obelisk at Paris was deprived of its original pedestal, as we have
seen; it was erected in an open space of such extent that its
dimensions seem almost insignificant; it was placed upon a pedestal
which, neither in dimensions nor design, has anything Egyptian about
it: and finally it was deprived of its metal finial. It can therefore
give but little idea of the effect which the obelisks produced while
they still remained in the places for which they were designed. The
artistic instinct of Théophile Gautier was quite alive to this fact
when he penned his fanciful but charming lines on the _Nostalgie

A curious fact has been ascertained in connection with the obelisks of
Luxor. Their faces present a slight convexity, the total protuberance
at the base being rather more than an inch and three-tenths. It is
probable that the same arrangement would be found in other obelisks if
they were carefully examined. Its explanation is easy. If the surfaces
had been absolute planes they would have been made to appear concave
by the sharpness of the corners. It was necessary, therefore, to give
them a gentle entasis which should gradually diminish towards the
summit, completely disappearing by the time the pyramidion was

    [159] _Description_, _Antiquités_, vol. ii. p. 369.--CHARLES
    BLANC, _Voyage dans la Haute-Égypte_, p. 150.

The obelisk at Beggig, in the Fayoum, offers a singular variant upon
the type which we have described. It was formerly a monolith about 43
feet high; it is now overthrown and broken into two pieces. It bears
the ovals of Ousourtesen I., and would seem, therefore, to be
contemporary with the obelisk at Heliopolis.[160] Its peculiarity
consists in its shape. It is a rectangular oblong, instead of a
square, on plan. Two of its sides are 6 feet 9 inches wide, and the
other two about 4 feet. It has no pyramidion. The summit is rounded
from front to back, forming a ridge, and the upper part of its
principal faces are filled with sculptures in low relief (Fig 170).
All this makes it resemble a gigantic stele rather than an obelisk
(Fig. 169).

    [160] For an interesting description of the present state and
    curious situation of this obelisk, see _The Land of Khemi_, by
    LAURENCE OLIPHANT, pp. 98-100, (Blackwood. 1882).--ED.

[Illustration: FIG. 169.--The obelisk of Beggig. From the elevation of

    [161] _Denkmæler_, part ii. pl. 119.

[Illustration: FIG. 170.--Upper part of the obelisk at Beggig. From
the elevation of Lepsius.]

Whatever may have been the origin of this form it never became popular
in Egypt. In Nubia alone do we find the type repeated, and that only
in the debased periods of art. On the other hand, the obelisks proper
seem to have been made in truly astonishing numbers in the time of the
Middle and New Empires. Egypt has supplied Rome, Constantinople,
Paris, London, and even New York with these monoliths, and yet she
still possesses many at home. Of these several are still standing and
in good preservation, others are broken and buried beneath the ruins
of the temples which they adorned. At Karnak alone the sites of some
ten or twelve have been found. Some of these are still standing, some
are lying on the ground, while of others nothing is left but the
pedestals. At the beginning of the century the French visitors to the
ruins of San, the ancient Tanis, found the fragments of nine different

    [162] _Description_, _Antiquités_, ch. 23.--M. EDOUARD NAVILLE
    has recently (June 16, 1882) published in the _Journal de
    Genève_ an account of a visit to these ruins, during which he
    counted the fragments of no less than fourteen obelisks, some of
    them of extraordinary size.--ED.

§ 11. _The Profession of Architect._

It may seem to some of our readers that we have spent too much time
and labour on our analysis of Egyptian architecture. Our excuse lies
in the fact that architecture was the chief of the arts in Egypt. We
know nothing of her painters. The pictures in the Theban tombs often
display great taste and skill, but they seem to have been the work of
decorators rather than of painters in the higher sense of the word.
Sculptors appear, now and then, to have been held in higher
consideration. The names of one or two have come down to us, and we
are told how dear they were to the kings who employed them.[163] But
the only artists who had a high and well defined social position in
ancient Egypt, a country where ranks were as distinctly marked as in
China, were the architects or engineers, for they deserve either name.
Their names have been preserved to us in hundreds upon their
elaborate tombs and inscribed steles.

    [163] The sculptor who made the two famous colossi of Amenophis
    III. had the same name as his master, Amenhotep. (BRUGSCH,
    _History_, 1st edition, vol. i. pp. 425-6). Iritesen, who worked
    for Menthouthotep II. in the time of the first Theban Empire,
    was a worker in stone, gold, silver, ivory, and ebony. He held a
    place, he tells us, at the bottom of the king's heart, and was
    his joy from morning till night. (MASPERO, _la Stèle_ C. 14 _du
    Louvre_, in the _Transactions of the Society of Biblical
    Archæology_, vol. v. part ii. 1877.)

We might, then, amuse ourselves by making out a long list of Egyptian
builders, a list which would extend over several thousands of years,
from Nefer, of Boulak (Fig. 171),[164] who may have built one of the
Pyramids, to the days of the Ptolemies or of the Roman emperors. In
the glyptothek at Munich there is a beautiful sepulchral statue of
Bakenkhonsou, who was chief prophet of Amen and principal architect of
Thebes, in the time of Seti I. and Rameses II. From certain phrases in
the inscription, Devéria believes that Bakenkhonsou built the temple
of Gournah.[165] In his epitaph he boasts of the great offices which
he had filled and of the favour which had been shown to him by his
sovereign. Every Egyptian museum contains some statue and inscription
of the same kind. Brugsch has proved that under the Memphite dynasties
the architects to the king were sometimes recruited among the princes
of the blood royal, and the texts upon their tombs show that they all,
or nearly all, married daughters or grand-daughters of Pharaoh, and
that such a marriage was not looked upon as _mesalliance_.[166]

    [164] See _Notice des Principaux Monuments exposés dans le Musée
    de Boulak_, 1876, No. 458.

    [165] DEVÉRIA, _Bakenkhonsou_ (_Revue Archéologique_, new
    series, vi. p. 101).

    [166] BRUGSCH, _History of Egypt_ (English edition), vol. i. p.
    47. Ti, whose splendid tomb has been so often mentioned, was
    "First Commissioner of Works" for the whole of Egypt, as well as
    "Secretary of State" to Pharaoh.

[Illustration: FIG. 171.--Limestone statue of the architect Nefer, in
the Boulak Museum. Drawn by Bourgoin.]

Similar evidence is forthcoming in connection with the first Theban
Empire, but it was chiefly under the three great dynasties that the
post of architect to Pharaoh became one of great responsibility, and
carried with it great influence and authority.

For the building and keeping in repair of the sumptuous monuments
then erected a great system of administration must have been devised,
and Thebes, like modern London, must have had its

    [167] We have here ventured to take a slight liberty with M.
    Perrot's local tints.--ED. PAUL PIERRET ("_Stèle de Suti et de
    Har, architectes de Thèbes_," in the _Recueil de Travaux_, vol.
    i. p. 70), says, "This is said by him who has charge of the
    works of Amen in Southern Ap." Suti-Har says in his turn: "I
    have the direction of the west, he of the east. We are the
    directors of the great monuments in Ap, in the centre of Thebes,
    the city of Amen."

So far as we can tell there was a chief architect, or superintendent
general of buildings, for the whole kingdom; his title was _Overseer
of the buildings of Upper and Lower Egypt_.[168] For how many scribes
and draughtsmen must the offices of Bakenkhonsou or of Semnat, the
favourite architect of the great regent Hatasu, have found

    [168] PIERRET, _Dictionnaire d'Archéologie Égyptienne_, p. 59.

    [169] See BRUGSCH, _History of Egypt_, 1st edition, vol. i. p.

Who would not like to know the course of study by which the ancient
Egyptian builders prepared themselves for the great public enterprises
which were always going on in their country? We may admit that the
methods employed by their engineers were much more primitive than it
has been the fashion to suppose, we may prove that their structures
were far from possessing the accuracy of plan that distinguishes ours,
but yet we cannot deny that those who transported and raised the
obelisks and colossal statues, and those who constructed the hypostyle
hall of Karnak, or even the pyramids of Gizeh, must have learnt their
trade. How and where they learnt it we do not know. It is probable
that they learnt it by practice under a master. Theory cannot have
held any great part in their teaching. Their system must have been
composed of a collection of processes and receipts which grew in
number as the centuries passed away. There is nothing in the texts to
show that these receipts were the property of any close corporation,
but heredity is sure to have played an important part and to have made
them, to some extent, the property of a class. Architects were
generally the sons of architects. Brugsch has given us one
genealogical table in which the profession descended from father to
son for twenty-two generations. By help of the inscriptions he traced
the family in question from the time of Seti I. to that of Darius the
son of Hystaspes. But even then he may not have tracked the stream to
its source. The rule and compass may have entered that family long
before the time of Seti; their use may also have continued long after
the Persian kings had been driven from Egypt.




§ 1. _The Origin of Statue-making._

The art of imitating living forms by means of sculpture was no less
ancient in Egypt than architecture. We do not mean to say that it
already existed in those remote ages when the first ancestors of the
Egyptian people built their mud cabins upon the banks of the Nile; but
as soon as their dwellings became something more than mere shelters
and began to be affected by the desire for beauty, the figures of men
and animals took a considerable place in their decoration. The oldest
mastabas that have been discovered have bas-reliefs upon their walls
and statues in their mummy-pits.

The existence of these statues and their relative perfection show that
sculpture had advanced with strides no less rapid than those of the
sister art. It may even be said that its progress had been greater
than that of architecture. Given the particular kind of expressive
beauty which formed the ambition of the Egyptian sculptor, he produced
masterpieces as early as the time of the Pyramid builders. We cannot
say as much of the architect. The latter showed himself, indeed, a
master in the mechanical processes of dressing and fixing stone, but
the arrangement of his buildings was simple, we might say elementary,
and many centuries had to pass before he had become capable of
imagining and creating the sumptuous temples of the New Empire, with
those ample porticos and great hypostyle halls which were the
culminating achievements of Egyptian architecture.

In order to explain this curious inequality we need not inquire which
of the two arts presents the fewest difficulties. It is with nations
as with individuals. Some among them succeed with ease in matters
which embarrass their neighbours. It is a question of circumstances,
of natural qualifications, and of surroundings. Among the Egyptians
the progress of sculpture was accelerated by that national belief in a
posthumous life for the body which we have described in connection
with their funerary architecture. By the existence of this constant
and singular belief we may explain both the early maturity of Egyptian
sculpture and the great originality of their most ancient style.

We have already described the arrangements which were necessary to
enable the inhabitant of the tomb to resist annihilation. Those
arrangements were of two kinds, a provision of food and drink, which
had to be constantly renewed, either in fact or by the magic
multiplication which followed prayer, and a permanent support for the
_ka_ or double, a support that should fill the place of the living
body of which it had been deprived by dissolution. This support was
afforded to some extent by the mummy; but the mummy was liable to be
destroyed or to perish by the action of time. The Egyptians were led
to provide against such a catastrophe by the invention of the funerary
statue. In the climate of Egypt, stone, and even wood, had far better
chances of duration than the most carefully embalmed body. Statues had
the additional advantage that they could be multiplied at will. There
was nothing to prevent ten, twenty, any number of them, being placed
in a tomb.[170] If but one of these images survived all the accidents
of time, the _double_ would be saved from that annihilation to which
it would otherwise be condemned.

    [170] The _serdabs_ of the tomb of Ti contained twenty, only one
    of which was recovered uninjured. MARIETTE, _Notice du Musée de
    Boulak_, No. 24.

Working under the impulse of such an idea, the sculptor could not fail
to do his best to endow his statue with the characteristic features of
the original. "It is easy, then, to understand why those Egyptian
statues which do not represent gods are always portraits of some
individual, executed with all the precision of which the artists were
capable. They were not ideal figures to which the desire for beauty of
line and expression had much to say, they were stone bodies, bodies
which had to reproduce all the individual contours of their
flesh-and-blood originals. When the latter was ugly, its reproduction
had to be ugly also, and ugly in the same way. If these principles
were disregarded the double would be unable to find the support which
was necessary to it."[171]

    [171] MASPERO, in Rayet's _Monuments de l'Art Antique_.

The first Egyptian statue was not so much a work of art as a cast from
nature. If photography had been invented in the time of Menes,
photographers would have made their fortunes in Egypt. Those
sun-portraits, which are supposed to present a perfect resemblance,
would have been put in the tomb of a deceased man in hundreds. Wanting
such things, they were contented to copy his figure faithfully in
stone or wood. His ordinary attitude, his features and costume, were
imitated with such scrupulous sincerity that the serdabs were filled
with faithful duplicates of himself. To obtain such a likeness the
artist cannot have trusted to his memory. His employer must have sat
before him, the stone body must have been executed in presence of him
whose immortality it had to ensure. In no other way could those
effigies have been produced whose iconic character is obvious at first
sight, effigies to which a contemporary would have put a name without
the slightest hesitation.

This individuality is not, however, equally well preserved in all
Egyptian sculpture, a remark which applies to the early dynasties as
well as to the later ones, though not in the same degree. In those
early ages the beliefs which led the Egyptian to inclose duplicates of
his own body in his last resting-place were more powerful over his
spirit, and the artist had to exert himself to satisfy the
requirements of his employers in the matter of fidelity. Again, those
centuries had not to struggle against such an accumulation of
precedents and fixed habits, in a word, against so much
conventionality as those which came after. There were no formulæ,
sanctioned by long custom, to relieve the artist from the necessity
for original thought and continual reference to nature; he was
compelled to make himself acquainted both with the general features of
his race and those of his individual employers. This necessity gave
him the best possible training. Portraiture taken up with intelligence
and practised with a passionate desire for truth has always been the
best school for the formation of masters in the plastic arts.

In those early centuries, then, Egypt produced a few statues which
were masterpieces of artistic expression, which were admirable
portraits. In all countries, however, great works are rare. The
sepulchral statues were far from being all equal in value to those of
the Sheik-el-Beled, of Ra-Hotep from Meidoum, or of the scribe in the
Louvre. This intelligent and scientific interpretation of nature was
not reached at a bound; Egyptian sculpture had its archaic period as
well as that of Greece.

Moreover, even when the art had come to maturity, there was, as in
other countries a crowd of mediocre artists whose work was to be
obtained at a cost smaller than that of the eminent men whom they
surrounded. The leading sculptors were fully employed by the kings and
great lords, by ministers and functionaries of high rank: their less
able brethren worked for that great class of functionaries of the
second order, who composed what may be called the Egyptian middle
class. It is probable too, that, although his work was to be hidden in
the darkness of the serdab, the artist took more care in reproducing
the features of a great personage whose appearance might be known from
one end of the Nile valley to the other, than when employed by some
comparatively humble individual. Before descending into the tomb, the
statue must for a time have been open to inspection, and its creator
must have had the chance of receiving those praises which neither poet
nor artist has been able to do without, from the days of Memphis to
those of Modern Europe.

In most cases, however, he had to reproduce the features and contours
of some obscure but honest scribe, some insignificant unit among the
thousands who served Cheops or Chephren; and his conscience was more
easily satisfied. If we pass in review those limestone figures which
are beginning to be comparatively common in our museums, we receive
the impression that many among them bear only a general resemblance to
their originals; they preserve the Egyptian type of feature, the
individual marks of sex and age, the costume, the familiar attitude,
and the attributes and accessories required by custom, and that is
all. It may even be that, like a certain category of funerary steles
among the Greeks of a later age, these inferior works were bought in
shops ready carved and painted, and that the mere inscription of a
name was supposed to give them that iconic character upon which so
much depended. A name indeed is not always found upon these images,
but it is always carved upon the tombs in which they were placed, and
its appearance there was sufficient to consecrate the statues and all
other contents of the sepulchre to the support of the double to which
it belonged. Whether it was copied from a sitter or bought ready-made,
the statue became from the moment of its consecration an auxiliary
body for the double. It preserved more of the appearance of life than
the corpse saturated with mineral essences and hidden under countless
bandages; the half-open smiling lips seemed about to speak, and the
eyes, to which the employment of enamel and polished metal give a
singular brilliance, seemed instinct with life.

The first statues produced by the Egyptians were sepulchral in
character, and in the intentions both of those who made them and of
those who gave the commissions, they were portraits, executed with
such fidelity that the double should confidingly attach himself to
them and not feel that he had been despoiled of his corporeal support.
As the power and wealth of the Egyptians grew, their artistic
aspirations grew also. They rose by degrees to the conception of an
ideal, but even when they are most visibly aiming at grandeur of style
the origin of their art may still be divined; in their happiest and
most noble creations the persistent effect of their early habits of
thought and belief is still to be surely traced.

§ 2. _Sculpture under the Ancient Empire._

The most ancient monument of sculpture to which we can assign, if not
a date, at least a chronological place in the list of Egyptian kings,
is a rock-cut monument in the peninsula of Sinai. This is in the
Wadi-maghara, and represents Snefrou, the last monarch of the third
dynasty, destroying a crouching barbarian with his mace. In spite of
its historic importance, we refrain from producing this bas-relief
because its dilapidated state takes away its interest from an artistic
point of view.[172]

    [172] All the monuments in the Wadi-maghara are figured in the
    _Denkmæler_ of LEPSIUS (part ii. plates 2, 39, and 61); casts of
    them have also been made.

There are, besides, other statues in existence to which egyptologists
ascribe a still greater age. The Louvre contains three before which
the historian of art must halt for a moment.

Two of these are very much alike, and bear the name of a personage
called Sepa, who enjoyed the style and dignity of _prophet and priest
of the white bull_. The third is the presentment of Nesa, who is
called a relation of the king, and was, in all probability, the wife
of Sepa (Fig. 172). These statues were of soft limestone. Both man and
woman have black wigs with squared ends, which descend, in the case of
the former, to the shoulders, in that of the latter, to the breasts.
Sepa holds a long staff in his left hand, and in his right the sceptre
called _pat_, a sign of authority. His only robe is a plain _schenti_,
a kind of cotton breeches fastened round his waist by a band. His
trunk and legs are bare, and the latter are only half freed from the
stone in which they are carved. Nesa is dressed in a long chemise with
a triangular opening between the breasts. Upon her arms she has
bracelets composed of twelve rings. In each figure the wig, the
pupils, eyelids, and eyebrows, are painted black, while there is a
green stripe under the eyes. The bracelets are also green.

De Rougé asserted boldly that these were the oldest statues in the
world.[173] He believed them to date from the third dynasty, and his
successors do not think he exaggerated; they would perhaps give the
works in question an even more venerable age.

    [173] _Notice des Monuments exposés dans la Galerie d'Antiquités
    Égyptiennes, Salle du Rez-de-chaussé et Palier de l'Escalier_,
    1875, p. 26.

This impression of great antiquity is not caused by the short
inscriptions on the plinths. The well-carved hieroglyphs which compose
them are in relief, but this peculiarity is found in monuments of the
fourth and fifth dynasties. The physiognomies and general style of the
figures are much more significant. They betray an art whose aims and
instincts are well developed, although it has not yet mastered its
mechanical processes. The sculptor knows thoroughly what he wants, but
his hand still lacks assurance and decision. He has set out upon the
way which will be trodden with ever-increasing firmness by his
successors. He follows nature faithfully. Observe how frankly the
breadth of Sepa's shoulders is insisted upon, how clearly the
collar-bones and the articulations of the knees are marked. The
rounded contours of Nesa's thighs betray the same sincerity. And yet
there is a certain timidity and awkwardness in the group which becomes
clearly perceptible when we compare it with works in its neighbourhood
which date from the fifth dynasty. The workmanship lacks freedom, and
the modelling is over-simplified. The arms, which elsewhere are laid
upon the knees, or, in the case of the woman, passed round the neck
of her husband, are too rigid. One is held straight down by the body,
the other is bent at a right angle across the stomach. The pose is
stiff, the placid features lack expression and will.

[Illustration: FIG. 172.--Sepa and Nesa, Louvre. Four feet eight
inches high.]

The induction to which we have been led by the style of these figures
is confirmed by an observation made during recent explorations in the
necropolis of Memphis. The patch of green paint under the eyes has, as
yet, only been found in statues from a certain peculiar class of tombs
at Gizeh and Sakkarah. These are chambers cut in the rock, in which
the roofs are carved into imitations of timber ceilings of palm wood.
Some of the texts which have been found in them contain the name of a
king whose chronological place has not yet been satisfactorily
determined, but who seems to have been anterior to Snefrou. The
figures upon which the adornment in question occurs would appear
therefore to be contemporary with the oldest tombs in the
neighbourhood of the pyramids.[174]

    [174] The Boulak Museum also contains specimens of these
    figures. See _Notice_, Nos. 994 and 995.

[Illustration: RA-HOTEP AND NEFERT


Imp. Ch. Chardon]

Progress was rapid between the end of the third dynasty and that of
the fourth. It was during the latter dynasty that the art of the
Ancient Empire produced its masterpieces. Mariette attributes the two
famous statues found in a tomb near the pyramid of Meidoum to the
reign of Snefrou, the predecessor of Cheops. They are exhibited, under
glass, in the Boulak Museum (Plate IX).[175]

    [175] _Notice des principaux Monuments exposés à Boulak_, No.
    973. These figures were discovered in January, 1872. They had a
    narrow escape of being destroyed by the pickaxes of the
    superstitious fellaheen. Mariette fortunately arrived just in
    time to prevent the outrage. _Recueil de Travaux_, vol. i. p.

"One of them represents Ra-hotep, a prince of the blood, who enjoyed
the dignity of general of infantry, a very rare title under the
Ancient Empire; the other is a woman, Nefert, _the beauty_; her statue
also informs us that she was related to the king. We do not know
whether she was the wife or sister of Ra-hotep. The interest excited
by the extreme beauty of these figures is increased by our certainty
of their prodigious antiquity. In the mastaba where they were found
everything is frankly archaic, everything is as old as the oldest of
the tombs at Sakkarah, and those date from before the fourth dynasty.
A neighbouring tomb which, as is proved by the connection between
their structures, dates from the same period as that of Ra-hotep, is
that of a functionary attached to the person of Snefrou I. We may,
therefore, fairly assign the two statues from Meidoum to the last
reign of the third dynasty."[176]

    [176] MARIETTE, _Voyage dans la Haute-Égypte_, p. 47.

Each of these figures, with its chair-shaped seat, is carved from a
single block of limestone about four feet high. The man is almost
nude; his only dress is a ribbon about his neck, and white breeches
like those to which we have already alluded. The woman is robed in the
long chemise, open between the breasts, which we have seen upon Nesa.
Besides this a wide and richly designed necklace spreads over her
chest. Upon her head she has a square-cut black wig, which, however,
allows her natural hair to be visible in front. Over the wig she has a
low flat cap with a decorated border. The carnations of the man are
brownish red, those of the woman light yellow.

These statues betray an art much more advanced than that of Sepa and
Nesa. The pose is much easier and more natural, but the right arm of
Ra-hotep is stiff and held in a fashion which would soon cause cramp
in a living man. The modelling of the body is free and true, though
without much knowledge or subtlety. The breasts, arms, and legs of
Nefert are skilfully suggested under her robe. But the care of the
sculptor has been mainly given to the heads. By means of chisel and
paint-brush he has given them an individuality which is not readily
forgotten. The arched eyebrows surmount large well-opened eyes; the
eyelids seem to be edged with heavy lashes and to stand out well from
the eyeball. In the case of the latter the limestone has retained its
primitive whiteness, giving a strong contrast with the pupil and iris
(Fig. 173). The noses, especially that of Ra-hotep are fine and
pointed; the thick but well-drawn lips seem about to speak. Her smooth
cheeks and soft dark eyes, eyes which are still common among the women
of the East, give Nefert a very attractive look. Her smiling and
restful countenance is in strong contrast to that of Ra-hotep, which
is full of life and animation not unmingled with a little hardness.

[Illustration: FIG. 173.--Ra-hotep. Drawn by Bourgoin.]

The longer we look at these figures the less ready are we to turn away
from them. They are portraits, and portraits of marvellous sincerity.
If they could be gifted with life to-morrow, if we could encounter
Ra-hotep and Nefert working under the sun of Egypt, the man semi-nude,
sowing the grain or helping to make an embankment, his companion robed
in the long blue chemise of the fellah women and balancing a pitcher
upon her head, we should know them at once and salute them by name as
old acquaintances. We find none of the marks of inexperience and
archaism which are so conspicuous in the statues of Sepa and Nesa. A
few later figures may seem to us more delicately modelled and more
full of detail, but taking them all in all, we cannot look upon these
statues as other than the creations of a mature art, of an art which
was already in full command of its resources, and of a sculptor who
had a well-marked personal and original style of his own.

We find the same qualities in another group of monuments ascribed by
Mariette to no less remote a period.[177] The same eye for proportion,
the same life-like expression, the same frankness and confidence of
hand are to be found in those sculptured wooden panels of which the
museum at Boulak possesses four fine examples. They were found at
Sakkarah in the tomb of a personage called Hosi, where they were
enframed in four blind doorways. They are on the average about 3 feet
10 inches high and 1 foot 8 inches wide. The drawings which we
reproduce give a good idea of the peculiarities of style and execution
by which they are distinguished (Figs. 174-176).[178]

    [177] "According to all appearance these panels date from before
    the reign of Cheops." _Notices des principaux Monuments_, etc.
    Nos. 987-92.

    [178] There is a panel of the same kind in the Louvre (_Salle
    Historique_, No. 1 of Pierret's _Catalogue_), but it is neither
    so firm, nor in such good preservation as those at Cairo.

At first sight these carvings are a little embarrassing to the eye
accustomed to works in stone. The type of figure presented is less
thickset. The body, instead of being muscular, is nervous and wiry.
The arms and legs are thin and long. In the head especially do we find
unaccustomed features; the nose, instead of being round, is strongly
aquiline; the lips, instead of being thick and fleshy, as in almost
all other Egyptian heads, are thin and compressed. The profile is
strongly marked and rather severe. The general type is Semitic rather
than Egyptian. And yet the inscriptions which surround them prove that
the originals were pure Egyptians of the highest class. One of them,
he who is represented standing in two different attitudes, is Ra-hesi;
the other, who is sitting before a table of offerings, bears the name
of Pekh-hesi. The decipherable part of the inscription tells us that
he was a scribe, highly placed, and in great favour with the king.

The tomb in which these panels were found was not built on the usual
plan of the mastaba. Mariette alludes to certain peculiarities which
are to be found in it, but he does not describe them in detail. The
hieroglyphs are grouped in a peculiar fashion; many of them are of a
very uncommon form. The arrangement of the objects borne in the left
hand of Ra-hesi is quite unique. Struck by these singularities,
Mariette asserts that "the style of these panels is to Egyptian art
what the style called archaic is to that of Greece."[179] This
assertion seems to us inaccurate. Not that we mean to contest the
validity of the reasons which Mariette gives for ascribing these
panels to an epoch anterior to the great pyramids; but, whatever may
be their age, it seems to be impossible, in view of the style in which
they are executed, to call them archaic. They show no more archaism
than the statues of Meidoum. The Egyptian artist never carved wood
with greater decision or with more subtlety and finesse than are to be
seen in these panels. As for the differences of execution which have
been noticed between these figures and the stone statues of the same
epoch, they may easily be explained by the change of material and by
the Egyptian love for fidelity of imitation. Wood is not attacked in
the same fashion as soft stone. Its constitution does not lend itself
to the ample and rounded forms of lapidary sculpture. It demands,
especially when a low relief is used, a more delicate and subtle
modelling. Again, these were portraits; all the Egyptians were not
like one another, especially in that primitive Egypt in which perhaps
various races had not yet been blended into a homogeneous population.
Among the contemporaries of Cheops, as in our day, there were fat
people and thin people. Men who were tall and slender, and men who
were short and thickset. Countenances varied both in features and
expression.[180] In time art succeeded in evolving from all these
diversities a type of Egyptian manhood and beauty. As the ages passed
away the influence of that type became more and more despotic. It
became almost universal, except in those cases where there was a rigid
obligation to reproduce the personal characteristics of an individual
with fidelity. But at the end of the third dynasty that consummation
was still far off. And we need feel no surprise that the higher we
mount in the stream of Egyptian civilization the more particular are
the concrete images which it offers to us, and the more striking the
variation between one work of art and another.

    [179] MARIETTE, _La Galerie de l'Égypte Ancienne au Trocadéro_,
    1878, p. 122.

    [180] Thus we find in a tomb which, according to Lepsius, dates
    from the fourth dynasty, certain thickset sculptured forms,
    which contrast strongly with figures taken from mastabas in the
    same neighbourhood, at Gizeh. The body is short, the legs heavy
    and massive. LEPSIUS, _Denkmæler_, part ii. pl. 9.

It must not be supposed, however, that the features which we have
mentioned as peculiar in the cases of Ra-hesi and Pekh-hesi are not to
be found elsewhere. If we examine the profile of Nefert, still more
that of Ra-hotep, we shall find that they also have the sloping
forehead and aquiline nose. The body of Ra-hotep is rounder and fatter
than those in the wooden reliefs, but the lines of his countenance
have a strong resemblance to those which have excited remark in the
figures on the panels.

[Illustration: FIG. 174.--Wooden panel from the Tomb of Hosi. Drawn by

In the case of a limestone head, covered with red paint, which stands
in the _Salle Civile_, in the Louvre, the cranium is no less
elongated, the cheekbones are no less large, the cheeks themselves are
as hollow, the chin as protuberant, and the whole head as bony and
fleshless. We do not know whence it came, but we have no hesitation in
agreeing with De Rougé, Mariette, and Maspero, that this head is a
masterpiece from one of the early dynasties. It may be put by the side
of the Meidoum couple for its vitality and individual expression. The
unknown original must have been ugly almost to vulgarity, but it
rouses in the spectator the same kind of admiration as a Tuscan bust
of the fifteenth century, and a pleasure which is not diminished by
the knowledge that the man whose faithful image is under his eyes
passed from the world some five or six thousand years ago (Fig. 177).

The little figure which occupies the place of honour in this same
saloon (Plate X.), though more famous, is hardly superior to the
fragment just described. It was found by Mariette in the tomb of
Sekhem-ka, during his excavation of the Serapeum. Other figures of the
same kind were found with it, but are hardly equal to it in merit.
They are believed to date from the fifth or sixth dynasty.

This scribe is seated, cross-legged, in an attitude still familiar to
those who have visited the East. The most superficial visitor to the
Levant must have seen, in the audience-hall of the _cadi_ or _pacha_,
the _kiatib_ crouching exactly in the same fashion before the chair or
divan, registering sentences with his rapid _kalem_, or writing out
despatches. Our scribe is listening; his thin and bony features are
vibrating with intelligence; his black eye-balls positively sparkle;
his mouth is only closed because respect keeps him silent. His
shoulders are high and, square, his chest ample, his pectoral muscles
very large. People who follow a very sedentary occupation generally
put on much fat on the front of their bodies, and this scribe is no
exception to the rule. His arms are free of his sides; their position
is easy and natural. One hand holds a strip of papyrus upon which he
writes with the other, his pen being a reed. The lower parts of the
body and the thighs are covered with a pair of drawers, whose
white colour contrasts with the brownish red of the carnations. The
breadth and truth with which the knee-joints are indicated should be
remarked. The only details that have, to a certain extent, been
"scamped," are the feet. Trusting to their being half hidden by the
folded legs, the sculptor has left them in a very rudimentary

[Illustration: THE SCRIBE


Imp. Dufrenoy]

[Illustration: FIG. 175.--Wooden panel from the Tomb of Hosi. Drawn by

The eyes form the most striking feature in this figure. "They consist
of an iris of rock crystal surrounding a metal pupil, and set in an
eyeball of opaque white quartz. The whole is framed in continuous
eyelids of bronze."[181]

    [181] DE ROUGÉ, _Notice sommaire des Monuments Égyptiens_, 1865,
    p. 68.

This clever contrivance gives singular vitality and animation to the
face. Even the Grecian sculptor never produced anything so vivacious.
The latter, indeed began by renouncing all attempts to imitate the
depth and brilliancy of the human eye. His point of departure differed
entirely from that of his Memphite predecessor; his conception of his
art led him, where the Egyptian would have used colour, to be content
with the general characteristics of form and with its elevation to the
highest pitch of nobility of which it was capable. This is not the
place for a comparison of the two systems, but accepting the
principles of art which prevailed in early Egypt, we must do justice
to those masters who were contemporary with the Pyramids. It must be
acknowledged that they produced works which are not to be surpassed in
their way by the greatest portraits of modern Europe. In later years
the Egyptian sculptor ceased to paint the eyes. Even in the time of
the Ancient Empire the Egyptian custom in this particular was the same
as the Greek, so far as statues in hard stone were concerned. The
great statue of Chephren is an instance. In it the chisel has merely
reproduced the contours of the eyelids and the salience of the
eyeball. No attempt has been made to imitate the iris or to give
brightness to the pupil. In none of the royal statues that have come
down to our time do we find any effort to produce this kind of
illusion, either by the use of paint or by the insertion of naturally
coloured substances.

There is a statue at Boulak which may, perhaps, be preferred even to
the scribe of the Louvre. We have already alluded to it as the
_Sheik-el-Beled_ (Fig. 7, Vol. I.). In its present state (it is
without either feet or base) it has no inscription but it is sometimes
called Ra-em-ké, because that was the name of the person in whose
tomb it was found. It is of wood, and, with the exception of its lower
members, is in marvellous preservation. The eyes are similar to those
of the scribe, and seem to be fixed upon the spectator while their
owner advances upon him. The type is very different from those we have
hitherto been describing. The face is round and flat, and so is the
trunk. The smiling good humour of the expression and the _embonpoint_
of the person indicate a man well nourished and comfortably off, a man
content both with himself and his neighbours.[182]

    [182] Another wooden statue of equal merit as a work of art was
    found in the same tomb. It represents a woman, standing.
    Unfortunately there is nothing left of it but the head and the
    torso. _Notice des principaux Monuments du Musée de Boulak_, No.

[Illustration: FIG. 176.--Wooden panel from the Tomb of Hosi. Drawn by

[Illustration: FIG. 177.--Limestone head, in the Louvre. Drawn by
Saint-Elme Gautier.]

This statue is dressed in a different fashion from those we have
hitherto encountered. The sheik has his hips covered with a kind of
petticoat gathered into pleats in front. His legs, torso, and arms are
bare. The last named are of separate pieces of wood, and one of them,
the bent one, is made in two parts. When the statue was first finished
the joints were invisible. The whole body was covered with fine linen,
like a skin. Upon this linen a thin layer of plaster was spread, by
means of which, when wet, refinement could be added to the contours by
the modelling stick; the colours of nature were afterwards added by
the brush. Such figures as these have therefore come down to us in a
condition which resembles their primitive state much less than that of
the works in stone. They have, so to speak, lost their epidermis, and
with it the colours which served to distinguish the flesh from the

    [183] The _Description de l'Égypte_ (_Antiquités_, vol. v. p.
    33) gives the details of a mummy-mask in sycamore wood, of
    fairly good workmanship, which was found at Sakkarah. The
    eyebrows and edges of the eyelids were outlined with red copper;
    a fine linen was stretched over the wood; over this there was a
    thin layer of stucco, upon which the face was painted in green.

It would seem that the sculptor in wood often counted upon this final
coat of stucco to perfect his modelling. There are in fact wooden
statues which seem to have been but roughly blocked out by the chisel.
There are three figures in the Louvre in which this character is very
conspicuous. The largest of the three is reproduced in our Fig.
178.[184] Acacia and sycamore wood is used for this kind of work.[185]

    [184] The figure in the Louvre is split deeply in several
    places, one of the fissures being down the middle of the face.
    This latter our artist has suppressed, so as to give the figure
    something of its ancient aspect. These fissures are sure to
    appear in our humid climate. The warm and dry air of Egypt is
    absolutely necessary for the preservation of such works, which
    seem doomed to rapid destruction in our European museums.

    [185] MASPERO (_Journal Asiatique_, March-April, 1880), _Sur
    quelques Peintures Funéraires_, p. 137. See also BRUGSCH, _Die
    Egyptische Græberwelt_, No. 87.

Finally, in this epoch or perhaps a little later, under the fifth and
sixth dynasties, funerary statues were cast in bronze. This notable
fact was first proclaimed by M. de Longperier. We quote the
observations which he addressed to the Academy of Inscriptions.[186]

    [186] _Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des Inscriptions_, 1875, p.

"The fact that bronze was employed in Egypt in very ancient times has
long been ascertained. The knob from the Sceptre of Papi, a Pharaoh of
the sixth dynasty, which exists in the British Museum, is enough to
prove this fact. M. Chabas has called our attention to the fact that
bronze is mentioned in texts which date from a period anterior to the
construction of the great Pyramids.[187]

    [187] CHABAS, _Sur l'Usage des Bâtons de Main_, p. 12. (Lyons,
    8vo, 1875.)

[Illustration: FIG. 178.--Wooden statue in the Louvre. Three feet
eight inches high. Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

"That the earliest Egyptian bronzes representing the human figure
are much older than was formerly thought, is proved by two statuettes
belonging to M. Gustave Posno. One of these is twenty-six inches high,
the other nineteen. They merit a short description: 'No 1: A man
standing; left foot forward, the left hand closed and raised to a
level with the breast. This hand, doubtless, held a spear. The right
hand which hangs straight down by the thigh formerly clasped, in all
probability, the small sceptre which is represented in many
bas-reliefs. The loins are girt with the garment called the _schenti_,
the band of which supports a dagger. The hair is arranged into regular
rows of small square knobs. The eyes and eyebrows, which were inlaid,
have disappeared (Fig. 179).'[188]

    [188] Catalogue of the Posno Collection, No. 468.

[Illustration: FIG. 179.--Bronze statuette. Two feet two inches high.
Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

"'No 2: A man standing; his loins girt with the _schenti_, his left
foot forward, his right hand raised to the level of his breast, the
left hanging by his left thigh. The inlaid eyes and eyebrows have been
abstracted. His hair, which is less abundant than that of his
companion and allows the contour of his head to be easily seen, is
arranged into very small knobs. A vertical inscription on the left
side of his chest gives the name of the personage, in or after which
appears the ethnic _Schasou_, which seems to indicate an Oriental
origin.' The Schasous are mentioned in several Egyptian texts and seem
to have occupied the country which bordered Egypt on the North-East
(Fig. 180)."[189]

    [189] _Ibid._, No. 524.

"In these two statuettes the muscles of the arms and legs, and the
articulation of the knees, are expressed with a care and truth which
denote a very remote age. We cannot fail to recognize a phase of art
earlier than the Second Empire. But if the first mentioned figure
recalls, by its features and the management of the hair, the
sculptures in stone of the fifth and sixth dynasties, the second
cannot, perhaps, be referred to quite such an early period. In the
latter the vertical line of the back and right leg slopes slightly
forward, betraying an attempt to express movement; the dorsal line of
the first figure is, on the other hand, quite perpendicular.

"Even in the photographs certain details are visible, such as the form
of the hair, the features, the rendering of the anatomical contours,
which denote a school anterior to that of the eighteenth dynasty.

[Illustration: FIG. 180.--Bronze statuette. One foot seven inches
high. Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

"Egypt, then, was first in the field in bronze casting, as she was in
stone and wood carving. One at least of the Posno statuettes carries
us so far back in the history of humanity that it is difficult to see
where we can look for earlier works of art, especially of so advanced
a style. We have already ascertained that the first named of these two
figures is far superior, both in style and modelling, to the Asiatic
canephorus of Afadj,[190] a work which was dedicated to a goddess by a
king, and must therefore be considered a good example of the art of
Western Asia."

    [190] DE LONGPERIER, _Musée Napoléon III._ pl. 1.

We agree with M. de Longperier in all but one point, and that one as
to which he is careful not to commit himself. According to him the
second figure is later than the sixth dynasty and earlier than the
eighteenth, so that it would belong to the first Theban Empire. But we
do not see why, supposing the Egyptians of the Ancient Empire capable
of making the first figure, they should not have made the second.
Between the two statuettes there are but slight differences of
handling, differences much the same as those to be found in the wooden
and stone statues which we have already mentioned. Neither the artists
nor their sitters had quite the same capabilities.

The technical skill shown in these bronzes is extraordinary. The most
ancient Etruscan and Greek bronzes are solid castings, on the base of
which are rough protuberances, sometimes of considerable length,
resulting from the fact that the metal was allowed to solidify in the
orifice by which it was poured into the mould. Here there is nothing
of the kind. No imperfection in the mechanical part of the work is
allowed to interfere with its artistic effect. The casting is light,
hollow, and in one piece; the method employed must have been excellent
in itself and thoroughly understood.[191] They also understood how to
add finish by chasing the metal after its relief from the mould. The
small circular ornaments on the chest of the second figure, ornaments
which are so delicate in execution that they could not be reproduced
in our engraving without giving them too much importance, and the
hieroglyphs cut in the same figure, are instances of this.

    [191] M. Pisani, who mounted the numerous bronzes in M. Posno's
    collection, assures me that their insides are still filled with
    the core of sand around which they were cast. The outward
    details of the casting are repeated inside, showing that the
    method used was what we call _fonte au carton_.

That so few bronze statuettes have come down to us seems to show that
the use of the metal by sculptors was quite exceptional. They used
wood far more than bronze, and stone more than wood. Most of the
sepulchral statues are cut in soft limestone (see Figs. 6, 49, 88, 89,
Vol. I., and Fig. 172, Vol. II.). Sometimes these statues are
isolated, sometimes they form family groups, often consisting of
father, mother, and children.

Statues of men are the most numerous. Differences between one and
another are many and frequent, but they are, on the whole, less
striking than the points of resemblance. Here we find a head bare,
there enveloped in either a square or rounded wig. The bodies are
never completely nude, and the garment which covers their middles is
arranged in a variety of ways. Fashions, both for men and women, seem
to have changed in Egypt as elsewhere. In the statues ascribed to the
last dynasties of the Ancient Empire the national type seems more
fixed and accentuated than in earlier works. These funerary statues
are the portraits of vigorous and powerful men, with broad shoulders,
well-developed pectoral muscles, thin flanks and muscular legs.
Ra-nefer, priest of Ptah and Sokar, stands upright, his arms by his
sides, and each hand grasping a roll of papyrus (Fig 181).[192] A
dagger is passed through the belt of his drawers.

    [192] A sketch of this statue also appears on page 10, Vol. I.
    Fig. 6; but as, according to Mariette, it is one of the best
    statues in the Boulak Museum, we have thought well to give it a
    second illustration, which, in spite of its smaller scale, shows
    the modelling better than the first.

The person represented in Fig. 182 is distinguished from Ra-nefer by
the fashion in which he wears his hair and by his costume. His loose
skirt is arranged in front so as to form a kind of triangular apron.
This peculiar fall of the garment was obtained by the use of starch
and an instrument similar to our flat-iron. It is better seen in the
statue of Ti, the great personage to whose gorgeous tomb we have so
often referred.[193] The Albanians obtain the curious folds of their
kilts in the same fashion.[194] Ti wears a periwig of a different kind
from that of Ra-nefer. The Egyptians shaved their heads from motives
of cleanliness. The priests were compelled to do so by the rules of
their religion, which made purity of person even more imperative upon
them than upon the laymen. It was necessary, however, that the head
should be thoroughly protected from the sun, hence the wig. The shaved
Mohammedans of our day replace the periwig with the turban.

    [193] _Notice des principaux Monuments du Musée de Boulak_, No.

    [194] Wooden instruments have been found which were used for the
    pleating of linen stuffs. One of these, which is now in the
    museum of Florence, is figured in WILKINSON (_Manners and
    Customs_, vol. i. p. 185). The heavy and symmetrical folds which
    are thus obtained are found, as we shall see, in the drapery of
    Greek statues of the archaic period.

[Illustration: FIG. 181.--Ra-nefer. Boulak. Drawn by Bourgoin.]

One wooden statue at Boulak offers a variety of costume which is at
present unique among the remains of Egyptian civilization. It is,
unfortunately, in very bad preservation. It represents a man,
standing, and draped in an ample robe which covers him from head to
foot. His right arm is free; it is held across the body, and meets the
left hand, which is thrust through an opening in the robe. The place
where this statue was found, the material of which it consists, and
the character of the workmanship, all combine to prove that it is a
production of the early dynasties (Fig. 184).[195]

    [195] _Notice du Musée de Boulak_, No. 770.

[Illustration: FIG. 182.--Statue in the Boulak Museum. Drawn by

[Illustration: FIG. 183.--Statue of Ti. Boulak. Drawn by Bourgoin.]

A few kneeling statues have also been found. The anonymous personage
whose portrait is reproduced in Fig. 185 is upon his knees. His
clasped hands rest upon his thighs. His eyes are inlaid; they are
formed of numerous small pieces skilfully put together.[196]

    [196] _Ibid._, No. 769.

There is no less variety in those groups where the sculptor has been
charged to represent a whole family reunited in the tomb. Sometimes
the husband is sitting and the wife standing. She has her left arm
round his neck, the left hand resting on his left shoulder, while with
her right hand she holds his right arm (Fig. 88, Vol. I.). Sometimes a
father and mother are seated upon the same bench, but here too the
woman confesses her dependence on, and shows her confidence in, her
master by the same affectionate gesture (Fig. 186). Both are of the
same height, but between them, and leaning against the bench upon
which they are seated, appears their child, quite small. His gesture
is that to which the Egyptian artist has recourse when he wishes to
express early childhood (Fig. 187). We also find the husband and wife
standing erect in front of a slab; the relation which they bear to
each other is here also indicated by the position of the woman's arms
(Fig. 188).[197] Sometimes the woman is altogether absent (Fig. 89,
Vol. I.). The head of the family is placed by himself, on a raised
seat. In front of this seat, and hardly reaching to their father's
knees, are two children, boy and girl, the boy holding the right leg,
the girl the left. The boy has the lock of hair pendent over the right
ear, which, like the finger in the mouth, is a sign of tender years.
He is nude; the girl is dressed in an ornamental robe reaching to her
ankles. There is a piquant contrast between these two tender little
bodies with their childish heads, and the virile power of the father
and protector who towers so high above them.

    [197] _Notice_, No. 793. These two people were called
    Nefer-hotep and Tenteta. The latter is also described as
    _related to Pharaoh_.

[Illustration: FIG. 184.--Wooden statue, Boulak. Drawn by Bourgoin.]

[Illustration: FIG. 185.--Statue in limestone, Boulak. Drawn by

[Illustration: FIG. 186.--Limestone group in the Louvre. Height
twenty-eight inches. Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

[Illustration: FIG. 187.--Wooden statuette, Boulak. Drawn by

[Illustration: FIG. 188.--Nefer-hotep and Tenteta. Boulak.]

These limestone groups do not, as a rule, appear to have been executed
with any great care. Their makers do not seem to have taken much pains
to give them an individuality of their own; but in spite of this
feebleness of execution, they please by their composition. They are
well arranged, their attitudes are simple and their gestures
expressive. As a whole they have an air of calmness and repose which
is thoroughly in accord with the ideas of the Egyptians on the
question of life and death.

[Illustration: FIG. 189.--Limestone statue, Boulak. Drawn by

[Illustration: FIG. 190.--Limestone statue, Boulak. Drawn by

From the same memphite tombs many limestone statues have been
recovered, representing, not the defunct himself, but those who mourn
his decease and the crowd of retainers attached to his person. All
these are expected to carry on their labours for his benefit and to be
ready to satisfy his wants through all eternity. Here we find one
seated upon the ground, his hand upon his head in sign of grief (Fig.
189).[198] There a young man, completely naked, advancing with a sack
upon his left shoulder which falls down to the centre of his back. He
carries a bouquet of flowers in his right hand (Fig. 190).[199] A man
seated upon the ground holds a vase between his knees, into which he
has plunged his right hand (Fig. 191).[200] Another bends over a
wide-mouthed jar of mortar in which he is mixing flour and water (Fig.
192). A young woman, in a similar attitude, is occupied over the same
task (Fig. 193). Other women are rolling the paste thus obtained on a
plank, or rather upon a stone slab, before which they kneel upon the
ground. The muscular exertion necessary for the operation is rendered
with great skill (Figs. 193 and 194).[201] Women are still to be
encountered at Elephantiné and in Nubia, wearing the same head-dress
and carrying out the same operation in the same attitude and with
exactly similar utensils. We reproduce two sketches by M. Bourgoin,
which show the details of this head-covering, which, among the women
of the lower orders, supplied the piece of the wig; it consists of a
piece of stuff held upon the head by a ribbon knotted at the back of
the neck (Figs. 196 and 197).

    [198] _Notice du Musée de Boulak_, No. 768.

    [199] _Notice_, No. 771. This is the person represented in
    profile in Fig. 47, Vol. I.

    [200] _Notice_, No. 766.

    [201] The four last quoted figures belong to the series noticed
    in the Boulak Catalogue under numbers 757 to 764. The statue
    reproduced in Fig. 197 has been already shown in profile in Fig.
    48, Vol. I.

[Illustration: FIG. 191.--Limestone statue, Boulak. Drawn by

[Illustration: FIG. 192.--Limestone statue, Boulak. Drawn by

[Illustration: FIG. 193.--Woman kneading dough, Boulak. Drawn by

Mariette brought all these figures to Paris in 1878, where they
excited the greatest interest among artists and archæologists. They
were eminently well fitted to enlighten those who are able to see and
to do away with many rooted prejudices. What an abyss of difference
they showed between Egyptian art as it used to be defined some thirty
years ago and the reality. The stiffness and rigidity which used to be
so universally attributed to the productions of the sculptors of
Memphis and Thebes, were forgotten before their varied motives and
free natural attitudes. The whole of these works, in fact, are imbued
with a spirit which is diametrically opposed to the unchanging
inflexibility which used to be considered the chief characteristic of
Egyptian art. They are distinguished by an extraordinary ease of
attitude, and by that curious elasticity of body which still remains
one of the most conspicuous physical qualities of the race.

"The suppleness of body which distinguished the female fellah is
marvellous. She rarely sits down. When she requires rest she crouches
with her knees in the air in an attitude which we should find
singularly fatiguing. So too with the men. Their habitual posture
corresponds to that shown on the steles: the knees drawn up in front
of the face to the height of the nose, or on each side of the head and
level with the ears. These attitudes are not graceful, but when the
bodies thus drawn together are raised to their full height they are
superb. They are, to borrow a happy expression of Fromentin, 'at once
awkward and magnificent; when crouching and at rest they look like
monkeys; when they stand up they are living statues.'"[202]

    [202] GABRIEL CHARMES, _Cinq mois au Caire_, p. 96.

[Illustration: FIG. 194.--Woman making bread, Boulak. Drawn by

This early art never carried its powers of observation and its
exactitude of reproduction farther than in the statue of Nem-hotep,
which we show in full-face and profile in Figs. 198 and 199. Whether
we call him, with Mariette, a cook, or, with Maspero, a master of the
wardrobe or keeper of perfumes, it cannot be doubted that. Nem-hotep
was a person of importance. One of the fine tombs at Sakkarah was his.
He certainly did not make his way at court by the graces of his
person. He was a dwarf with all the characteristics that distinguish
those unlucky beings. His head was too large, his torso very long, his
arms and legs very short; besides which he was marvellously

[Illustration: FIG. 195.--Bread maker, Boulak. Drawn by Bourgoin.]

[Illustration: FIGS. 196, 197.--Details of head-dresses.]

The sincerity of Egyptian art is conspicuously shown in its treatment
of the foot. Winckelmann noticed that the feet in Egyptian statues
were larger and fatter than in those of Greece. The great toes are
straight, no articulations being shown. The second toe is always the
longest, and the little toe is not bent in the middle but straight
like the others. These peculiarities spring from the Egyptian habit of
walking bare-foot on the Nile mud; they are very strongly marked in
the feet of the modern fellah.[203]

    [203] WILKINSON, _Manners and Customs_, vol. ii. p. 270.

The general characteristics of these works in the round are repeated
in the bas-reliefs of the mastabas at Gizeh and Sakkarah. Of these we
have already given numerous illustrations; we shall therefore be
content with reproducing one or two which are more than usually
conspicuous for their artistic merit.

[Illustration: FIGS. 198, 199.--Nem-hotep; limestone statue at

The sculptures of Wadi-maghara and the wooden panels from the Tomb of
Hosi are enough to prove that work in relief was as old in Egypt as
work in the round. In the mastabas sculptures in low-relief served to
multiply the images of the defunct. He is figured upon the steles
which occupy the principal wall, as well as in various other parts of
the tomb. Sometimes he is shown seated before the table of
offerings (Fig. 200), sometimes standing upright (Figs. 57 and 120,
Vol. I.). But the sculptor did not restrict himself to these two
motives. In the preparation and presentation of the funeral gifts he
found many themes, to which he was able to give more or less
development according to the space at his command.

[Illustration: FIG. 200.--Funerary bas-relief; Sakkarah. Drawn by

[Illustration: FIG. 201.--Bas-relief from the Tomb of Ti, Sakkarah.]

Even in the earliest attempts that have come down to us, the Egyptian
sculptor shows a complete grasp of the peculiar features of the
domesticated animals of the country. Men accustomed to the careful
study of the human figure could make light of rendering those of
beasts, with their more striking distinctions between one species and
another. In the time when the oldest existing tombs were constructed,
the ass was already domesticated in Egypt. Then as now, he was the
most indispensable of the servants of mankind. There were, in all
probability, as many donkeys in the streets of Memphis under Cheops as
there are now in Cairo under Tewfik. Upon the walls of the mastabas we
see them trotting in droves under the cries and sticks of their
drivers (Fig. 201), we see the foals, with their awkward gait and long
pricked ears, walking by the sides of their mothers (Fig. 202), the
latter are heavily laden and drag their steps; the drivers brandish
their heavy sticks, but threaten their patient brutes much oftener
than they strike them. This is still the habit of those donkey boys,
who, upon the _Esbekieh_, naïvely offer you "M. de Lesseps' donkey."
The bas-relief to which we are alluding consists only of a slight
outline, but that outline is so accurate and full of character, that
we have no difficulty in identifying the ass of Egypt, with his
graceful carriage of the head and easy, brisk, and dainty motion.

The same artists have figured another of the companions of man with
equal fidelity; namely, the deep-sided, long-tailed, long-horned,
Egyptian ox. Sometimes he lies upon the earth, ruminating (Fig. 29,
Vol. I.); sometimes he is driven between two peasants, the one leading
him by a rope, the other bringing up the rear with a stick held in
readiness against any outburst of self-will (Fig. 203). In another
relief we see a drove advancing by the side of a canal, upon which a
boat with three men is making way by means of pole and paddle. One
herdsman walks in front of the oxen, another marches behind and urges
them on by voice and gesture (Fig. 204). In another place we find a
cow being milked by a crouching herdsman. She seems to lend herself to
the operation in the most docile manner in the world, and we are
inclined to wonder what need there is of a second herdsman who sits
before her nose and holds one of her legs in both his hands. The
precaution, however, may not be superfluous, an ox-fly might sting her
into sudden movement, and then if there was no one at hand to restrain
her, the milk, which already nears the summit of the pail, might be
lost (Fig. 30, Vol. I.).

[Illustration: FIG. 202.--Bas-relief from the Tomb of Ti, Sakkarah.]

By careful selection from the sepulchral bas-reliefs, we might, if we
chose, present to our readers reproductions of the whole fauna of
Ancient Egypt, the lion, hyena, leopard, jackal, fox, wolf, ibex,
gazelle, the hare, the porcupine, the crocodile, the hippopotamus, the
different fishes in the Nile, the birds in the marshes, the flamingo,
the ibis, duck, stork, crane, and goose, the dog and the cat, the goat
and the pig. Everywhere we find the same aptitude for summarizing the
distinctive characteristics of a species. This accuracy of observation
has been recognized by every connoisseur who has treated the subject.
"In the Boulak Museum," says M. Gabriel Charmes, "there is a row of
Nile geese painted with such precision, that I have seen a naturalist
stand amazed at their truth to nature and the fidelity with which they
reproduce the features of the race. Their colours, too, are as bright
and uninjured as upon the day when they were last touched by the brush
of the artist."[204]

    [204] GABRIEL CHARMES, _La Réorganisation du Musée de Boulak_
    (_Revue des Deux Mondes_, September 1, 1880). He is speaking of
    the fragment which is numbered 988 in the _Notice du Musée_.
    According to Mariette it dates from a period anterior to Cheops.
    It was found near the statues of Ra-hotep and Nefert.

[Illustration: FIG. 203.--Sepulchral bas-relief, Boulak.]

[Illustration: FIG. 204.--Bas-relief from the Tomb of Ra-ka-pou,

The figures of men and animals to which our attention has been given
all belong to the domain of portraiture. The artist imitates the forms
of those who sit to him and of the animals of the country; he copies
the incidents of the daily life about him, but his ambition goes no
farther. All art is a translation, an interpretation, and, of course,
the sculptors of the mastabas had their own individual ways of looking
at their models. But they made no conscious effort to add anything to
them, they did not attempt to select, to give one feature predominance
over another, or to combine various features in different proportions
from those found in ordinary life, and by such means to produce
something better than mere repetitions of their accidental models.
They tried neither to invent nor to create.

And yet the Egyptians must have begun at this period to give concrete
forms to their gods. In view of the hieroglyphs of which Egyptian
writing consisted, we have some difficulty in imagining a time when
the names of their deities were not each attached to a material image
with well marked features of its own. To write the name of a god was
to give his portrait, a portrait whose sketchy outlines only required
to be filled in by the sculptor to be complete. Egypt, therefore, must
have possessed images of her gods at a very early date, but as they
were not placed in the tombs they have disappeared long before our
day, and we are thus unable to decide how far the necessity for their
production may have stimulated the imaginative faculties of the early
sculptors. In presence, however, of the Great Sphinx at Gizeh, in
which we find one of those composite forms so often repeated in later
centuries, we may fairly suspect that many more of the divine types
with which we are familiar had been established. The Sphinx proves
that the primitive Egyptians were already bitten with the mania for
colossal statues. Even the Theban kings never carved any figure more
huge than that which keeps watch over the necropolis of Gizeh (Fig.
157, Vol. I.). But Egypt had other gods than these first-fruits of her
reflective powers, than those mysterious beings who personified for
her the forces which had created the world and preserved its
equilibrium. She had her kings, children of the sun, present and
visible deities who maintained upon the earth, and especially in the
valley of the Nile, the ever-threatened order established by their
divine progenitors. Until quite recently it was impossible to say for
certain whether or no the Egyptians of the Ancient Empire had
attempted to impress upon the images of their kings the national
belief in their divine origin and almost supernatural power. But
Mariette--again Mariette--recovered from the well in the Temple of the
Sphinx at Gizeh, nine statues or statuettes of Chephren. The
inscriptions upon the plinths of these statues enable us to recognize
for certain the founder of the second pyramid.

Most of these figures were broken beyond recovery, but two have been
successfully restored. One of these, which is but little mutilated, is
of diorite (Fig. 205); the other, in a much worse condition, is of
green basalt (Fig. 56, Vol. I.).[205]

    [205] _Notice du Musée de Boulak_, Nos. 578 and 792. The
    discovery was made in 1860; MARIETTE gives an account of it in
    his _Lettres à M. de Rougé sur les Résultats des Fouilles
    entreprises par ordre du Vice-roi d'Égypte_. (_Revue
    Archéologique_, No. 5, vol. ii. pp. 19, 20.)

An initial distinction between these royal statues and the portraits
of private individuals is found in the materials employed. For
subjects even of high rank, wood or limestone was good enough, but
when the august person of the monarch had to be immortalized a
substance which was at once harder and more beautiful was employed.
The Egyptians had no marble, and when they wished to do particular
honour to their models they made use of those volcanic rocks, whose
close grain and dusky brilliance of tone make them resemble metal. The
slowness and difficulty with which these dense rocks yielded to the
tools of the sculptor increased the value of the result, while their
hardness added immensely to their chances of duration. It would seem
that figures which only took form under the tools of skilful and
patient workmen after years of persevering labour might defy the
attacks of time or of human enemies. Look at the statue on the next
page. It is very different from the figures we have been noticing,
although it resembles them in many details. Like many of his subjects
the king is seated. His head, instead of being either bare or covered
with the heavy wig, is enframed in that royal head-dress which has
been known, ever since the days of Champollion, as the _klaft_.[206]
It consists of an ample band of linen covering the upper part of the
forehead, the cranium, and the nape of the neck. It stands out boldly
on each side of the face, and hangs down in two pleated lappets upon
the chest. The king's chin is not shaved like those of his subjects.
It is adorned like that of a god with the long and narrow tuft of hair
which we call _the Osiride beard_. At the back of Chephren's head,
which is invisible in our illustration, there is a hawk, the symbol of
protection. His trunk and legs are bare; his only garment is, in fact,
the _schenti_ about his middle. His left hand lies upon his knee, his
right hand holds a rod of some kind. The details of the chair are
interesting. The arms end in lions' heads, and the feet are paws of
the same animal. Upon the sides are figured in high relief the two
plants which symbolize the upper and lower country respectively; they
are arranged around the hieroglyph _sam_, signifying _union_.

    [206] This is a Coptic word meaning _hood_.

[Illustration: FIG. 205.--Statue of Chephren. Height five feet seven
inches. Boulak. Drawn by G. Bénédite.]

The other statue, which now consists of little more than the head and
trunk, differs from the first only in a few details. The chair is
without a back, and, curiously enough, the head is that of a much
older man than the Chephren of the diorite statue. This difference
makes it pretty certain that both heads were modelled directly from

These royal statues are, then, portraits like the rest, but when in
their presence we feel that they are more than portraits, that there
is something in their individuality which could not have been rendered
by photography or by casts from nature, had such processes been
understood by their authors. In spite of the unkindly material the
execution is as free as that of the stone figures. The face, the
shoulders, the pectoral muscles, and especially the knees, betray a
hand no less firm and confident than those which carved the softer
rocks. The diorite Chephren excels ordinary statues in size--for it is
larger than nature--in the richness of its throne, in the arrangement
of the linen hood which gives such dignity to the head, in the
existence of the beard which gives length and importance to the face.
The artist has never lost sight of nature; he has never forgotten that
it was his business to portray Chephren and not Cheops or Snefrou; and
yet he has succeeded in giving to his work the significance of a type.
He has made it the embodiment of the Egyptian belief in the
semi-divine nature of their Pharaohs. By its size, its pose, its
expression and arrangement he has given it a certain ideality. We may
see in these two statues, for similar qualities are to be found in the
basalt figure, the first effort made by the genius of Egyptian art to
escape from mere realism and to bring the higher powers of the
imagination into play.

The reign of those traditional forms which were to be so despotic in
Egypt began at the same time. The type created by the sculptors of the
fourth dynasty, or perhaps earlier, for the representation of the
Pharaoh in all the mysterious dignity of his position, was thought
satisfactory. The calm majesty of these figures, their expression of
force in repose and of illimitable power, left so little to be desired
that they were accepted there and thereafter. Centuries rolled away,
the royal power fell again and again before foreign enemies and
internal dissensions, but with every restoration of the national
independence and of the national rulers, the old form was revived.
There are variants upon it; some royal statues show Pharaoh standing,
others show him sitting and endowed with the attributes of Osiris,
but, speaking generally, the favourite model of the kings and of the
sculptors whom they employed was that which is first made known to us
by the statue of him to whom we owe the second pyramid. The only
differences between it and the colossi of Amenophis III. at Thebes are
to be found in their respective sizes, in their original condition,
and in the details of their features.

The moulds in which the thoughts of the Egyptians were to receive
concrete expression through so many centuries were formed, then, by
their ancestors of the Ancient Empire. All the later revivals of
artistic activity consisted in attempts to compose variations upon
these early themes, to remodel them, with more or less felicity,
according to the fashion of the day. Style and technical methods were
modified with time, but types, that is the attitudes and motives
employed to characterise the age, the mental power, and the social
condition of the different persons represented, underwent little or no

This period of single-minded and devoted study of nature ought also to
have transmitted to later times its care and skill in portraiture, and
its realistic powers generally, to use a very modern phrase. Egyptian
painters and sculptors never lost those qualities entirely; they
always remained fully alive to the differences of conformation and
physiognomy which distinguished one individual, or one class, from
another; but as the models furnished by the past increased in number,
their execution became more facile and superficial, and their
reference to nature became less direct and continual. Neither the art
of Thebes nor that of Sais seems to have produced anything so
original and expressive as the two statues from Meidoum or the
_Sheik-el-beled_, at Boulak, or the _scribe_ in the Louvre.

We may easily understand what surprise and admiration the discovery of
this early phase of Egyptian art excited among archæologists. When the
exploration of the Memphite necropolis revealed what had up to that
time been an unknown world, Nestor L'Hôte, one of the companions of
Champollion, was the first to comprehend its full importance. He was
not a savant; he was an intelligent and faithful draughtsman and his
artistic nature enabled him to appreciate, even better than the
illustrious founder of egyptology, the singular charm of an art free
from convention and routine. In his letters from Egypt, Champollion
showed himself impressed mainly by the grandeur and nobility of the
Theban remains; L'Hôte, on the other hand, only gave vent to his
enthusiasm when he had had a glimpse of one or two of those mastabas
which were afterwards to be explored by Lepsius and Mariette. Writing
of the tomb of Menofré, barber to one of the earliest Memphite kings,
he says: "The sculptures of this tomb are remarkable for their
elegance and the finesse of their execution. Their relief is so slight
that it may be compared to that of a five-franc piece. Such consummate
workmanship in a structure so ancient confirms the assertion that the
higher we mount upon the stream of Egyptian civilization the more
perfect do her works of art become. By this it would appear that the
genius of the Egyptian people, unlike that of other races, was born in
a state of maturity."[207]

    [207] _Journal des Savants_, 1851, pp. 53, 54.

"Of Egyptian art," he says elsewhere, "we know only the decadence."
Such an assertion must have appeared paradoxical at a time when the
Turin Museum already possessed, and exhibited, so many fine statues of
the Theban kings. And yet Nestor L'Hôte was right, as the discoveries
made since his time have abundantly proved, and that fact must be our
excuse for devoting so large a part of our examination of Egyptian
sculpture to the productions of the Ancient Empire.

§ 3. _Sculpture under the First Theban Empire._

After the sixth dynasty comes an obscure and barren period, whose
duration and general character are still unknown to egyptologists.
Order began to be re-established in the eleventh dynasty, under the
Entefs and Menthouthoteps, but the monuments found in more ancient
Theban tombs are rude and awkward in an extreme degree, as Mariette
has shown.[208] It was not until the twelfth dynasty, when all Egypt
was again united under the sceptre of the Ousourtesens and Amenemhats,
that art made good its revival. It made use of the same
materials--limestone, wood, and the harder rocks--but their
proportions were changed. In Fig. 206 a wooden statue attributed to
this period is reproduced. The legs are longer, the torso more
flexible, than in the statue of Chephren and other productions of the
early centuries.

    [208] MARIETTE, _Notice du Musée_, etc. _Avant-propos_, pp. 38,

Compared with their predecessors other statues of this period will be
found to have the same characteristics. It has been asserted that the
Egyptians, as a race, had become more slender from the effects of
their warm and dry climate. It is impossible now to decide how much of
the change may fairly be attributed to such a cause, and how much to a
revolution in taste. Even among the figures of the Ancient Empire
there are examples to be found of these slender proportions, but they
certainly appear to have been in peculiar favour with the sculptors of
the later epoch. Except in this particular, the differences are not
very great. The attitudes are the same. See, for instance, the statue
in grey sandstone of the scribe Menthouthotep, which was found by
Mariette at Karnak and attributed by him to this epoch. Both by its
pose and by the folds of fat which cross the front of the trunk, it
reminds us of the figures of scribes left to us by the Ancient Empire.
The nobler types also reappear. There is in the Louvre a statue in red
granite representing a Sebek-hotep of the thirteenth dynasty (Fig.
207). He sits in the same attitude, with the same head-dress and the
same costume, as the Chephren of Boulak. There is one difference,
however, his forehead is decorated with the _uræus_, the symbol of
royal dignity, which Chephren lacks.[209] The dimensions, too, are
different. We do not know whether the Ancient Empire made colossal
statues of its kings or not, but this Sebek-hotep exceeds the stature
of mankind sufficiently to make it worthy of the name.

    [209] See PIERRET, _Dictionnaire d'Archéologie_, under the word

[Illustration: FIG. 206.--Wooden statue, Boulak. Drawn by Bénédite.]

The Louvre possesses another monument giving a high idea of the taste
of the sculptors belonging to this period, we mean the red-granite
sphinx (Fig. 41, Vol. I.), which was successively appropriated by one
of the shepherd kings and by a Theban Pharaoh of the nineteenth
dynasty: the ovals of both are to be found upon it. Like so many other
things from Tanis, this sphinx must date from a Pharaoh of the
thirteenth dynasty. This De Rougé has clearly shown.[210] Tanis seems
to have been a favoured residence of those princes, and most of their
statues have been found in it. A leg in black granite, now in the
Berlin Museum, is considered the masterpiece of these centuries. It is
all that remains of a colossal statue of Ousourtesen.[211]

    [210] _Notice des Monuments exposés dans la Galerie d'Antiquités
    Égyptiennes, Salle du Rez-de-chaussée_, No. 23.

    [211] DE ROUGÉ, _Notice_, etc. _Avant-propos_, p. 6.

According to Mariette, many of those fine statues in the Turin Museum
which bear the names of princes belonging to the eighteenth dynasty,
Amenhoteps and Thothmeses, must have been made by order of the princes
of the twelfth and thirteenth dynasties. In later years they were
appropriated, in the fashion well known in Egypt, by the Pharaohs of
the Second Theban Empire, who substituted their cartouches for those
of the original owners. On more than one of the statues signs of the
operation may still be traced, and in other cases the usurpation may
be divined by carefully studying the style and workmanship.[212]

    [212] MARIETTE, _Notice du Musée_, p. 86.

It was in the ruins of the same city that Mariette discovered a group
of now famous remains in which he himself, De Rougé, Devéria, and
others, recognised works carried out by Egyptian artists for the
shepherd kings. These works have an individual character which is
peculiar to themselves.[213] They differ greatly from the ordinary
type of Egyptian statues, and must have preserved the features of
those foreign invaders whose memory was so long held in detestation in
Egypt. This supposition is founded upon the presumed identity of Tanis
with Avaris, the strong place which formed the centre of the Hyksos
power for so many generations.

    [213] MARIETTE, _Lettre de M. Aug. Mariette à M. de Rougé sur
    les Fouilles de Tanis_ (_Revue Archéologique_, vol. iii. 1861,
    p. 97). DE ROUGÉ, _Lettre à M. Guigniaut sur les Nouvelles
    Explorations en Égypte_ (_Revue Archéologique_, vol. ix., 1864,
    p. 128).--DEVÉRIA, _Lettre à M. Aug. Mariette sur quelques
    Monuments Relatifs aux Hyqsos ou Antérieurs à leur Domination_
    (_Revue Archéologique_, vol. iv. 1861, p. 251).--EBERS,
    _Ægypten_, vol. ii. p. 108.

[Illustration: FIG. 207.--Sebek-hotep III. Colossal statue in red
granite. Height nine feet. Louvre. Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

Confirmation of this theory is found in the existence of an oval
bearing the name of Apepi, one of the shepherd kings, upon the
shoulder of a sphinx from Tanis. The aspect of this sphinx, and the
features and costume of certain figures discovered upon the same site
and dispersed among the museums of Europe, are said to have much in
common with the ethnic peculiarities of the Syrian tribe by which
Middle and Lower Egypt was occupied. M. Maspero, however, who has
recently devoted fresh attention to these curious monuments, is
inclined to doubt the justness of this conclusion. The position of the
cartouche of Apepi suggests that it may be due to one of those
usurpations which we have mentioned. For the present, therefore, it
may be as well to class these monuments simply among the Tanite
remains. Tanis, like some other Egyptian cities, had a style of its
own, but we are without the knowledge required for a determination of
its origin. We shall be content with describing its most important
works and with calling attention to their remarkable originality.

The most important and the best preserved of all these monuments is a
sphinx of black granite which was recovered, in a fragmentary
condition, from the ruins of the principal temple at Tanis (Fig. 208).
Three more were found at the same time, but they were in a still worse
state of preservation. The fore-part of one of them is figured in the
adjoining woodcut.

"There is a great gulf," says Mariette, "between the energetic power
which distinguishes the head of this sphinx and the tranquil majesty
with which most of these colossi are endowed. The face is round and
rugged, the eyes small, the nose flat, the mouth loftily contemptuous.
A thick lion-like mane enframes the countenance and adds to its
energetic expression. It is certain that the work before us comes from
the hands of an Egyptian artist, and, on the other hand, that his
sitter was not of Egyptian blood."[214]

    [214] _Notice du Musée de Boulak_, No. 869. Our draughtsman has
    not thought it necessary to reproduce the hieroglyphs engraved
    upon the plinth.

The group of two figures upon a common base, which is such a
conspicuous object in the Hyksos chamber at Boulak, seems to have had
a similar origin. We give a front and a side view of it (Figs. 210
and 211), and borrow the following description from Mariette.[215]

    [215] _Notice du Musée de Boulak_, No. 1.

[Illustration: FIG. 208.--Sphinx in black granite; from Tanis. Drawn
by G. Bénédite.]

"Huge full-bottomed wigs, arranged into thick tresses, cover the heads
of the two figures. Their hard and strongly-marked features
(unfortunately much broken) bear a great resemblance to those of the
lion-maned sphinxes. The upper lips are shaven but the cheeks and
chins are covered with long wavy beards. Each of them sustains on his
outstretched arms an ingenious arrangement of fishes, aquatic birds,
and lotus flowers.

"No monument can be referred with greater certainty than this to the
disturbed period when the Shepherds were masters of Egypt. It is
difficult to decide upon its exact meaning. In spite of the mutilation
which prevents us from ascertaining whether they bore the _uræus_ upon
their foreheads, it cannot be doubted that the originals of the two
statues were kings. In after years Psousennes put his cartouche upon
the group, which assuredly he would never have done if he believed it
to represent two private individuals. But who could the two kings have
been who were thus associated in one act and must therefore have been

[Illustration: FIG. 209.--Head and shoulders of a Tanite Sphinx in
black granite. Drawn by G. Bénédite.]

This explanation seems to carry with it certain grave objections. It
is not, in the first place, so necessary as Mariette seems to think
that we should believe them to be kings. Similar objects--fishes, and
aquatic flowers and birds--are grouped in the same fashion upon works
which, to our certain knowledge, neither come from Tanism or date from
the Shepherd supremacy. Their appearance indicates an offering to the
Nile, and we can readily understand how Psousennes claimed the merit
of the offering by inscribing his name upon it, even although he were
not the real donor.

Mariette does not hesitate to ascribe to the same series a figure
discovered in the Fayoum, upon the site of the city which the Greeks
called Crocodilopolis (Fig. 212). He describes it thus:--[216]

    [216] _Notice du Musée de Boulak_, No. 2.

"Upper part of a broken colossal statue, representing a king standing
erect. No inscription.

"The general form of the head, the high cheek-bones, the thick lips,
the wavy beard that covers the lower part of the cheeks, the curious
wig, with its heavy tresses, are all worthy of remark; they give a
peculiar and even unique expression to the face. The curious ornaments
which lie upon the chest should also be noticed. The king is covered
with panther skins; the heads of two of those animals appear over his

[Illustration: FIG. 210.--Group from Tanis; grey sandstone. Drawn by

"The origin of this statue, which was found at Mit-fares in the
Fayoum, admits of no doubt. The kings who decorated the temple at
Tanis with the fine sphinxes and groups of fishermen which I found
among its ruins, must also have transported the vigorous fragments
which we have before our eyes to the other side of Egypt."

[Illustration: FIG. 211.--Side view of the same group. Drawn by

Finally, Devéria and De Rougé have suggested that a work of the same
school is to be recognized in the fragment of a statuette of green
basalt, which belongs to the Louvre and is figured upon page 237.[217]
They point to similarities of feature and of race characteristics. The
face of the Louvre statuette has a truculence of expression not unlike
that of the Tanite monuments, while the workmanship is purely Egyptian
and of the best quality; the flexibility of body, which is one of the
most constant qualities in the productions of the first Theban
Empire, being especially characteristic. The king represented wears
the _klaft_ with the _uræus_ in front of it; his _schenti_ is finely
pleated and a dagger with its handle carved into the shape of a hawk's
head is thrust into his girdle. The support at the back has,
unfortunately, been left without the usual inscription and we have no
means of ascertaining the age of the fragment beyond the style, the
workmanship, and the very peculiar physiognomy. Devéria suggests that
it preserves the features of one of the shepherd kings, some of whose
images Mariette thought he had discovered at Tanis and in the

    [217] DEVÉRIA, _Lettre à M. Aug. Mariette_, p. 258.--PIERRET,
    _Catalogue de la Salle Historique_, No. 6.

    [218] M. FR. LENORMANT (_Bulletino della Commissione
    Archeologica di Roma_, fifth year, January to June, 1877)
    believes that he has discovered in one of the Roman museums
    another monument belonging to the same period and to the same
    artistic group.

[Illustration: FIG. 212.--Upper part of a royal statue. Grey granite.
Boulak. Drawn by G. Bénédite.]

It cannot be denied that there are many striking points of
resemblance between the different works which we have here brought
together. Mariette laid great stress upon what he regarded as one of
his most important discoveries. This is his definition of the type
which the Egyptian artist set himself to reproduce with his habitual
exactness: "The eyes are small, the nose vigorous, arched, and flat at
the end, the cheeks are large and bony, and the mouth is remarkable
for the way in which its extremities are drawn down. The face as a
whole is in harmony with the harshness of its separate features, and
the matted hair in which the head seems to be sunk adds to the
singularity of its appearance."[219]

    [219] _Lettres à M. de Rougé sur les Fouilles de Tanis_, p. 105.
    (_Revue Archéologique._)

[Illustration: FIG. 213.--Fragmentary statuette of a king; height
seven inches. Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

Both Mariette and Ebers declare that this type has been preserved to
our day with astonishing persistence. In the very district in which
the power of the shepherds was greatest, in the neighbourhood of that
Lake Menzaleh which almost bathes the ruins of Tanis, the poor and
half savage fishermen who form the population of the district possess
the strongly marked features which are so easily distinguished from
the rounder and softer physiognomies of the true Egyptian fellah.
Ahmes must have been content with the expulsion of the chiefs only of
those Semitic tribes who had occupied this region for so many
centuries. The mass of the people must have been too strongly attached
to the fertile lands where they dwelt to refuse obedience to the
conqueror, and more than one immigration, like that of the Hebrews,
may have come in later times to renew the Arab and Syrian
characteristics of the race.[220]

    [220] MARIETTE, _Notice du Musée_, p. 259.--EBERS, _Ægypten_,
    vol. i. p. 108.

Whatever we may think of these conjectures and assertions, the
sculptors of the First Theban Empire and of the Hyksos period took up
and carried on the traditions of the Ancient Empire. The processes are
the same except that in a few particulars they are improved. More
frequent use is made of the harder rocks such as granite, basalt, and
diorite, and a commencement is made in the art of gem-cutting.

Even the bas-relief carries on the themes which had been in favour in
the first years of the monarchy. We have already illustrated two
steles of this period (Figs. 86 and 164, Vol. I.). In the second, and
especially in the woman, may be noticed those elongated proportions
which characterize the sculpture of the first Theban dynasties. Apart
from the steles, which come mostly from Abydos, we have few
bas-reliefs which may be referred to this epoch. The mastabas with
their sculptured walls were no longer constructed, and the most
interesting hypogea of the middle Empire, those of Beni-Hassan, were
decorated with paintings only. The sepulchral grottos of El-Bercheh
possess bas-reliefs dating from the twelfth dynasty, and the quality
of their workmanship may be seen in our Fig. 43, Vol. II. The style is
less free and more conventional than that of the mastabas. The men who
haul upon the ropes and those who march in front of them, are all
exact repetitions one of another, causing an effect which is very
monotonous. The paintings of Beni-Hassan, which are freer and more
full of variety, are more able to sustain a comparison with the
decorations of the mastabas. Even then, however, we find too much
generalization. Except in a few instances there is a less true and
sincere feeling for nature, and a lack of those picturesque motives
and movements caught flying, so to speak, by an artist who seems to be
amused by what he sees and to take pleasure in reproducing it, which
are so abundant in the mastabas.

§ 4. _Sculpture under the Second Theban Empire._

The excavations at Tanis have helped us to understand many things upon
which our information had been and still is very imperfect. We are no
longer obliged to accept Manetho's account of the Shepherd invasion.
In his desire to take at least a verbal revenge upon the conquerors of
his country the historian seems to have greatly exaggerated their
misdeeds. We know now not only that the native princes continued to
reign in Upper Egypt, but also that the interlopers adopted, in the
Delta, the manners and customs of their Egyptian subjects. So far as
we can tell, there were neither destructions of monumental buildings
nor ruptures with the national traditions. Thus the art of the three
great Theban dynasties, from Ahmes to the last of the Rameses, seems a
prolongation of that of the Ousourtesens and Sebek-hoteps. There are
no appreciable differences in their styles or in their processes, but,
as in their architecture, their works of art as a whole show an
extraordinary development, a development which corresponds to the
great and sudden increase in the power and wealth of the country. The
warlike kings who made themselves masters of Ethiopia and of Western
Asia, had aspirations after the colossal. Their buildings reached
dimensions hitherto unknown, and while their vast wall spaces gave
great opportunities to the sculptor they demanded efforts of invention
and arrangement from him to which he had previously been a stranger.
These great surfaces had to be filled with historic scenes, with
combats, victories, and triumphal promenades, with religious scenes,
with pictures of homage and adoration. The human figure in its natural
size was no longer in proportion to these huge constructions. In order
to obtain images of the king which should correspond to the extent and
magnificence of the colonnades and obelisks, the slight excess over
the real stature of human beings which contented the sculptors of the
Ancient Empire was no longer sufficient. Whether they were cut, as at
Ipsamboul, out of a mountain side, or, as at Thebes, Memphis, and
Tanis out of a gigantic monolith, their proportions were all far
beyond those of mankind. Sometimes the mortals who frequented the
temples came nearly as high as their knees, but oftener they failed to
reach their ankle-bones. The New Empire had a mania for these colossal
figures. It sprinkled them over the whole country, but at Thebes they
are more thickly gathered than elsewhere. In the immediate
neighbourhood of the two seated statues of Amenophis III., the
_savants_ of the French Commission found the remains of fifteen more

    [221] _Description de l'Égypte, Antiquités_, vol. ii. p. 182.

There were at least as many on the right bank. On the avenue leading
through the four southern pylons at Karnak, the same explorers found
twelve colossal monoliths, each nearly thirty-five feet high but all
greatly mutilated, and the former existence of others was revealed to
them by fragments scattered about the ground. They were able to reckon
up eighteen altogether on this south side of the building.[222]

    [222] _Description, Antiquités_, vol. ii. p. 105.

Similar stone giants peopled the other religious or political capitals
of Egypt--Abydos, Memphis, Tanis, Sais, etc. The largest of all,
however, are the colossi at Ipsamboul representing Rameses II. They
are about seventy feet high. Among those cut from one enormous block
brought from Syene or elsewhere, the best known are those of Amenophis
III. at Thebes. They are fifty-two feet high without the pedestal. But
the statue of Rameses II., which stood in the second court of the
Ramesseum, must have been more than fifty-six feet high, as we may
calculate from the fragments which remain. The head is greatly
mutilated but the foot is over thirteen feet long.[223]

    [223] CH. BLANC, _Voyage dans la Haute-Égypte_, p. 208. It has
    been calculated that this colossus weighed about 1220 tons.

These statues were generally seated in the attitude which we have
already described in speaking of Chephren and Sebek-hotep. Some,
however, were standing, such as the colossal figure of Rameses which
stood before the Temple of Ptah at Memphis. This figure, which is
about forty-four feet high, is cut from a single block of very fine
and hard limestone. It lies face downwards and surrounded by palm
trees, in a depression of the soil near the village of Mitrahineh. In
this position it is covered by the annual inundation. The English, to
whom it belongs, have hitherto failed to take possession of it owing
to the difficulty of transport, and yet it is one of the most careful
productions of the nineteenth dynasty. The head is full of
individuality and its execution excellent.

[Illustration: THE QUEEN TAIA


J. Bourgon del. Imp. Ch. Chardon Ramus sc.]

In spite of their taste for these colossal figures, the Egyptian
sculptors of this period rivalled their predecessors in the skill and
sincerity with which they brought out their sitter's individuality. It
was not, perhaps, their religious beliefs which imposed this effort
upon them. The readiness which successive kings showed in
appropriating the statues of their ancestors to themselves by simply
placing their ovals upon them, proved that the ideas which were
attached by the fathers of the Egyptian race to their graven images
had lost their force. Effigies which were brought into the service of
a new king by a mere change of inscription, were nothing more than
monuments to his pride, destined to transmit his name and glory to
future generations. The early taste, however, was not extinguished.
When the sculptor was charged with the representation of one of those
kings who had made Egypt great, or one of the queens who were often
associated in the sovereign power, he took the same pains as those of
the early Empire to make a faithful copy of his august model.

[Illustration: FIG. 214.--Thothmes III. Boulak. Granite.]

Among the monuments of faithful portraiture which this period has left
us the statues of Thothmes III. are conspicuous. The features of this
prince are to be recognized in a standing figure at Boulak (Fig. 214),
but they are much more strongly marked in a head which was found at
Karnak and is now in the British Museum (Fig. 215). It formerly
belonged to a colossal statue erected by that prince in the part of
the temple built by himself. The features seem in no way Egyptian.
The form of the nose, the upturned corners of the eyes, the curves of
the lips, and the general contours of the face are all suggestive of
Armenian blood.[224] Others have thought it showed traces of negro
descent. In the first-named statue these characteristics are less
conspicuous because its execution as a whole is less careful and
masterly. The same physiognomy is to be found in a porphyry sphinx
belonging to the Boulak collection.[225]

    [224] GABRIEL CHARMES, _La Réorganisation du Musée de Boulak_.

    [225] MARIETTE, _Notices du Musée_, Nos. 3 and 4.

There is a strong contrast between the features of Thothmes and those
of Amenophis III. the founder of Luxor. Of this we may judge by a
head, as well preserved as that of Thothmes, which was found behind
one of the statues of Amenophis at Gournah. It also is in the British
Museum. The face is long and finely cut, with an expression and
general appearance which we should call _distinguished_; the nose is
long and thin; the chin well chiselled and bold in outline.[226]

    [226] The head of Amenophis III. may be recognized in the
    bas-relief reproduced in our Fig. 33, Vol. I. The fine profile
    and large well-opened eye strongly resemble those of the London

Obliged to draw the line somewhere we have not reproduced this figure,
but in Plate XI. we give a female head, discovered by Mariette at
Karnak, and believed to be that of Taia, the queen of Amenophis III.
Whether rightly named or not, this colossal fragment is one of the
masterpieces of Egyptian sculpture.[227]

    [227] MARIETTE, _Voyage dans la Haute-Égypte_, vol. ii. p. 31.

Mariette enumerates various reasons for believing Taia to have been
neither of royal nor even of Egyptian blood. She might have been
Asiatic; the empire of her husband extended as far as Mesopotamia. The
point has little importance, but as M. Charmes says, "when we stop in
admiration before the head of Taia, at Boulak, we feel ourselves
unconsciously driven by her charms ... to forge a whole history, an
historical romance, of which her enigmatic personality is the centre
and inspiration, and to fancy her the chief author of these religious
tragedies which disturbed her epoch and left a burning trace which has
not yet disappeared."[228]

    [228] G. CHARMES, _De la Réorganisation du Musée de Boulak_.

M. Charmes here alludes to the changes which Amenophis IV. wished to
introduce into the national religion when he attempted to destroy the
name and images of Amen, and to replace them with those of a solar
god, who was represented by a symbol not previously encountered in the
monuments (Fig. 2). If Mariette's hypotheses remain uncontradicted by
later discoveries, we may admit Taia to be the mother of Amenophis
IV., and to her influence in all probability would her son's denial
and persecution of the great Theban deity be due. Our present
interest, however, is with the features of Amenophis. They have been
faithfully handed down to us by the artists employed at
Tell-el-Amarna.[229] By the help of these bas-reliefs a statuette in
yellow steatite, now in the Louvre (Fig. 216), has been recognized as
a portrait of this Pharaoh. Its workmanship is very fine.

    [229] _Denkmæler_, vol. vi. plates 91-111. The curious ugliness
    of this king is most clearly shown in plate 109.

[Illustration: FIG. 215.--Thothmes III. British Museum. Red granite.
Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

Some have thought that in these bas-reliefs, and in the Louvre
statuette, the "facial characteristics and the peculiar shapes of
breast and abdomen by which eunuchs are distinguished, are to be
found."[230] On the other hand, we know that while still very young
Amenophis IV. married the queen Nowertiouta, and that he had seven
daughters by her. "It is probable, therefore, that if the misfortune
alluded to really befell him, it was during the wars waged by
Amenophis III. against the negro races of the south." In any case,
Amenophis IV. bore no resemblance to any one of the long procession of
princes whose portraits have come down to us, from the early dynasties
of the Ancient Empire to the Roman conquest. Lepsius devotes a series
of plates to the iconography of the Egyptian kings, and among them all
we find nothing that can be compared to the almost fantastic
personality of Amenophis, with his low, unintellectual forehead, his
pendulous cheeks, his feminine contours, and his general expression of
gloom and melancholy. The fidelity with which all these unpleasing
features are reproduced is extraordinary, and can only be accounted
for by the existence of a tradition so well established that no one
thought of breaking through it, even when the portrait of a
semi-divine monarch was in question.

    [230] MARIETTE, _Bulletin Archéologique de l'Athenæum Français_,
    1855, p. 57.

There are other works dating from this period which show the same
desire for truth at any price. One of the series of bas-reliefs
discovered by Mariette in the Temple of Dayr-el-Bahari may be given
as an instance. The subject of these reliefs is the expedition
undertaken by the regent Hatasu against the country of Punt.[231]

    [231] MARIETTE, _Notice du Musée_, No. 902, and
    _Dayr-el-Bahari_, plates.

[Illustration: FIG. 216.--Statuette of Amenophis IV. Height twenty
inches. Louvre. Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

"In the most curious of these sculptures the savage chief advances as
a suppliant. His wife walks behind him. Her hair is carefully dressed
and plaited into a thick tail at the back; a necklace of large discs
is round her neck. Her dress is a long yellow chemise, without
sleeves, and reaching to the middle of her legs. Her features are
regular enough, but virile rather than feminine, and all the rest of
her person is repulsive. Her arms, legs, and chest, are loaded with
fat, while her person projects so far in the rear as to result in a
deformity over which the artist has dwelt with curious complacence."
The legs, so far as the chemise allows them to be seen, are so large
that they suggest incipient elephantiasis. The Egyptian artist was
induced, no doubt, to dwell upon such a monstrosity by the instructive
contrast which it presented with the cultivated beauty of his own

    [232] MARIETTE, _Dayr-el-Bahari_, p. 30, believed that Punt was
    in Africa, probably in the region of the Somali. He quotes
    various passages from the writings of modern travellers to show
    that this strange obesity is rather an African than an Arabian
    characteristic. See SPEKE'S description of the favourite wife of
    Vouazerou, _Discovery of the Source of the Nile_, chap. viii.,
    and SCHWEINFURTH'S account of the Bongo women, _Heart of Africa_
    (3rd edition) pp. 136 and 137.

Realist as he was when he chose to take up that vein, the Egyptian
sculptor attained, however, to a high degree of grace and purity,
especially in his representations of historic and religious scenes.
When he had not the exceptional ugliness of an Amenophis IV. to deal
with, he gave to the personages in his bas-reliefs a look of serious
gravity and nobility which cannot fail to impress the greatest
enthusiast for Greek models. He was no longer content with the sincere
imitation of what he saw, like the artists of the Early Empire; his
efforts were directed to giving everlasting forms to those superhuman
beings, the Egyptian gods and Egyptian kings, with their sons and
favourites, who lived in hourly communion with them. Egyptian art at
last had an ideal, which it never realized with more success than in
certain bas-reliefs of this epoch.

Mariette quotes, as one of the most learned productions of the
Egyptian chisel, a bas-relief at Gebel-Silsilis representing a goddess
nourishing Horus from her own breast. "The design of this composition
is remarkable for its purity," he says, "and the whole picture
breathes a certain soft tranquillity which both charms and surprises a
modern connoisseur."[233]

    [233] MARIETTE, _Itinéraire_, p. 246.

We have not reproduced this work, but an idea of its style and
composition may be formed from a bas-relief of the time of Rameses
II., which we have taken from the speos of Beit-el-Wali (Fig. 255,
Vol. I.). The theme is the same. A scene of adoration taken from a
pier at Thebes (Fig. 176, Vol. I.) and, still more, a fine bas-relief
in which Amenophis III. does homage to Amen, to whom he is presented
by Phré, may also be compared with the work at Gebel-Silsilis. The
movements are free and elegant, and nothing could be more expressive
than the gestures of the two deities, than the attitude, at once proud
and respectful, of the kneeling prince. The whole scene is imbued with
sincere and grateful piety (Fig. 33, Vol. I.).

We find the same theme, with some slight variations, in the bas-relief
at Abydos figured on page 390, Vol. I. The sculptures in the temple
with which Seti I. adorned this city may be considered the
masterpieces of Egyptian art in their own _genre_. Their firm and
sober execution, and the severe simplicity of their conception, are
well shown in our third plate. This royal figure, which we were
compelled to detach from its companions in order that we might give it
on a scale large enough to be of service, forms part of a composition
which has been thus described by M. Charles Blanc: "Seated upon the
round base of a column, we examined the noblest bas-reliefs in the
world. Seti was present in his own temple. His noble head, at once
human and heroic, mild and proud, stood out from the wall and seemed
to regard us with a gentle smile. A wandering ray of sunlight
penetrated into the temple, and, falling upon the gentle salience of
the sculptured figures, gave them a relief and animation which was
almost illusive. A procession of young girls, whose graceful forms are
veiled only by their chastity, advance towards the hero with as much
freedom as respect will allow.... Their beauty attracts us while their
dignity forbids all approach. The scene lives before us, and yet the
stone is but grazed with the chisel and casts but the gentlest shadow.
But the delicacy of the workmanship is combined with such vigour of
design and such true sincerity of feeling that these young women, who
represent the provinces of Egypt, seem to live and breathe before

    [234] CH. BLANC, _Voyage dans la Haute-Égypte_, p. 265.

The same qualities are found, though in less perfection, in those
bas-reliefs which commemorate the conquests and military exploits of
the great Theban Pharaohs on the pylons and external faces of the
temple walls. The space to be covered is larger, the scene to be
represented more complicated, than in the religious pictures, which,
as a rule, include very few actors. The artist is no longer working
for a narrow audience of gods, kings, and priests. His productions are
addressed to the people at large, and he attempts therefore to dazzle
and astonish the crowd rather than to please the more fastidious
tastes of their social leaders. His execution is more rapid and less
thoughtful, as may be seen in our illustrations taken from the battle
scenes of Karnak, Luxor, the Ramesseum, and Medinet-Abou (Figs. 13,
85, 173, 174, 253, and 254, Vol. I.). In each of these scenes there is
a central figure to which our attention is immediately attracted. It
is that of the king, and is far larger than those of his subjects and

Sometimes he is on foot, his threatening mace raised above the heads
of his prisoners, who kneel before him and raise their hands in
supplication, as in a fine bas-relief at Karnak (Fig. 85, Vol. I.);
more often he is represented standing in his chariot and dominating
the tumult about him like a demi-god, driving a panic-stricken crowd
before him sword in hand, or about to cleave the head of some hostile
chief, whose relaxed members seem already to have felt the mortal
stroke (Fig. 13, Vol. I.). Elsewhere we see him bending his bow and
launching his arrows against the flying barbarians (Fig. 174, Vol.
I.). "We could never look at this beautiful figure without fresh
admiration," say the authors of the _Description_, "it is the Apollo
Belvedere of Egypt."[235] Again we see the king returning victorious
from his wars, long rows of prisoners march behind and before him,
their hands tied at their backs and attached by a rope to the chariot
of the conqueror. The horses which, in the battle scenes, we saw
rearing and trampling the dead and dying beneath their feet, advance
quietly and under the control of the tightened rein, and their dainty
walk suggests that they too have a share in the universal satisfaction
that follows a war well ended.

    [235] _Antiquités_, vol. ii. p. 110.

In all these reliefs the principal figure, that of the prince, is free
and bold in design, and full of pride and dignity. These
characteristics are also found in some of the secondary figures, such
as those soldiers of the enemy who still resist, or the prisoners who
resign themselves to the sovereign's mace (Figs. 13 and 85, Vol. I.).
But the wounded and fugitives in these battle pictures are curiously
confused in drawing and arrangement. If we take these little figures
separately many of them are drawn and modelled well enough, but, taken
as a whole, they are huddled up into far too narrow a space, and seem
heaped upon each other in impossible fashion. The Egyptian sculptor
has been fired with the desire to emulate with his chisel the great
deeds of his royal master, and, in his ignorance, he has passed the
limits which an art innocent of perspective cannot overleap without

The persistent tendency towards slightness of proportion, which we
have already noticed in speaking of the First Theban Empire, is even
more conspicuous in the figures of these reliefs than in the royal
statues (Figs. 13, 50, 53, 84, 165, and 175, Vol. I.). Neither in
these historical bas-reliefs, nor in those of the tombs, do we ever
encounter the short thickset figures which are so common in the
Ancient Empire.

In the paintings and bas-reliefs of Thebes this slenderness is more
strongly marked in the women than in the men, and everything goes to
prove that it was considered essential to beauty in the female sex.
Goddesses and queens, dancing girls and hired musicians, all have the
same elongated proportions. This propensity is more clearly seen
perhaps in the pictures of the Almees and Gawasi of Ancient Egypt than
anywhere else. Look, for instance, at our reproduction of a bas-relief
in the Boulak Museum (Fig. 217). It represents a funeral dance to a
sound of tambourines, accompanied in all probability by those
apologetic songs, called θρῆνοι by the Greeks, of which M.
Maspero has translated so many curious fragments.[236] All these
women, who are practically naked in their long transparent robes, wear
their hair in thick pendent tresses. Two young girls, quite nude, seem
to regulate the time with castanets. A number of men, coming from the
right, appear to reprove by their gestures the energetic motions of
the women. This bas-relief is an isolated fragment, and without a
date. It was found in the necropolis of Memphis and from its style
Prisse ascribes it to the nineteenth dynasty, "a time when artists
were mannered in their treatment of the female form, combining great
softness of contour with an impossible slenderness of build. The
execution is careless, but the movements and attitudes are truthful
enough."[237] Our Plate XII. shows figures of the same general
proportions, though rather better drawn.

    [236] MASPERO, _Études sur quelques Peintures Funéraires_.
    Mariette, in describing this bas-relief (_Notice du Musée_, No.
    903), observes that these funeral dances are still in vogue in
    most of the villages of Upper Egypt. The bas-reliefs from
    Sakkarah could not, however, as he says, render the piercing
    shrieks with which these dances are accompanied.

    [237] PRISSE, _Histoire de l'Art Égyptien_. Text, p. 418. This
    bas-relief has also been reproduced by MARIETTE, _Monuments
    Divers_, pl. 68.

This curious mannerism began to establish itself during the first
renascence of Egyptian art under the twelfth dynasty. It was to last,
and even to grow more conspicuous, until the centuries of final
decadence. The growing influence of conventionality is to be seen in
other signs also. As art repeated and multiplied its representations,
and the spaces which it had to decorate increased in number and size,
it had at its disposal, as we may say, a larger number of moulds and
made more frequent employment of certain groups and figures which were
repeated without material change. In the decorations of this period we
find long rows of figures which are practically identical with each
other. They look as if they had been produced by stencil plates. With
all their apparent richness and their wealth of imagery the sculpture
and painting of Thebes show a poverty of invention which is not to be
found in the art of the early dynasties.[238]

    [238] Some of our illustrations allow the justice of this
    observation to be easily verified (Figs. 172, 253, and 254, Vol.
    I.). In one of these the porters and in another the prisoners of
    war seem to be multiplied by some mechanical process. A glance
    through the _Denkmæler_ of Lepsius leaves a similar impression.
    We may mention especially plates 34, 35, 175, 125, and 135 of
    the third Part.

The gradual falling off in their powers of observing and reproducing
natural forms is singularly well shown in their imperfect treatment of
those animals which had been unknown to their predecessors. The horse
does not seem to have been introduced into Egypt until the time of the
shepherd kings, but he soon conquered a high place among the servitors
of the upper classes of Egyptians. He became one of the favourite
themes of contemporary art. In all the great pictures of battle he
occupies a central position, and he is always associated with the
prowess of the sovereign. And yet he is almost always badly drawn. His
movement is sometimes not without considerable vigour and even
nobility, but his forms lack truth, he is generally far too thin and
elongated. His head is well set on and his neck and shoulders good,
but his body is weak and unsubstantial (Figs. 13 and 174, Vol. I.).
The bad effects of conventionality are here strongly felt. The same
horse, in one of the two or three attitudes between which the Egyptian
sculptor had to choose according to the scene to be treated, appears
everywhere. The sculptors of the Memphite tombs saw with a very
different eye when they set themselves to surround the doubles of
their employers with the images of the domestic animals to whom
they were accustomed in life.

[Illustration: FIG. 217.--Funeral Dance. Bas-relief in limestone.
Boulak. Drawn by Bourgoin.]

The difference can be seen, however, without going back to the Ancient
Empire. Compare the great historical bas-reliefs of the temples and
royal cenotaphs with the more modest decorations of certain private
sepulchres, such as those which were found in the tomb of Chamhati,
superintendent of the royal domains under the eighteenth dynasty (Fig.
218). The sculptors return with pleasure to those scenes of country
life of which the pyramid builders were so fond. The fragment we
reproduce shows the long row of labourers bending over their hoes, the
sower casting his seed, the oxen attached to the plough and slowly
cutting the furrow under the whip and voice of their drivers. Neither
men nor beasts are drawn with as sure a hand as in the tomb of Ti, but
yet the whole appears more sincere than productions of a more official
kind. The oldest and most faithful assistant to the Egyptian fellah,
the draught ox, is at least much more like nature than the charger of
the Theban battle pictures.

[Illustration: FIG. 218.--Bas-relief from the tomb of Chamhati.

The dangers of routine and of a conventional mode of work seem now and
then to have been felt by the Theban artists. They appear to have set
themselves deliberately to rouse attention and interest by introducing
foreign types into their eternal battle pieces, and by insisting upon
their differences of feature, of complexion, of arms and costume. They
were also fond of depicting other countries and the strange animals
that inhabited them, as in the bas-relief which shows a giraffe
promenading among tropical palms.[239] But in spite of all these
meritorious efforts, they do not touch our feelings like the primitive
artists of Gizeh and Sakkarah, or even of Beni-Hassan. Try as they
will, they cannot conceal that soulless and mechanical facility which
is so certain to fatigue the spectator. If we turn over the pages of
Lepsius, we always find ourselves dwelling with pleasure upon the
sculptures from the mastabas, in spite of their apparent similarity,
while we have soon had enough of the pompous and crowded bas-reliefs
from Karnak, Luxor, the Ramesseum and Medinet-Abou.

    [239] So, at Dayr-el-Bahari the decorator has taken pains to
    give accurate reproductions of the fauna and flora of Punt. See
    the plates of MARIETTE (_Dayr-el-Bahari_) and the remarks of
    Prof. EBERS (_Ægypten_, vol. ii. p. 280).

These defects are less conspicuous in figures in the round, and
especially in the statues of kings. I do not know that the sculptors
of the Setis and the Rameses ever produced anything equal to the
portraits of Thothmes, Amenophis, and Taia, but there are statues of
Rameses II. intact, which may be reckoned among the fine examples of
Egyptian art. The features of no prince that ever existed were
reproduced more often than those of this Rameses, who built so much
and reigned so long. These reproductions, as might be supposed, differ
very greatly in value.

In the huge colossi which sit before the Great Temple at Ipsamboul
(Fig. 248, Vol. I.), the limbs are not modelled with the careful
precision which would be required in the case of a life-size statue.
The arms and legs appear rather heavy on close inspection, and in a
photograph those parts which are nearest to the camera, namely, the
legs and the knees, seem too large for the rest of the figure. But the
heads are characterized by a breadth and freedom of execution which
brings out the desired expression with great effect when looked at
from a proper distance. This expression is one of thoughtful mildness
and imperturbable serenity. It is exactly suited to the image of a
deified king, sitting as eternal guardian of the temple which his
workmen had hewn out in the bowels of the mountain.

Some discrimination must be exercised between the statues of Rameses
which approach the natural size. We do not look upon his portrait when
a child, which is now in the Louvre, as a masterpiece (Fig. 219). The
noble lines of the profile, recalling his father Seti, are indeed his,
but the eye is too large and the hands are treated with an elegance
which is more than a little mannered. The uræus on his brow and the
titles engraved by his side show that he was already king, but we can
see that he was still very young, not so much by the juvenile contours
of his body, as by the finger in his mouth and the lock of hair
hanging upon his right shoulder. A statue at Boulak (Fig. 220) shows
signs of carelessness rather than of affectation. In it Rameses is
still a young man. The eyes, the small mouth, the calm and smiling
visage, are all well modelled, but the legs are quite shapeless.

[Illustration: FIG. 219.--Portrait of Rameses II. while a child,
actual size. Limestone. In the Louvre.]

[Illustration: FIG. 220.--Statue of Rameses II. Boulak.]

Some good bas-reliefs date from this reign. Among others we may name
those prisoners of war bound together, which Champollion copied from
the plinth of a royal statue in the Ramesseum (Fig. 221). The race
characteristics are very well marked. The prognathous negro, with his
thick lips, short nose, sloping brow, and woolly poll; the Asiatic,
an Assyrian perhaps, with his regular, finely-chiselled profile and
his knotted head-dress, are easily recognized. The movement of these
two figures is also happy, its only defect is its want of variety. The
same remarks may be applied to those sculptures on the external walls
of the small temple at Abydos, which represent the soldiers belonging
to the legion of the Chardanes or Sharuten, the supposed ancestors of
the Sardinians. Their picturesque costume and singular arms have been
described more than once. A metal stem and a ball between two
crescent-shaped horns surmount their helmets; they are tall and
slender, with small heads and short round noses.[240]

    [240] CH. BLANC, _Voyage dans la Haute-Égypte_, p. 74, pl. 31.

The finest statue of Rameses II. that has come down to our time is,
perhaps, the one in the Turin Museum (Fig. 222). Its execution is most
careful, and its state of preservation marvellous. The head is full of
individuality and distinction. One of the king's sons is shown, on a
very small scale, leaning against the foot of his father's seat.

[Illustration: FIG. 221.--Prisoners of war; Ramesseum. From
Champollion, pl. 322.]

Boulak possesses the upper part of a broken statue of Rameses, which
is not inferior to this in artistic merit. The contours are singularly
pure and noble.

Most of those who are authorities on the subject agree that art fell
into decay towards the end of Rameses the second's long reign of
sixty-seven years. Carried away by his mania for building, the king
thought more of working rapidly than well. In his impatience to see
his undertakings finished, he must have begun by using up the
excellent architects and decorative artists left to him by his father.
He left them no time to instruct pupils or to form a school, and so in
his old age he found himself compelled to employ mediocrities. "The
steles, inscriptions, and other monuments of the last years of Rameses
II. are to be recognized at a glance by their detestable style," says
Mariette.[241] With the fine bas-relief at Abydos which is reproduced
in our Plate III., Vol. I., Mariette contrasts another which is to be
found in a neighbouring hall and represents Rameses II. in the same
attitude. In the former, the figure of Seti is expressed in the most
delicate low relief, in the latter the contours of Rameses are
coarsely indicated by a deeply-cut outline.[242] So too M. Charles
Blanc: "As we pass from the tomb of Seti I. to those of Seti II. and
Rameses IV., the decadence of Egyptian art makes itself felt, partly
in the character of the pictures, which no longer display the
firmness, the delicacy, or the significance, of those which we admired
in the tomb of the first-named monarch, partly in the exaggerated
relief of the sculptures."[243]

    [241] MARIETTE, _Voyage dans la Haute-Égypte_, vol. i. p. 72.
    Plates 23 and 24.

    [242] CHAMPOLLION makes the same remark (_Lettres d'Égypte et de
    Nubie_, p. 326).

    [243] CH. BLANC, _Voyage dans la Haute-Égypte_, p. 178.

Unless Mariette was mistaken in his identification of one of the most
remarkable fragments in the Boulak Museum, Thebes must have possessed
first-rate artists even at the death of Rameses. M. Charmes thus
speaks of the fragment (Fig. 223) in question: "By a happy
inspiration, Mariette has given the bust of Queen Taia a pendant which
equals it in attractiveness, which surpasses it, perhaps, in delicacy
of treatment ... it is the head of a king surmounted by a huge cap which
weights it without adding to its beauty. It formerly belonged to a
statue which is now broken up. The young king was standing; in his
left hand he held a ram-headed staff.... It is impossible to give an
idea of the youthful, almost childish grace, of the soft and
melancholy charm in a countenance which seems overspread with the
shadow of some unhappy fate. How did its author contrive to cut from
such an unkindly material as granite, these frank and fearless eyes,
that slender nose with its refined nostrils, and these lips, which are
so soft and full of vitality, that they seem modelled in nothing
harder than wax. We are in presence of one of the finest relics of
Egyptian sculpture, and nothing more exquisite has been produced by
the art of any other people. The inscription is mutilated by a fissure
in the granite, but Mariette believes that the statue represents
Menephtah, the son of Rameses II."[244]

    [244] GAB. CHARMES, _De la Réorganisation du Musée de
    Boulak_.--MARIETTE, _Notice_, No. 22.

[Illustration: FIG. 222.--Statue of Rameses II. in the Turin Museum.
Granite. Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

[Illustration: FIG. 223.--Head of Menephtah. Boulak. Drawn by
Saint-Elme Gautier.]

There is a colossal statue of Seti II., the son of this Menephtah, in
the Louvre (Fig. 224). Although the material of which it consists,
namely sandstone, is much less rebellious than granite, the features,
which have a family resemblance to those of Menephtah, are executed in
a much more summary fashion than in the Boulak statue, and yet the
execution is that of a man who knew his business. The modelling of the
muscular arms is especially vigorous.[245]

    [245] Louvre. Ground-floor gallery, No. 24.

[Illustration: FIG. 224.--Seti II. Sandstone statue, fifteen feet
high. Louvre. Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

There are hardly any royal statues left to us which we can ascribe
with certainty to the twentieth dynasty, but at Medinet-Abou, both on
the walls of the temple and in the Royal Pavilion there are
bas-reliefs which show that the sculpture of Rameses III., the last of
the great Theban Pharaohs, knew how to hold its own among the other
glories of the reign. We have given a few examples of the pictures in
which the king is shown as a warrior and as a high priest (Figs. 172
and 173, Vol. I.); other groups should not be forgotten in which he is
exhibited during his hours of relaxation in his harem, among his wives
and daughters.

Under the last of the Rameses the Egyptians lost their military spirit
and, with it, their foreign possessions in the South and East.
Inclosed within its own frontiers, between the cataracts in the South
and the Mediterranean in the North, and enfeebled by the domination of
the priests and scribes, the country became divided into two kingdoms,
that of Thebes, under a theocratic dynasty, and that of Tanis in which
the royal names betray a strong Semitic influence.

That worship of Asiatic divinities which, though never mentioned in
official monuments, is so often alluded to in the steles, must then
have taken hold of the people of Lower Egypt. Among these were Resheb,
the Syrian Apollo; Kadesh, who bore the name of a famous Syrian
fortress, and was but one form of the great Babylonian goddess Anahit,
the Anaitis of the Greeks. Kadesh is sometimes represented standing
upon a lion _passant_ (Fig. 225).

Exhausted by its internal conflicts, Egypt produced few monumental
works for several centuries. Many kings, however, of this barren
period, and especially Sheshonk, have left at Karnak records of their
military victories and of their efforts to re-establish the national
unity. After the twenty-fourth dynasty Egypt became the vassal of that
Ethiopian kingdom whose civilization was no more than a plagiarism
from her own. During the half century that this vassalage endured,
the southern conquerors gave full employment to such artists as Egypt
had preserved. The latter were set to reproduce the features of the
Ethiopian kings, but the works which resulted are very unequal in

Sabaco caused the sides of the great door in the pylon of Rameses at
Karnak to be repaired. The execution of the figures is by no means
satisfactory. "The relief is too bold; the muscular development of the
heroes represented is exaggerated to a meaningless degree; coarse
vigour has taken the place of graceful strength."[246]

    [246] CH. BLANC, _Voyage dans la Haute-Égypte_, p. 153.

[Illustration: FIG. 225.--The Goddess Kadesh; from Wilkinson, Fig.

But although these bas-reliefs, the only ones of the period which have
been encountered, are evidently inspired by the decadence, the
Egyptian sculptors seem to have still preserved much of their skill in
portraiture. Mariette believes that a royal head in the Museum at
Cairo represents Tahraka, the third of the Ethiopian sovereigns. It is
disfigured by the loss of the nose. The remaining features are coarse
and strongly marked and the general type is foreign rather than
Egyptian.[247] However this may be, it cannot be denied that in the
alabaster statue of Ameneritis, which was found at Karnak by Mariette,
we have a monument of this phase in Egyptian art remarkable both for
taste and knowledge (Fig. 226).[248]

    [247] MARIETTE, _Notice_, No. 20.

    [248] MARIETTE, _Notice_, No. 866. There is a cast of this
    statue in the Louvre, but, like that of the statue of Chephren,
    which forms a pendant to it, it has been coloured to the hue of
    fresh butter and the result is most disagreeable. Even when
    placed upon a cast from an alabaster figure this colour is bad
    enough, but when the cast is one from a statue in diorite, like
    that of Chephren, it is quite inexcusable. It would have been
    better either to have left the natural surface of the plaster or
    to have given to each cast a colour which should in some degree
    recall that of the originals and mark the difference between

During the Ethiopian occupation Queen Ameneritis played an important
_rôle_ in the affairs of Egypt. While her brother Sabaco was yet alive
she was dignified with the title of regent, later she brought her
rights to the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt to the usurper
Piankhi, whom she married and made the father of Shap-en-Ap, who
afterwards became the mother of Psemethek I.

[Illustration: FIG. 226.--Statue of Ameneritis. Alabaster. Boulak.
Drawn by G. Bénédite.]

The head of Ameneritis is covered with the full-bottomed wig worn by
goddesses. She holds a whip in her left hand and a sort of purse in
her right; there are bangles upon her wrist and ankles and the
contours of her body are frankly displayed beneath the long
chemise-like robe, which falls almost to her ankles.

The features are resolute and intelligent rather than beautiful, the
squareness of the lower jaw and the firm line of the mouth being
especially significant.

We have, then, every reason to believe this to be a good portrait.
Both form and expression are just what might be expected in a
high-born Egyptian female possessed of sovereign power. The treatment
of the body is rather conventional. The bust, so far as it can be
traced under the clinging robe, is younger than the head, which is
that of a woman in middle life. With these reserves the statue is very
pleasing. The arms are a little stiff, but the figure as a whole is
characterized by a chaste and sober elegance. The modelling is not
insisted upon too much, but its undulating contours are discreetly
indicated under the soft though by no means transparent drapery. The
whole work is imbued with the spirit of Saite art, an aftermath which
was characterized by grace and refinement rather than by freedom and

§ 5. _The Art of the Saite Period._

After the last of the Ramessids the decadence of Egypt was continuous,
but in the seventh century B.C. while the Ethiopians and Assyrians
contended for the possession of the country, it was particularly
rapid. Under Psemethek, however, there was a revival. The foreigners
were driven out, the national unity was re-established, and Syria was
again brought under the Egyptian sceptre. An artistic renascence
coincided with this restoration of political well being, and the
princes of the twenty-sixth dynasty set themselves to restore the
monuments which had perished during the intestine troubles and foreign
inroads. Their attention was mainly directed to the architectural
monuments of Lower Egypt; but little now remains of the buildings
which drew so much praise from the Greek travellers. Their sculptured
achievements have been more fortunate. Their statues were sprinkled
over the whole country, and many of them have been found at Memphis,
at Thebes, and even among the ruins of cities which have long ago
disappeared. Thus we find that most Egyptian collections contain
figures which may be assigned to this time, or rather to this school,
for the style held its own even as late as the first two or three
Ptolemies. Among them may be mentioned the _pastophorus_[249] of the
Vatican, the _Arsaphes_[250] of the British Museum, the statues of
serpentine found at Sakkarah in the tomb of a certain Psemethek, a
high officer under the thirtieth dynasty,[251] and the fine bronzes
of Osiris discovered at Medinet-Abou.[252] All the bronzes found in
the Serapeum belong to the same category.[253]

    [249] For the meaning of this word see PIERRET, _Dictionnaire_,

    [250] For illustrations of this statue and an explanation of the
    name here given to it, see BIRCH, _Gallery of Antiquities_,
    London, 4to.--ED.

    [251] MARIETTE, _Notice du Musée de Boulak_, No. 385.

    [252] _Notice_, Nos. 196-7.

    [253] _Ibid._, Nos. 105-15.

By means of secondary remains, such as sphinxes, steles, and scarabs,
we can just contrive to get a glimpse at the features of those
brilliant sovereigns who, after dazzling Egypt and the surrounding
countries early in the seventh century B.C., fell before the first
attacks of the Persians.[254] Many of their effigies must have been
destroyed by the invaders, either at their first conquest, or during
the three subsequent occasions when they were compelled to
re-establish their ascendency by force. A similar fate must have
overtaken the statues of Inarôs and Nectanebo, who succeeded for a
time in restoring the independence of their country. For the whole of
this period the royal iconography is much more scanty than for the two
Theban empires.

    [254] The Boulak Museum possesses a very fine scarab which shows
    Nechao between Isis and Neith, one of whom hands him a mace and
    the other a small figure of Mentou-Ra, the God of Battles. Two
    chained prisoners are prostrate at the base of the scarab.
    MARIETTE, _Notice_, No. 556.

We shall not dwell upon the figure in green basalt which stands in the
middle of the _Salle Historique_ in the Louvre. We know from the
inscription upon its girdle that it represents the king Psemethek II.
The execution is careful, but the work has suffered great mutilation,
the head and parts of the limbs being modern restorations.[255] On the
other hand, the two little bronze sphinxes which stand upon the
chimney-piece in the same room are in excellent condition. According
to De Rougé their heads reproduce the features of Ouaphra, the Apries
of the Greeks (Fig. 227).[256] In the ground-floor gallery there are
several sphinxes which, according to their inscriptions, should
include portraits of some of those princes who between 527 and 332
B.C. temporarily freed Egypt from the Persian yoke; Nepherites,
Achoris, Nectanebo, &c. None of them, however, show enough
individuality in their features to suggest that they were copied from
nature. Their heads are all clothed indiscriminately in the same
elegance of contour, and in looking at them we find ourselves far
indeed from the admirable portraits of the early empire, or even from
that statue of Ameneritis which closes the series of royal effigies.

    [255] PIERRET, _Catalogue de la Salle Historique_, No. 269.

    [256] DE ROUGÉ, _Notice Sommaire_, p. 59.

[Illustration: FIG. 227.--Bronze Sphinx. Louvre. Drawn by Saint-Elme

The chief pre-occupation of the Saite sculptor was to obtain
suppleness of modelling and an apparent finish of execution, both of
which, in his opinion, were effective in proportion as the material
used was hard and unyielding.[257] His chisel was employed much more
than formerly in fusing together the various layers of muscle which
form the walls of the human structure. He did not lay so much stress
on the skeleton, or on the leading lines of the figure, as his early
predecessors. His care was mainly devoted to rendering the subtle
outward curves and contours, and this he often carries to such excess
as to produce a result which is simply wearisome from its want of
energy and accent. There is a group at Boulak upon which too much
praise has been lavished, to which this stricture thoroughly applies.
It represents one of the Psemetheks, clothed in a long robe, standing
before the goddess Hathor who is in the form of a cow. The head and
torso are finely chiselled, but, through an exaggerated desire for
elegance, the arms have been made far too long, and the divine cow is
entirely without truth or expression. This defect is still more
conspicuous in the two figures of Isis and Osiris that were found with
this group. Their execution has reached the extremity of coldness
through the excessive use of file and sand-paper.[258]

    [257] It would appear that wood-carving was never so popular in
    Egypt as it was under the Second Theban Empire. The numerous
    wooden statues which fill our museums date from that period. We
    have given an example of them in Fig. 50, Vol. I.

    [258] MARIETTE, _Notice du Musée_, Nos. 386 and 387. Mariette
    seems to estimate these two statuettes far too highly.

[Illustration: FIG. 228.--Statue of Nekht-har-heb, Louvre. Drawn by
Saint-Elme Gautier.]

Sometimes the sculptor knows where to leave off, and the result is
better. The sandstone statue of Nekht-har-heb, in the Louvre, is one
of the best productions of the Saite artists (Fig. 228).[259] The
execution of hands and feet is sketchy, and the countenance is without
much expression, but the attitudes of the arms and legs, the modelling
of the trunk, and the pose of the head, unite breadth with facility
and dignity to such a degree, that we are reminded, for a moment, of
a Greek marble. In spite of the singular attitude there is much in the
execution which recalls a much more ancient work, the statue of
Ouah-ab-ra, which dates from the twenty-sixth dynasty (Fig. 51, Vol.

    [259] DE ROUGÉ, _Notice des Monuments Exposés au
    Rez-de-chaussée_, No. 91.

    [260] DE ROUGÉ, _Notice des Monuments Exposés au
    Rez-de-chaussée_, No. 94.

[Illustration: FIG. 229--Statue of Horus, Louvre. Drawn by Saint-Elme

Not less remarkable is the headless statue of a personage called
Horus, which dates from about the same period (Fig. 229).[261] It is
of black granite and yet both limbs and torso are as delicately
modelled as if they were of the softest limestone. The attitude of the
arms is unusually easy and natural, and the whole figure is freer and
less constrained than anything we find in the ancient statues. There
is, too, a certain spirit of innovation discoverable in the feet. The
toes are well separated and slightly bent, instead of being flat and
close together.

    [261] _Ibidem_, No. 88.

[Illustration: FIG. 230.--Bas-relief from Memphis. Length forty
inches, height ten inches, Boulak. Drawn by Bourgoin.]

[Illustration: FIG. 231.--Continuation of Fig. 230.]

The same style, taste, and general tendency are to be found in the
steles and in the decoration of the tombs. In a few sepulchral
bas-reliefs we can detect a desire to imitate the compositions on the
walls of the mastabas. Such attempts were quite natural, and we need
feel no surprise that the Egyptians in their decline should have
turned to the artistic form and motives which had been invented in
their distant and vigorous youth. The old age of many other races has
shown the same tendency in their arts and literature.

The beautiful band of sculpture in low relief which was found,
together with another very similar to it, at Mitrahineh, upon the
site of ancient Memphis, might easily be taken at first sight for a
production of the early centuries (Figs. 230 and 231). It formed the
lintel to the door of a house dating from the Greek or Roman period,
for which purpose it had doubtless been carried off from some
tomb.[262] At one end a dignified individual is seated upon a
low-backed chair, in his left hand he holds the long wand of office,
in his right a ribbon. His name and titles are engraved in front of
him: he was a writer, and was called Psemethek-nefer-sam. A scribe
bends respectfully before him and introduces a procession of men,
women, and children, who bring offerings of various kinds, jars of
liquid, coffers, flowers, birds, and calves led by a string. It is the
favourite theme of the mastabas over again. The attitudes are similar,
but the execution is different. There is a lack of firmness and
rotundity in the modelling, and considerably more striving after
elegance. The children especially should be noticed; the fashion in
which they all turn towards their elders betrays a desire on the part
of the artist to give freshness and piquancy to his composition.

    [262] MARIETTE, _Notice du Musée_, Nos. 35-6.

Most of those bronze figures of the gods, which are so plentiful in
the European museums, date from this period. We have reproduced
several of them in our chapter upon the Egyptian pantheon (Figs.
34-37, Vol. I.). With the advent of Alexander and his successors, a
number of Greek artists became domiciled in Egypt; they employed their
talents in the service of the priests and scribes without attempting
in any way to affect the religion, the institutions, or the habits of
the people. The Egyptian artists were heirs to the oldest of all
civilizations, their traditions were so firmly established, and their
professional education was so systematic, that they could hardly
consent to modify their ideas at the first contact with a race whom
they secretly despised, although they were compelled to admit their
political and military supremacy. Many years had to pass before
Egyptian sculpture, and with it the written character and language,
became debased as we find it in certain Roman and Ptolemaic temples.
Several generations had to come and go before a hybrid Egypto-Greek
style, a style which preserved the most unhappy forms and conventions
of Egyptian art while it lost all its native freshness and
originality, imposed itself finally upon the country.

The worst of the Saite statues are still national in style. It is an
Egyptian soul that inhabits their bodies, that breathes through the
features, and places its mark upon every detail of the personality
represented. This is no longer the case with the figures which, from
the time of Augustus to that of Hadrian, seem to have been
manufactured in such quantities for the embellishment of Roman villas.
Costumes, accessories, and attitudes are all Egyptian, but the model
upon which they are displayed is Greek. Until the beginning of the
present century archæologists were deceived by the masquerade, and
were unable to distinguish between pasticcios, many of which may not
even have been made in Egypt, and the really authentic works of the
unspoiled Egyptian artists. Such mistakes are no longer probable, but
even now it is difficult to say exactly where the art of Sais was
blended into that of the Ptolemies. When there is no epigraph upon
which to depend the most skilful archæologist may here make mistakes.

There are, however, a few figures in which the influence of the Greek
works brought to Alexandria by the descendants of Lagus, may be
detected in an incipient stage. The motives and attributes are still
purely Egyptian, but the modelling, the carriage of the head, and the
attitude are modified, and we see, almost by intuition, that the Greek
style is about to smother the Egyptian. This evidence of transition
is, we think, very marked in a bronze group of _Isis suckling Horus_
in the Louvre (Fig. 55, Vol. I.), and in _Horus enthroned supported by
lions_ (Fig. 232). And yet the difference between these things and
those which are frankly Græco-Roman is great, and at once strikes
those who come upon the latter in the galleries of Boulak, where they
are mixed up with so many creations of Egyptian genius. The
distinction is equally obvious in works produced by foreign sculptors
established in Egypt, and in those by Egyptians working under Greek
masters. Look at the head found at Tanis, which is reproduced both in
full face and profile in Fig. 233. It is of black granite, like so
many Egyptian statues, but we feel at once that there is nothing
Egyptian about it but the material. It is obviously a portrait of a
man of mature age; the face is beardless, the curly hair cut short.
During the Greek and Roman period the temple of San was enriched by
the statues of private individuals, and doubtless this fragment
belonged to one of them. Tradition says that the statue was placed in
front of a pier with which it was connected by the Ionic moulding
which is still to be traced upon the right side of the head. With this
exception the treatment is that of the best Augustan period. The
person represented may very well have been one of the first Roman
governors of Egypt.[263]

    [263] MARIETTE, _Notice du Musée_, No. 18.

[Illustration: FIG. 232.--Horus enthroned. Bronze. Louvre.]

[Illustration: FIG. 233.--Roman head, Boulak. Drawn by Bourgoin.]

§ 6. The Principal Themes of Egyptian Sculpture.

When we come to study Greek sculpture we shall find that the
masterpieces in which its highest powers are displayed, are statues of
divinities, such as the Athené of the Parthenon and the Olympian Zeus.
In our review of the Egyptian works of the same kind we have not had
occasion to call attention to a single god or goddess. Their
representation was not, as in Greece, the aim of the highest art. The
figures of deities were, indeed, numerous enough in Egypt, but the
national artist did not show such originality in their conception as
in those of kings and private individuals. This phenomenon may seem
inconsistent with what we know of the piety of the Egyptians and the
place occupied by religion in their daily life; it is to be easily
explained, however, by the origin of Egyptian sculpture and the part
which the statues of the gods played in it.

Egyptian art began with portraiture. As soon as it was capable of
carving and painting stone it was realistic, not so much by instinct
and taste as by duty. After such a beginning it found great difficulty
in raising itself above intelligent and faithful reproduction of fact.
Such inventive powers as it possessed were spent in creating a type
for the royal majesty, and in that case it had concrete reality as a
starting point. When it came to representing the gods it had no such
help. It could not fall back upon fidelity to fact, and, unlike the
Greeks of after ages, it was unable to give them distinction by the
superior nobility and dignity of their physical contours and features.
It was reduced to differentiating them by the variety of their
attributes. By such a proceeding it obtained an almost infinite number
of divine types, but each type was only recognizable on condition that
its pose and accessories, once determined, should remain without
material change. There was none of the mobility and elasticity which
distinguishes the dwellers on the Greek Olympus, as may be clearly
seen by comparing the poverty and want of variety of a Horus or a Bast
with the infinite diversity of an Apollo or an Artemis.

When the Egyptian sculptor had to endow the national gods with
concrete forms he found himself, then, in a condition much less
favourable than that of his Greek successors. This position, too, was
materially affected by the fact that the best site in the temple, the
centre of the naos, was reserved for a symbol, sometimes living,
sometimes inanimate, which was looked upon as the true representative
of the god. It was to this symbol, jealously hidden from all but the
high priest and the king, that the prayers of the faithful were
addressed. It has been called a survival from the early fetish
worship. Perhaps it was so. But at present we are only concerned with
its unfortunate results upon artistic development. His statues being
excluded from the place of honour, the sculptor was not, as in Greece,
stimulated to combine all the qualities ascribed by the nation to its
gods in one supreme effort of his knowledge and skill; he was not
raised above himself by the desire to produce a work which might give
point to the magnificence of a temple and augment the piety of a race.

Mariette was right in insisting upon this difference. "The temples,"
he says, "hardly contain a statue which is not votive. Sometimes these
statues are found irregularly distributed about the foundations or in
the sand, sometimes they are of large size and are arranged along the
walls, but they hardly ever exceed the life-size of a man. _I cannot
say that each temple had a figure which could be specially called the
statue of that temple._ The divine images were plentiful enough; but
each had its own particular ministration. In the prayers addressed to
it the name of its consecrator was always included. _Such a thing as a
statue forming the central object of a temple and representing its god
without votive appropriation did not, perhaps, exist._"[264]

    [264] MARIETTE, _Notice du Musée_, p. 16. See also his
    _Catalogue Général_, c. i.

Figures of Sekhet, the goddess with the head of a lioness, have been
discovered in hundreds in the building at Karnak known as the Temple
of Mouth, or Maut. This mine of statues has been worked ever since
1760, and all the museums of Europe have shared the results.[265]
Being so numerous these statues could not have reached great
excellence of execution. They were devotional objects produced in
mechanical fashion, and there is little chance of finding a
masterpiece of sculpture among them. In an inscription at Karnak we
find Thothmes III. boasting of having endowed the temple with a statue
of Amen "such that no other temple could show one equal to it."[266]
This Amen must have excelled its rivals in richness of material and in
perfection of polish. It is unlikely that it was much superior to them
in nobility or true beauty.

    [265] MARIETTE (_Karnak_, p. 15) calculated that this temple,
    whose major axis from the pylon to the sanctuary hardly exceeded
    300 feet in length, must have contained 572 statues, all in
    black granite, and differing but little in size and execution.
    If placed in rows against the walls, and here and there in a
    double row, their elbows would almost have touched one another.
    The first and second courts, and the two long corridors which
    bound the temple to the east and west, were full of them. One of
    these figures is represented in our Fig. 39, Vol. I.

    [266] MARIETTE, _Voyage dans la Haute-Égypte_, vol. ii. p. 25.

The position occupied by the statue in the cella of a Greek temple
finds something like a parallel, however, in the rock-cut temples of
Nubia. We allude to these groups of three or four figures, carved in
the living rock, which have been found seated in the farthest recesses
at Ipsamboul, Derri, and elsewhere. These figures are now so mutilated
that their merit as works of art cannot be decided.

We may safely say that if the temples proper, such as those of Karnak
and Luxor, had contained master-statues corresponding in any way to
those of the Greeks, they would have been of colossal size. But
although the soil of Thebes is almost paved with the fragments of
royal colossi, not a single vestige of any gigantic statue of Amen has
ever been discovered. All that we know of those few divine statues to
which special veneration was paid excludes any idea of size exceeding
that of man. The statues of Amen and Khons, at Thebes and Napata,
which nodded their approval when consulted by the king as to his
future plans, were certainly not colossi.[267] And as for the figure
of Khons, which took a voyage into Syria to cure the sister-in-law of
one of the latter Ramessids, we can hardly believe it was more than a

    [267] MASPERO, _Annuaire de l'Association des Études Grecques_,
    1877, p. 132.

    [268] See the often-quoted story of a voyage taken by a statue
    of Khons to the country of Bakhtan and its return to Egypt. DE
    ROUGÉ, _Étude sur un Stèle Égyptienne appartenant à la
    Bibliothèque Nationale_, 8vo, 1856.

In spite of their number the statues of the gods must have attracted
much less attention than those of the kings. The Pharaoh who built a
temple filled it with his own effigies; his colossi sat before the
gate, they helped to form those structural units which we call Osiride
piers, and figures of smaller size were ranged under the porticos. In
that part of the Great Temple at Karnak which dates from the
eighteenth dynasty, statues of Thothmes III. alone have been found to
the number of several dozens; their broken fragments may be identified
in every corner.[269]

    [269] MARIETTE, _Karnak_, p. 36. See also his _Abydos, Catalogue
    Général_, § 2, p. 27.

Among the countless votive offerings with which a great building like
that at Karnak was filled, there were a few statues of private
individuals. "The right to erect statues in the temples belonged (as
we should say) to the crown. We find therefore that most of the
private statues found in the sacred inclosures are inscribed with a
special formula: 'Granted, by the king's favour, to so and so, the son
of so and so....' Permission to place a statue in a temple was only
given as a reward for services rendered. The temple might be either
that of the favoured individual's native town, or one for which he had
peculiar veneration.... Civil and foreign wars, the decay of cities,
and the destruction of idols by the Christians, have combined to
render statues of private persons from public temples of very rare
occurrence in our collections."[270]

    [270] MASPERO, in the _Monuments de l'Art Antique_ of Rayet.

The tombs were the proper places for private statues; we have seen
that at Memphis they were set up in the courtyards and hidden in the
serdabs, that at Thebes they were placed, either upright or sitting,
in the depths of the hypogea.[271]

    [271] _Description, Antiquités_, vol. iii. p. 41.

Figures in the round, whether gods, kings, or private persons, were
always isolated. They were sometimes placed one by the side of the
other, but they never formed groups in the strict sense of the word.
In the whole of Egyptian sculpture there is but one group, that of the
father, mother, and children; and this was repeated without material
change for thousands of years. The Egyptian artist can hardly be said
to have composed or invented it; it was, so to speak, imposed upon him
by nature. Those groups which became so numerous in Hellenic art as
soon as it arrived at maturity, in which various forms and opposed or
complementary movements were so combined as to produce a just
equilibrium, are absolutely wanting in Egypt.

The Greeks were the first of the antique races to love the human form
for itself, for the inherent beauty of its lines and attitudes.
Certain traces of this sentiment are to be found in the decorative art
of Egypt, in which motives that are at once ingenious and picturesque
are often met with, but it is almost entirely absent from sculpture.
Modelled forms are hardly ever anything more than skilful tracings
from reality. In the sepulchral system the sculptor supplies relays of
bodies, stone mummies which may take the place of the embalmed corpse
when it is worn out; in the temples his business is to set up concrete
symbols of an idea, emblems of one of the divine powers, or of the
majesty of Pharaoh.

The infinite number of combinations which may be obtained by the
association of several persons of different ages and sexes in one
action, makes the group the highest achievement of an art at once
passionate and scientific, such as the sculpture of Greece and
Florence. To such a height the Egyptians never soared, but they well
understood the more or less conventional methods which are at the
command of the sculptor. They produced figures in the round by
thousands; most of them were smaller than nature, many were life-size,
while a few surpassed it with an audacity to which no parallel can be
found elsewhere. Here and there we find a figure, no more than some
three or four inches high, to which its maker has contrived to give a
freedom of attitude, a breadth of execution, and a nobility of
presence which are quite astonishing. Look, for instance, at the
reproduction of a little wooden statuette which borders this page
(Fig. 234); it is identical in size with the original. Its date is
unknown, but we should be inclined to refer it to the Ancient Empire.
The air of this little personage is so proud and dignified that he
might well be a reduction from a colossus.

[Illustration: FIG. 234.--Wooden statuette belonging to M.
Delaroche-Vernet. Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

What we call busts, that is, figures which consist of nothing but the
head and the upper part of the trunk, were not unknown to the
Egyptians. All the descriptions mention the existence in the Ramesseum
of two colossal busts of Rameses II., the one in black, the other in a
parti-coloured black and red, granite.

It would seem that all the colossi were of stone, especially of the
harder kinds. Wood was used for life-size figures and statuettes,
particularly the latter. Terra-cotta coated with enamel was hardly
used for anything but very small figures. It was the same with bronze,
which was seldom employed in large figures. We do not know whether the
Egyptians in their days of independence made bronzes as large and
larger than life, as the Greeks constantly did. One of the largest
pieces known is the Horus in the Posno collection (Fig. 44, Vol. I.).
It is about three feet high. It forms a single casting with the
exception of the arms, which were added afterwards. The finish of the
head is remarkable, and the eyes appear to have been encrusted with
enamel or some other precious material, which has since disappeared.
The hands seem to have held some vessel for pouring libations which,
being of silver or gold, must have been detached at a very early
period. The execution recalls the finest style of the eighteenth

[Illustration: FIG. 235.--Bronze cat. Drawn by Saint-Elme Gautier.]

The highest use to which sculpture can be put is the rendering of the
human figure, but Egyptian sculptors did not disdain to employ their
chisels upon the portraiture of those animals which were objects of
devotion in their country. We possess excellent representations of
most of these; the figure of a cat which we take from the cases of the
Louvre is an average specimen (Fig. 235). The lion was equally well
rendered. In the bas-reliefs we sometimes find him turned into a sort
of heraldic animal by the addition of emblematic designs upon his
flanks and shoulders (Fig. 236); but, even where he is most
simplified, his outlines and general movements are truthful in the
main. Sometimes we find him in full relief, modelled with singular
power and sincerity. This is the case with a bronze lion which must
once have formed a part of some kind of padlock, if we may judge from
the few links of a chain which are still attached to it.[272] Although
this animal bears the ovals of Apries, and therefore belongs to the
lowest period of Egyptian art, its style is vigorous in no common

    [272] MARIETTE, _Notice du Musée_, No. 1010.

[Illustration: FIG. 236.--Lion, from a Theban bas-relief; from

The Egyptians were as much impressed as other eastern peoples by the
strength and beauty of these animals, which in their days must have
abounded in the deserts of Syria and Ethiopia. They were chosen to be
the emblems of royal courage;[273] a lion's head was placed upon the
shoulders of Hobs, and that of a lioness upon the shoulders of Sekhet.
Finally it was from the lion that the first idea of that fictitious
animal which the Greeks called a sphinx, was taken.

    [273] At Tell-el-Amarna we find the lion marching by the side of
    the king (LEPSIUS, _Denkmæler_, vol. vi. pl. 100).

"At first the sphinx can have been nothing but a lion placed to guard
the entrance to a temple. The combination of a man's head, which was
always that of a king, with a lion's body, must have been a result of
the national love for symbolism. The king himself, as represented by
this association of physical with intellectual strength, acted as
guardian of the building which he had founded. There was a radical
distinction between the Greek sphinx and that of the Egyptians. The
latter propounded no enigma to the passer-by, and the author of the
treatise, _Upon Isis and Osiris_, was in sympathy with his times when
he wrote: 'There was nothing behind the mysteries of the Egyptians but
their philosophy, which was seen as if through a veil. Thus they
placed sphinxes before the gates of their temples, meaning by that to
say that their theology contained all the secrets of wisdom under an
enigmatic form.' Evidently, the Egyptians did not mean so much as is
sometimes thought."[274]

    [274] MARIETTE, _Voyage dans la Haute-Égypte_, vol. ii. p. 9.

[Illustration: FIG. 237.--Bronze lion, Boulak. Drawn by Bourgoin.]

We have already reproduced many examples of what may be called the
classic form of sphinx, his head covered with the _klaft_ and his paws
extended before him (Figs. 41 and 157, Vol. I.). But the type included
several secondary varieties. Sometimes the forepaws are replaced by
human hands holding symbolic objects (Figs. 227 and 238); sometimes
the head of a hawk is substituted for that of a man. The animals which
form many of the _dromoi_ at Karnak are called crio-sphinxes (Fig.
205, Vol. I.), but the name is an unhappy one, because they have
nothing in common with a sphinx but the position. They are rams and
nothing else.

The Greek word σφίγξ is feminine. The sphinx with female
breasts is, however, very rare in Egypt. Wilkinson only knew of one,
in which the Queen Mut-neter of the eighteenth dynasty was

    [275] Upon the significance of the sphinx and its different
    varieties, see WILKINSON, _Manners and Customs_, etc. vol. iii.
    pp. 308-312. Wilkinson brings together on a single plate (vol.
    ii. p. 93) all the fantastic animals invented by the Egyptians.
    See also MASPERO, _Mémoire sur la Mosaïque de Palestrine
    (Gazette Archéologique, 1879)_.

[Illustration: FIG. 238.--Sphinx with human hands. Bas-relief; from

The Egyptians were not content with confusing the figures of men and
animals in their images of the gods, they combined those of quadrupeds
and birds in the same fashion. Thus we sometimes find wings upon the
backs of gazelles and antelopes, and now and then a curious animal
compounded of a hawk's head and a nondescript body (Fig. 239). Whether
such fantastic quadrupeds were consciously and deliberately invented
by the Egyptian artists or not, we have no means of deciding. In a
period when there was none of that scientific culture which alone
enables men to distinguish the possible from the impossible, they may
well have believed in winged and bird-headed animals with four legs.
For the Greeks of Homer's time, and even for their children's
children, the chimera and his kindred were real. They knew where they
lived, and they described their habits. In a picture at Beni-Hassan,
these imaginary beasts are shown flying before the hunter, and mixed
up with the undoubted denizens of the mountains and deserts.[276]
Such representations must have been common upon those objects--partly
manufactured in Egypt, partly imitated in Phœnicia--which the
enterprising inhabitants of the latter country distributed all over
Western Asia, and the basin of the Mediterranean. They had a large
share of that mystic and enigmatic character which has always been an
attraction in the eye of the decorator. They may have helped to
develop a belief that the curious beings represented upon them existed
in some corner of the world, and they certainly did much to form those
decorative types which have been handed down through Greece to the
modern ornamentist.

    [276] MASPERO, _Les Peintures des Tombeaux Égyptiens et la
    Mosaïque de Palestrine_, p. 82 (_Gazette Archéologique_, 1879).

[Illustration: FIG. 239.--Quadruped with the head of a bird. From
Champollion, pl. 428 _bis_.]

§ 7. _The Technique of the Bas-reliefs._

Work in low relief held such an important place in the affections of
the Egyptian sculptor that we must study its processes in some detail.

In the first place, it was almost invariably painted. Those
bas-reliefs which show no trace of colour may be looked upon as

Secondly, the depth of the relief varied as much as it could, from the
almost detached figures of the Osiride piers to the delicate salience
of the carvings upon the steles and tomb-walls. A few works in very
high relief have been found in the mastabas (Fig. 120, Vol. I.),[277]
but they are quite exceptional; the depth is usually from two to
three millimetres. It is the same with the Theban tombs. It is only in
the life-size figures that the relief becomes as much as a centimetre,
or a centimetre and a half in depth; articulations, the borders of
drapery, and the bounding lines of the contour, are indicated with
much less salience.

    [277] See also LEPSIUS, _Denkmæler_, part ii. pl. 11, and a tomb
    at El Kab (_Eilithyia_). MARIETTE (_Voyage dans la
    Haute-Égypte_, plate 6 and page 37) cites, as a curious example
    of a bolder relief than usual, the scenes sculptured upon the
    tomb of Sabou, especially the picture showing the servants of
    the defunct carrying a gazelle upon their shoulders.

The processes used in Egyptian reliefs were three in number, one of
those three, at least, being almost unknown elsewhere.

The commonest of the three is the same as that in favour with the
Greeks, by which the figures are left standing out from a smooth bed,
which is sometimes slightly hollowed in the neighbourhood of their
contours. When limestone was used, this method was almost always
preferred, as that material allowed the beds to be dressed without any

Sometimes, on the other hand, the figure is modelled in relief in a
sunk hollow, which is from half an inch to an inch and a half deep
(Fig. 240). This method of proceeding, which is peculiar to Egypt, was
doubtless suggested by the desire to protect the image as much as
possible. For this purpose it was singularly efficient, the high "bed"
of the relief guarding it both from accidental injury, and from the
effects of weather and time. It had one disadvantage, however, in the
confusing shadows which obscured a part of the modelling. This process
was used, as a rule, for the carvings on granite and basalt sarcophagi
(Fig. 195, Vol. I.). It would have cost too much time and labour to
have sunk and polished the surrounding surfaces. This method, when
once taken up, was extended to limestone, and thus we find, among
those objects in the Louvre which were discovered in the Serapeum, a
stele of extremely delicate workmanship, representing Amasis in
adoration before an apis. The head of Amasis is damaged, and we have
preferred to give as a specimen the fine head of Rameses II.,
chiselled in a slab of limestone, which is also in the Louvre (Fig.

In the third system the surface of the figures and the bed, or field,
of the relief are kept on one level. The contours are indicated by
hollow lines cut into the stone. In this case there is very little
modelling. There is not enough depth to enable the sculptor to
indicate different planes, and his work becomes little more than a
silhouette in which the outline is shown by a hollow instead of by the
stroke of a pencil or brush. When more rapid progress than usual had
to be made the Egyptian artist was content with this outline. Most of
those vast historical and biographical scenes which cover the walls of
the Ramesseum and Medinet-Abou (Fig. 173, Vol. I.), were executed by

[Illustration: FIG. 240.--Portrait of Rameses II., Louvre. Drawn by
Saint-Elme Gautier.]

Most of our existing reliefs have come from tombs. In the mastabas
their production was easy enough. The sculptor simply carved the faces
of their limestone walls. But in the hypogea the difficulties were
frequently great, and yet they were always surmounted. The bas-reliefs
in such places were, as a rule, on a small scale. Consequently, the
knobs of flint and the petrified shells with which the sculptor's
chisel was continually coming in contact, must have embarrassed him in
no slight degree. Whereever such unkindly lumps were found, they were
extracted from the rock, the rough holes which they left were squared
and filled up either with a cement which became very hard with time,
or with pieces of stone accurately adjusted. In the latter case, the
joints have been made with such care that it is very difficult to
discover them. In some tomb chambers these insertions are so numerous
that they make up not less than a quarter of the whole surface.[278]

    [278] _Description de l'Égypte, Antiquités_, vol. iii. p. 42.

As soon as the carvings upon the walls were finished, the latter were
covered with a thin layer of stucco. This was hardly ever omitted; it
was laid upon rock, cement, and limestone indiscriminately. It
afforded a better and a more tenacious ground for coloured decoration
than the naked stone.[279]

    [279] BELZONI (_Narrative of the Operations_, etc. pp. 343-365)
    mentions the presence of this stucco upon the colossi of Rameses
    at Ipsamboul as well as on the walls of the tombs in the Bab

The principal place in these bas-reliefs is occupied by human figures,
and after them by those of animals. The accessories, such as the
landscape and inanimate objects are for the most part only slightly
indicated, all the labours of agriculture are illustrated, but only so
far as the action of man is immediately concerned. There is never more
in the way of background than is absolutely necessary for the right
comprehension of the scene.[280] The Greeks followed the same rule. In
this respect the Egyptians were well advised. Their artistic instincts
must have warned them of the true conditions of work in relief, which
cannot, without the greatest peril, attempt to rival the complex
achievements of painting.

    [280] This point is very well brought out by RHIND (_Thebes, its
    Tombs and their Tenants_, etc., pp. 24-25).

To this practice we might suggest a few exceptions, in certain
chiselled pictures at Tell-el-Amarna, and even Thebes itself, in which
the artist seems to have amused himself by reproducing the beauties of
nature, of groves and gardens surrounding palaces and humbler
dwellings, partly for their own sake, partly attracted by some
unwonted aspects of the scene which seem to have been borrowed from
neighbouring countries.

In most cases the Egyptian sculptor made man the centre and _raison
d'être_ of his work, and yet, here and there, he shows himself
curiously solicitous as to the effective arrangement of the scene
about him. It is not without reason, therefore, that some have found
in the Egyptian bas-relief, the origin, the first rough sketch, of
those landscapes of which _Hellenistic_, or as some would say,
_Alexandrian_, art was so fond. One of the most famous of these is the
_Palestrina mosaic_, which presents us with an Egyptian landscape
during the inundation; its buildings, its animals, and the curious
scenes caused by the rising Nile, are rendered with great

    [281] M. MASPERO was the first to start this theory in his paper
    entitled _Les Peintures des Tombeaux Égyptiens et la Mosaïque de

§ 8. _Gems._

A highly civilized society like that of Egypt even in the days of the
Ancient Empire, must have felt the necessity for some kind of seal.
The names and images engraved upon rings must have been used as
signatures even at that early date. We know that from that time
forward the impressions thus made upon wax and clay were employed in
business and other transactions. No engraved stones have come down to
us from the early dynasties, and yet their production must have been
easy enough to those who carved the diorite statue of Chephren. Under
the first Theban Empire, the Egyptians practised the cutting of
amethysts, cornelians, garnets, jasper, lapis-lazuli, green-spar and
white feldspar, obsidian, serpentine, steatite, rock crystal, red
quartz, sardonyx, &c.[282] We do not know whether those early workmen
employed the lapidary's wheel or not,[283] but we may safely say that
they produced some of the finest works of the kind which are known to
us. The annexed illustration of one of the rarest treasures of the
Egyptian collection in the Louvre, will bear out our words (Fig. 241).

    [282] BIRCH, _Guide to (British) Museum_, pp. 70-74.--PIERRET,
    _Catalogue de la Salle Historique_, Nos. 457, 559, _passim_.

    [283] M. SOLDI remarks, in connection with the Mexicans, that
    they managed to cut the hardest rocks and to engrave finely upon
    the emerald with nothing but bronze tools. Prescott and Humboldt
    bear witness to the same fact. The Peruvians also succeeded in
    piercing emeralds without iron. Their instrument is said to have
    been the pointed leaf of a wild plantain, used with fine sand
    and water. With such a tool the one condition of success was
    time (_Les Arts Méconnus_, pp. 352-359).

"A gold ring with a movable square stone, a sardonyx, upon which a
personage seated before an altar is engraved with extraordinary
finish. The altar bears the name _Ha-ro-bes_. The figure is clothed in
a _schenti_; a thick necklace is about his neck: his hair is in short
thick curls: his legs are largely and firmly drawn.

"We are helped to the date of this little work by the engraving on
the reverse, which represents a king wearing the red crown and armed
with a mace, with which he is about to strike an enemy whom he grasps
by the hair. The name of this king is engraved beside him: _Ra-en-ma_,
that is Amenemhat III. The workmanship of this face is, perhaps,
inferior to that of the obverse, the forms are comparatively meagre
and dry; it is however far from being bad."[284]

    [284] PIERRET, _Catalogue de la Salle Historique_, No. 457.

[Illustration: FIG. 241.--Intaglio upon sardonyx, obverse. Louvre
collection. Twice the actual size.]

[Illustration: FIG. 242.--Reverse of the same intaglio.]

The cornelian statuette of Ousourtesen I., which the Louvre has
unhappily lost, belonged to the same period. In the three days of
July, 1830, a terrible fire was directed upon the crowd by the Swiss
stationed in the colonnade of the Louvre. The assailants succeeded,
however, in penetrating into the palace and invading the galleries.
After their final retirement the only thing which was ascertained
beyond a doubt to be missing, was this little statuette, which has
never been heard of since. It was equally valuable for its rarity and
the beauty of its workmanship.[285]

    [285] A description of it will be found in CHAMPOLLION, _Notice
    Descriptive des Monuments Égyptiens du Musée Charles X._, 2nd
    edition, 1827, D. No. 14, p. 55.

The artists of the Second Theban Empire do not seem to have excelled
those of the first, but their works have come down to us in much
greater numbers. The Louvre possesses a considerable number of rings
engraved with the names Thothmes, Amenophis, and others belonging to
the eighteenth and nineteenth dynasties. Their character may be
divined from two examples.

[Illustration: FIG. 243.--Intaglio upon jasper. Louvre. Actual size.]

[Illustration: FIG. 244.--Reverse of the same intaglio.]

"In 1877 the Louvre obtained the stone of a ring finely engraved on
each side with representations of the Pharaoh Thothmes II. It is a
green jasper, quadrangular in shape. On one side the Pharaoh,
designated by his name _Aa-kheper-ra_, has seized a lion by the tail
and is about to strike it with his mace. This scene is emblematic of
the victorious and fearless strength of the sovereign. Its rarity is
extreme. Its significance is enforced by the word _kuen_ or valour
(Fig. 243). On the other side Thothmes is shown discharging his arrows
from the commanding height of his chariot against the enemies who face
him; one falls backwards, another is being trampled under the feet of
the king's horses (Fig. 244). Such a representation is common enough
upon the outsides of the temples, but it is not often found upon
little objects like these."[286]

    [286] P. PIERRET, _Une Pierre Gravée au Nom du Roi d'Égypte
    Thoutmès II._ (_Gazette Archéologique_, 1878, p. 41). This stone
    is placed in Case P of the _Salle Historique_ in the Louvre. M.
    Lenormant has kindly placed at our disposal the _clichés_ of the
    double engraving which was made for M. Pierret's article.

[Illustration: FIG. 245.--Seal of Armais. Louvre. Actual size.]

Sometimes the ring is all of one material, characters and figures
being cut in the metal of which it consists. It is so in the case of
the most conspicuous object among the Egyptian jewels in the Louvre
(Fig. 245), an object which can never have been intended for the
finger; it is too large: it must have been made for use only as a
seal. It is thus described by M. Pierret: "Seal formed of a ring and
movable bezel, both of gold. Upon one face of the bezel the oval of
King Armais, the last prince of the eighteenth dynasty, is engraved.
Upon the other a lion _passant_, the emblem of royal power; it is
surmounted by the words _Nepkhopesch_, lord of valour. Upon the third
and fourth sides are a scorpion and a crocodile respectively. The
execution of this little work is admirable; the design and action of
the lion are especially fine."[287]

    [287] PIERRET, _Catalogue de la Salle Historique_, No. 481.

The ring given by Pharaoh to Joseph as a sign of the authority
delegated to him, may have been such as this.[288] The cheapest rings
had bezels of faience or schist covered with enamel. The scarabs were
cut as a rule from soft stone.

    [288] Genesis xli. 42.

In gem-cutting the Egyptians made use both of the intaglio process and
of relief, but the greater fitness of the former for the work to be
done by a signet made it their especial favourite. They were ignorant
of the process we call cameo, in which the differently coloured layers
of the sardonyx are taken advantage of to produce contrast of tint
between the relief and its bed.

A few Egyptian cylinders, in earthenware or soft stone enamelled, are
known. They bear royal ovals; the British Museum has one which seems
to date from the twelfth dynasty. Their employment seems never to have
become very general.[289]

    [289] BIRCH, _History of Ancient Pottery_, p. 72. PIERRET,
    _Catalogue de la Salle Historique du Louvre_, Nos. 499, 500,

§ 9. _The Principal Conventions in Egyptian Sculpture._

Whether it were employed upon wood, upon limestone, or upon the harder
rocks, whether it were cutting colossi in the flanks of the sandstone
hills, or carving the minute images of its gods and kings in the stone
of a signet ring, the art of Egypt never shook itself free from those
intellectual conceptions which were impressed upon its first
creations; it remained true to the tendencies of its infancy; it
preserved the same fundamental qualities and defects; it looked upon
nature with the same eyes, and interpreted her in the same fashion,
from the first moment to the last.

These methods and processes, and the conventionalities of artistic
interpretation which maintained themselves through all the changes of
taste, have still to be considered. They are the common features by
which works which differ greatly in execution are brought into
connection, and are to be found as clearly marked in a statue dating
from the time of Amasis and Nectanebo as in one from the Ancient

Some of the conventions of Egyptian art are to be explained by the
constitution of the human mind and by the conditions under which it
works when it attempts plastic reproductions for the first time;
others appear to spring from certain habits of thought peculiar to
Egyptian civilization. There is yet a third class which must be
referred to purely technical causes, such as the capabilities of the
materials and tools employed. The influence which these exercised over
the artistic expression of thought has been too often underrated. We
shall endeavour to recognize their full importance.

When we glance at an Egyptian bas-relief, we perceive in it certain
imperfections of rendering which we may have often noticed before,
either in the early works of other races or in the formless designs
which quite young children scribble upon paper. The infancy of art and
the art of infancy have much in common.

We are accustomed to processes which are scientifically exact.
Profiting by the accumulated learning of so many centuries even the
school-boy, among us, understands perspective. We are, therefore, apt
to feel too much surprise at the awkwardness and inaccuracy which we
find in the works of primitive schools, in transcripts produced by man
in the presence of nature without any help from the experience of
older civilizations. If we wish to do justice to those early artists,
we must endeavour to realize the embarrassment which must have been
theirs, when they attempted to reproduce upon a flat surface those
bodies which offered themselves to their eyes with their three
dimensions of height, width, and depth, and with all the complications
arising from foreshortening and perspective, from play of light and
shade, and from varied colour. Other perplexities must have arisen
from the intersection and variety of lines, from the succession of
planes, from the necessity for rendering or at least suggesting the
thickness of objects!

When the desire to imitate natural objects began to make itself felt
in man he received his first drawing lesson from the sun. Morning and
evening its almost horizontal rays threw his silhouette sharply upon
the white rocks and walls, and nothing was easier than to fix the
outline of the image thus projected with a piece of charcoal or burnt
wood; after this beginning it was easy to imitate such a sun-picture
either in large or in small. Such figures were of necessity profiles,
as the silhouette given by a head viewed in front would be very
uncertain and indistinct.

The profiles of men and of the lower animals must, then, have played a
chief part in these early efforts towards design. In this there is
nothing at variance with our daily experience. The back view need
hardly be taken into account, and there are two lateral positions, the
right and left profiles, against one for the front face. Finally, the
fact that the front face consists of two parts which have to be kept
in absolute symmetry with one another, makes it much more difficult of
treatment by the novice. Even in the productions of skilful artists we
often find that this symmetry has been missed. It is the profile that
is first attacked by beginners in the art of drawing, and it is the
profile which always remains most comprehensible for simple
intelligences. The fellah who is present at the opening of one of
those tombs which were constructed by his remote ancestors, at once
recognizes the animals represented and the meaning of their attitudes
and grouping. Wilkinson noticed this on several occasions. But if an
European drawing be shown to the same man, he will be hopelessly
bewildered by the foreshortening, the perspective, and the play of
light and shade. He will no longer be able to distinguish a bull from
a horse or an ass.

In their bas-reliefs, and in their paintings, the Egyptian artists
made almost exclusive use of the profile,[290] but, by a singular
compromise, we sometimes find it combined with an attitude of body
which would strictly require a full, or at least a three-quarter face.
The silhouette in its integrity seems to have been thought
insufficient, and the desire to reproduce a more complete image led
them to invent the compromise in question.

    [290] In turning over the leaves of Champollion we have found
    but two exceptions to this rule. In the Temple of Seti, at
    Gournah, that king is shown, in a bas-relief, in the act of
    brandishing his mace over the heads of his prisoners. The group
    is the usual one, but in this case two of the vanquished are
    shown in full face (pl. 274). At the Ramesseum, also, one man in
    a long row of prisoners is shown in a similar attitude (pl.

In Egyptian profiles the eye is drawn as if for a full face. It has
been asserted that this is the result of profound calculation, that,
"in spite of facts, the Egyptian painter chose to give predominant
importance to that organ in the human visage which is the window of
the soul."[291] We believe that the true explanation is rather more
simple. While the lines of the nose and mouth are more clearly marked
in the profile than in the front face, it is in the latter only that
the eye is able to display its full beauty. When seen from the side it
is small, its lines are short and abrupt, and the slightest change in
the position of the head affects its contours in a fashion which is
very puzzling to the unlearned artist. When a child attempts to draw a
head it gives their true form to the lips and the nose, but in nine
cases out of ten it draws the eye as if seen in full face; and art in
its childhood did as children do still.

    [291] CH. BLANC, _Grammaire des Arts du Dessin_, p. 469.

We find a similar want of concord between the trunk and the limbs.
Feet and legs are shown in profile while the body to which they belong
stands squarely facing us. Both the shoulders are seen in equal
fulness, and the attachment of the arms is often faulty (Fig. 246).
Sometimes they seem to be broken at the shoulder. Again, the hands are
nearly always in such a position as to exclude all doubt as to the
number of fingers they possess.

It appears, therefore, that the artist chose the aspect which seemed
to him the most natural for each part of the body. It was the
resulting contradiction that was against nature. The feeling from
which it sprang was identical with that which led Egyptian artists, to
make what we may call "projections" when they wished to represent
buildings. The fixed idea of the draughtsman was to show all the sides
of his object at a glance, to exhibit details which in reality were
partly hidden by each other. Thus we find that, in certain
bas-reliefs, both clothes and the nudity which those clothes were
intended to cover are carefully portrayed. In a bas-relief at
Tell-el-Amarna, a queen who is waiting on Amenophis IV. is dressed in
a long robe reaching to her feet, and yet all her forms are rendered
with as much care and detail as if there were no veil between their
beauty and the eye of the spectator (Fig. 247).

[Illustration: FIG. 246.--Bas-relief from Sakkarah. Fifth dynasty.]

An arbitrary combination of a similar character is employed by the
Egyptian artist when he wishes to show a number of persons behind one
another on a horizontal plane; he places them vertically one above the
other. The great battle pictures at Thebes are an instance of this
(Fig. 13, Vol. I.). Enemies still fighting are mingled with dead and
wounded into one confused heap in front of Pharaoh's car, and reach
from top to bottom of the relief. The same convention is to be found
in the ranks of prisoners, workmen, or soldiers, marching over a flat
surface; they are arranged in a kind of echelon upon the field of the
relief (Fig. 42).[292]

    [292] For other conventional methods, of a similar though even
    more remarkable kind but of less frequent occurrence, see
    WILKINSON, _Manners and Customs_, etc., vol. ii. p. 295. The
    same ruling idea is found in those groups in the funerary
    bas-reliefs, which show husband and wife together. The wife's
    arm, which is passed round the body of the husband, is absurdly
    long (LEPSIUS, _Denkmæler_, part 11, plates 13, 15, 91, 105,
    etc.; and our Figs. 164 and 165, Vol. I.). This is because the
    sculptor wished to preserve the loving gesture in question
    without giving up the full view of both bodies to which his
    notions committed him. One could not be allowed to cover any
    part of the other, they could not even be brought too closely
    together. They were placed, therefore, at such a distance apart
    that the hand which appears round the husband's body is too far
    from the shoulder with which it is supposed to be connected.

Faulty though these conventions seem to us, they did not disturb the
Egyptian spectator. He was familiar with them by long usage, and his
intellect easily re-established the true relation between the various
parts of objects so strangely distorted. Even as art matured and as,
in some respects, the skill of the Egyptian sculptor increased, he
never felt himself impelled to abandon these primitive methods of
interpretation. Graphic conventions are like those belonging to
written and spoken language; when once established, even those which
seem most absurd to the stranger are rendered acceptable by habit, and
the native does not even suspect the existence of anomalies which
bewilder the foreign visitor.

[Illustration: FIG. 247.--The Queen waiting on Amenophis IV.:
Tell-el-Amarna. From Prisse.]

Speaking generally, we may say that there is no perspective in
Egyptian paintings and reliefs. And yet we find sincere efforts to
render things in a less arbitrary fashion in certain works dating
from the Second Theban Empire. Look, for instance, at the attempt made
by an artist in the tomb of Chamhati to show five persons walking
almost in line. Instead of being one above another they are on one
level (Fig. 248). One of the five is rather behind the rest; the head
and most of his body are visible. The other four advance to their
front. In order that they may all be seen, the sculptor has shown them
as they would appear to one standing on their right and slightly in
front; the relief, therefore, has four planes. The three farther
figures are shown by the contours alone. This is perspective, although
it is hardly correct. The retreating line of polls sinks as it should,
but so do the elbows, and they ought to rise.

[Illustration: FIG. 248.--Bas-relief from the eighteenth dynasty. From

This relief gives evidence of considerable progress and, supposing it
to be the first of its kind, the sculptor who made it would deserve
the credit of having breathed a new life into Egyptian art. But he was
not the first; others had made use of the same method, but always
within strictly defined limits. It was employed when a few persons
had to be brought in who were all in one attitude and making the same
gesture,[293] but it was never used as a starting-point for
modifications upon the traditional modes of rendering either isolated
figures or groups of figures. The Egyptians made use of these until
the last days of their civilization without ever appearing to suspect
their childish character.

    [293] Our Fig. 217 gives another instance of the employment of
    this method, and even in the time of the Ancient Empire the idea
    had occurred to the Egyptian artists (Fig. 201).

In the case of animals, a firmly-drawn profile was enough to make them
easily recognizable. And yet, even in the time of the Ancient Empire,
we find distinct efforts to give some variety to these silhouettes.
Sometimes the oxen turn their heads towards the spectator, sometimes
they swing them round to their flanks, as if to chase away the flies:
but even then the heads are shown in profile.[294] At Beni-Hassan we
find an advance upon this. In a hunting scene, a lion, who has just
brought down an ibex, is shown full face,[295] but neither here or
anywhere else has an attempt been made to draw the body of the animal
otherwise than in profile.

    [294] LEPSIUS, _Denkmæler_, part ii. pl. 47 and 61.

    [295] WILKINSON, _Manners and Customs_, etc., vol. ii. p. 88.

In his family groups the Egyptian sculptor marked the superiority of
the husband and father in a similarly naïve fashion. He made him much
taller than the persons about him. The same contrivance was employed
to mark the distinction between gods or kings and ordinary men, and
between the latter and animals (Fig. 57, Vol. I.). This solution of
the problem is universal in the infancy of art. It was adopted by the
Assyrians, the Persians, the primitive Greeks, and our own ancestors
of the middle ages. It is easier to give a figure double or threefold
its proper size than to add greatly to the dignity and nobility of its

In their desire to evade difficulties, the Egyptians slurred over
distinctions upon which a more advanced art would have insisted. For
them every man was in the prime of life, every woman possessed of the
elegant contours of a marriageable virgin. In their work in the round
they proved themselves capable of bringing out individuality, but they
restricted their attentions to the face and hardly attempted to show
how the passage of years affects the contours and the firmness of
flesh in both sexes. In their bas-reliefs and pictures, they employed
outline only. The substance of their figures was modelled neither
materially nor in colour. With such feeble resources as these the
artist would have had great difficulty in suggesting all the
differences of age. He therefore took a middle course. To each sex he
gave that appearance which seemed best calculated to bring out its
peculiar beauties. The one he portrayed in the fulness of manhood, the
other as a young girl. When it was necessary to determine the age of
his subject with some precision he took refuge in such conventional
signs as the finger in the mouth and the long lock of infancy (Fig.

[Illustration: FIG. 249.--Horus as a child, enamelled earthenware.
Actual size. Louvre.]

The sculptors of the Ancient Empire, who laid such stress upon exact
resemblance, seem to have now and then attempted to mark the advancing
age of their models. The head of the great statue of Chephren is that
of a man still young (Fig. 205); that of another statue of the same
king betrays the approach of old age. This example does not seem to
have been followed in later ages. We are tempted to think that each
sovereign on his accession to the throne employed some artist of note
to make his portrait. The latter would set himself to work; would
study his model at first hand, for Pharaoh would perhaps condescend to
sit to him; would bring out the peculiarities of visage which he saw,
and over the whole face and form of the king would spread that air of
flourishing vigour and youth which is common to nearly all the royal
statues. An image would be thus elaborated which should combine both
the truth of portraiture with the conventional semi-divine type. With
the passage of time, according to the talent of the artist, and
perhaps to the character of the royal features, one of these elements
would encroach upon the other. But once established this image would
become a kind of official and authentic standard of the royal
appearance, and would serve as a model for all who might be charged
during the rest of the reign with the reproduction of the king's

There are many facts which support this hypothesis. Among the
countless images of Rameses II. for instance there are some which
according to their inscriptions must have been executed when he was at
least eighty years old; and yet they show him as a young man.

Almost the same thing takes place in our own times. In monarchical
states the sovereign appears upon the coinage as he was at his
accession. His features and the delicacy of his skin are unaffected by
the years, for the die made in his youth has to serve for his old age.
We may almost say the same of the statues and busts in which the royal
features are repeated in the public buildings and public places of the
capital. A single portrait which has once been moderately faithful is
repeated to infinity. We find it everywhere, upon paper, and canvas,
and plaster, and marble, multiplied by every process that science has
given to art. It keeps its official and accepted authenticity
long after age, care, and disease, have made its original

    [296] M. ÉMILE SOLDI (_La Sculpture Égyptienne_) tells us that
    during the reign of Napoleon III. such representations of the
    Emperor as were not taken from the portrait by Winterhalter were
    forbidden to be recognized officially.

There is one convention peculiar to Egyptian art which is not to be
accounted for so easily as the last named. So far as we know, no
reason has ever yet been given for the almost invariable habit of
making such figures as are supposed to be walking thrust their left
legs forward. Almost the only exceptions are in the cases of those
figures in the bas-reliefs which are turned to the spectator's left.
The right leg is then thrust forward (Figs. 18, 24, &c., Vol. I.).
Among works in the round there is hardly an exception to the ordinary
rule. Are we to look upon it as the effects of caprice? of accident
confirmed into a habit? Or was it a result of a superstition
analogous, or, rather, contrary to that of the Romans? The latter
always took care to cross a threshold with the right foot foremost; in
Egypt they may have attached the same ideas to the left foot.
Egyptologists should be able to tell us whether there is anything in
the texts to suggest the existence of such a superstition.

Apart from its ethnic characteristics, the work of the Egyptian
sculptor is endowed with a peculiar physiognomy by a certain stiffness
and rigidity which it hardly ever succeeds in shaking off, even when
it represents figures in motion. A support in the shape of a column at
the back is nearly always introduced; the arms are held close to the
sides; a huge head-dress often enframes the head and hangs down upon
the shoulders in two equal masses; a long and narrow beard springs
from under the chin and lies upon the chest.

Freedom and variety of attitude is equally absent from the seated
statues. The knees are brought together and the hands supported upon
them. We never find an arm raised, a hand opened as if to give force
to speech, or a leg stretched out to relieve the stiffness of the
lines. There is no striving for that suppleness of limb and variety of
pose which the Greeks contrived to obtain even in their Iconic
figures. The face is often full of animation and individual vitality,
the modelling of the trunk and limbs marvellously true and broad, but
the body as a whole is too symmetrical in action and entirely without
_abandon_. The natural movements which spring from ease and liberty
are never employed. Forced and conventional attitudes are universal.

A reason for this has been sought in the supremacy of the sacerdotal
caste. The priests, we are told, must soon have adopted such a type,
or rather several varieties of such a type, as seemed to them
expressive of their own ideas of man when deified by death, of the
king as the son of the gods, of the gods themselves as the protectors
of the Egyptian race. They imposed the perpetuation and constant
reproduction of this type upon artists as a sacred duty, and thus the
Egyptian style was _hieratic_ in its origin and essence.

Such an assertion is easily made. _Hieratic_ is one of those
convenient adjectives whose vagueness discourages critical
examination. What evidence is there that ancient Egypt was ever a
theocracy, in the proper sense of the word? Only once, during so many
centuries, did the Egyptian priests attempt to encroach upon the
privileges of the king. Towards the close of the twentieth dynasty the
prophets of Amen, at Thebes, tried hard to substitute their own
authority for that of the last of the Rameses,[297] but the success of
their usurpation was very shortlived. In Ethiopia alone, among a
people much less highly civilized, sacerdotalism seems to have
acquired an uncontested pre-eminence. In Egypt the king was always the
first of the priests. With the help of an army of scribes and
officials he governed the country and made war; he initiated and
carried on great public works; he developed the industry and commerce
of his subjects. Trade and conquest brought him into relation with
surrounding peoples, and from them he recruited his armies and
obtained agents of every kind.

    [297] MASPERO, _Histoire Ancienne_, p. 272.

The active and warlike heads of a great empire like this were never
the slaves of a despotic clergy. Such a society never allowed the
mechanical reproduction of orthodox types to be forced upon its
artists, until, indeed, its final decadence deprived it of all power
to invent new forms. We have seen how great was the variety of plan
and decoration in Egyptian religious architecture, from the marked
simplicity of the temple near the sphinx, to the sumptuous majesty of
the Theban buildings and the elegance of those of Sais. The style and
taste of Egyptian sculpture underwent a change at each renascence of
art. Why, then, did its practitioners remain faithful to certain
conventional methods of interpretation, whose falsity they must have
perceived, while they modified their work in so many other
particulars? No text has ever been put before us, I will not say from
a Greek, but from an Egyptian source, which suggests that their hands
were less free from religious prescription than those of the

We agree with M. Émile Soldi, who was the first to throw doubt upon
the accepted theories, that the explanation of the apparent anomaly is
to be sought elsewhere.[298] The tyranny from which the Egyptian
sculptor never succeeded in completely freeing himself was not that of
the priests but of the material in which he worked. Aided by his
personal experience M. Soldi has put this fact very clearly before us.
Being at once a sculptor, a medallist, and an engraver upon precious
stones, he is enabled to judge at first hand of the influence which
the material or tool employed may exercise over the style of a work of
art. The style of such a work is the complex product of numerous and
very different factors. To determine the part played by each of these
factors is not always easy; there are too many opportunities for
error. We believe, however, that certain of the most peculiar and
persistent characteristics of Egyptian sculpture are due to the
hardness of their material and the imperfection of the tools employed.

    [298] ÉMILE SOLDI, _La Sculpture Égyptienne_, 1 vol. 8vo, 1876,
    copiously illustrated. (Ernest Leroux.)

We know the connection between the funerary statues of the Egyptians
and their second life; while those statues endured, the existence of
the double was safe guarded. The more solid the statue, the better its
chance; if the former was indestructible the life dependent upon it
would be eternal. It was under the impulse of this idea that the
Egyptians of the Ancient Empire attacked such unkindly materials as
granite, diorite, and basalt. Such statues were beyond the reach of
private individuals. They were reserved for royalty. Of all the works
of the sculptor they were the most carefully and admirably wrought.
They set the fashion, and helped to create those habits which did not
lose their hold even when less rebellious substances came into use.
How did they contrive to cut such hard rocks? Even in our time it can
only be done by dint of long and painful labour and with the aid of
steel chisels of the finest temper. The workman is obliged to stop
every minute to renew the edge of his instrument. But it is agreed on
all hands that the contemporaries of Chephren had to do without steel
chisels. Egyptologists still discuss the question as to whether the
Egyptians made use of iron or not, but even those who believe that its
name occurs among the hieroglyphs admit that its introduction was late
and its employment very restricted.[299] The weapons and tools of the
early Egyptians were of bronze when they were not of stone or hardened
wood; and it has never been proved that either the Egyptians or any
other ancient people understood how to temper that metal in such a
fashion that its hardness approached that of steel. Modern science has
in vain searched for this secret.[300] In any case it is only in a few
rare instances, and upon remains from the New Empire, that the
peculiar markings left by the chisel have been discovered. Those
statues and sarcophagi which have been cut from igneous rocks still
bear traces which may be recognized by the eye of the connoisseur, of
the processes which were employed by their makers.

    [299] See the note of M. CHABAS, "_Sur le nom du fer chez les
    Anciens Égyptiens._" (_Comptes Rendus de L'Académie des
    Inscriptions_, January 23, 1874.)

    [300] Certain alloys, however, have recently been discovered
    which give a hardness far above that of ordinary bronze. The
    metal of the Uchatius gun, which has been adopted by Austria, is
    mixed, for instance, with a certain quantity of phosphorus.

"Granite," says M. Soldi, "is most easily worked by hammering its
surface. To begin with, a heavy tool called a _point_ is brought into
play. This is driven into the material by repeated blows from the
hammer, starring the surface of the granite, and driving off pieces on
all sides. We believe that this _point_ was the habitual instrument of
the Egyptians, not only in roughing out their blocks, but even in
modelling a head-dress or sinking a hieroglyph. Such a tool could not
trace clear and firm contours like those of the chisel, and the
peculiar character of its workmanship is to be easily recognized in
the broken and irregular outline of many of the monuments in the

Another tool employed upon granite in these days is a kind of hammer,
the head of which consists of several _points_ symmetrically arranged.
We may judge of its effects by the appearance of our curb stones,
which are dressed by it; there is nothing to show that it was used by
the Egyptians. A kind of hatchet with two blades is also used for the
same work, and it appears to have been employed by the Egyptians, "who
used it hammer fashion, beating the surface of the material, and
driving off chips of various sizes according to the weight of the
instrument. By these means the desired form could be given with
sufficient rapidity and precision to make the chisel superfluous."
Most of the Egyptian statues in hard stone seem to have been modelled
by the help of an instrument of this kind.

"The surfaces produced by such tools as these had to be polished, the
sketchy roughness left by the _point_ had to be taken down; we find
therefore that the Egyptians always polished their statues."

The Egyptians do not seem to have known either the _file_ or the
_rasp_, a variety of file which is now greatly employed. The dry
markings left by those tools are nowhere to be seen. In the case of
broad surfaces it is probable that a polish was given by hand boards
sprinkled with powdered sandstone and wetted through a hole in the
middle. Flat stones may have sometimes replaced these wooden disks.
When a more brilliant polish was required, emery must have been used.
This substance was found in abundance in the islands of the
Archipelago, and must have been brought to Egypt by the Phœnicians.
Without it the Egyptian artists could not have produced their engraved

By dint of continually retempering the bronze and renewing its edge,
the sculptors of the New Empire succeeded in cutting hieroglyphs upon
a certain number of works in the harder rocks. Perhaps, too, iron may
by that time have come into more general use, and they may have learnt
how to give it extra hardness by tempering. But when granite and
kindred materials had to be cut, the work was commenced with point and
hammer as above described. In the case of some of those very large
figures which had been rather roughly blocked out in the first
instance, the final polishing has not quite obliterated the hollows
left by those rude instruments in the stone, especially where the
journeyman has struck a little too hard. An instance of this may be
seen on the red granite sphinx in the Louvre (Fig. 41, Vol. I.).

M. Soldi is inclined to think that at one period at least the
Egyptians used stone weapons rather than metal ones in their attacks
upon the harder rocks. He tells us that he himself has succeeded in
cutting granites of various hardness with a common flint from the
neighbourhood of Paris. He has done the same with diorite, both by
driving off small chips from it and by pulverizing its surface with
the help of jasper. "This method," he adds, "is excessively long and
tedious, and the jasper, though harder than the diorite, is greatly
damaged in the process. But yet it proves that a statue may be
produced in such fashion, by dint of a great consumption of time and
patience."[301] We must also remember that the hardest rocks are
easier to cut when they are first drawn from the quarry, than after
they have been exposed for a time to the air.

    [301] SOLDI, _Les Arts Méconnus_, p. 492. (1 vol. 8vo, Leroux,

The colours in the bas-reliefs are too much conventionalized to be of
any use in helping us to determine the material of which Egyptian
implements were made. But the forms of all the tools of which we have
been speaking are to be found there. A bas-relief in the tomb of Ti,
in which the manufacture of sepulchral statues is shown, is the oldest
monument which may be quoted in support of our remarks (Fig. 250). On
the left two journeymen are roughly blocking out a statue. Each holds
in his left hand[302] a long and slender tool which cannot be other
than a chisel; this he strikes with a hammer. Two more are at work
polishing another statue, upon which the chisel has finished its work.
It is impossible to say whether the egg-shaped tools which they use
are of stone or wood. As for the statues themselves they must be
limestone figures similar to those which were actually found in the
tomb of Ti (Fig. 183). In the tomb of Obai, at Gournah, we see a
sculptor modelling the fore-paws of a lion (Fig. 251). His blows are
vertical instead of horizontal, but his instruments are identical with
those shown in the tomb of Ti. From the fifth dynasty to the time of
the Rameses, the same bronze chisel and pear-shaped mallet had held
their own.[303]

    [302] It has escaped M. Perrot's notice that one is

    [303] Upon the different kinds of chisels used by the Egyptian
    sculptors, see SOLDI, _La Sculpture Égyptienne_, pp. 53 and 111.
    He includes the toothed chisel and the gouge.

[Illustration: FIG. 250.--Bas-relief from the tomb of Ti.]

Two paintings at Thebes show us the process of executing a royal
colossus in granite (Figs. 252 and 253). Standing upon the plinth and
upon the planks of a scaffold, several workmen do their best to hasten
the completion of the work, which is already far advanced. Seated upon
the topmost pole of the scaffold one workman is busy polishing the
front of the pschent; another stands behind the image, and, holding
his palette in one hand and his brush in the other, spreads his
colours upon its posterior support. It may be asked what the man is
doing who is engaged with both hands upon the chest of the statue. For
an answer to that question we must turn to the second picture, in
which we are shown a seated colossus under the hands of its makers.
The workman who kneels before its head is making use of two
implements. With his left hand he applies to the face of the statue a
pointed instrument, which he is about to strike with the object held
in his right. This action will cause splinters to fly from the
granite. These two instruments are the same as those wielded by the
workman who leans upon the chest of the standing colossus. The latter
seems, however, to pause for a moment's consideration before
proceeding with his work. One of these tools is the _point_ of stone
or metal, the other acts as mallet or hammer. The same tool is to be
recognised in the hand of the man who is at work upon the seat of the
statue; he, however, uses it without any hammer.[304] Leaning upon one
of the cross-pieces of the scaffolding he beats with all his force
upon the stone. The work was perhaps begun in this fashion. In the
same tomb the representation of a sphinx receiving the final touches
which is figured above occurs (Fig. 254). In this painting the
polishing tool is a disk, similar to that in use by one of the workmen
in Fig. 253. The figure on the left carries in a saucer the powder
used for polishing the granite. In his right hand he holds a kind of
brush which was used for spreading the powder upon the surfaces to be

    [304] This man's attitude, the shape of the tool in question,
    and the general significance of the composition, seem rather to
    suggest that he is giving the final polish to the surface of the
    statue. Compare him with the pschent-polisher in Fig. 252.--ED.

[Illustration: FIG. 251.--Bas-relief at Thebes (Champollion, pl.

Fig. 255 shows a workman fashioning a _tet_ with a kind of hatchet or
mattock, which he uses much as if it were a mallet.

[Illustration: FIG. 252.--From a painting at Thebes (Champollion, pl.

The only doubt that remains is as to the _material_ employed by the
Egyptian sculptors in their attacks upon the granite. Were their
mallets and _points_ of stone or of metal? They could only dispose of
instruments which, with the exception of the chisel, were incompatible
with really delicate workmanship. With the latter instrument the
skilful carver can obtain any effect he requires from a material
which is neither too hard nor too soft--such as marble; but the rocks
from which the Egyptians struck their finest work do not lend
themselves kindly to the chisel. To obtain the effects required they
had to expend as much time and patience upon them as upon their works
of architecture. But in spite of the industry and skill of workmen who
did not count their hours, there must always have been a certain
inequality and rudeness in works carried out by instruments that
bruised and shattered rather than cut. The stubbornness of the
material, and the defects of the tools employed, had a double
consequence. In order to avoid all danger of spoiling his figure when
roughing it out, the artist was compelled to err on the side of over
solidity and heaviness; he was obliged to multiply the points of
support, and to avoid anything like delicacy or slightness of parts.
On the other hand, he was forced to fine down and almost to obliterate
the suggestive contours of the living form by the final polish, in
order to correct the irregularities due to the rude and uncertain
nature of his implements.

[Illustration: FIG. 253.--Painting at Thebes (Champollion, pl. 161).]

[Illustration: FIG. 254.--Painting at Thebes (Champollion, pl. 161).]

All this explains the absolute necessity for the supporting blocks
reserved by the Egyptian sculptor at the back of his statues, and for
the great massiveness of their forms. To begin with, the comparative
slenderness of the attachment between the head and the body was an
element of danger. The repeated blows struck by the mallet upon the
point might break it off unless precautions were taken. We find,
therefore, that the _klaft_ head-dress was introduced as often as
possible. Its large ends fell down upon each breast, and acted as
buttresses to the head. When the _klaft_ was not used the hair was
brought together in a solid mass, and, falling to the shoulders, gave
strength to the neck. We may say the same of the long and thick
beard, the shape of which was modified under the pressure of the same
necessity. It is never disengaged and turned up at the end, as we see
it in the paintings. "...The head covering, which is sometimes very
tall and slender, is always supported at the back for nearly the whole
of its height and width. The figure itself is supported either at the
back or the side by a pier of varying thickness...."[305] The stone is
left between the two legs when one is thrust forward, between the arms
and the side, and in the hollows above the hips. Nothing could have
been easier than to remove these masses, after the work was otherwise
complete, by means of the drill. But that instrument, by which the
necessary holes could have been made without dangerous shocks, was
certainly unknown to the Egyptians. They could only have removed the
masses in question by the striking processes we have mentioned,
processes which might result in the breaking of an arm or a leg. The
hardest materials are also, in a sense, the most brittle. If it was
difficult for the sculptor to free the limbs and head of his statue
from the rock in which they were partly imprisoned, how much more
difficult, nay, how impossible, it must have been to give them any
energetic movement--that of running, for instance, or fighting. The
beauty and expressiveness of such movements did not escape his
observation, but a want of material resources compelled him to forego
their reproduction.

    [305] E. SOLDI, _La Sculpture Égyptienne_, pp. 41, 42.

[Illustration: FIG. 255.--Painting at Thebes (Champollion, pl. 186).]

[Illustration: FIG. 256.--Bronze statuette. Actual size. Boulak.]

The truth of these observations is confirmed by the fact that when the
chisel came to be used upon less unkindly materials, the Egyptian
sculptor shook himself free of more than one of those despotic
conventions which tyrannized over the makers of the royal colossi. The
wooden statues have no supporting mass at the back or side; the legs
are separated and free; the arms are no longer fixed to the sides, but
are often bent into easy positions (Fig. 7, Vol. I., and Fig. 178). We
may say the same of bronze (Figs. 179 and 180). We may judge of the
freedom which was often given to works in the latter material by the
beautiful little statuette figured upon this page (Fig. 256). The
limestone figures are not so free. Convenient instruments for ridding
them of superfluous stone were wanting, and, moreover, there was a
certain temptation to imitate those statues in the harder rocks which
were looked upon as the highest achievements of the national art. The
figures were often supported by a mass of stone in which the posterior
surfaces of the legs were imbedded. Sometimes, however, this support
was absent, and in that case attitudes became extremely various (Fig.
48, Vol. I., and Figs. 192, 194, 195, Vol. II.), perfect ease and
suppleness being often attained. Further confirmation of our theory is
afforded by those little ornamental articles which may be referred to
the industrial rather than the fine arts. In them we find the figures
of men and animals introduced with the most playful and easy skill.
The spontaneity of their grouping and the facility with which the most
lively actions are pressed into the service of the artist, are
remarkable. The graceful and almost athletic figures of swimming girls
which form the handles of so many perfume spoons may be given as
instances of this (Fig. 257). The qualities which are so conspicuous
in these little works are absent from the official and monumental art
of Egypt, because the materials and tools employed hindered their
development and prevented the happy genius of the Egyptian people from
reaching complete fruition.

[Illustration: FIG. 257.--Spoon for perfumes. Louvre. Drawn by
Saint-Elme Gautier.]

This influence is to be recognized in the modelling as well as in the
pose of Egyptian statues: their general forms are fairly well
understood and expressed, but there is none of that power to suggest
the muscles under the skin, and the bones under the muscles, which
distinguishes Greek sculpture. The suppleness and elasticity of living
flesh are entirely wanting. Everything is in its place, but details
are as much suppressed as if the work were to be seen at a distance at
which they would be invisible.

The admirable portraits which have been unearthed in such numbers and
the skilful modelling of many an isolated work, prove that it was
neither the power of observation nor that of manipulation that was
wanting. Why, then, was it that the Egyptians failed to advance
farther upon the road that led to mastery in their art? It was due to
their infatuation for granite. Even when they worked in soft stone
their manipulation was governed by the capabilities of the more
stubborn material. The chisel alone can give those truthful and
delicate contours without which no sculpture can reach perfection, and
the chisel could hardly be used on any material but limestone or wood.
The granite or basalt statue, roughly blocked out with tools which
imperfectly obeyed the hand, could only be brought to completion with
the sand or emery of the polisher. No refinement of execution could be
hoped for under such conditions. Every surface was flattened and every
expressive ridge smoothed down, and the appearance of superficial
finish thus obtained involved many sacrifices.

The abuse of this latter process is one of the great defects of
Egyptian technique; but there was another, and, perhaps, more potent
cause of failure. The method of writing adopted by the Egyptians, and
elaborated at a very early date, must have had a greater effect upon
their plastic arts than has generally been supposed. The characters
employed by them, at least in monumental situations, were not merely
symbols of sounds, as the characters of later syllabic or alphabetic
forms of writing became; they were direct images of objects. Practical
requirements soon led to the simplification of such objects, to the
suppression of all details beyond those necessary for identification.
The figures employed were thus soon reduced to mere empty outlines.
Shadow and colour, all those details which distinguish the species of
a genus and the individuals of a species, were carefully and
systematically eliminated. The sign which stood for a lion or a man,
was the same for all lions and all men, although between one man or
one lion and another there are differences of stature, of age, of
colour, of strength, and of beauty.

Now, in the early ages of Egyptian civilization, when the hieroglyphs
in the Memphite necropolis were chiselled in relief, the same hand
must have been employed upon the portraits of any particular
inhabitants of a tomb and upon the inscriptions which accompanied
them. Thus we find upon the panels from the tomb of Hosi (Figs.
174-6), that there is no appreciable difference between the technique
of the figures and of the accompanying characters. The same firm and
lively handling is visible in both. The images which play the part of
written characters are much smaller than the three portraits, and that
is all. The crafts of scribe and sculptor were thus combined in one
man; his chisel traced indifferently funerary portraits and
hieroglyphs. When the use of papyrus led to much and rapid writing,
the two professions were separated. The scribe wrote sometimes with
the kalem upon papyrus, sometimes with the brush or the point upon
wood, stucco, or stone. But he always found enough to do in his own
profession without combining it with another.

Sculptors and painters multiplied on their side with the
multiplication of the royal and divine images; they represented the
king fighting against the enemies of Egypt or returning thanks to the
gods for their assistance, and the king's subjects accompanying him to
battle, or busied over the varied labours of a civilized society. They
had to observe life and to study nature. By dint of so doing they
created a style, a certain method of looking at and interpreting
natural facts which became common to all the artists of Egypt. One of
the most striking features of this style is the continual endeavour to
strip form of all that is accidental and particular, to generalize and
simplify it as much as possible, a tendency which finds a very natural
explanation in the early endeavours of the Egyptians to represent, in
their writing, the concrete shapes of every being in earth or sky.
This habit of making plastic epitomes of men and animals, and even of
inanimate things, was confirmed by the persistent use of ideographic
characters during all the centuries of Egyptian civilization. The
profession of the scribe was in time separated from that of the
sculptor, but the later preserved some of the marked characteristics
which it put on before this division of labour was finally
established. The Egyptian eye had become accustomed to see things
represented in that simplified aspect of which the hieroglyphs are so
striking an example, and to deprive individuals, by a kind of
unconscious abstraction, of those details by which they stood out from
their species as a whole.

The most original features of Egyptian sculpture and its arrested
development must, then, be referred, on the one hand to the nature of
the materials employed, and, on the other, to the habits contracted
during many centuries of ideographic writing.[306] It has long been
the fashion to attribute capital importance to what is called a canon,
in describing the origin of the Egyptian style. The ideas which have
been published on this question seem to us manifestly exaggerated; we
must examine them a little closely.

    [306] M. CH. BLANC had a glimmering of the great influence
    exercised over the plastic style of Egypt by the hieroglyphs;
    see his _Voyage dans la Haute-Égypte_, p. 354.

The word _canon_ comes from the Greek κάνων, a _rule_. As
applied to the arts it has been defined as "a system of measurements
by the use of which it should be possible to tell the size of any part
by that of the whole, or the size of the whole by that of any one of
its parts."[307] The idea of proportion, upon which every canon must
rest, is a creation of the brain. A canon, therefore, is the result of
those searching and comprehensive generalizations of which only races
with great intellectual gifts are capable. Each of the arts may have
its canon, or rule of proportion, establishing a proper relation
between all the elements of its creations and easily expressible in

    [307] _Dictionnaire de l'Académie des Beaux-Arts_, under the
    word _Canon_.

The finest examples of a canon as applied to architecture are
furnished by the Greek orders. Given the smallest member of an Ionic
or Doric order, the dimensions of all the other members of the column
and its entablature may be calculated with almost complete accuracy.
There is nothing of the kind in Egyptian architecture. There is no
constant proportion between the heights and thicknesses of the shaft,
the capital, and the entablature; there is no constant relation
between their shapes. In a single building, and in a single order, we
find proportions varying between one hall or court and another.

The word _canon_ has an analogous sense when applied to sculpture. We
establish a canon when we say that a figure should be so many heads
high, and that its limbs should bear a certain proportion to the same
unit. It would be the same if, as has often been proposed, the medius
of the hand were erected into the unit of measurement, except that the
figure would then be divided into a larger number of parts. Both
ancients and moderns have investigated this question, but we need not
dwell upon the results of their inquiries. The Greeks had the canon of
Polycletus; the Romans that of Vitruvius, while Leonardo da Vinci set
an example to the numerous artists who have investigated the question
since his time.[308]

    [308] These researches are described in the chapter entitled
    _Des Proportions du Corps Humain_ of M. CH. BLANC'S _Grammaire
    des Arts du Dessin_, p. 38.

Had the Egyptians a canon? Did they choose some one part of the human
body and keep all the other parts in a constant mathematical relation
with it? Did their canon, if they had one, change with time? Is it
true that, in deference to the said canon, all the artists of Egypt
living at one time gave similar proportions to their figures?

It has sometimes been pretended that in each century the priests
decided upon the dimensions, or at least upon the proportions, to be
given by artists to their figures. Such an assertion can hardly be
brought into harmony with the facts observed.

The often quoted words of Diodorus have been taken as a text: "The
Egyptians claim as their disciples the oldest of the Greek sculptors,
especially Telecles and Theodoros, both sons of Rhæcos, who executed
the statue of the Pythian Apollo for the inhabitants of Samos. Half of
this statue, it is said, was executed at Samos by Telecles, the other
half at Ephesus by Theodoros, and the two parts so exactly fitted each
other that the whole statue appeared to be the work of a single
sculptor. After having arranged and blocked out their stone, the
Egyptians executed the work in such fashion that all the parts adapted
themselves one to another in the smallest details. To this end they
divided the human figure into twenty-one parts and a quarter, upon
which the whole symmetry of the work was regulated."[309]

    [309] DIODORUS, i. 98, 5-7.

We may ask what authority should attach to the words of Diodorus, a
contemporary of Augustus, in a matter referring to the Pharaonic
period. But when the monuments began to be examined it was proclaimed
that they confirmed his statements. Figures were found upon the
tomb-walls which were divided into equal parts by lines cutting each
other at right angles. These, of course, were the canonical standards
mentioned by Plato and Diodorus.

Great was the disappointment when these squares were counted. In one
picture containing three individuals, two seated figures, one beside
the other, are inscribed in fifteen of the squares; a standing figure
in front of them occupies sixteen.[310] Another figure is comprised in
nineteen squares.[311] In another place we find twenty-two squares and
a quarter between the sole of the foot and the crown of the head.[312]
In yet another, twenty-three.[313] As for the division given by
Diodorus, it never occurs at all, and in fact it is hardly to be
reconciled with the natural punctuation of the human body by its
articulation and points of section.

    [310] LEPSIUS, _Denkmæler_, part iii. plate 12.

    [311] _Ibid._ plate 78. It is in this division into nineteen
    parts that M. Blanc finds his proof that the medius of the
    extended hand was the canonical unit. (_Grammaire_, &c. p. 46.)

    [312] At Karnak, in the granite apartments. See CHARLES BLANC,
    _Voyage de la Haute-Égypte_, p. 232. Two figures upon the
    ceiling of a tomb at Assouan are similarly divided.

    [313] LEPSIUS, _Denkmæler_, part iii. p. 282.

To surmount the difficulty the theory of successive canons was
started; some declared for two,[314] some for three.[315] This theory
requires explanation also. Do its advocates mean that in all the
figures of a single epoch there is a scale of proportion so constant
that we must seek for its cause in an external peremptory regulation?
If, however, we doubt the evidence of our eyes and study the plates in
Lepsius or the monuments in our museums, measure in hand, we shall see
at once that no such theory will hold water. Under the Ancient Empire
proportions varied appreciably between one figure and another. As a
rule they were short rather than tall; but while on the one hand we
encounter certain forms of very squat proportions, amounting almost to
deformity (Fig. 120, Vol. I.), we also find some whose forms are very
lengthy (Fig. 101, Vol. I.). The artists of Thebes adopted a more
slender type, but with them too we find nothing like a rigorous
uniformity. Again, the elongation of the lower part of the body is
much more strongly marked in the funerary statuettes (Fig. 50, Vol.
I.) and in the paintings (Plate XII.) than in statues of the natural
size (Figs. 211, 216) and in the colossi. If there had been a canon in
the proper sense of the term its authority would have applied as much
to those statuettes and bas-reliefs as to the full-sized figures. But,
as a fact, the freedom of the artist is obvious; his conception is
modified only by the material in which he worked. He could not make a
great statue in stone too slender below, as it would want base and
solidity; but as soon as he was easy on that score he allowed himself
to be carried away by the temptation to exaggerate what seemed to him
an especially graceful feature.

    [314] EBERS, _Ægypten_, vol. ii. p. 54. PRISSE, _Histoire de
    l'Art Égyptien_, text, pp. 124-128.

    [315] LEPSIUS, _Ueber einige Kuntsformen_, p. 9. BIRCH, in
    WILKINSON'S _Manners and Customs_, vol. ii. LEPSIUS,
    _Denkmæler_, part ii. pl. 9, p. 270, note 3.

We see, then, that art in Egypt went through pretty much the same
changes and developments as in other countries in which it enjoyed a
long and busy life. Taste changed with the centuries. It began by
insisting on muscular vigour, as displayed in great breadth of
shoulder and thickset proportions generally. In later years elegance
became the chief object, and slenderness of proportion was sometimes
pushed even to weakness. In each of these periods all plastic figures
naturally approached the type which happened to be in fashion, and in
that sense alone is it just to assert that Egyptian art had two
different and successive canons.

The question as to whether the Egyptians ever adopted a unit of
measurement in their rendering of the human figure or not, is
different. Wilkinson and Lepsius thought they had discovered such a
unit in the length of the foot, Prisse and Ch. Blanc in that of the
medius. There is nothing in the texts to support either theory, and an
examination of the monuments themselves shows that sometimes one,
sometimes the other of the two units, is most in accordance with their
measurements. Between the Ancient Empire and the New proportions
differed so greatly that it is impossible to refer them to one unit.
Among the works of a single period we find some that may be divided
exactly by one of the two; others which have a fraction too much or
too little. It has not yet been proved, therefore, that the Egyptians
ever adopted such a rigorous system as that attributed to them. Like
all races that have greatly practised design, they established certain
relations between one part of their figures and another, relations
which gradually became more constant as the national art lost its
freedom and vitality; and they arrived at last at the mechanical
reproduction of a single figure without troubling themselves to
calculate how many lengths of the head, the nose, the foot, or the
medius, it might contain. Their eyes were their compasses, and they
worked--at least under the New Empire and during the Græco-Roman
period--from models which represented the experience of the past. It
is therefore unnecessary to search for an explanation of the
uniformity which characterises their works in the following of a rigid
mathematical system; we must be content to see in it the natural
result of an artistic education into which, as the centuries succeeded
one another, the imitation of previous types, and the application of
traditional recipes entered more and more.

As for the designs traced within lines which cross each other at
regular intervals, they can be nothing but drawings squared for
transferring purposes. _Squaring_ is the usual process employed by
artists when they wish to repeat a figure in different dimensions from
those of the original. Having divided the latter by horizontal and
perpendicular lines cutting each other at regular intervals, they go
through the same operation upon the blank surface to which the figure
is to be transferred, making the lines equal in number to those upon
the original, but the resulting squares larger if the copy is to be
larger, smaller if it is to be smaller, than that original. Egyptian
decorators often made use of this process for the transference of
sketches upon papyrus, stone, or wood, to the wall. Of this practice
we give two examples. The first is an elaborate composition in which
several modifications and corrections of lines and attitudes may be
traced (Fig. 258); the second is an isolated figure (Fig. 259). In
each case the figures extend vertically over nineteen squares. The
first dates from the eighteenth, the second from the nineteenth

    [316] PRISSE, _Histoire de l'Art Égyptien_.

[Illustration: FIG. 258.--Design transferred by squaring. From

The same device is sometimes made use of to transfer heads, and even
animals, from a small sketch to the wall. In the tomb of Amenophis
III., in the Bab-el-Molouk, there is a fine portrait of a prince thus
squared;[317] at Beni-Hassan we find a cow and an antelope treated in
the same fashion.[318]

    [317] LEPSIUS, _Denkmæler_, part iii. pl. 70.

    [318] _Ibid._ plate 152.

Traces of another and yet more simple process are to be found. Before
drawing the figures in his bas-reliefs the artist sometimes marked in
red on the walls the vertical and horizontal lines which would give
the poise of the body, the height of the shoulders and armpits, and of
the lower edge of the drawers. The positions of secondary anatomical
points were marked upon these lines, and the whole formed a rough
guide for the hand of the designer.[319]

    [319] PRISSE, _Histoire de l'Art Égyptien_, text, p. 123.
    LEPSIUS, _Denkmæler_, pl. 65.

The fact that these lines and squares are only found upon a small
number of paintings and bas-reliefs does not prove that their
employment was in any way exceptional. It is probable that one of the
two processes was generally used, but that the colour spread both upon
figures and ground hides their traces. The few pictures in which they
are now to be traced were never completed.

Most of the painters and sculptors to whom the decorations of tombs
and temples were confided must have had recourse to these
contrivances, but here and there were artists who had sufficient skill
and self-confidence to make their sketches directly upon the wall
itself. More than one instance of this has been discovered in those
Theban tombs whose decorations were left unfinished. In a few cases
the design has been made in red chalk by a journeyman and afterwards
corrected, in black chalk, by the master.[320]

    [320] Upon the preparation of the bas-relief, see BELZONI,
    _Narrative of the Operations_, etc. p. 175.

    PRISSE gives several interesting examples of these corrected
    designs, among others a fine portrait of Seti I. (_Histoire_,
    etc. vol. ii.)

    Examples of these corrections are to be found in sculpture as
    well as in painting. Our examination of the sculptures at Karnak
    showed that the artist did not always follow the first sketch
    traced in red ink, but that as the work progressed he modified
    it, and allowed himself to be guided, to some extent, by the
    effects which he saw growing under his hands. The western wall
    of the hypostyle hall contains many instances of this. It is
    decorated with sculptures on a large scale, in which the lines
    traced by the chisel differ more or less from those of the
    sketch. (_Description, Ant._ vol. ii. p. 445.)

[Illustration: FIG. 259.--Design transferred by squaring. From

As the bas-relief was thus preceded a sketch which was more or less
liable to modification, it would seem probable that a similar custom
obtained in the case of the statue. It appears especially unlikely
that those great figures in the harder rocks which represented such
an enormous outlay of manual labour, would be attacked without some
guide which should preserve them from the chance of ruin by some
ill-considered blow. Did the Egyptian sculptor begin, then, with a
clay sketch? There is no positive information on the subject, but in
all those numerous bas-reliefs which represent sculptors at work,
there is not one in which the artist has before him anything in the
shape of a model or sketch to guide him in his task. It is possible
that the sameness of his statues, especially of his colossal figures
in granite or sandstone, enabled the Egyptian to dispense with an aid
which the infinite variety of later schools was to render necessary.

The Egyptian sculptor was contented with a few simple attitudes which
he reproduced again and again. He doubtless began by marking the
salient points and relative heights of the different parts upon his
block. The rock was so hard that there was little risk of his
journeymen spoiling the material by taking away too much, supposing
them to be carefully overlooked. Marble would have been far more
liable to such an accident. Even Michael Angelo, when he worked the
marble with his own hands, spoilt more than one fine block from

Although we have no evidence to show that the Egyptians understood the
use of clay models, we have some idea of the process by which they
were enabled to do without them, and of the nature of their
professional education. The chief Egyptian museums possess works which
have been recognized as graduated exercises in the technique of
sculpture. They are of limestone, and of no great size--from four to
ten inches high. The use of these little models is shown to have been
almost universal by the fact that Mariette found them on nearly every
ancient site that he excavated. Their true character is beyond
doubt.[321] At Boulak there are twenty-seven sculptured slabs which
were found at Tanis. One is no more than a rough sketch, just begun.
By its side is a completed study of the same subjects. Some of these
slabs are carved on both sides; on others we find one motive treated
twice, side by side, once in the state of first sketch, and again as a
finished study. The plaques which bear the heads of cynocephali, of
lions and lionesses, are remarkable for the freedom of their execution
(Figs. 260, 261, and 262).[322] The same may be said of fifteen royal
heads found at Sakkarah. They should be examined together. They
range[323] in order from No. 623, which is a roughly-blocked-out
sketch, to 637, a finished head. One of these models is divided down
the middle, so as to give accent to the profile. A few of them are
squared in order to test the proportions. But even here no canon of
proportion is to be found. "If the squares were based upon some
unchanging unit, they would be identical in every model in which they
occur. But in one of these heads we find three horizontal divisions
between the uræus and the chin; in another four. In most cases the
number of the squares seems to have been entirely due to the
individual caprice or convenience of the artist. There are but two
examples in which another rule seems to have been followed; in them
the proportions of the squares are identical, and their intersections
fall upon the same points. All that may be fairly deduced from this,
however, is that they are the work of the same hands."[324] A second
series of royal heads was found at Tanis; others have been discovered
in the Fayoum. Boulak also possesses models of the ram, the jackal,
and the uræus, of arms, legs, hands, &c. Upon a plaque from Tanis the
figure of Isis appears twice, once as a sketch and once as a finished

    [321] MARIETTE, _Notice du Musée_, Nos. 623-688.

    [322] Nos. 652-654 of the _Notice du Musée_.

    [323] In the Boulak catalogue.

    [324] MARIETTE, _La Galerie de l'Égypte Ancienne à l'Éxposition
    du Trocadéro_, pp. 69, 70.

[Illustration: FIG. 260.--Head of a Cynocephalus.]

[Illustration: FIG. 261.--Head of a Lion.]

[Illustration: FIG. 262.--Head of a Lioness.]

From the style of these remains Mariette is disposed to think that
they were not earlier than the Saite epoch. As the Egyptian intellect
gradually lost its inventive powers, the study of such models as these
must have played a more and more important part in artistic education;
but we have no reason to believe that their use was confined to the
later ages of the monarchy. As artists became accustomed to reproduce
certain fixed types, they gradually lost their familiarity with
nature, and their works became ever more uniform and monotonous. This
tendency is to be easily recognized in Egyptian work long before the
days of Amasis and the Psemetheks; in some degree it is found even in
the productions of the Ancient Empire. The use of the models in
question may have become general at the beginning of the Middle
Empire. But their introduction was not due to the priests, but to the
masters in the arts, who saw that they offered a sure and rapid method
of instructing their scholars.

       *       *       *       *       *

Yet one more cause of the monotony of type which distinguished
Egyptian art after its first renascence remains to be noticed. The
Egyptians were fully conscious of the great antiquity of their
civilization. They thought of other nations much as the Greeks and
Romans of a later age thought of those whom they called barbarians.
When the scribes had to speak of foreigners they made use of a
complete vocabulary of contemptuous terms, and, as always occurs, the
pride of race upon which they were based long survived the condition
of things which formed its justification. The Greek conquest was
necessary to cure the Egyptians of their disdain, or, at least, to
compel them to hide it. Now the visible sign of their superiority was
the beauty of the national type, as elaborated by judicious selection
and represented in art since the earliest days of the monarchy. The
Egyptian was proud of himself when he compared the refined features of
his gods and kings, their graceful attitudes and smiling looks, with
the thick and heavy lines of the negro or the hard and truculent
features of the Libyan and the Syrian nomad. In attempting to
innovate, some danger of lowering the nobility of the type would be
incurred. The pressure of neighbouring races ended by throwing back
the Egyptian frontiers. At one time they were forcibly curtailed by
victorious invasion; at others they were weakened here and there,
allowing the entrance of the shepherds, of foreign merchants, and of
mercenaries of various nationalities. The purity of the Egyptian blood
was menaced, and at all hazards it was necessary to preserve without
alteration the ideal image of the race, the concrete emblem of its
glorious past and the pledge of its high destinies. It was thus that
in Egypt progress was hampered by fear of retrogression. Perfection is
impossible to those who fear a fall.

Another obstacle that helped to prevent the Egyptians from reaching
the perfection which their early achievements seemed to promise, was
their love for colour. They did not establish a sufficiently sharp
line of demarcation between painting and sculpture. They always
painted their statues, except when they carved them in materials which
had a rich natural hue of their own, a hue to which additional
vivacity was given by a high polish. By this means varied tints were
obtained which were in harmony with the polychromatic decoration which
was so near their hearts. Their excuse is to be found in their
ignorance of statuary marble and of the clear and flesh-like tones and
texture which it puts on under the sculptor's chisel.

The Egyptians, however, never committed the fault of colouring their
statues in an imitative fashion, like those who make wax figures.
Their hues were always conventional. Moreover, they were never either
broken or shaded, which is sufficient to show that no idea of
realistic imitation was implied in their use.[325] Sculpture is
founded upon an artificial understanding by which tangible form and
visible colour are dissociated from each other. When the sculptor
looks to the help of the painter he runs great risk of failing to give
all the precision and beauty of which form by itself is capable, to
his work. Even the Greeks did not grasp this truth at once. The
Egyptians had at least a glimmering of it, and we must thank them for
having employed polychromy in their sculpture in a discreet fashion.

    [325] CH. BLANC, _Voyage de la Haute-Égypte_, p. 99.

§ 10. _The General Characteristics of the Egyptian Style._

We have attempted to give an idea of the origin of Greek sculpture, of
its development and its decadence. We have noticed those slow changes
of taste and style which sometimes required a thousand years for their
evolution, for a century in Egypt was hardly equal to a generation
elsewhere. After proving that Egypt did not escape the universal law
of change, we studied the methods and conventions which were peculiar
to her sculptors and impressed their works with certain common
characteristics. The union of these characteristics formed the
Egyptian style. We must now define that style, and attempt to make its
originality clear to our readers.

In its commencement Egyptian art was entirely realistic. It was made
realistic both by the conceptions which presided at its birth and by
the wants which it was called upon to satisfy. The task to which it
applied itself with a skill and conscience which are little less than
marvellous, was the exact representation of all that met its vision.
In the bas-relief it reproduced the every-day scenes of agricultural
life and of the national worship; in the statue it portrayed
individuals with complete fidelity. But even in those early ages
imagination was not asleep. It was continually seeking to invent forms
which should interpret its favourite ideas. It figured the exploits of
the king, the defender of the national civilization, in the form of a
warrior brandishing his mace over the heads of his enemies. In the
royal statues everything combined to mark the gulf between the Pharaoh
and his subjects, their materials, size, attitude, and expression,
although in natural life there can have been no such distinction.
Finally the Great Sphinx at Gizeh is sufficient to prove that the
Egyptians, in their endeavour to make the great deities whom they had
conceived visible to the eye, had attempted to create composite types
of which the elements were indeed existent in nature, but separate and

After the first renascence their imaginations played more freely. They
multiplied the combinations under which their gods were personified.
They transformed and idealized the human figure by the gigantic
proportions which they gave to it in the seated statues of the king,
and in those upright colossi in which the majesty of Pharaoh and the
divinity of Osiris are combined in one individual. The sculptors
portrayed the king in attitudes which had never been seen by mortal
eyes. Sometimes he is seated upon the knee of a goddess and drawing
nourishment from her breast; sometimes he bends, like a respectful and
loving son, before his father Amen, who blesses him, and seems by his
gesture to convey to him some of his own omnipotence and immortality.
Again he is presented to us in the confusion of battle, towering so
high above his adversaries that we can only wonder how they had the
temerity to stand up against him. Events hardly passed thus in those
long and arduous campaigns against the Khetas and the _People of the
sea_, in which more than one of the Theban Pharaohs spent their lives.
Victory, when it was victory, was long and hotly disputed. Superiority
of discipline and armament told at last and decided the contest in
favour of the Egyptians, who were inferior in strength and stature to
most of their enemies, especially to those who came from Asia Minor
and the Grecian islands.

It is hardly just, therefore, to say, as has been said,[326] that
"Egyptian art had only one aim, the exact rendering of reality; in it
all qualities of observation are developed to their utmost
capabilities, those of imagination are wanting." Egyptian art is not
like the sensitized plate of the photographer. It does not confine
itself to the faithful reproduction of the objects placed before it.
Painters and sculptors were not content, as has been pretended, with
the art that can be _seen_, as opposed to the art that can be
_imagined_, and an injustice is done to them by those who would
confine the latter to the Aryan race. The apparent precision of such
an assertion makes it all the more misleading. Egyptian art was
realistic in its inception and always remained so to a certain degree,
but with the passage of time the creative intellect began to play a
part in the production of plastic works; it added to and combined the
elements which it took from nature, and thus created imaginary beings
which differed from natural fact by their proportions, their beauty,
and their composition. The Egyptian artist had his ideal as well as
the Greek.

    [326] E. MELCHIOR DE VOGÜE, _Chez les Pharaons_.

In saying, then, that the art of Egypt was realistic, we have only
laid the first stone of the definition we wish to establish. Its
original character was, perhaps, still more due to another feature,
namely to its elimination or suppression of detail. This elimination,
far from diminishing with time, went on increasing as the country grew
older. It may be traced to the action of two causes. In the first
place, the influence of the ideographic writing upon the national
style can hardly be exaggerated. The concrete images of things could
only be introduced into it by means of simplification and
generalization. In such a school the eye learnt to despoil form of all
those details which were merely accidental, of all that made it
particular. It sought for the species, or even the genus, rather than
the individual. This tendency was increased by the peculiar properties
of the materials upon which the Egyptians lavished their skill and
patience. The harder rocks turned the edges of their bronze chisels,
and compelled them to choose between roughly-blocked-out sketches and
a laborious polish which obliterated all those minor details of
modelling which should vary according to the sex, the age, and the
muscular exertion of the persons represented. We see, then, that the
rebellious nature of the granite, and the imperfect methods which it
imposed, completed the lessons begun by that system of figured writing
which dates from the remotest periods of Egyptian civilization.

There is an obvious contradiction between the tendency which we have
just noticed, and those habits of realistic imitation whose existence
has been explained by the desire to secure a posthumous existence for
the dead. The history of Egyptian sculpture, is, in fact, the history
of a contest in the mind of the artist between these two opposing
forces. In the early years of the monarchy, his first duty was to
supply a portrait statue, the chief merit of which should lie in the
fidelity of its resemblance. Of this task he acquitted himself most
skilfully and conscientiously, reproducing every individual
peculiarity, and even deformity of his model. His chief attention was
given to the face, as being the member by which men are principally
distinguished one from another. Even then, and in the funerary
statues, the body was much more general in its forms than the head. In
the course of succeeding ages the sculptor was able, whenever he
wished to make a faithful portrait either of an individual man or of a
race, to bring this faculty into play and to clearly mark the
differences between races or between the individuals of a race, by the
varying character of the head. But yet his art showed an ever
increasing tendency to follow the bent which had been given to it by
the practice of glyptic writing, and by the long contest with unkindly
materials. After the close of the Ancient Empire Egyptian art became
ambitious of a higher style. Under the Theban Pharaohs it worked hard
to attain it, and it knew no better means to the desired end than the
continual simplification and generalization of form.

       *       *       *       *       *

This is the great distinguishing characteristic of the Egyptian style.
The uniformity, stiffness, and restraint of the attitudes, the
over-rigorous symmetry of the parts and of the limbs, and the close
alliance of the latter with the bodies, are only secondary features.
We shall find them in the works of every race compelled to make use of
materials that were either too hard or too soft. Moreover, these are
the constant characteristics of archaic art, and it must not be
forgotten that even in Egypt many wooden and limestone figures have
been unearthed which surprise us by the freedom of their attitudes and
movements. The true originality of the Egyptian style consists in its
deliberately epitomizing that upon which the artists of other
countries have elaborately dwelt, in its lavishing all its executive
powers upon chief masses and leading lines, and in the marvellous
judgment with which it seizes their real meaning, their proportions,
and the sources of their artistic effect.

As figures increased in size this tendency towards the suppression of
detail increased also, and so too did their fitness for the
architectonic _rôle_ they had to play. The colossi which flank the
entrances to an Egyptian temple have been often criticised from an
erroneous standpoint. They have been treated as if they were meant to
be self-sufficient and independent. Their massiveness and want of
vitality have been blamed; it has been said that the seated figures
could not rise, nor the standing ones walk. To form a just estimate of
their merit we must take them with the monuments of which they formed
a part. We must rouse our imaginations, and picture them to ourselves
with their flanking colonnades about them, with the pylons at their
backs, and the obelisks at their sides. We must close our eyes for a
moment and reconstruct this combination of architectural and
sculpturesque lines. We shall then readily perceive how entirely these
colossi were in harmony with their surroundings. Their vertical and
horizontal lines echoed those of the monument to which they were
attached. The rhythm of the long colonnades was carried on by their
repetition of a single attitude, while their colossal dimensions and
immovable solidity brought them into complete accord with the huge
structures by which they were surrounded. It has been said that, more
than any of its rivals, "the architecture of Egypt impresses us with
the idea of absolute stability, of infinite duration." Could anything
be in more complete harmony with such an art than the grave and
majestic attitudes of these seated Pharaohs, attitudes which from
every line breathe a profound calm, a repose without change and
without end.




§ 1. _Technical Processes._

Most of our observations upon Egyptian sculpture are applicable to the
sister art of painting. The conventions which form the characteristic
originality of the Egyptian style were established by the sculptor;
but when the artist had to draw the outline of a form, and to fill it
in with colour instead of cutting it upon the naked surface of the
wall, the difference of process did not affect his method of
comprehending and interpreting his models. We find the same qualities
and the same defects. The purity of line, the nobility of pose, the
draughtsmanship at once just and broad, the ignorance of perspective,
and the constant repetition of traditional attitudes are found in both
methods. Painting, in fact, never became an independent and
self-sufficing art in Egypt. It was commonly used to complete
sculpturesque effects, and it never freed itself from this
subordination. It never attempted to make use of its own peculiar
resources for the expression of those things which sculpture could not
compass--the depths of space, the recession of planes, the varieties
of hue which passion spreads over the human countenance, and the
nature and intensity of the feelings which are thus betrayed. We may
say that it is only by some abuse of terms that we can speak of
_Egyptian painting_ at all. No people have spread more colour upon
stone and wood than the Egyptians; none have had a more true instinct
for colour harmony; but yet they never attempted to express, by the
gradation of tone, by the juxtaposition or superposition of tints, the
real aspects of the surfaces which present themselves to our eyes,
aspects which are unceasingly modified by the amount of light or
shadow, by distance and the state of the atmosphere. They had not the
least glimmering of what we call chiaroscuro or of aerial perspective.

Their painting rests upon conventions as audacious as those of their
sculpture. In it every surface has an uniform and decided value though
in nature everything is shaded. A nude figure is all one colour--dark
for a man, light for a woman. A drapery has but one tone, the artist
never seeming to trouble himself whether it be in light or shadow, or
partly in one partly in the other. In a few plates in Lepsius, and
still more in Prisse,[327] there are suggestions that an artist here
and there, more skilful than his rivals, understood that values
differed, and distinguished in his more careful work between colour in
shadow and colour in light. One or two contours appear to hint at the
rotundity of chiaroscuro. In accepting such a suggestion, however, we
should be making a mistake against which we have been warned even by
such early travellers as the authors of the _Description_.[328] The
effects in question must be placed to the credit of the sculptor. The
images in which they appear are painted bas-reliefs, and the slight
shadow thrown by their salient grounds gives an appearance of
half-tint to their contours. Wherever pictures are without relief
there is no such appearance, and yet changes of value would in them be
more useful than elsewhere.

    [327] Vol. ii. plates 41, 66, and 70.

    [328] _Description, Antiquités_, vol. iii. p. 45.

To place unbroken colours in juxtaposition to each other without
transitions is to illuminate; it is not painting in the true sense of
the word, and its practitioner is an artisan rather than an artist.
The artist is he who traces the design upon the walls, who, chalk in
hand, sketches the forms of men and women and the lines of the
ornament. Many of these sketches are admirable for the freedom and
breadth of their outline. The portrait of Amenophis III. which is to
be seen in his tomb in the Bab-el-Molouk is a good example of these
master-studies (Fig. 263). When nothing interfered to prevent the
completion of the work, the painter came with his palette and brushes
to spread colour over the spaces enclosed by these lines. Nothing
could be easier than his task. He was only required to lay his colours
smoothly, and to avoid overpassing the boundaries laid down for him.
The hues of the flesh and of the draperies were fixed in advance as
well as those of the various objects which were repeatedly introduced
in such works.

[Illustration: FIG. 263.--Outline for a portrait of Amenophis III.
Champollion, pl. 232.]

At Beni-Hassan, and in several of the Theban tombs, there are
representations of the painter at work. When he had to spread a single
tint over a large surface--brown, for instance, upon the whole
superficies of a limestone statue--we see him seated upon a kind of
stool, his pot of colour in his left hand, his brush in his
unsupported right (Fig. 54 Vol. I.). Sometimes his work was more
complicated than this. There are a few royal portraits, and a few
scenes with numerous actors, in which the whole scale of tints at his
command must have been required. He then makes use of a palette.
Specimens of these palettes are to be seen in every museum. They are
rectangular pieces of wood, of alabaster, or of enamelled earthenware.
They usually have seven little colour cups, but a few have as many as
eleven or twelve. Small _styles_, as large as a crow-quill, have been
found with these palettes. The use of these has been much discussed.
Prisse cut one and steeped it in water. It was then discovered that
the reed of which it was composed became a brush when its fibres were
thus softened by moisture.[329] None of the large brushes which must
have been used to spread the colour over considerable surfaces have
been discovered, but Prisse believes that they too must have been made
of fibrous reeds, such as the sarmentose stems of the _Salvadora
persica_. Others think that for such purposes the hair pencil must
have been employed.

    [329] PRISSE, _Histoire de l'Art Égyptien_, text, p. 289.

Cakes of colour have sometimes been found in the tombs, together with
earthenware mortars and pestles for grinding them. The tints usually
employed were _yellow_, _red_, _blue_, _green_, _brown_, _white_, and
_black_. These correspond to the seven cups hollowed in most of the
palettes. They each included several varieties. Some of these colours
were vegetable, such as indigo; others--and these more numerous--were
mineral. Among the latter is a certain blue, which has preserved all
its brilliancy even after so many centuries. Its merits were extolled
by Theophrastus and Vitruvius. It is an ash with wonderful power of
resisting chemical agents, and neither turning green nor black with
exposure to the air. It must have been composed, we are told, of sand,
copper-filings, and subcarbonate of soda reduced to powder and burnt
in an oven. Copper is also the colouring principle, at least in our
days, of those greens which are more or less olive in tone. Different
shades of red, yellow, and brown, were obtained from the ochres. Their
whites, formed of lime, of plaster, or of powdered enamel, have
sometimes preserved a snowy whiteness beside which our whitest papers
seem grey.[330] As for violet, Champollion tells us that no colour
used by the ancients had that value. In those few bas-reliefs in which
it is now found, it is a result of the changes which time has spread
over surfaces originally gilded. The hue in question is caused, we
are told, by the mordant or other preparation upon which the gold was

    [330] Fuller details as to the composition of these colours are
    given in PRISSE, _Histoire de l'Art Égyptien_, text, pp.
    292-295. A paper written by the father of Prosper Mérimée and
    printed by Passalacqua at the end of his _Catalogue_ (pp. 258,
    et seq.) may also be consulted with profit; its full title is
    _Dissertation sur l'Emploi des Couleurs, des Vernis, et des
    Émaux dans l'Ancienne Égypte_, by M. MÉRIMÉE, _Secrétaire
    Perpétuel de l'École Royale des Beaux-Arts_. This paper shows
    that M. Mérimée added taste and a love for erudition to the
    talent as a painter which he is said to have possessed. BELZONI
    shows that the manufacture of indigo must have been practised by
    the ancient Egyptians by much the same processes as those in use
    to-day (_Narrative of the Operations_, etc. p. 175). See also
    WILKINSON, _Manners and Customs_, etc. vol. ii. p. 287.

    [331] CHAMPOLLION, _Lettres d'Égypte et de Nubie_, p. 130.



(XVIIIth Dynasty)]

In the Theban tombs the figures are first drawn and then painted upon
a fine coat which has all the polish of stucco. It seems to consist of
a very fine plaster and a transparent glue. It is still white where no
tint has been laid upon it; here and there its shining surface is
still undimmed.[332] When the pictures were executed upon wood or, as
in the mummies, upon linen laid down upon a thin layer of plaster, a
preparatory coat of white was always spread in the first instance. The
tints became more brilliant over such a coat, the most opaque being in
some degree transparent.[333]

    [332] _Description, Ant._ vol. iii. p. 44.

    [333] MÉRIMÉE, _Dissertation sur l'Emploi des Couleurs_, p. 130.

The paintings are, as a rule, free from cracks. The colours seem to
have been mixed with water and some flexible gum like tragacanth.[334]
M. Hector Leroux, who took impressions of many bas-reliefs during his
visit to Egypt, is inclined to believe that the Egyptians sometimes
mixed honey with their colours, as the makers of water-colours do now.
In some of the tombs the painting became sticky when he laid his
moistened paper upon their surfaces. In others no amount of wetting
affected the surface of the colours, which remained as smooth and hard
as enamel. Some Egyptian paintings are covered with a resinous varnish
which has blackened with time and spoilt the colours upon which it is
laid.[335] The same varnish was used for the mummy cases and gives
them the dark hue which they now present. A few exceptionally well
preserved examples permit us to suppose that their colours when fresh
must have been much lighter in tone and more brilliant than they now
appear. No such precaution was taken, as a rule, in the case of the
frescos. Their surfaces were left free from a substance that could so
greatly alter with time, and thanks partly to this, partly to the
equality of temperature and to the dryness and tranquillity of the
air, they have retained an incomparable freshness. The centuries have
passed gently over them, but since all the world has taken to visiting
Egypt, including even the foolish and ignorant, they have suffered
greatly from the barbarity of tourists. Of this the state of those
beautiful decorations in the tomb of Seti which have excited the
admiration of all cultivated travellers, is a painful instance.

    [334] MÉRIMÉE, _Dissertation_, etc. Champollion uses the term
    _gouache_, body colour, in speaking of these paintings, but as
    the characteristic of that process is that every tint is mixed
    with white, there is some inaccuracy in doing so.

    [335] PRISSE, _Histoire de l'Art Égyptien_, text, p. 291.

Several mummy masks are in existence which prove that encaustic
painting, in which naphtha and wax were used, was employed by the
Egyptians;[336] but this process does not seem to have been developed
until after the Macedonian conquest. Speaking generally, we may say
that the Egyptian method was _distemper_.

    [336] PRISSE, _Histoire_, etc. text, p. 291.

The Egyptians produced easel pictures as well as wall paintings. In
one of the Beni-Hassan tombs two artists are represented painting
animals upon a panel.[337] Herodotus tells us that Amasis presented
his portrait to the people of Cyrene.[338] Supposing it to be the work
of a native artist, we may form some idea of its character from the
Egyptian portraits, dating from the Roman epoch, which are now in the
Louvre. Doubtless the portrait of Amasis was very different in style
from these productions of the decadence; but it is probable that, like
them, it was painted upon a cedar panel.

    [337] WILKINSON, _Manners and Customs_, etc. vol. ii. p. 294.

    [338] HERODOTUS, ii. 182.

We have no reason to believe that the Egyptians ever succeeded in
crossing the line which separates illumination from painting. The
convention which saw only single flat tones on every surface being
once adopted, it was sometimes pushed to extraordinary lengths. Not
content with ignoring the varieties of tone and tint which nature
everywhere presents, the Egyptian artists sometimes adopted arbitrary
hues which did not, even faintly, recall the actual colours of the
objects upon which they were used. As a rule they represented the
female skin as a light-yellow, and the male as a reddish-brown. This
distinction may be understood. Besides its convenience as indicative
of sex to a distant observer, it answers to a difference which social
habits have established in every civilized society. More completely
covered than men and less in the open air, the women, at least those
of the upper classes, are less exposed to the effects of sun and wind
than men. Their skins are usually fairer. In northern climates they
are whiter, in southern less brown. We are surprised therefore to find
that in the small temple at Ipsamboul the carnations of male and
female, whether they be kings and queens or gods and goddesses, are
all alike of a vivid yellow, not far removed from chrome.[339] Those
divinities who have the limbs and features of man, such as Amen,
Osiris, Isis, and Nephthys, should, we might think, be subject to the
same rule as the images of men and women, and in most cases it is so.
But, on the other hand, the painter often endows them with skins of
the most fanciful and arbitrary hue. At Ipsamboul there is an Amen
with a blue skin,[340] and, again, an Amen and an Osiris which are
both green.[341] At Philæ we find numerous examples of the same
singularity.[342] At Kalabché, in Nubia, there are royal figures
coloured in the same fashion.[343]

    [339] There are other exceptions to the ordinary rule. In a fine
    bas-relief in the Louvre, representing Seti I. before Hathor,
    the carnations of the goddess are similar to those of the
    Pharaoh; they are in each case dark red (basement room, B, 7).

    [340] CHAMPOLLION, _Monuments de l'Égypte et de la Nubie_, pl.
    11. Blue was the regular colour for Amen when represented with a
    complete human form; when he was ram-headed he was generally
    painted green (see CHAMPOLLION, _Panthéon Égyptien_, No. 1;
    PIERRET, _Dictionnaire Archéologique_; and pl. 2, vol. i. of the
    present work).--ED.

    [341] _Ibid._ pl. 59.

    [342] _Ibid._ plates 71, 76, 78, 91.

    [343] _Ibid._ pl. 154.

Exceptional though they may be, these curious representations help us
to understand the Egyptian method of looking at colour. They did not
employ it like the modern painter, in order to add to the illusion;
they used it decoratively, partly to satisfy that innate love for
polychromy which we have explained by the intensity of a southern sun,
partly to give relief to their figures, which would stand out more
boldly from the white ground when brilliant with colour than when they
had to depend solely upon their slight relief. In the interior of the
figure colour was used to distinguish the flesh from the draperies,
and to indicate those enrichments in the latter which made up the
elegance of the Egyptian costume. A good example of this way of using
colour is seen in the tomb of Amenophis III., which contains the
portrait of Queen Taia reproduced in our Fig. 264.[344]

    [344] We place this portrait of Taia in our chapter on painting
    because its colour is exceptionally delicate and carefully
    managed (see PRISSE, text, p. 421). The original is, however, in
    very low relief, so low that it hardly affects the colour

We find, too, that in pictures in which people of different races are
brought together, the artist employs different tones to mark their
varied hues. In a tomb at Abd-el-Gournah, in which the construction of
a building is represented, the workmen, who are doubtless slaves or
prisoners of war, have not all skins of one colour; some are light
yellow, some light red, while others are reddish-brown. We are led to
believe that this is not merely the result of caprice on the part of
the painter, by the fact that the men with the light yellow skin seem
to have more hair on their chests and chins than the others. They
come, no doubt, from northern latitudes, whose inhabitants are more
hairy than the southerners.[345] The negroes are made absolutely
black,[346] the Ethiopians very dark brown.[347]

    [345] LEPSIUS, _Denkmæler_, part iii. pl. 40, cf. pl. 116.

    [346] _Ibid._ pl. 117.

    [347] See the Ethiopians in the painting from the tomb of
    Rekmara, which is reproduced in WILKINSON, vol. i. plate 2.

But although the Egyptian painter made no attempt to imitate the hues
of nature in their infinite variety, we find a curious effort in
certain Theban paintings to reproduce one of those modifications of
local tone which were to attract so many artists of later times. The
flesh tints are brown where they are uncovered, and light yellow where
they are veiled; the painter thus attempting to show the warm skin
shining through the semi-transparence of fine linen.[348]

    [348] LEPSIUS, _Denkmæler_, part iii. pl. 216.

This is, however, but an isolated attempt, and it does not affect the
truth of our description of Egyptian painting, and of its conventional
methods of using colour. The observations we have made apply equally
justly to coloured bas-reliefs and to paintings properly speaking. The
latter are only found in the tombs. In the temples the figures which
compose the decoration are always engraved upon the walls in some
fashion before they are touched with colour, and the office of the
painter was restricted to filling in the prepared outlines with
colour. It is the same, as a rule, with the steles; but a few exist
upon which the painter has had the field to himself. The papyri, too,
were illustrated by the artist in colour. Those elaborate examples of
the _Ritual of the Dead_, which come from the tombs of princes and of
rich subjects, are full of carefully executed vignettes (Figs. 97 and
184, Vol. I.).

It is easy to understand why the painter reserved himself for the
tomb. The pictures upon the external walls of the temples and upon the
pylons were seen in the full glare of a southern sun; so too, at least
for a part of the day, were those upon the walls of the courtyards,
and upon the shafts of their surrounding columns. Even in the interior
many of the decorations would receive direct sunlight from the
claustra of the attic, others would be subject to friction from the
hands and garments of visitors. Painting by itself would be unfitted
for such situations. It would either have its effect destroyed by the
direct light, or its colours dulled and damaged by constant touches.
Figures carved in the substance of the walls would have a very
different duration. When their colours paled with time, a few strokes
of the brush would be sufficient to renew their youth, and the
combination of colour with relief would give a much more telling
result than could be obtained by the use of the latter alone.

[Illustration: FIG. 264.--Portrait of Queen Taia. From Prisse.]

With the tomb it was very different. In its case neither violent
changes of temperature, nor friction, nor the rays of a dazzling sun
were to be feared. Its doors were to be ever closed, and the scenes
which were entrusted to its walls were to have no spectator but the
dead man and his protecting Osiris. To carry out the whole work with
the brush was quicker than to associate that instrument with the
chisel, and we need therefore feel no surprise that many tombs were so

These paintings are in no way inferior to the sculptural works of the
same period; the outlines of both must, in fact, have been traced by
the same hands. The wielders of the chisel and brush must have been
nothing more than journeymen or artisans; the true artist was he who
traced upon the wall the outline which had afterwards to be filled in
either in relief or in colour.

We should have liked to have reproduced the best of these paintings
with all their richness and variety of tint, but we had no original
studies of which we could make use, and, as in the painted
architecture, we saw no great advantages to be gained by copying the
plates of Champollion, of Lepsius, or of Prisse. The processes which
they were compelled to employ have in many cases visibly affected the
fidelity of their transcriptions. We have therefore felt ourselves
compelled, much to our disappointment, to trust almost entirely to
black and white. We have, however, been careful to preserve the
relative values of the different tones. Those who have seen Egyptian
paintings in the original, or even in the copies which hang upon the
staircase of the Egyptian museum in the Louvre, will be able to
restore their true colours to our engravings without difficulty; the
flesh tints, light or dark according to circumstances, the blackness
of the hair, the whiteness of linen cloth and of the more brilliant
colours, the reds and blues which adorn certain parts of the draperies
and certain details of furniture and jewellery, may all be easily

Our plates, though less numerous than we could have wished, will help
the reader to restore the absent colour. Plate II., in the first
volume, gives a good idea of the scale of tints used in the painted
bas-reliefs of the temples; we have every reason to believe it
accurate.[349] The plate which faces page 334 is a faithful
reproduction of a fragment in the Louvre. It comes from a Theban tomb,
and shows the elegance and refinement of the contours which the
painter had to fill up. The colour has faded, but the most interesting
point in all these pictures is the outline, in which alone real
artistic talent and inventive power are displayed. Finally, our Plates
III. and IV., drawn and coloured from notes and sketches made upon the
spot by M. Bourgoin, represent the polychromatic decoration of the
Ancient Empire as it was left by those who decorated the tomb of
Ptah-hotep. In this case at least we know that we possess the true
value of the tones brought together by the artist, for the mastaba in
question is one of those which the desert sands have most completely

    [349] The materials for this plate were borrowed from the
    _Description de l'Égypte_. In the complete copies of that work
    the plates were coloured by hand, with extreme care, after those
    fine water-colours the most important of which are now in the
    _Cabinet des Estampes_ of the _Bibliothèque Nationale_. The
    colours thus applied are far nearer the truth than those of the
    chromo-lithographs in more modern publications.

§ 2. _The Figure._

In the mastabas colours are applied to figures in relief. It is not
till we reach the first Theban Empire, in the tombs at Beni-Hassan,
that we find real paintings in which the brush alone has been used.

[Illustration: FIG. 265.--Painting at Beni-Hassan. Champollion, pl.

We have already described the style and character of the paintings at
Beni-Hassan. In most cases the outlines prepared for the painter do
not differ from those meant for the sculptor.

We have already reproduced many works in outline in which there is
nothing to show whether they are paintings or bas-reliefs. Their
execution is almost identical (see Figs. 2, 5, 25, 98, 170, Vol. I.;
Figs. 25, 26, 31, Vol. II). It is the same with the two wrestling
scenes which we take from the frescos in which all the gymnastic
exercises then in vogue are represented (Figs. 265 and 266), and with
the charming group formed by an antelope and a man stroking his muzzle
(Fig. 267).

[Illustration: FIG. 266.--Painting at Beni-Hassan. Champollion, pl.

[Illustration: FIG. 267.--Painting at Beni-Hassan. Champollion, pl.

Even at Beni-Hassan, however, there are a few paintings in which the
peculiar and distinguishing characteristics of that art are to be
found. The group of singers and musicians figured on this page is an
instance in point. Two of the heads are shown in full face, a view
which we hardly ever meet with in the bas-reliefs. The hair and the
draperies are also treated in a fashion quite different from that of
sculpture, at least in the case of the two musicians on the right.
Their twisted tresses seem to be thrown into disorder by the energetic
movements of their heads, which they seem to sway in time to the music
of the flute, which is also marked by the hands of two members of the
party. The deep shadows cast by their hair give a strong relief to the
oval contours of the two faces which look out of the picture. The
execution of the drapery is governed by the same idea, its numerous
small folds are suggested by lines at slight intervals.

[Illustration: FIG. 268.--Painting at Beni-Hassan. Champollion, pl.
377 _ter_.]

[Illustration: FIG. 269.--Painting at Thebes. From Horeau.]

[Illustration: FIG. 270.--Painting at Thebes. From Prisse.]

In the whole series of Egyptian wall-paintings I know of nothing which
is more truly pictorial in character than this picture. A careful
study of it might well lead us to believe that its painter
deliberately set himself to cast off traditional methods, and to
obtain all the effect that the skilful use of colour can give. But the
seed thus cast did not spring up. Theban painting is not an advance
upon that of Beni-Hassan. It hardly ever attempts the full face. It is
only here and there that we can point to a work in which the brush
seems to have dwelt upon a few details that would be rendered in a
more summary fashion by the chisel. The mandore player in Fig. 270,
who comes from the same hypogeum at Abd-el-Gournah as the Amenophis
III. upon the knees of a goddess in Fig. 24, is one of these rare
instances. The hair, plaited into narrow tresses and retained in place
by a long comb, is carried out with quite unusual care. The areolæ of
the breasts are very clearly marked, a detail which Prisse says he
never met with elsewhere.[350]

    [350] PRISSE, _Histoire de l'Art Égyptien_, text, p. 424.

[Illustration: FIG. 271.--Harpist. From the _Description_.]

[Illustration: FIG. 272.--European prisoner. From Champollion.]

[Illustration: FIG. 273.--Head of the same prisoner.]

The slender proportions which we have already noticed as
characteristic of this period are here strongly marked. They are also
conspicuous in the figures in Plate II. This is a funerary scene.
Three women stand before the defunct; one hands the cup for the
libation, the two others play upon the flute and the harp

This fragment must have formed part of a funerary scene similar to
that put before us in full by a painting in one of the tombs in the
_Valley of Queens_ at Thebes. We there see women with offerings and
others playing upon musical instruments, advancing towards the
deceased, who has his daughter upon his knees and his wife seated at
his right hand (Fig. 269).

The two often reproduced players upon the harp in the tomb of Rameses
III. (long called _Bruce's Tomb_, after its discoverer) belong to the
same class of representations (Fig. 271). Robed in a long black
mantle, the musician abandons himself entirely to his music. The
draughtsmanship of the arms is faulty, but the pose of the figure is
natural and life-like. The harp is very richly ornamented; its base
terminates in a royal head rising from a circlet of ample necklaces.
The wood seems to be inlaid with colour.

[Illustration: FIG. 274.--Ethiopian prisoner. Champollion, pl. 932.]

[Illustration: FIG. 275.--Head of the same prisoner.]

Among the most interesting of the painted figures in the royal tombs
are the prisoners of war and other representations of foreign and
conquered races. We reproduce two of these figures from the tomb of
Seti I. In order that the care expended by the artist both on the
costumes and upon the peculiar characteristics of the physiognomies
may be appreciated, we have given their figures at full length, and
also their heads upon a larger scale.

The first of these two prisoners must have been a European, according
to Champollion. His white skin, his straight nose, and the tattooing
upon his arms all help to prove this (Figs. 272 and 273). He is
dressed in a long robe, bordered with a rich fringe and covered with
ornaments. This robe is held up by a large knot over the left
shoulder, but it leaves one half of his body without a covering. His
profile is very curious; the nose is large and aquiline, his beard
curled and wavy, and down by his right ear hangs one of those side
locks which were, in Egypt, the peculiar property of infancy. Long
tresses hanging down on each side of the brow, and two fringe-like
bands passing round the head complete this strange head-dress.

[Illustration: FIG. 276.--Winged figure. _Description_, vol. ii. pl.

The individual in the second figure appears to be an Ethiopian (Figs.
274 and 275). His costume is comparatively simple. It consists of a
pair of drawers kept in place by a wide band like a baldrick, which is
passed over the left shoulder and tied round the loins. The end of
this baldrick hangs down between the legs; it is decorated with
rosettes and edged with a band upon which circular ornaments are
scattered. The almost negro features are similar to those represented
in the bas-relief at the Ramesseum which is reproduced in Fig. 221.
The shape of the head-dress, too, is similar. The artist has had some
difficulty with the woolly hair, and has attempted to render its
appearance by a series of knots strung together. In this part of the
picture, as in Fig. 273, there is some conventionality, but in the
outline of the figure and especially of the face, we find the
characteristic genius of Egyptian art, the power to create types which
are at once life-like and general, to epitomize all those attributes
which constitute a species and allow it to be defined.

[Illustration: FIG. 277.--Winged figure. _Description_, vol. ii, pl.

The scenes represented upon the walls of the tomb may be divided into
two groups: those which are more or less historical, and those which
are purely religious or mystical. Among the latter the figures of
winged goddesses, of Isis and Nephthys, are frequently encountered.
They are either seated or standing, carved upon the sarcophagi or
painted upon the wooden mummy cases. One wing is always raised, the
other lowered (Figs. 276 and 277). The artists of other Oriental
races, and even of the Greeks themselves, loved to endow the figures
of men and animals with wings. Egypt was the first to carry out this
idea, and the winged figures which had a definite meaning when used in
the tombs, came at last to be employed as mere decoration upon the
industrial products which she exported through the Phœnicians. Fig.
277 comes from a royal tomb, and it shows how these winged goddesses
were sometimes combined with motives, which were either purely
decorative or easily used for decorative purposes. Like sphinxes and
griffins, these composite forms amused the eye and were soon seized
upon by the ornamentist, while their wings, which could be either
closed or expanded, were useful for covering large spaces and helping
to "furnish" the decoration.

§ 3. _Caricature._

We have shown the artists of ancient Egypt making naïve and sincere
transcripts of reality; we have shown them, in their religious and
historical scenes, inventing motives, creating types, and even
aspiring to the ideal; we have yet to show that they understood fun
and could enjoy a laugh. Without this last quality their art would
hardly be complete. In the royal tombs at Thebes we find a lion and a
donkey singing to their own accompaniment on the harp and lyre
respectively.[351] This particular bent of the Egyptian artist is seen
at its best, however, in a group of remains which are called the
_Satirical Papyri_, and apparently date from the nineteenth dynasty.
The Egyptians, like the Greeks after them, seem to have understood
that sculpture properly speaking, the art that produces figures of
large size from such materials as bronze and marble, does not lend
itself to the provocation of laughter by the voluntary production of
ugliness and deformity. They also perceived that such subjects were
equally ill-adapted for wall paintings, whether in tombs or palaces.
Among them, as among the Greeks, the grotesque was only allowed to
appear where the forms were both very much smaller than life and
considerably generalized. The designs traced with a light and airy
hand upon such papyri as that of which the Turin Museum possesses an
important fragment are examples of this treatment.

    [351] JOHN KENRICK, _Ancient Egypt under the Pharaohs_, vol. i.
    pp. 269, 270.

The drawings in this papyrus are not caricatures as we now understand
the word. Caricature is an exaggerated portrait; it founds itself
upon reality while turning it into ridicule by the accentuation of its
most laughable features. But the drawings in this manuscript are
inspired by the same ideas and the same intellectual bent as our
modern caricatures. They respond to the universal taste of mankind for
the mental relaxation afforded by parody, for the relief from the
serious business of life which is to be found in comedy and burlesque.
Ancient Egypt was a merry country. Its inhabitants were as pleased as
children over the simplest and most homely jokes; jests, fantastic
tales, and fables in which animals acted like men and women, were as
popular with them as with their successors in civilisation. Their
comic artists were especially fond of treating scenes of this last
description, and their works often remind us of those produced in much
later times for the illustration of Æsop or La Fontaine.

[Illustration: FIG. 278.--Battle of the Cats and Rats. From Prisse.]

Prisse reproduces the most interesting part of the Turin papyrus, and
we have copied a fragment of his plate (Fig. 278). "In the first
group, four animals--an ass, a lion, a crocodile, and a monkey--make
up a quartette, playing on such musical instruments as were then in
fashion. Next comes an ass dressed, armed, and sceptred like a
Pharaoh; with a majestic swagger he receives the offerings brought to
him by a cat of high degree, to whom a bull is proud to act as
conductor. At the side a unicorn seems to threaten a kneeling cat with
its harp..... The scenes drawn below, and on a smaller scale, are no
more coherent than these. In the first place we see a flock of geese
in open rebellion against its conductors--three cats, one of whom has
fallen under the blows of the angry birds. Next we come to a sycamore
in which an hippopotamus is perched; a hawk has climbed into the tree
by means of a ladder and proceeds to dislodge him; finally, we have a
fortress defended by an army of cats, who are without other arms than
their claws and teeth, against a storming party of rats provided with
arms offensive and defensive, and led by one of their own species, who
is mounted on a chariot drawn by two greyhounds.

"The artist's idea--at least in the lower part of the picture--seems
to have been to paint the cats defeated by the animals upon which they
prey. It is the world turned upside down, or if the painter must be
credited with a deeper meaning, it is the revolt of the oppressed
against the oppressor."[352]

    [352] PRISSE, _Histoire de l'Art Égyptien_, text, pp. 142, 143.

The lower part of the plate contains a scene of the same kind taken
from a papyrus in the British Museum. A flock of geese are being
driven along by a cat, and a herd of goats by two wolves with crook
and wallet; one of the wolves is playing on the double flute. At the
other end there is a lion playing draughts with an antelope.

One of the tombs has upon its walls a picture of a humble and timid
cat attempting to propitiate a lion by the offering of a goose.[353]

    [353] _Ibid._ p. 144.

In the opinion of some these scenes are satires upon royalty and
religion. This is an evident exaggeration. We have no reason to
suppose that the Egyptian intellect ever arrived at the maturity
required for scepticism. Neither the authority of Pharaoh nor that of
the priests seems to have ever been called in question. But although
their anger was not stirred by the government of the world, they could
find something to laugh at in it. In the cat presented to an ass we
cannot fail to see a parody of Pharaoh receiving the homage of some
vanquished enemy. Still more personal is the cat offering a goose to a
lion. The cat can only be that unlucky fellah who, in the Egypt of the
Pharaohs as in that of the Khedives, has never succeeded in keeping
clear of the bastinado and the _corvée_ except by giving presents to
the _sheikh_ of his village or the _mudir_ of the neighbouring town.
In laying this scene upon the wall the artist was writing a page of
his own biography and of the history of all the people about him. He
revenged himself in his own way upon the greedy functionary to whom
he had been compelled to offer the fatlings of his own farm-yard.

[Illustration: FIG. 279.--The soles of a pair of sandals. From

[Illustration: FIGS. 280, 281.--The god Bes. From the Louvre. Actual

Traces of this mocking spirit are to be found in other productions of
Egyptian art. Thus the soles of those leathern or wooden sandals which
have come down to our times often present a group of two prisoners,
the one a negro, and the other a native, perhaps, of Libya or Syria.
There can be no mistake as to the intentions of the artist. The
Egyptian seems to have enjoyed a laugh at the expense of his trembling
enemies. Not content with thus treading upon them at every step he
took, he added insult to injury by making them grotesque (Fig. 279).

The same spirit may be recognized in those figures of Bes which are so
numerous in our museums. It was by mere exaggeration of certain not
uncommon features that the figure of this paunchy dwarf was arrived
at. His animal grin, beady eyes, flat nose, thick lips, and pendent
tongue, his short legs and salient buttocks, make up a sufficiently
droll personality (Figs. 280 and 281). The comic intention is very
marked in a composition reproduced by Prisse, in which a person of
proportions rather less curtailed than those of the ordinary Bes, but
endowed with the features, the head-dress, and the lion-like tail of
that god, is shown playing upon a cithara.[354]

    [354] PRISSE, _Histoire de l'Égypte_, text, p. 146.

These productions were not always decent. The Turin papyrus contains a
long priapic scene.

§ 4._ Ornament._

In the painted decorations with which the Egyptians covered every
available surface, the figure played a more important part than in the
case of any other people. But yet the multiplication of historical,
religious, and domestic scenes, the countless groups of gods, men, and
the lower animals, had their limits. However great their development
might be, these traditional themes could only supply a certain number
of scenes, which required, moreover, to be framed. Again, there were
certain surfaces upon which the Egyptians did not, as a rule, place
figures, either because they would be seen with difficulty, or, as in
the case of ceilings, because taste warned them that it would be
better to treat such a surface in some other fashion. Between the
lofty roofs of the hypostyle halls and the sky which covers our heads
the Egyptian decorator established a relationship which readily
commends itself to the mind. The ceilings of the temples at Thebes had
generally a blue ground, upon which vultures with their great wings
outspread, floated among golden stars (Figs. 192 and 282).

Side by side with the paintings which deal with living form we find
those painted ornaments which cover with their varied tints all the
surfaces which are not occupied by the figure. This system of ornament
went through a continual process of enrichment and complication. Its
appearance in the early centuries is well shown in our two Plates,
III. and IV.; the first shows the upper, the second the lower part of
the western wall in the tomb of Ptah-hotep at Sakkarah. They confirm
the ideas of Semper as to the origin of ornament.[355] That writer was
the first to show that the basket-maker, the weaver, and the potter,
originated by the mere play of their busy hands and implements those
combinations of line and colour which the ornamentist turned to his
own use when he had to decorate walls, cornices, and ceilings. The
industries we have named are certainly older than the art of
decoration, and the forms used by the latter can hardly have been
transferred from it to mats, woven stuffs, and earthen vessels. In the
regularity with which the lines and colours of early decoration are
repeated it is easy to recognize the enforced arrangement of rushes,
reeds, and flaxen threads, while chevrons and concentric circles are
the obvious descendants of the marks traced by the finger or rude
implement of the potter upon the soft clay.

    [355] SEMPER (G.), _Der Stil in den Technischen und Tektonischen
    Künsten, oder Praktische Æsthetik_. Munich, 1860-3, 2 vols. 8vo,
    with 22 plates, some coloured, and numerous engravings in the

[Illustration: FIG. 282.--Vultures on a ceiling.]

In these examples the intentions of the decorator are easily grasped.
He has begun with a ground of rush-work, like that which is also found
in the tomb of Ti.[356] In the compartments between the vertical
bars he has imitated the appearance of mat walls, and of windows
closed by the same contrivances (see Fig. 165). As if to prevent
mistakes, he has been careful to introduce the cords, rings, and lath,
by which the lower ends of the mats are kept in place. The design of
the ornament is quite similar to those produced to this day by the
basket or mat-maker. They are squares, lozenges, and chevrons. In the
middle of the lozenges we find little crosses or circles of a
different colour, which help to lighten the effect. Each mat has a red
border at its lower end, which forms a satisfactory tailpiece, and
unites it with the straight lath. There are narrow grooves between the
mats in which the chains for drawing the latter up and down seem to be
imitated. In any case, this latter detail is copied from the
productions of one of the oldest of civilized industries--that of the

    [356] PRISSE, _Histoire de l'Art Égyptien_, text, p. 418.


Drawn in perspective to a scale of one half]

[Illustration: FIGS. 283, 284.--Details from the tomb of Ptah-hotep.]

Six colours are used in this decoration: black, white, red, yellow,
green, and blue. The result is sober, well-balanced, and by no means
without harmony.

In other parts of the same tomb we find this taste for literal
imitation applied to another theme. As interpreted by the ornamentist,
lotus and papyrus were sure in time to put on conventional forms, but
here those vegetables found are reproduced with a feeling for truth
that could not be excelled by a modern flower painter (Fig. 283).[357]
In Fig. 284 a bird among the lotus-stalks is in the grasp of a human

    [357] DUMISCHEN, _Resultate der Archæologisch-photographischen
    Expedition_. Berlin, 1869, folio, part i. plate 8.

The ornamentist also borrowed motives from those robes and carpets of
varied colour, which are preserved for us in the paintings (see Fig.
285). But with time and experience his hand became more skilful, his
imagination more active, and he was no longer contented to convey his
ideas wholesale, from nature on the one hand, and on the other from
those humble arts which flourish even in the earliest ages of every
civilized society. He learnt to create designs for himself--designs
which can certainly not be traced to the mats and tissues which formed
his first models. Our Figure 286 will give some idea of the variety of
motives to be found upon the panels and ceilings of the tombs and
other buildings at Thebes. The chess-board pattern which was so much
used during the Ancient Empire, is found here also; but by its side
appear patterns composed of frets, meandering lines, and rosettes.
Below these, again, are designs in which lines twist themselves into
volutes and spirals, crossing each other and enclosing lotus flowers,
rosettes, and forms like the shafts of columns. The flowers are in no
way imitative; their motives have been suggested, not supplied, by
nature. The papyrus may have given the first idea for the sixth of
these designs, while in the last we find a motive which afterwards
played an important part in Greek and Roman ornament--namely, the
skull of an ox. The two specimens of this last-named motive given by
Prisse, are taken from tombs of the eighteenth and twentieth

    [358] PRISSE, _Histoire de l'Art Égyptien_, text, p. 369.

[Illustration: FIG. 285.--Carpet hung across a pavilion.]

These tombs and the mummy cases they contain are often decorated with
symbolic ornament, as well as with geometrical designs and those
suggested by the national flora. The compartments of ceiling
decorations have scarabs in their centres, and upon the mummy
cases it is occasionally substituted for the uræus-crowned disk in the
centre of a huge pair of extended wings. Beneath it, figures of Isis
or Nephthys, the guardians of the tomb, are found (Fig. 287). The
effect is similar to that of the winged globes which are found upon
cornices. In the latter the disk which represents the sun is red, and
stands boldly out from the green of the two wings. The latter, again,
are relieved against a striped ground, on which bands of red, blue,
and white are laid alternatively. Thanks to the happy choice of these
colours, the result is excellent from a decorative point of view, and
that in spite of its continual repetition and the simplicity of its

[Illustration: FIG. 286.--Specimens of ceiling decorations. From

[Illustration: TOMB OF PTAH-HOTEP


Drawn in perspective to a scale of one fifth]

[Illustration: FIG. 287.--Painting on a mummy case. _Description_,
vol. ii. pl. 58.]

[Illustration: FIG. 288.--Winged globe. From Prisse.]

Among the original motives to be found in these paintings, there is
yet another which deserves to be named for its uncommon character, we
mean those tables for offerings which are shown loaded with vases and
other objects of a like nature. As if to mark the importance of the
funerary gifts, the stems of these tables are made so lofty that they
rise high above two trees, apparently cypresses, which grew right and
left of their feet (Figs. 289 and 290).

The Egyptians made use of the afterwards common decorative motive of
alternate buds and open blooms of lotus, but they entirely failed to
give it the lightness and elegance with which it was endowed by the
Greeks. Their buds were poor and meagre, their flowers heavy, and the
general design not without stiffness.[359]

    [359] LEPSIUS, _Denkmæler_, part iii. plate 62. PRISSE,
    _Histoire de l'Art Égyptien_, atlas, plate lettered _Frises

The colours are often well preserved, at least in parts, and, as one
combination is repeated several times, it is easy to restore the
missing parts by reference to those which are intact. The gilding,
however, has disappeared, and left hardly a trace behind. Gold was
used pretty generally in order to give warmth and brightness. The
obelisks, those of Hatasu for instance, were gilded upon all four
faces; the winged globe was sometimes gilded,[360] and so were the
bronze plates with which the temple doors were covered. The important
part played by the gilders, some of whose books of gold have come down
to our time,[361] is chiefly known to us by the inscriptions. Their
employment may also be divined here and there by the fashion in which
the stone has been prepared, sometimes by the peculiar colour effects
in certain parts of the bas-reliefs.

    [360] _Description, Antiquités_, vol. ii. p. 533.

    [361] There is one of these books in the Louvre (_Salle
    Funéraire_, case Z); the gold leaf which it contains differs
    from that now in use only in its greater thickness.

In some tombs gold is found in its pure state. During the excavations
at the Serapeum, Mariette opened the tomb of Ka-em-nas, a son of
Rameses II. When the mummy chamber was entered, the lower parts of the
walls and of the mummy cases shone with gold in the candle-light. The
floor was strewn with scraps of the same metal, and as many as four
books of gold leaf were found in the tomb. Mariette was then in want
of funds, and in order that the excavations might proceed, he obtained
authority from the French consul to sell this gold, to which of
course, no scientific interest was attached. The thick gold mask of
the prince and the fine jewelry which adorned his mummy are now in the

The mummy's toe-nails, bracelets, and lips, and the linen mask over
its face, were very often gilt. The feet are sometimes entirely gilt.
So too is the shroud. Those of princes and great personages are
sometimes covered with gold from head to foot.

[Illustration: FIGS. 289, 290.--Tables for offerings; from the
paintings in a royal tomb.]

The Egyptian artisans understood these delicate operations at a very
early date. Even in the tombs at Beni-Hassan we find the process of
gold-beating illustrated in full. We need hardly say that a decorative
industry which disposed of such complete resources, thoroughly
understood what we call _graining_, the imitation of the veins and
textures of wood, and also those of the different kinds of granite,
upon other substances. In more than one instance we find the commoner
kinds of stone thus made to look like rarer and more costly



§ 1. _Definition and Characteristics of Industrial Art._

The expression, _industrial art_, has sometimes been severely
criticised, but yet it answers to a real distinction founded upon the
nature of things, and we do not see that it could be dispensed with.
When the artist sets about making a statue or a picture his only aim
is to produce a fine work. He does not take _utility_, in the
unphilosophic sense of the word, into account. The task which he sets
before himself is to discover some form which shall truly interpret
his own individual thoughts and feelings. This done, his end is
accomplished. The resulting work of art is self-contained and
self-sufficient. Its _raison d'être_ is to satisfy one of the deepest
and most persistent desires of the human mind, the _æsthetic
sentiment_, or _instinct for the beautiful_.

In the industrial arts it is different. When a cabinet-maker or a
potter sets to work to produce an easy chair, or a vase, his first
idea is to make a chair in which one may sit comfortably, or a vessel
to which liquids may be safely entrusted and from which they may be
easily poured. At first, the artisan does not look beyond fulfilling
these wants, but a time comes, and comes very soon, when he feels
impelled to ornament the furniture or pottery upon which he is at
work. He is no longer content to turn out that which is merely useful;
he wishes everything that comes from his hands to be rich and
beautiful also. He begins by adding ornament made up of dots and
geometrical lines; this he soon follows up with forms borrowed from
organic life, with leaves and flowers, with figures of men and
animals; and from an artisan he springs at once to be an artist. But
his productions are strictly works of industrial art, and although
they may deserve a high place in right of their beauty, that beauty
is only in some sort an excrescence, it does not affect the primary
object of the matters to which it is applied, although it may greatly
increase their value and interest.

In view of this definition, it may be asserted that architecture
itself is one of the industrial arts. The first duty of the
constructor is to make his building well fitted for the object it has
to serve. The house must afford a proper shelter for its inhabitants,
the tomb must preserve the corpse entrusted to it from all chance of
profanation, the temple must shield the statue or the symbol of the
god from curious glances, and afford convenient space for ritual
celebrations. These requirements may be fulfilled by edifices which
have no pretensions to beauty. With a roof and a certain number of
naked walls, it is always possible to cover and enclose a given space,
and to divide it into as many portions as may be desired. Such a
process has nothing in common with art. Art steps in when the builder
attempts to endow his work with that symmetry which does not exclude
variety, with nobility of proportion, and with the charm of a
decoration in which both painter and sculptor play their parts. The
constructor then gives place to the architect. The latter, of course,
always keeps the practical end in view, but it is not his sole
preoccupation. The house, as he builds it, has to respond to all the
wants, intellectual as well as corporeal, of civilized man; the tomb
must embody his ideas of death and a future life; the magnificent
dimensions and the gorgeous decorations of the temple must give
expression to the inexpressible, must symbolize the divine majesty to
the eyes of men, and help to make it comprehensible by the crowds that
come to sacrifice and pray.

In all this, the _rôle_ played by art is so preponderant that it would
be unjust to class architecture among the industrial arts. The
ambition of those who built the temple of Amen, at Karnak, or that of
Athené, on the Acropolis, was to produce a work which should give
faithful expression to the highest thoughts which the human mind can
conceive. In one sense, architecture may be called the first of the
arts. In those great compositions whose remains we study with such
reverence, whose arrangements we endeavour with such care to
re-establish, it was the architect who determined what part the
painter and the sculptor should take in the work, who laid out for
them the spaces they were called upon to fill.

Although we shall not include architecture among the industrial arts,
the distinction which we have established loses none of its practical
importance. We must acknowledge, however, that there are certain
classes of objects which lie upon the border-line between the two
categories, so that we have some difficulty in deciding whether they
belong to fine or to industrial art. The work of some Cellini of
ancient times, or of your own day, may be classed, for instance, by
its general form and ostensible use, among the more or less
utilitarian productions of the goldsmith or silversmith; but, on the
other hand, it may be adorned with figures executed in such a fashion
that we are tempted to place it among works of sculpture. Rigorous and
inflexible definitions have, in fact, to be confined to the exact
sciences, such as geometry. In the complexity of life, definitions and
classifications can only be adhered to with a reservation. They help
the historian to find his way amid the infinite diversity of
phenomena, but he is the first to acknowledge that they are far from
having an absolute value. They must be taken for what they are worth,
simply as methods of exposition, as approximations which are useful
and convenient, though more or less imperfect.

We have no intention of writing a history of Egyptian industry. We
refer those who require an account of it to the voluminous work of Sir
Gardner Wilkinson, where they will find abundant details upon the
trades of Egypt and the materials which they employed. We shall be
content with selecting a few examples from the chief industries upon
which the wealth of Egypt depended, in order to show how her artisans,
like those of Greece, sought to give a certain amount of artistic
value to every object that left their hands. Forms and motives which
we have encountered in the higher branches of art are there again to
be found. When civilization is in its first infancy, and the plastic
instinct just struggling into life, it is from those handicrafts which
may be called elementary or primitive that art borrows its first
combinations of line and colour. But afterwards, when art has
developed itself and created a style expressive of the national
genius, the process is reversed, and the handicraftsman borrows in
turn from the artist. In our modern society the use of machines and
the division of labour have put a great gulf between the workman and
the artist. Among the ancients it was very different. The workman was
responsible for his work from inception to completion, and he expended
upon it all the inventiveness, taste, and skill, that he possessed. He
was not the slave of a machine turning out thousands of repetitions of
a single object with inflexible regularity. Every day he introduced,
almost without knowing it, some variation upon his work of the day
before; his labour was a perpetual improvisation. Under such
conditions it is difficult to say where the artist began and where the
handicraftsman left off. In spite of the richness and subtlety of
their idioms, the classic languages were unable to mark this
distinction. In Greek, as in Latin, there was but a single term for
two positions which seem to us by no means equal in dignity.

§ 2. _Glass and Pottery._

The potter's is, perhaps, the oldest of all the crafts. Among the
relics of the cave-men and lake-dwellers of the West, the remains of
rough pottery, shaped by the hand and dried either by the sun or in
the neighbourhood of the domestic hearth, have been found. The Egypt
of the earliest dynasties was already more advanced than this. The
vases found in the mastabas show by their symmetrical shapes that the
potter's wheel was already in use, and by their quality, that,
although the Egyptians were content to dry their bricks in the sun,
they fired their pottery in kilns and thoroughly understood the

    [362] The oldest representation of the potter's wheel yet
    discovered is in one of the paintings at Beni-Hassan. It is
    reproduced in BIRCH'S _Ancient Pottery_, p. 14.

Egypt afforded an abundant supply of excellent potter's earth, and her
inhabitants, like those of ancient Greece and Italy, employed
terra-cotta for purposes to which we should now apply glass, wood, or
metal. A good idea of the varied uses to which the material was put
may be obtained from the early chapters of the work in which Dr. Birch
has traced the history of ancient pottery, with the help of numerous

    [363] S. BIRCH, _A History of Ancient Pottery, Egyptian,
    Assyrian, Greek, Etruscan, and Roman_, 1 vol. 8vo, 1873. London,

We shall not dwell upon common earthenware. It is represented by
numerous vessels from the most ancient tombs in the Memphite
necropolis; they are of a reddish or yellowish colour, and, in spite
of the absence of all glaze, they hold water perfectly well. Like
Greek vessels of the same kind they have sometimes three ears or
handles (Fig. 291). Examples of coupled vessels, like those found in
Cyprus, have also been discovered. They communicate with one another
by a tube and are kept together by a common handle (Fig. 292). Of all
the representative specimens of earthenware from the mastabas given by
Lepsius, there is but one which does not seem to belong to the
category of domestic pottery. It is a kind of aryballus, and is
gracefully ornamented with interlacing circles.[364] In later times
many of these unglazed vases were decorated with the brush, but they
were not remitted to the oven after that operation.[365] The colour
was therefore without lustre or solidity, and the designs were always
very simple. To this group belong the vases shaped in the form of
men, women, or animals, which are common enough in museums.[366]
Sometimes a head, recalling that of the god Bes, is sketched in low
relief upon a vase, and in a few instances a pair of small arms
complete the fanciful design (Fig. 293).

    [364] LEPSIUS, _Denkmæler_, part ii. pl. 153.

    [365] BIRCH, _Ancient Pottery_, p. 37.

    [366] BIRCH, _Ancient Pottery_, Figs. 23 and 25.

[Illustration: FIG. 291.--Pitcher of red earth. British Museum.]

[Illustration: FIG. 292.--Red earthenware. British Museum.]

Another kind of pottery, that known as _Egyptian porcelain_, must be
noticed in greater detail. This designation is inexact. The proper
name would be _Egyptian faience_. It consists of white sand, gently
fused, and overspread with a glaze of coloured enamel. This enamel is
composed of flint and soda, with the addition of a colouring matter.
This faience has been fired with such care that it is able to support
the high temperature of a porcelain kiln without damage. Vases of many
different kinds, enamelled tiles, statuettes (Fig. 294), sepulchral
_figurines_ (Figs. 96 and 97, Vol. I.), neck ornaments and other
articles for decorating the person, amulets (Fig. 295), scarabs,
rings, and many other articles were made in this material.

Vases were generally either blue or apple green. A very small number
of them were ornamented with figures of men or animals, always treated
in a purely decorative fashion. No vase has yet been discovered with
any attempt to portray an incident upon it. The figures are never
united by a subject. Bouquets of lotus around some central motive are
of most frequent occurrence (Fig. 296). Sometimes these flowers are
combined with mystic symbols, like the eyes in Fig. 297. These
designs, which are in black, are produced by inlaying coloured enamel.

[Illustration: FIG. 293.--Gray earthenware. Boulak.]

[Illustration: FIG. 294.--The God Bes. Enamelled earthenware.]

Two of the vases which we reproduce (Figs. 296 and 297) are similar to
those shown in the bas-reliefs, in scenes of libation to the gods or
to the dead. Their form is that of the Greek φιάλη and the
Latin _patera_. Numerous bottles have also been found whose general
shape exactly resemble that of the Greek ἀρύβαλλος (Fig. 298).

The blue with which these objects are covered has often preserved a
brilliance and transparency which could not even now be surpassed.
Yellow, violet, and white glazes are also met with, but less
frequently. The hieroglyphs which many of them bear prove that the
manufacture of these little articles was in full swing under the
three great Theban dynasties, that it continued through the Saite
period, and that under the Ptolemies, and even later still, it was not
extinct. To the same branch of industry belong those tiles of
enamelled faience which seem to have been used by the Egyptians from
very early times. They were also used by the Assyrians, as we shall
see hereafter. "These tiles were used very extensively in eastern and
southern countries, and are found both in palaces and in private
dwellings. In the towns of Turkey and of Modern Egypt, in the towns
and villages of Algeria and of all the African coast as far as the
Straits of Gibraltar, thousands of examples are to be found. The
freshness which seems to result from their use and the enduring
brilliancy of their colours make these tiles very popular with the
inhabitants of hot climates."[367]

    [367] BRONGNIART, _Histoire de la Ceramique_, vol. ii. p. 95.

[Illustration: FIG. 295.--Pendant for necklace. Louvre.]

[Illustration: FIG. 296.--Enamelled earthenware. British Museum.]

[Illustration: FIG. 297.--Enamelled earthenware. British Museum.]

[Illustration: FIG. 298.--Enamelled faience. British Museum.]

[Illustration: FIG. 299.--Doorway in the Stepped Pyramid at Sakkarah.]

We do not know whether these tiles were used for the floors and walls
in the dwellings of rich Egyptians or not, but it appears certain that
their manufacture was understood even as early as the Ancient Empire.
The doorway of a chamber in the stepped pyramid of Sakkarah is
enframed with enamelled plaques. A sketch of Perring's, which we
reproduce, gives a good idea of this arrangement (Fig. 299).[368] Some
of these plaques are now in London, but a still larger number are in
the Berlin Museum, where the doorway as a whole has been restored, the
missing parts being replaced by copies. Our Figures 300-302 show the
back, the front, and the profile, of a single plaque. The obverse is
slightly convex, and covered with a greenish-blue glaze; the reverse
has a salient tenon which was held securely by the mortar. Through a
small hole in this tenon a rod of wood or metal may have passed which,
by uniting all the plaques in each horizontal row, would give
additional solidity to the whole arrangement.[369] On the backs of
several plaques there are marks which seem to be rotation numbers.
They are figured in the centre of Perring's sketch. Other bricks from
the same doorway are covered with an almost black enamel. They form
the horizontal mouldings between the rows of upright bricks, and are
decorated with a sort of arrow-head pattern.

    [368] See also LEPSIUS, _Denkmæler_, part ii. pl. 2, and the
    _Verzeichniss der Ægyptischen Alterthümer_ of the Berlin Museum,
    1879, p. 25.

    [369] We owe our ability to give these curious details to the
    kindness of M. Conze and the officers of the Egyptian museum at
    Berlin. One of the original fragments brought home by Lepsius
    was lent to us.

[Illustration: FIGS. 300-302.--Enamelled plaque from the Stepped

This fashion endured throughout the Theban period. The most important
relic of it which we now possess is from the decoration of a temple
built by Rameses III. to the north-west of Memphis, near the modern
Tell-el-Yahoudeh, upon the railway from Cairo to Ismailia. The
building itself was constructed of crude brick, the walls being lined
with enamelled tiles. The royal ovals and titles were cut in the earth
before it was fired, and afterwards filled up with an enamel so tinted
as to stand out in strong relief from the colour of the brick. Other
tiles represent African and Asiatic prisoners. The figures are in
relief; the enamel is parti-coloured, the hair of the prisoners being
black, their carnations yellowish-brown, and certain details of their
costume being accentuated by other hues. Dr. Birch reproduces some of
these painted reliefs and compares them to the _figurines rustiques_
of Bernard Palissy.[370] The principal fragments of this decoration
are in the store-rooms of the Boulak Museum. They deserve more
publicity than they have received. Most of them are purely decorative
in character and bear designs of which an idea may be gained from
three pieces of faience which are now in the British Museum. Two have
graceful rosettes, while the third is covered with a pattern
resembling a spider's web (Figs. 303-305).[371]

    [370] BIRCH, _Ancient Pottery_, p. 50.

    [371] I am told that a circular base, like that of a column of a
    table for offerings, was discovered in the same building. It is
    entirely covered with this same faience.

[Illustration: FIGS. 303-305.--Enamelled earthenware plaques in the
British Museum.]

Certain buildings in Memphis seem to have been decorated in the same
fashion. "The most curious thing brought by me from Mitrahineh,"
writes Jomard, "is a fragment of enamelled and sculptured terra-cotta,
which probably belonged to a wall lined with that fine material. It is
remarkable for the brilliant blue, the blue of the lapis-lazuli, which
covers it.... The outlines of the hieroglyphs are as firm, and their
edges as sharp as if they were the work of a skilful carver, and had
never been subjected to the heat of a furnace. They are of blue
stucco, inlaid into the body of the enamel. I look upon this kind of
decoration as analogous to that of the Cairo divans, in which we see
walls covered with earthenware tiles which are painted with various
ornaments and subjects."[372] Now that attention has been attracted to
this kind of decoration, traces of it will no doubt be found at many
other points of Ancient Egypt.[373]

    [372] _Description, Antiquités_, vol. v. p. 543, and _Atlas_,
    vol. v. plate 87, Fig. 1.

    [373] The collection of M. Gustave Posno, which will, we hope,
    be soon absorbed into that of the Louvre, contains many
    enamelled bricks from decorative compositions like those in the
    stepped pyramid and the temple of Rameses III. (Nos. 8, 9, 11,
    20, 58, 59, 60, 61 of the Catalogue published at Cairo in 1874).
    One of these, which has a yellow enamel, bears in relief the
    oval and the royal banner of Papi, of the sixth dynasty. Another
    has the name Seti I.; others those of Rameses III. and Sheshonk.
    The reliefs upon which prisoners' heads appear must have come
    from Tell-el-Yahoudeh.

These enamels were not always used upon stone or faience; their
charming varieties of tone are also found upon wooden grounds. M.
Maspero mentions as an example of this the fragments of a mummy case
in the Turin Museum. An inscription upon the wood is surrounded by
faience ornament of a very rich colour. Mariette also mentions bronzes
in which the remains of enamel and of _pietra dura_ inlays are yet to
be seen.[374]

    [374] MARIETTE, _Notice du Musée de Boulak_, p. 69.

Enamel is glass coloured by means of a metallic oxide and spread
thinly over a surface, with which it is combined by means of heat. The
Egyptians must therefore have understood the manufacture of glass
at a very early date. It is represented in the paintings at
Beni-Hassan.[375] Workmen are shown crouched by a fire and blowing
glass bottles by means of a hollow cane, exactly as they do to this
day. This industry continued to flourish in Egypt down to the Roman
epoch. The glass manufacturers of Alexandria told Strabo that Egypt
possessed a peculiar vitrifiable earth, without which the magnificent
works in many-coloured glass could not be executed.[376] It is
generally supposed that this "earth" was soda. The Venetians of the
middle ages imported the soda required for their glass-making from
Alexandria. It is said that Egyptian soda is the best known. It comes
from the ashes of a plant called by botanists _Mesem Bryanthemum

    [375] WILKINSON, _Manners and Customs_, vol. ii. p. 140.

    [376] STRABO, xvi. ch. ii. § 25.

    [377] PRISSE, _Histoire de l'Art Égyptien_, text, p. 313.

Vessels of Egyptian glass are to be found in most museums, which
recall those of Venice by their bands and fillets of brilliant
colours. As for ordinary glass it seems never to have been quite
transparent and colourless; it was always tinged with green and
slightly opaque. It was upon their productions in colour that the fame
of the Egyptian glass-makers depended. They produced vases, cups,
pateræ, goblets, beads and other ornaments for necklaces and
bracelets, amulets and everything else that the material would allow,
in prodigious quantities, both for domestic consumption and for
exportation. At one time mummies were covered with a kind of garment
composed of multitudinous strings of beads.

Statuettes, such as the two figured below, were also made of glass.
The larger of the two, which still has the hook, by which it was
suspended, in its head, is entirely covered with parti-coloured
ornaments similar to those shown upon its right shoulder. Our
draughtsman at Boulak had no time to finish the drawing he had begun,
and we have reproduced it in its actual condition rather than omit it
or have it completed in any degree conjecturally. The details given
afford a sufficiently good idea of the motives employed by the
Egyptian artist. The ornamentation of the other figure is more simple
(Fig. 307), but the attitude is the same. There are two colours on the
very well modelled head which acts as tail-piece to the _Introduction_
in our first volume. The globe of the eye and its contours stand out
in black against the yellow of the flesh. The wig is also black.

[Illustration: FIG. 306.--Glass statuette. Boulak. Actual size.]

[Illustration: FIG. 307.--Glass statuette. Boulak. Actual size.]

       *       *       *       *       *

Nothing can have been more surprising to the ancient traveller who set
foot upon the soil of Egypt for the first time, than the vast number
of these objects in coloured glass and in green or blue faience. They
appeared everywhere; upon the walls of buildings and upon the persons
of their inhabitants, upon every article which helped to furnish tombs
or temples, palaces or private houses. Everything shone with the
brilliant colours of this enamel, whose unchanging brightness was so
grateful to a southern eye. It harmonized to perfection with the
whiteness of the fine linen worn by the richer classes of Egyptians,
and formed happy combinations with the rich red and blue fringes which
bordered their robes and girdles. Enamel was much more easily cleaned
than cloth. When it was tarnished by dust or dirt, a few drops of
water would restore all its brightness. The lavish employment of such
a material doubtless did much to give the persons of the Egyptians and
their dwellings that neat and smiling aspect which so charmed foreign
visitors. Herodotus tells us that one of the features which most
strongly warned the traveller that he was in the presence of a very
ancient and refined civilization, was the national passion for a
cleanliness that was almost too fastidious, for fine linen constantly
renewed, for frequent ablutions, for the continual use of the razor. A
nation dressed in spotless white, shaved, circumcised and continually
washed, afforded a curious contrast to shaggy barbarians clothed in
wool that was dirty with long usage. Even in the time of Herodotus
more than one tribe of Greek mountaineers was still in existence, that
hardly differed in habits and costume from those early ancestors of
the Hellenes who, as Homer tells us, "slept upon the bare ground and
never washed their feet."

§ 3. _Metal-work and Jewelry._

Egypt had, perhaps, her age of stone. MM. Hamy and François Lenormant
have called attention to the cut and polished flints which have been
found in Egypt, and Mariette brought a whole series of them to the
Universal Exhibition of 1878. Mariette, however, was careful to remark
that some of these flint implements, exactly similar in appearance to
those found in the open air, were discovered in the tombs, among the

    [378] MARIETTE, _De la Galerie de l'Égypte Ancienne à
    l'Exposition Rétrospective du Trocadéro_, 1878, pp. 111, 112.
    WILKINSON, _The Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians_,
    etc. vol. ii. p. 261.

These flint knives, therefore, are not necessarily anterior to the
commencement of Egyptian history, that is to say to the first
dynasties mentioned by Manetho. Moreover, Herodotus tells us that it
was with a flint knife that the Egyptian embalmer made his first
incision upon the corpse entrusted to him.[379] It would, then, be
difficult to distinguish between prehistoric flint objects and those
which belong to the civilization whose remains we are now studying,
while our examination of the latter leads us quite as deeply into the
past as we desire to go.

    [379] HERODOTUS, ii. 86.

Even under the earliest dynasties the Egyptians were metal-workers.

Several bronze objects are in existence which date at least from the
end of the Ancient Empire,[380] and in the bas-reliefs of the tomb of
Ti, we see smiths directing the flame, by means of long tubes, upon
the block of metal which they are forging (Fig. 21, Vol. I.). This is
a kind of elementary blow-pipe, such as those still used by certain
savage tribes.

    [380] See page 197.

The Egyptians began by making use of pure copper, which they could
obtain from Sinai and other mines within easy reach. Various
indications allow us to conclude that they were long ignorant of the
fact that by mixing it with a little tin its hardness could be
enormously increased.[381] In any case, they had certainly discovered
the secret during the fifth, or, at latest, the sixth, dynasty. As to
where they found the tin, we can say nothing positively. No deposit of
that metal is known either in Egypt or in the neighbouring countries.
It may possibly have come from India, passing through various hands on
its way. In later years the Phœnicians brought it from Spain and the
southern shores of Britain. The metal must then have become common
enough, and it was used in large quantities by the Egyptian founders.
Thus when the pavement of the room in the north-western corner of the
Temple of Rameses III. at Medinet-Abou was raised, nearly a thousand
bronze statues, all representing Osiris, were found. The existence of
this deposit bears witness to the Egyptian habit of sanctifying the
site of a new temple by sowing it broad-cast with sacred images.[382]

    [381] See BIRCH, notes to Wilkinson's _Manners and Customs_,
    vol. ii. p. 232, edition of 1878.

    [382] MARIETTE, _Itineraire_, p. 210.

Bronze was employed for all kinds of domestic purposes. The graceful
mirror-handle reproduced below (Fig. 308) is in the Boulak Museum. So
too, are the bronze hair-pin (Fig. 309) and the curiously designed
dagger (Fig. 310).

The analysis of various specimens of Egyptian bronze shows that the
proportion of tin which it contained was not constant. It varies from
about five to fifteen per cent.[383] Traces of iron are also found in

    [383] WILKINSON, _Manners and Customs_, etc. vol. ii. pp. 232
    and 401.

[Illustration: FIG. 308.--Mirror-handle.]

[Illustration: FIG. 309.--Bronze hair-pin.]

[Illustration: FIG. 310.--Bronze dagger.]

The date at which this last named metal was introduced into the
country is still matter of dispute. Various facts brought together by
Dr. Birch, lead us to think that the Egyptians were acquainted with
iron at least as soon as the commencement of the Theban
supremacy,[384] but it would seem that they always made a greater use
of bronze.

    [384] _Ibid._ Vol. II. PP. 250, 251.

The word that signifies gold appears in the oldest inscriptions, and
in the pictures at Beni-Hassan contemporary with the twelfth dynasty
the whole process of making gold ornaments is represented.[385] From
that time onward the Egyptian Pharaohs caused the veins of quartz in
the mountains between the Nile and the Red Sea to be worked; they also
obtained large supplies of the precious metal from Ethiopia. Silver
came from Asia. It seems to have been rarer than gold, at least during
the last centuries of the monarchy. As Belzoni remarked, while gold is
lavished upon the mummies and upon all the sepulchral furniture about
them silver is only met with in exceptional cases.[386] In 1878,
Mariette exhibited in Paris five massive patera-shaped silver vases,
which, from the style of their ornaments, he attributed to the Saite

    [385] WILKINSON, _Manners and Customs_, vol. ii. pp. 233-237.

    [386] BELZONI, _Narrative_, etc. vol. i. p. 277.

The finest specimens of Egyptian jewelry now extant belong to the
three great Theban dynasties. We may give as instances the jewels of
Queen Aah-hotep, which are among the most precious treasures of the
Boulak Museum,[387] and those found in the tomb of Kha-em-uas, son of
Rameses II. These are in the Louvre. The splendid breast ornament
figured on the opposite page (Fig. 311), is one of them. It is made of
lapis-lazuli and gold, and is thus described by M. Pierret: "Jewel in
the form of a naos, in which a vulture and an uræus are placed side by
side; above them floats a hawk with extended wings; in his claws are
seals, the emblems of eternity. Under the frieze of the naos an oval
with the prenomen of Rameses II. is introduced. Two _tet_ are placed
in the lower angles of the frame."[388] These jewels were funerary in
character. They consist of a little chapel in the middle of which
there is usually a scarab--emblem of transformation and
immortality--adoring the goddesses Isis and Nephthys. They are called
_pectorals_ because they were placed upon the bosoms of the dead.
Great numbers of them have been found in the tombs, in metal, in
wood, and in earthenware; few, however, are as rich as that of
Kha-em-uas. Each compartment of the golden frame-work is filled in
either with coloured glass or with a piece of some _pietra dura_ with
a rich hue of its own.

    [387] MARIETTE, _Notice du Musée de Boulak_, Nos. 810-839.
    Coloured reproductions of them are published in M. CÉSAR DALY'S
    _Revue de l'Architecture_, a sequel to the _Histoire d'Égypte
    d'après les Monuments_ (published in 1860) of M. ERNEST

    [388] PIERRET, _Catalogue de la Salle Historique_, Louvre, No.
    521. This jewel is reproduced, with many others from the same
    tomb, in two fine coloured plates in MARIETTE'S unfinished work,
    _Le Sérapéum de Memphis_. Folio, 1857.

[Illustration: FIG. 311.--Pectoral. Actual size. Drawn by Saint-Elme

In the same case as this pectoral there are two golden hawks incrusted
in the same fashion, which may have belonged to a similar jewel. The
larger of the two (Fig. 312) has a ram's head.[389] There is a
necklace about its throat, and in its talons it grasps a pair of
seals, the symbols of reproduction and eternity. The same emblem is
held by the smaller hawk (Fig. 313), whose wings form a large

    [389] PIERRET, _Catalogue de la Salle Historique_, Louvre, No.

    [390] _Ibid._ No. 534.

[Illustration: FIG. 312.--Golden Hawk. Actual size. Drawn by
Saint-Elme Gautier.]

[Illustration: FIG. 313.--Golden Hawk. Actual size. Drawn by
Saint-Elme Gautier.]

Living forms are interpreted in a less conventional fashion in the
little monuments which are known as _ægides_, on account of their
shape. This may be seen by reference to one recently acquired by the
Louvre (Fig. 314). The name of an Osorkhon of the twenty-second
dynasty and that of Queen Ta-ti-bast are on the back. At the top
appears the lion-head of the goddess Sekhet, modelled with great
skill and freedom, and supported on each side by the head of a hawk;
below these comes a plate of gold, entirely covered with fine
engraving. A seated figure with expanded wings forms a centre for
numerous bands of ornament in which the open flower of the lotus is
combined with its buds and circular leaves.

Necklaces are also very rich and various in design. Fig. 315 is the
restoration of one which exists in a dislocated state in one of the
cases of the Louvre. It is formed of glass beads in four rows, below
which hangs a row of pendants, probably charms. The _tet_, the god
_Bes_, the _oudja_ or symbolic eye, &c., are to be distinguished among

[Illustration: FIG. 314.--Ægis. Louvre. Actual size. Drawn by
Saint-Elme Gautier.]

The beautiful group of Osiris, Isis, and Horus deserves to rank as a
work of sculpture (Fig. 316). These little figures are of gold. Osiris
is crouching between the other two deities on a pedestal of
lapis-lazuli, which bears the name of Osorkhon II. The inscription
upon the base consists of a religious benediction upon the same
Pharaoh. These little figures are finely executed, and the base upon
which the group stands is incrusted with coloured glass.

We have already reproduced specimens of finger rings (Figs. 241 and
243), and the additional examples on page 387 will help to show how
varied were their form. Many of these little articles have moveable or
rotating stones upon which figures or inscriptions are engraved. Some
have this merely upon a flattened or thickened part of the ring,
which, again, is sometimes double (Fig. 318). Ear-rings of many
different forms have been found; they are ornamented with little
figures in relief (Figs. 319 and 320).

Some writers have spoken of the _cloisonné enamels_ of Egypt. This
expression is inaccurate, as Mariette has observed.[391] There are
certainly _cloisons_ in many of the jewels above described--such as
the pectoral and the two hawks--_cloisons_ made up of thin ribs of
silver or gold, but these compartments are not combined by firing with
the material used to fill them. Where the Chinese place enamel the
Egyptians inserted fragments of coloured glass or of such stones as
the amethyst, cornelion, lapis-lazuli, turquoise, jasper, &c. The work
was not passed through an oven after the insertion of these colouring
substances; it was therefore rather a mosaic than an enamel in the
proper sense of the term. By an analagous process bronze was
damascened with gold and silver, threads of these two metals being
inserted in prepared grooves and hammered into place. Mariette has
called attention to several bronzes at Boulak thus inlaid with
gold,[392] and in the Louvre there is a graceful little sphinx marked
with the cartouche of Smendes, which is damascened with silver.

    [391] MARIETTE, _Notice du Musée de Boulak_, No. 388. _Galerie
    de l'Égypte Ancienne au Trocadéro_, pp. 114, 115.

    [392] MARIETTE, _Notice du Musée_, Nos. 107, 108, 131.

The Egyptians were also workers in ivory, which was obtained in large
quantities from Ethiopia. Sometimes they were content with carving it
(Fig. 322), sometimes they engraved upon it with the _point_ and then
filled in the design with black, giving it a forcible relief (Fig.
323). The ivory plaque from Sakkarah reproduced in Fig. 321, deserves
to be studied for its technical method, although it dates from the
Greek period. The blacks shown in our woodcut are produced in the
original by filling up with mastic the hollows made with the _point_.

Famous sculptors were especially fond of working in ivory. Iritesen
speaks as follows upon a stele translated by M. Maspero:--"Ah! there
is no one who excels at this work except myself and the eldest of my
legitimate sons. God decided that he should excel, and I have seen the
perfection of his handiwork as an artist, as the chief of those who
work in precious stones, in gold, silver, ivory and ebony."[393]

    [393] _Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archæology_, v.
    part ii. 1877.

[Illustration: FIG. 315.--Necklace. Louvre. Drawn by Saint-Elme

[Illustration: FIG. 316.--Osiris, Isis, and Horus.]

No traces of amber have been discovered in Egypt, and Egyptologists
tell us that no word for it is to be found in the language.

[Illustration: FIGS. 317, 318.--Rings. Louvre.]

[Illustration: FIGS. 319, 320.--Ear-rings. Louvre.]

A complete idea of Egyptian jewelry and work in the precious metals
cannot be given without colour; without its assistance the brilliance,
softened into completest harmony by the action of time, which
distinguishes the objects of which we have now been speaking, can only
be guessed at. Our best advice to those who wish to thoroughly
appreciate their beauty, is to examine them in the museums where they
are exposed. But even in the black and white of our draughtsman the
excellent taste which animated the Egyptian jeweller may be fairly
estimated. Other races, the Greeks, for instance, gave more lightness
and a more refined grace to their trinkets, but our familiarity with
their productions does not prevent us from recognizing the nobility
and amplitude of these designs. Their originality, too, is strongly
brought out by their affinity to the style and decoration of the great
national buildings; we might almost be tempted to think that their
designs and colour compositions were supplied by architects.

[Illustration: FIG. 321.--Ivory Plaque. Boulak.]

The same characteristics are to be recognized on the vases figured in
the royal tombs at Thebes.[394] They are coloured yellow and blue,
and both their form and tint forbid us to suppose that they were of
any material but metal, of gilt bronze or gold, or of silver.
Incrustations in enamel or coloured _pietra dura_ relieve the monotony
of the metal surface. Some of these pieces seem to have been very
large. Their decoration and design is rich and complex. Flowers and
half-opened buds, lions' heads, masks of Bes and of negroes, birds,
sphinxes, etc., are introduced. We may presume that such objects were
made for presentation to the gods and preservation in treasure-houses;
few of them could have been put to any practical use. The great men of
Egypt followed the example of Pharaoh in enriching the temples. The
stele of Neb-oua, chief prophet of Osiris in the reign of Thothmes
III., runs thus: "I have consecrated numerous gifts in the temple of
my father Osiris; in silver, in gold, in lapis-lazuli, in copper, and
in all kinds of precious stones."[395]

    [394] See two plates of PRISSE entitled: "_Art Industriel. Vases
    en Or Émaillé_; _Rhytons et autres Vases_."

    [395] MARIETTE, _Notice du Musée_, No. 93.

[Illustration: FIG. 322.--Ivory Castanet. Louvre.]

[Illustration: FIG. 323.--Fragment of an Ivory Castanet. Louvre.]

§ 4. _Woodwork._

The Egyptians made great use of wood. Under the Ancient Empire it
furnished the material for all their lighter constructions, to which,
by the help of colour, great variety and cheerfulness was imparted.
Even in those early ages the cabinet-maker or joiner endeavoured to
make his work artistic. Various articles of furniture had their feet
carved into the shape of lions' paws, or the hoofs of oxen.[396] To
judge from certain stone objects preserved in the mastabas, wood,
which was comparatively easy to work, must have afforded the material
for those skilfully-made and complex pieces of furniture whose forms
are preserved for us by paintings from the Theban epoch.[397]

    [396] LEPSIUS, _Denkmæler_, part ii. plates 36 and 90.

    [397] Among such objects is a table for libations, which was
    found in a tomb at Sakkarah. It is supported by two lions, whose
    pendent tails are twisted round a vase. MARIETTE, _Notice du
    Musée_, No. 93.

In these pictures the labours of the carpenter (Fig. 324), and those
of the cabinet-maker (Fig. 325) are often represented. The specimens
of furniture in our modern museums are mostly of a commonplace
character, but they are interesting from the light they throw upon the
methods of the Egyptian joiners (Fig. 326). The richness and
elaboration of Egyptian furniture under the great Theban dynasties
can only be estimated from the paintings. We have already seen that
their musical instruments were elaborately decorated; the harp of the
famous minstrel figured on page 345 is entirely covered with
incrustations, and its foot is ornamented with a bust of graceful
design. In this luxurious age the arts of the cabinet-maker must have
been carried to a great height. The interior of an ancient Egyptian
house must have been very different from the bareness which greets a
visitor to the modern East. Chairs with or without arms, tables of
varied form, folding seats, foot-stools, brackets supporting vases of
flowers, cabinets in which objects of value were locked up, filled the
rooms. The upper classes of Egypt lived a life that was refined and
elegant as well as civilized. A great lord of the time of a Thothmes
or a Rameses was not content, like a Turkish bey or pacha, with a
divan, a few carpets, and a mattress which, after being locked up in a
cupboard during the day, is spread upon the floor for his
accommodation at night. He had his bedstead, often inlaid with metal
or ivory, and, like a modern European, he had other articles of
furniture besides.

[Illustration: FIG. 324.--Workman splitting a piece of wood. Gournah.
From Champollion.]

[Illustration: FIG. 325.--Joiner making a bed. From Champollion.]

Several pictures are extant in which Egyptian receptions--Egyptian
_salons_--are represented. The company is not crouched upon the earth,
in the modern Oriental fashion. Both men and women are seated upon
chairs, some of which have cushioned seats and backs.[398]

    [398] See the illustration which EBERS calls _A Reception in
    Ancient Egypt_. (_Ægypten_, vol. ii. p. 276.)

[Illustration: FIG. 326.--Coffer for sepulchral statuettes. Louvre.]

The elegance of these seats may be guessed from the two examples on
the next page, one from the tomb of Rameses III. (Fig. 327), the other
from that of Chamhati (Fig. 328). They are both royal chairs, or
thrones. The smaller chair figures among a number of things presented
by Chamhati to his master, Pharaoh, and we need feel no surprise that
among the supports of both these pieces of furniture, those crouching
prisoners which became about this time such a common motive in
Egyptian ornament, are to be found. In the one example, they are
incorporated with the carved members which support the seat, in the
other they are inserted between the legs, which are shaped
respectively like the fore and hind quarters of a lion. Each arm
terminates in a lion's head. A crowned, winged, and hawk-headed uræus,
some lotus-flowers, and a sphinx with a vanquished enemy beneath his
paws, are carved upon either side of the chair. The scheme of
decoration as a whole is a happy combination of æsthetic beauty with
allusions to the power and success of the king.

[Illustration: FIG. 327.--Chair. From the _Description_.]

[Illustration: FIG. 328.--Chair. From Prisse.]

These elaborate pieces of furniture are only known to us by the
paintings, but when we turn to articles of a less ambitious
description, such as toys and what are called _bimbeloterie_ in
French, and, rather helplessly, "fancy articles" in English, we have
many fine specimens to turn to. Of these the most conspicuous are
those perfume spoons whose handles so often embody charming motives.
The more simple examples are ornamented merely with the buds or open
flowers of the lotus (Fig. 329). Others, however, have beautifully
carved figures. In Fig. 330 we see a young woman picking a lotus bud.
Several stalks crowned with open flowers support the bowl, which is
shaped like that of a modern spoon, except that its narrow end is
turned towards the handle. The attitude and expression of this little
figure are very good. The right foot, which is thrust forward, only
touches the ground by the toes. The water in which she is about to
step may hide sharp flints or unkindly roots, and, with commendable
prudence, she begins by testing the bottom. Her legs are bare, because
she has raised her garment well above the knee before descending into
the marsh. Her carefully plaited hair and her crimped petticoat show
that her social condition is good.

Another spoon shows us a musician between stems of papyrus. She stands
upright upon one of those boats which were used in the papyrus-brakes
(Fig. 331). Her instrument is a long-handled guitar. The musician
herself seems to have been one of those dancers and singers whose
condition was pretty much the same in ancient as in modern Egypt. Her
only garment is a short petticoat knotted about her waist. The bowl of
this spoon is rectangular.

[Illustration: FIG. 329.--Perfume Spoon. Boulak. Drawn by Bourgoin.]

Another common motive is that of a girl swimming. She is represented
at the moment when her stroke is complete; her upper and lower limbs
are stretched out to their full extent so as to offer the least
possible resistance to the water (Fig. 257). There is a perfume-box in
the Louvre which is supported on a figure contrasting strongly with
the last described. The box is shaped like a heavy sack, and is
supported upon the right shoulder of a slave, who bends beneath its
weight. By the thick lips, flat nose, heavy jaw, low forehead, and
closely-shaven, sugar-loaf head, we may recognize this as yet another
of those caricatures of prisoners which we have already encountered in
such numbers.[399] A perfume-box at Boulak should also be mentioned.
It is in the shape of a goose turning its head backwards. Its wings
open and give access to the hollow of the box.

    [399] This figure is reproduced in Rayet's _Monuments de l'Art
    Antique_ and described by M. MASPERO. (_Cuillers de Toilette en

This desire to ornament even the most apparently insignificant
objects of domestic use was universal. The sticks which are shown in
the bas-reliefs in the hands of almost every Egyptian of good social
position, were generally provided with a more or less richly
ornamented head. The simplest terminate in a handle which appears to
be modelled after the leaf of the lotus, as it rises above the level
of the water, and, before opening to the full expansion, forms an
obtuse angle with the stalk which supports it (Fig. 332). Other sticks
of a similar shape have an eye painted upon them (Fig. 333). Sometimes
the handle is shaped like a lotus-flower surmounted by an oval knob
(Fig. 334). Wooden pins have been found with the head of a jackal or
some other animal carved upon them (Fig. 335).

[Illustration: FIGS. 330, 331.--Perfume Spoons. Louvre. Drawn by
Saint-Elme Gautier.]

Wooden articles were often entirely gilt. A Hathoric capital in the
Louvre (Fig. 336) is an instance of this. The outlines of the eyes and
eyebrows stand out in black upon the dead gold which covers the rest
of this little monument.

[Illustration: FIGS. 332-334.--Walking-stick handles. Boulak.]

The coffin-makers were large consumers of wood. Some mummy cases were
of that material, others of a very thick board made up of many layers
of linen glued together with such skill and firmness that the
resulting substance had all the hardness and resonance of wood. Cases
of both kinds were covered with a thin coat of plaster, varnished, and
decorated with designs in colour. The thickness of the plaster coat
may be easily seen in the numerous cracks which these coffins display.

All the decorative motives which we find traced by the brush or
engraved by the chisel upon the walls of buildings and upon works in
terra-cotta, in metal, and in wood, must have been repeated upon the
woven stuffs of the country, and upon those needle embroideries with
which they were ornamented. There is nothing in which the superiority
of Egyptian manufactures is better shown than in linen cloth. Linen
has been recovered from the tombs which is as fine as the best Indian
muslin. Some has been found which feels like silk to the touch, and
equals the best French _batiste_ in the perfection of its weaving. We
know from the bas-reliefs and paintings that some Egyptian stuffs had
the transparency of gauze. Body-linen was usually of a dazzling white,
but in some instances it was dyed red, and in others it had borders
made up of several bands of red and indigo blue. The designs were
either woven in the stuff or applied to it by a process which gave
effects not unlike those of our printed cottons. Golden threads were
introduced into specially fine tissues. But the great excellence of
Egypt in such matters as these was in her needle embroidery. Even
during the epoch of Roman supremacy her productions of that kind were
eagerly sought after.[400]

    [400] MARTIAL, _Epigrammata_, xiv. 150. LUCAN, X. v. 141.

[Illustration: FIG. 335.--Wooden pin or peg. Boulak.]

[Illustration: FIG. 336.--Hathoric capital. Louvre.]

§ 5. _The Commerce of Egypt._

When, under the great Theban Pharaohs, Egypt found herself impelled,
either by force or by inclination, to emerge from her long isolation,
her vast internal commerce and her industrial development must have
had a greater effect over the foreigners with whom she came into
contact than her gigantic buildings, or the colossal statues,
bas-reliefs, and paintings with which they were adorned. During the
Middle Empire she opened her gates to some extent to certain tribes of
Semites and Kushites, who dwelt close to her frontier. After her
conquest by the Hyksos, and the establishment, some centuries later,
of her own supremacy in Syria, she never ceased to hold intercourse
with her neighbours.

Her foreign relations were, however, peculiar in character. During
many centuries it never occurred to the worshipper of Osiris that it
was possible to live and die out of the sacred valley of the Nile.
Thrown by some accident outside those limits which for him coincided
with the frontiers of the habitable world, he would have felt as
helpless as a Parisian stranded upon some cannibal island. In later
years, after about the seventeenth century B.C. the separation between
the Egyptians and the people of Western Asia became less complete. The
time arrived when Babylon and Greece were in advance of Egypt; but
even then the Egyptians shrank from changing their ancient habits.
Their well-being in the valley watered by their sacred river was too
complete, their pride of race was too great, to allow of their
mingling readily with those whom they looked upon as barbarians. Still
more effectual was their unwillingness, their fear, to confide their
mortal bodies to any other soil but that of Egypt. There alone could
they count with certainty upon the care and skill which would preserve
it from final destruction. Nowhere but in the _Western Mountain_ could
they be sure of receiving the necessary offerings and homage. The gods
who watched over the mummy, who guided the soul in its subterranean
voyage and shielded it during the tests to which it was exposed after
death, dwelt in Egypt alone. Military expeditions were pushed into
Syria, and even as far as the Euphrates, but no Egyptian crossed the
Isthmus of Suez without longing for the day of his return. He brought
back the plunder of his successful combats to the crowded cities of
his own country, with their countless monuments and their memories of
a glorious past; he could enjoy life only where the tombs of his
ancestors and his own _happy dwelling_ marked the spot where he should
repose when that life had ceased.

By taste, then, the Egyptian was no traveller. But in time the men of
other nations came to seek him; they came to buy from him the
countless wonders which had been created by his skilful and patient
industry. The Phœnician, especially after the beginning of the
eighteenth dynasty, took upon himself the useful office of middle-man;
in later days, under the Psemetheks and their successors, the Greek
came to dispute that office with him. Like the Portuguese and the
Dutch in China and Japan, first the Phœnicians and afterwards the
Ionians had their _factories_ at Memphis and in the cities of the
Delta. Thanks to these adroit and enterprising middle-men, Egypt
had a large foreign trade without either ships, sailors, or
merchant-adventurers. Upon this point much valuable information has
been obtained from the texts, but the discoveries of modern archæology
have been still more efficient in enabling us to form a true and vivid
conception of the trade carried on by the inhabitants of the Nile

Ever since attention was first drawn to the wide distribution of such
objects, not a year has passed without articles of Egyptian
manufacture being discovered at some distant point. Syria and Phœnicia
are full of them; they have been found in Babylonia and in Assyria,
upon the coasts of Asia Minor, in Cyprus, in the islands of the
Grecian Archipelago, in Greece itself, in Etruria, in Latium, in
Corsica and Sardinia, in the neighbourhood of Carthage; they are, in
fact, spread over all Western Asia and the whole basin of the
Mediterranean. At the moment when the Phœnicians began to secure the
monopoly of this trade the Egyptian workshops had no rivals in the
world; and when, after many centuries, other nations began to pour
their manufactures into the same markets, they had long to compete in
vain against a prestige which had been built up by ages of good work
and well earned notoriety.



In the study which we have now almost completed, we have made no
attempt to reconstitute the history of Egypt. We are without the
qualifications necessary for such a task. We do not read the
hieroglyphs, and are therefore without the key to that great library
in stone and wood, in canvas and papyrus--a library which could afford
material for thousands of volumes--which has been left to the world by
the ancient Egyptians.

Our one object has been to make Egyptian art better known; to place
its incomparable age and its originality in a clear light, and to show
the value of the example set by the first-born of civilization to the
peoples who came after them and began to experience the wants and
tastes which had long been completely satisfied in the Valley of the
Nile. The importance and absolute originality of the national forms of
art were hardly suspected before the days of Champollion; he was
something more than a philologist of genius; his intellect was too
penetrating and his taste too active, to leave him blind to any of the
forms taken by the thoughts and sentiments of that Egypt which was so
dear to him. "I shall write to our friend Dubois from Thebes," he says
in one of his letters, "after having thoroughly explored Egypt and
Nubia. I can say beforehand, that our Egyptians will cut a more
important figure in the future, in the history of art, than in the
past. I shall bring back with me a series of drawings from things fine
enough to convert the most obstinate."[401]

    [401] CHAMPOLLION, _Lettres d'Égypte et de Nubie_, p. 113.

The forecasts of Champollion and Nestor L'Hôte have been confirmed by
the excavations of Lepsius and Mariette. The conclusions deduced by
the former from their examination of the remains in the Nile Valley
have been indirectly corroborated by the discoveries which have
successively revealed to us ancient Chaldæa, Syria, Phœnicia, Asia
Minor, primitive Greece and Etruria. No one contests the priority of
Egypt. It is recognized that its origin dates from a period long
antecedent to that of any other race which, in its turn, played the
leading _rôle_ upon the stage of the ancient world. Justice has been
rendered to the richness of its architecture, to the skill of its
painters and sculptors, to the inventive fertility of its
handicraftsmen and the refinement of their taste. And yet no one had
attempted to do for Egypt what such men as Winckelmann and Ottfried
Müller did for Greece, Etruria, and Rome. The methods of analysis and
critical description which have long been employed with success upon
another field, had never been applied to her art as a whole; no one
had attempted to trace the steps of Egyptian genius during its long
and slow evolution. The difficulties were great, especially when
architecture was concerned. The ruins of the Pharaonic buildings had
never been studied at first hand with such care as had been lavished
upon the classic monuments of Italy and the Eastern Mediterranean. The
works to which we have had to turn for information have many plates
which make a fine show, which are accompanied with a luxury of detail
which is very reassuring, but when we examine them closely we are
amazed to find the most unforeseen omissions in their materials both
for restorations, and for the reproduction of buildings in their
actual condition.

When we attempt to make use of two separate works for the restoration
of a temple, we are met with an embarrassment of another kind.
Differences, and even actual contradictions, between one author and
another are frequent, and that without any new excavations having
taken place between-times to account for the inconsistency. Both
observers had the same facts under their eyes, and it is often
difficult to decide which of the two has observed badly. For one who
does not wish to admit pure fancy into his work, all this causes
doubts and hesitations which add greatly to the difficulty of his

The deeper we penetrate into such studies, the more we regret the
insufficiency of the materials, and yet we have thought it imperative
that we should fill in the framework of our history. It has one
peculiar aspect which distinguishes it from all others: the Egyptians
gave much to their neighbours and received nothing from them, at
least, during that period during which the character of their art as a
whole was established. The features which are distinctive of Egyptian
sculpture and architecture were determined at a time when there were
no races in her neighbourhood sufficiently advanced to have influence
upon them. This was not the case with Chaldæa and Assyria, at least,
to anything like the same extent. Their work, moreover, has come down
to us in a very fragmentary condition. Egypt is, then, the only
country in which a complete development, begun and carried on solely
by the energy and aptitude of one gifted race, can be followed through
all its stages. Everywhere else the examples of predecessors or of
neighbours have had an influence upon the march of art. They may have
accelerated its progress, but at the same time they diverted it in
some degree from its natural channel; they may have helped men to do
better, it is certain that they led them to do what they would not
otherwise have done. The goal may have been reached more quickly by
those who had a guide, but it was reached by a path different from
that they would have taken had they been left to their own devices. In
the Valley of the Nile there was no guide, no precedent to follow.
There, and there alone, did the evolution of the plastic faculty
preserve a normal organic character from the commencement of its
activity almost to its final decease.

From all this it follows that the art history of Egypt may be reviewed
in terms more definite, and that the conclusions drawn from it are
more certain or, at least, more probable, than that of any other
nation. It is, if we may be allowed such a phrase, more transparent.
Elsewhere, when we find a new decorative form introduced, or a new
style become prevalent, it is always open to us to ask whether they
may not have been foreign importations. When such borrowing is
suspected we have to trace it to its original source, and often the
search is both slow and painful. In the case of the Egyptians such
problems have to be solved differently. There is no need to extend
one's inquiries beyond the happy valley where, as in an inaccessible
island surrounded by a vast ocean of barbarians, they lived for ages
whose number can never be guessed. Other civilizations are to be
partly explained by those of their predecessors and their neighbours;
that of Egypt is only to be explained by itself, by the inherent
aptitudes of its people and their physical surroundings. Every
element of which the national genius made use was indigenous; nowhere
else can the fruit be so easily traced to the seed, and the natural
forces observed which developed the one from the other.

Another point of attraction in the study of Egyptian art is that
extreme antiquity which carries us back, without losing the thread of
the story, to a period when other races are still in the impenetrable
darkness of prehistoric times. A glance into so remote a past affords
us a pleasure not unmingled with fright and bewilderment. Our feelings
are like those of the Alpine traveller, who, standing upon some lofty
summit, leans over the abyss at his feet and lets his eye wander for a
moment over the immeasurable depths, in which forests and mountain
streams can be dimly made out through mist and shadow.

Long before the earliest centuries of which other nations have
preserved any tradition, Egypt, as she appears to us in her first
creations, already possesses an art so advanced that it seems the end
rather than the beginning of a long development. The bas-reliefs and
statues which have been found in the tombs and pyramids of Meidoum, of
Sakkarah and of Gizeh, are perhaps the masterpieces of Egyptian
sculpture, and, as Ampère says, "the pyramid of Cheops is of all human
monuments the oldest, the simplest, and the greatest."

The work of the First Theban Empire is no less astonishing.
"Twenty-five centuries before our era, the kings of Egypt carried out
works of public utility, which can only be compared, for scale and
ability, to the Suez Canal and the Mont Cenis Tunnel. In the
thirteenth century B.C., towards the presumed epoch of the Exodus and
the Trojan war, while Greece was still in a condition similar to that
of modern Albania, namely, divided up into many small hostile clans,
five centuries before Rome existed even in name, Egypt had arrived at
the point reached by the Romans under Cæsar and the Antonines; she
carried on a continual struggle against the barbarians who, after
being beaten and driven back for centuries, were at last endeavouring
to cross all her frontiers at once."[402]

    [402] RHONÉ, _L'Égypte Antique_, extract from _L'Art Ancien à
    l'Exposition de 1878_.

The princes, whose achievements were sung by Pentaour, the Egyptian
Homer, had artists in their service as great as those of the early
dynasties, artists who raised and decorated the Great Hall of Karnak,
one of the wonders of architecture.

It is not only by its originality and age that the art of Egypt
deserves the attention of the historian and the artist; it is
conspicuous for power, and, we may say, for beauty. In studying each
of the great branches of art separately we have endeavoured to make
clear the various qualities displayed by the Egyptian artist, either
in the decoration of the national monuments or in the interpretation
of living form by sculpture and painting. We have also endeavoured to
show how closely allied the handicrafts of Egypt were to its arts.

Our aim has been to embrace Egyptian art as a whole and to form a
judgment upon it, but, by force of circumstances, architecture has
received the lion's share of our attention. Some of our readers may
ask why an equilibrium was not better kept between that art whose
secrets are the most difficult to penetrate and whose beauties are
least attractive, not only to the crowd but even to cultivated
intellects, and its rivals.

The apparent disproportion is justified by the place held by
architecture in the Egyptian social system. We have proved that the
architect was socially superior to the painter and even to the
sculptor. His uncontested pre-eminence is to be explained by the
secondary _rôle_ which sculpture and painting had to fill. Those arts
were cultivated in Egypt with sustained persistence; rare abilities
were lavished upon them, and we may even say that masterpieces were
produced. But plastic images were less admired in themselves, their
intrinsic beauty was less keenly appreciated, in consequence of the
practical religious or funerary office which they had to fulfil.
Statues and pictures were always means to an end; neither of them ever
became ends in themselves, as they were in Greece,--works whose final
object was to elevate the mind and to afford to the intellectual side
of man that peculiar enjoyment which we call æsthetic pleasure.

Such conditions being given, it is easy to understand how painters and
sculptors were subordinated to architects. It was to the latter that
the most pious and, at the same time, the most magnificent of kings,
confided all his resources, and his example was followed by his
wealthy subjects; it was to him that every one employed had to look as
the final disposer; the other artists were no more than agents and
translators of a thought which was grasped in its entirety by the
architect alone. His work, embellished with all the graces of a
decoration which reckoned neither time nor materials, formed a
homogeneous and well-balanced whole. It was in inventing, in bringing
to perfection, and in contemplating such a work that the Egyptian mind
gave itself up most completely to love for beauty. If we take an
Egyptian building in its unity, as the product of a combined effort on
the part of a crowd of artists labouring under the directing will of
the architect, we shall no longer feel surprise at the space demanded
by our study of his art.

The Egyptian temple of the Theban period, as we know it by our
examination of Karnak and Luxor, the Ramesseum and Medinet-Abou, gives
us the best and highest idea of the national genius. We have had
nothing more at heart than the restoration of these edifices by the
comparison of all available materials; we have endeavoured to
re-establish their general arrangements, to describe their distinctive
features, and to grasp their original physiognomies as a whole. But
while making this effort we could never succeed in banishing the Greek
temple from our minds. In vain we may try to judge the art of each
people entirely on its own merits; such comparisons are inevitable,
and without dwelling upon the question we shall devote a few words to

The differences are considerable and are all to the advantage of the
Greek creation. Its nobility is more intimate and smiling; the genius
of man has there succeeded better in giving to his work that unity
which nature imprints on its highest productions, an unity which
results from the complete alliance between different organs, and
allows neither the subtraction of any part nor the addition of any
novel element.

These contrasts may be explained to a certain extent by the religion
of Greece and its social system. At present it is enough to point out
their existence.

This superiority of the Greek temple will hardly be contested, but
after it that of Egypt is certainly the most imposing and majestic
product of ancient art. The religious buildings of Chaldæa, Assyria,
Persia, Phœnicia, and Judæa, have left but slight remains behind them,
and the information which we possess as to their proportions and
general arrangements is obscure and incomplete. But we at least know
enough to sketch out a parallel which is all to the honour of Egypt.
Some of these eastern temples, being entirely composed of inferior
materials, never had the richness and variety presented by the
monuments of Memphis and Thebes. Others were but more or less free
imitations of Egyptian types. Suppose that temple of Bel, which was
one of the wonders of Babylon, still standing upon the great plains of
Mesopotamia; it would, in spite of its height and its enormous mass,
in spite of the various colours in which it was clothed, appear cold
and heavy beside Karnak in its first glory, beside the imposing
splendours of the Hypostyle Hall.

Until the rise of Greek art, the artists of Egypt remained, then, the
great masters of antiquity. Her architecture, by the beauty of its
materials, by its proportions, by its richness and variety, was
without a rival until the birth of the Doric temple. Her sculptors
betrayed a singular aptitude in grasping and interpreting the features
of individuals or of races, and they succeeded in creating types which
reached general truth without becoming strangers to individuality.
Their royal statues were great, not so much by their dimensions as by
the nobility of their style, and their expression of calm and pensive
gravity. The existence of a few child-like conventions, from which
they never shook themselves free, cannot prevent us from feeling deep
admiration for the insight into life, the purity of contour, the
freedom and truth of design which distinguish their bas-reliefs and
paintings. Egyptian decoration is everywhere informed by a fertile
invention and a happy choice of motives, by a harmony of tints which
charms the eye even now, when the endless tapestry with which tombs
and houses, palaces and sanctuaries, were hung, is rent and faded. The
smallest works of the humblest craftsman are distinguished by a desire
for grace which spreads over them like a reflection from art and
beauty, and they helped to carry some knowledge of the brilliant
civilization of Egypt to the most distant coasts of the ancient world.

During the earlier ages of antiquity, this civilization exercised upon
the nascent art of neighbouring, and even of some distant people, an
influence analogous to that which Greece was in later days to wield
over the whole basin of the Mediterranean. For many a long century
the style of Egypt enjoyed an unchallenged supremacy and offered a
forecast of that universal acceptance which was to be the lot of
Grecian art, when after two or three thousand years of fertility, of
power, and of prestige, the work of Egypt would be done, and the time
would arrive for her to fall asleep upon her laurels.



The discovery of some thirty-eight royal mummies with their sepulchral
furniture, which signalized the accession of Professor Maspero to the
Directorship of Egyptian Explorations, was the result, in some degree,
of one of those inductive processes of which M. Perrot speaks as
characteristic of modern research. For several years previously those
who kept account of the additions to public and private collections of
Egyptian antiquities had suspected that some inviolate royal tomb had
been discovered by the Arabs of Thebes, and that they were gradually
dissipating its contents. Early in 1876 General Campbell bought the
hieratic ritual of Pinotem I.,--or Her Hor, a priest king, and founder
of the twenty-first dynasty--from them; and in 1877 M. de Saulcy
showed M. Maspero photographs of a long papyrus which had belonged to
Queen Notemit, the mother of Pinotem. About the same time the funerary
statuettes of that king appeared in the market, "some of them very
fine in workmanship, others rough and coarse."[403] The certainty of a
find and of its nature became so great that, in 1879, Maspero was
enabled to assert of a tablet belonging to Rogers-Bey, that it came
from some sepulchre "belonging to the, as yet, undiscovered tomb of
the Her Hor family."[404] The mummy for which this tablet was made has
been discovered in the pit at Deir-el-Bahari.

    [403] MASPERO, _La trouvaille de Deir-el-Bahari_, Cairo, 1882,

    [404] _Ibid._

The evidence which gradually accumulated in the hands of M. Maspero,
all pointed to two brothers Abd-er-Rasoul, as the possessors of the
secret. These men had established their homes in some deserted tombs
in the western cliff, at the back of the Ramesseum, and had long
combined the overt occupation of guiding European travellers and
providing them with donkeys, with the covert and more profitable
profession of tomb-breakers and mummy-snatchers.[405] M. Maspero
caused the younger of these brothers, Ahmed Abd-er-Rasoul, to be
arrested and taken before the Mudir at Keneh. Here every expedient
known to Egyptian justice was employed to open his lips, but all in
vain. His reiterated examinations only served to prove, if proof had
been needed, how thoroughly the Arabs of Thebes sympathized with the
conduct of which he was accused. Testimony to his complete honesty and
many other virtues poured in from all sides; his dismal dwelling-place
was searched without result, and finally he was released on bail. No
sooner had Ahmed returned home, however, than quarrels and
recriminations arose between him and his elder brother Mohammed. These
quarrels and the offer of a considerable reward by the Egyptian
authorities at last induced Mohammed to betray the family secret, in
this instance, a material skeleton in the cupboard. He went quietly to
Keneh and told how Ahmed and himself had found a tomb in one of the
wildest bays of the western chain in which some forty coffined
mummies, mostly with the golden asp of royalty upon their brows, were
heaped one upon another amid the remains of their funerary equipments.
This story was taken for what it seemed to be worth, but on being
telegraphed to Cairo, it brought Herr Emil Brugsch and another member
of the Boulak staff to Thebes in hot haste. They were conducted by
Mohammed Abd-er-Rasoul up the narrow valley which lies between the
Sheikh-abd-el-Gournah, on the south, and the spur forming the southern
boundary of the valley of Dayr-el-Bahari, on the north, to a point
some seventy yards above the outer limits of the cultivated land.
There, in a corner, bare and desolate even in that desolate region,
they were led behind a heap of boulders to the edge of a square hole
in the rocky soil, and told that down there was the treasure for which
they sought. Ropes were at hand, and Emil Brugsch was lowered into the
pit with his companion. The depth was not great, some thirty-six feet,
and as soon as their eyes became accustomed to the feeble light of
their tapers, they saw that a corridor led away from it to the west.
This they followed, and after a few yards found it turn sharply to the
right, or north. The funeral canopy of Queen Isi-em-Kheb, which we
shall presently describe, was found in the angle thus made. The
explorers advanced along this corridor for more than seventy yards,
stumbling at every step over the _débris_ of mummy cases and funerary
furniture, and passing on their right and left, first up piled boxes
of statuettes, bronze and terra-cotta jars, alabaster canopic vases,
and other small articles, and then some twenty mummies, a few in nests
of two or three outer cases, others in but a single coffin, and at
least three without other covering than their bandages and shrouds.
Finally they arrived at a mortuary chamber about twenty-four feet long
and fourteen broad, in which some eighteen more huge mummy cases were
piled one upon another, reaching almost to the roof. The distance of
this chamber from the outer air was rather more than 280 feet, and its
walls, like those of the corridor which led to it, were without
decoration of any kind.

    [405] See Miss A. B. EDWARD'S account of these gentlemen in
    _Harper's Magazine_ for July, 1882. Her paper is illustrated
    with woodcuts after some of the more interesting objects found,
    and a plan of the _locale_.

The European explorers felt like men in a dream. They had come
expecting to find the coffins and mummies of one or two obscure
kinglets of the Her-Hor family, and here was the great Sesostris
himself, and his father Seti, the conquering Thothmes III., "who drew
his frontiers where he pleased," and, like other great soldiers since
his day, seems to have been little more than a dwarf in stature,
together with several more Pharaohs of the two great Theban dynasties.
The coffins of these famous monarchs were in the corridor, some
standing upright, others lying down, while the chamber was occupied by
the mummies of the twenty-first dynasty, such as those of Queen
Notemit, Pinotem I., Pinotem II., Queens Makara and Isi-em-Kheb, and
Princess Nasikhonsou. Isi-em-Kheb seemed to have been the last comer
to the tomb, as her mummy was accompanied by a complete sepulchral
outfit of wigs, toilet bottles and other things of the kind, besides
the canopy already mentioned and a complete funerary repast in a

Preparations were immediately commenced for the removal of the whole
"find" to Boulak. Steamers were sent for from Cairo, and several
hundred Arabs were employed in clearing the tomb and transporting its
contents to Luxor for embarkation. Working with extreme energy, they
accomplished their task in five days, and in four days more the
steamers had arrived, had taken their remarkable cargo on board, and
had started for the capital. And then apparently the native population
became alive to the fact that these mummied Pharaohs were their own
ancestors, that they had given to their country the only glory it had
ever enjoyed, and that they were being carried away from the tombs in
which they had rested peacefully, while so many Empires had come and
gone, while the world had grown from youth to old age. For many miles
down the river the people of the villages turned out and paid the last
honours to Thothmes, Seti, Rameses, and the rest of the company. Long
lines of men fired their guns upwards as the convoy passed, while
dishevelled women ran along the banks and filled the vibrating air
with their cries. Thus after more than three thousand years of repose
in the bosom of their native earth, the Theban Pharaohs were again
brought into the light, to go through a third act in the drama of
their existence. This act may perhaps be no longer than the first, as
their new home at Boulak has already been in danger of destruction; it
is sure to be far shorter than the second, for long before another
thirty centuries have passed over their mummied heads, time will have
done its work both with them and with the civilization which has
degraded them into museum curiosities.

The appearance of this burial place, or _cachette_ as Maspero calls
it, the nature of the things found in it and of those which should
have been found there but were not, prove that its existence had been
known to the Arabs and fellaheen of the neighbourhood for many years.
Miss Edwards believes that the mummy of Queen Aah-hotep, which was
found in the sand behind the temple of Dayr-el-Bahari in 1859, came
out of the Her-Hor vault. The contrast between the magnificence of
that mummy, the beauty of its jewels, and the care which had
evidently been expended upon it on the one hand, and the rough and
ready hiding-place in which it was found, on the other,[406] was so
great that it was difficult to believe that it had never had a more
elaborate tomb; and now the discovery of the outer coffin of the same
queen in the pit at Dayr-el-Bahari, goes far to complete the proof
that Aah-hotep was disposed of after death like other members of her
race, and that the exquisite jewels which were found upon her, were
but a part of treasures which had been dispersed over the world by the
modern spoilers.[407] The tomb contained about six thousand objects in
all, of which but a few have as yet been completely described. Among
those few, however, there are one or two which add to our knowledge of
Egyptian decoration.

    [406] See page 29, Vol. I.

    [407] For a description of these jewels by Dr. BIRCH, and
    reproductions of them in their actual colours, see _Facsimile of
    the Egyptian Relics Discovered in the Tomb of Queen Aah-hotep_.
    London: 1863, 4to. See also above, page 380, footnote 387, of the
    present volume.

Not the least important are the mummy cases of the Queens Aah-hotep
and Nefert-ari. Originally these were identical in design, but one is
now considerably more damaged than the other. The general form is
similar to that of an Osiride pier, the lower part being terminal and
the upper shaped like the bust, arms, and head of a woman. The mask is
encircled with a plaited wig, above which appear two tall plumes,
indicating that their wearer has been justified before Osiris, while
the shoulders and arms are enveloped in a kind of net. The whole case
is of _cartonnage_, and the net-like appearance is given by glueing
down several layers of linen, which have been so entirely covered with
hexagonal perforations as to be reduced to the condition of a net,
over the smooth surface beneath. The interior of each hexagon has then
been painted blue, so that in the end we have a yellow network over a
blue ground. Both colours are of extreme brilliancy. The plaiting of
the wig and the separate filaments of the plumes are indicated in the
same way as the network. These mummy cases are, so far as we can
discover, different from any previously found.

The funerary canopy of Queen Isi-em-Kheb is also a thing by itself.
Its purpose was to cover the pavilion or deck-house under which the
Queen's body rested in its passage across the Nile. It is a piece of
leather patchwork. When laid flat upon the ground it forms a Greek
cross, 22 feet 6 inches in one direction, and 19 feet 6 inches in the
other. The central panel, which is 9 feet long by 6 wide,[408] covered
the roof of the pavilion, while the flaps forming the arms of the
cross hung down perpendicularly upon the sides.[409] Many thousand
pieces of gazelle hide have been used in the work.

    [408] These measurements are taken from _The Funeral Canopy of
    an Egyptian Queen_, by the Hon. H. VILLIERS STUART: Murray,
    1882. 8vo.

    [409] Mr. VILLIERS STUART gives a facsimile in colour of the
    canopy, and a fanciful illustration of it in place, upon a boat
    copied from one in the _Tombs of the Queens_.

The central panel has an ultramarine ground. It is divided
longitudinally into two equal parts, one half being sprinkled with red
and yellow stars, and the other covered with alternate bands of
vultures, hieroglyphs, and stars. The "fore and aft" flaps of the
canopy are entirely covered with a chess-board pattern of alternate
red and green squares, while the lateral flaps have each, in addition,
six bands of ornament above the squares, the most important band
consisting of ovals of Pinotem, supported by uræi and alternating with
winged scarabs, papyrus heads, and crouching gazelles. The colours
employed are a red or pink, like a pale shade of what is now called
Indian red, a golden yellow, a pale yellow not greatly differing from
ivory, green, and pale ultramarine. The latter colour is used only for
the ground of the central panel, where it may fitly suggest the vault
of heaven; the rest are distributed skilfully and harmoniously, but
without the observance of any particular rule, over the rest of the
decoration. The immediate contrasts are red (or pink) with dark
grass-green, bright yellow with buff or ivory colour, and green with
yellow. The bad effect of the juxtaposition of buff with red was
understood, and that contrast only occurs in the hieroglyphs within
the ovals.

The arrangement of the ornamental motives is characterized by that
Egyptian hatred for symmetry which is so often noticed by M. Perrot,
but the general result is well calculated to have a proper effect
under an Egyptian sun. The leather, where uninjured, still retains the
softness and lustre of kid.

The Osiride mummy case of Rameses II. is of unpainted wood, and in the
style of the twenty-first dynasty. It has been thought that the
features resemble those of Her Hor himself,[410] and therefore that it
was carved in his reign; they certainly are not those of Rameses, and
yet the iconic nature of the head is very strongly marked.

    [410] Miss A. B. EDWARDS, _Lying in State in Cairo_, in
    _Harper's Magazine_ for July, 1882.

Besides these important objects, the vault contained, as we have said,
an immense number of small articles, no description of which has yet
been published.

An explanation of the presence of all these mummies and their
belongings in a single unpretentious vault, is not far to seek. In the
reign of Rameses IX., of the twentieth dynasty, it was discovered that
many tombs, including those of the Pharaoh Sevek-em-Saf and his queen
Noubkhas had been forced and rifled by robbers, while others had been
more or less damaged. An inquiry was held and some at least of the
delinquents brought to justice. The "Abbott" and the "Amherst" papyri
give accounts of the proceedings in full, together with the confession
of one of the criminals.[411] These occurrences and the generally
lawless condition of Thebes at the time seem to have led to the
institution of periodical inspections of the royal tombs, and of the
mummies which they contained. Minutes of these inspections, signed by
the officer appointed to carry them out and two witnesses besides, are
inscribed upon the shrouds and cases of the mummies. At first the
inspectors shifted the deceased kings from tomb to tomb, the "house"
of Seti I. being the favourite, apparently from its supposed security,
but as the power of the monarchy declined, as disorders became more
frequent and discipline more difficult to preserve, it appears to have
been at last determined to substitute, as the burial-place of the
royal line, a single, unornamented, easily concealed and guarded hole
for the series of subterranean palaces which had shown themselves so
unable to shield their occupants from insult and destruction.

    [411] See MASPERO, _Une Enquète Judiciare à Thèbes_, Paris,
    1871, 4to.

The Her-Hor family therefore were buried in one vault, and such of
their great predecessors as had escaped the ghouls of the Western,
Valley were gathered to their sides.



    Aah Hotep, i. 291.

    Aa-kheper-ra, _see_ Thothmes II.

    Abbeville, i. Prehistoric remains near, xxxix.

    Abd-al-latif, i. 223, 225;
      monolithic tabernacle at Memphis called _the green chamber_, 353;
      obelisk of Ousourtesen, ii. 172.

    Abd-el-Gournah, ii. 53.

    Abouna, i. 34.

    Abou-Roash, i. 165;
      pyramid of, 204.

    Abousir, i. 212;
      construction of pyramid at, _id._

    Abydos, i. 6, 16;
      foundation of the great temple at, 28;
      the early capital in the nome of A., 68;
      origin there of the worship of Osiris, _id._;
      Sculpture more refined than that of Thebes, 76;
      portrait of Seti at A., 123;
      entrance to the Egyptian _Hades_ near A., 128, 134;
      situation of the necropolis, 136;
      _do._ 156;
      situation of doors and steles in the tombs at A., 157, 241;
      description of the tombs at A., 243;
      temple has two hypostyle halls, 385;
      descriptions of Mariette, 434;
      fortress at A., ii. 41;
      necropolis, 241;
      tomb of Osiris at A., 242;
      other tombs, 295.

    Acacia, _Nilotica_, ii. 54;
      _Lebhak_, _id._

    Acacia doors, i. 252.

    Achæans, i. 162.

    Achoris, ii. 266.

    Addeh, speos at, i. 406.

    Ægina, i. VII, XI.

    Ægis, ii. 382.

    Agra, ii. 13.

    Ahmes, i. 34, 168.

    Alabaster, i. 105, 325.

    Alberti, L. B., ii. 82.

    Alcamenes, i. VI, XII.

    Alexander the Great, i. L, 21, 430.

    Alexandria, i. 55.

    _Almees_, ii. 249.

      his elevation to the throne, i. 33;
      his deliverance of Egypt, 78, 292;
      body insulted by Cambyses, 309;
      his monolithic chapel, 353;
      dimensions of the monolithic chapel, ii. 75, 97;
      stele discovered in the Serapeum, 285.

    Amada, temple of, ii. 168.

    Ambulatory of Thothmes, ii. 135.

    Amenemhat III., i. 347;
      Amenemhats, the, ii. 227, 333.

    Amenemheb, i. 279.

    Ameneritis, statue of, at Boulak, ii. 263.

    Ameni, tomb of, i. 34.

    Amenophis III. i. 166;
      his colossi at Thebes, 267;
      _do._ 289;
      builder of Luxor, 371;
      builder of the great temple at Napata, 385;
      temple at El-Kab, 400, ii. 66;
      the colossi at Thebes, 240;
      portrait head in the British Museum, 242;
      painted portrait in the Bab-el-Molouk, 332, 337, 347.

    Amenophis IV.;
      his attempt to inaugurate the worship of Aten, the solar disc,
        i. 69;
      ruins of his capital, ii. 5;
      his statues, 244;
      curious characteristics of his person, _id._, 289.

    Amenophium, i. 268, 289, 376.

    Amenoth, i. 159.

    Amen-Ra, may be identified with Indra, i. 50, 63;
      hardly mentioned earlier than the eleventh dynasty, 68, 113;
      offerings to him as master of Karnak, 155, 268;
      the chief person of the Theban triad, 333;
      chapel at Abydos, 389;
      possibly symbolized in the obelisks, ii. 170;
      his statues not colossal, 277.

    Ament, the Egyptian Hades, i. 157.

    Amoni-Amenemhaït, i. 156.

    Amoni, his inscription at Beni-Hassan, i. 39.

    Amosis, (see Amasis).

    Amulets, i. 159, ii. 371.

    Anahit (Anaitis), ii. 262.

    Ancyra, expedition to, i. 41.

    Animals, sacred, i. 54.

    Animals, worship of, i. 54-64;
      mummified, 314;
      figures of, ii. 281.

    "Answerers," or "respondents," i. 146.

    Anta, use of, ii. 141.

    Antinoë, ii. 66, 72.

    Antiquity, conventional meaning of the word, i. XLV.

    Antony, tomb of, i. 161.

    Anubis, i. 143, 287.

    Apelles, i. XIV, XVI, LI.

    Apis, i. 54, 67;
      the oldest tombs of A. contemporary with 18th dynasty, 295;
      new rites inaugurated by a son of Rameses II. 305;
      Serapeum, 306;
      dwelling for A. constructed by Psemethek, 429.

    Aplou, i. 159.

    Ap-Môtennou, i. 144.

    Apollo Epicurius, i. XII.

    Apries, helped to deliver Egypt, i. 78;
      description given by Herodotus of his tomb, 306;
      supposed head of, ii. 266.

    Arch, the;
      extreme antiquity of the A. in Egypt, ii. 77;
      true A. in the necropolis of Abydos, 78;
      semicircular A. the most frequent, 79;
      elliptic A. 80;
      A. in the Ramesseum, 81;
      inverted A. in foundations, 82;
      offset A. at Dayr-el-Bahari, 83;
      _do._ at Abydos, 84.

      general principle of form, i. 97;
      _do._ of construction, 103;
      materials, 103;
      masonry, 107;
      vaults, 111;
      concrete and pisé, 113;
      assembled construction, 115;
      restoration of a wooden building, 117;
      sepulchral A. 126;
      conditions imposed by the national religion, 134;
      civil A. ii. 1;
      must be judged almost entirely from representations on papyri
        and bas-reliefs, _id._;
      the palace, 8;
      the house, 26;
      military A. 38;
      construction examined in detail, 55;
      motives taken from early work in wood, _id._;
      arch, 77;
      the Egyptian orders, 85;
      their arrangement, 133;
      doors and windows, 156;
      the profession of architect, 176;
      the supremacy of A. over the other arts in Egypt, 405.

    _Archæological Survey of India_, i. LIII.

    Aristophanes, i. XVIII.

    Armachis, i. 326.

    Aromati, the, i. 434.

    Arsaphes, statue in the British Museum, ii. 265.

    Artemis, i. 406.

    _Aryballus_, ii. 368.

    Ass, the, ii. 217.

    Assassif, El, ii. 79.

    Assouan, i. 105;
      Turkish governor of A., his vandalism, 396.

    Asychis, i. 347.

    Ata, i. 207.

    Aten, attempt to inaugurate the supremacy of, i. 69.

    Athené Polias, temple of, i. XIII.

    Atta, i. 145.

    Avaris, reconquest of, i. 33, ii. 228.


    _Ba_, i. 285.

    Bab-el-Molouk, i. 255.

    Babylon, ii. 13.

      guide to Egypt, construction of the Pyramids, i. 201;
      theory as to the pyramid of Meidoum, 214;
      edited partly by Dr. Ebers, _id._;
      casing of the second pyramid, 233;
      traces of a door in the tomb of Ti, 290.

    Baehr, i., III.

    Bahr-Yussef, i. 165.

    Bakenkhonsou, ii. 177-8.

    Ballu, i. XIII.

    _Bari_, i. 352.

    Basalt, statues of, ii. 221, 235.

    Bassæ, i. XII.

    Battlements, ii. 153.

    Beds, ii. 393.

    Beggig, obelisk of, ii. 175.

    Beit-el-din, ii. 20.

    Beit-el-Wali, speos at, i. 407, 418, 421;
      bas-reliefs at, ii. 246.

    Bellefonds, Linant de, site of Lake Mœris, ii. 25.

      his discovery of the tomb of Seti I. i. 278, 280;
      crowded tombs for the lower classes, 314;
      mummified animals, 315;
      portico in the temple of the second pyramid, 330.

    Benfey, i. 10.

    Beni-Hassan, i. 136;
      great inscription, 143, 160, 156-7, 249-252;
      so-called proto-doric columns, ii. 95, 101;
      paintings, 333-344;
      the potter's wheel represented at B. H. 367;
      glass making, _do._ 375;
      the manufacture of gold ornaments, _do._ 380.

    Berbers, the, i. 13.

    Bercheh, El, ii. 72, 238.

    Bernhardy, i. III.

    Bernier, i. XIII.

    Bes, i. 434, ii. 354.

    Beschir, ii. 20.

    Beulé, i. 305.

    Birch, S.;
      his translation of the great inscription at Beni-Hassan, i. 143;
      _do._ 159;
      his translation of the inscription upon the London obelisk, ii.
      the _Arsaphes_ of the British Museum, 265, 291;
      cylinders in the British Museum, 291;
      _figurines rustiques_ of Palissy compared to some works of
        Egyptian potters, 373;
      thinks iron was known at the commencement of Theban period, 379.

    Birds, worship of, i. 65.

    Blanc, Charles, i. XIV.;
      characteristics of Egyptian landscape and architecture, 98;
      modification of colour under a southern sun, 121; ii. 174;
      description of bas-relief of Seti I. at Abydos, 247;
      decadence of art between Seti I. and Rameses IV. 258;
      Sabaco's restorations at Karnak, 263, 294;
      his ideas upon the Egyptian _canon_, 319.

    Blant, M. E. Le, i. 159.

    Blemmyes, i. 55.

    Blouet, i. XIII.

    Blow-pipe, the, ii. 378.

    Boats found in the tombs, i. 184.

    Boeck, i. XXI.

    Bœotia, i. XLI, 162.

    Boissier, i. XV.

    Bonomi, i. 9.

    Bossuet, i. 1.

    Botta, i. VIII., XXVI.

    Brackets in Royal Pavilion at Medinet-Abou, ii. 23.

    Bramante, i. 105.

    Bricks, manufacture of, ii. 53.

    Brongniart, ii. 372.

      technical skill shown in casting bronze, ii. 202;
      _Pastophorus_ of the Vatican, 265;
      _Arsaphes_ in the British Museum, 265;
      bronzes from the Serapeum, 266;
      figures from the Saite epoch, 271.

    Brosses, the President de, i. 57.

    Brugsch, Bey, i. 21;
      the Egyptian character, 41;
      translation of the great inscription at Beni-Hassan, 143;
      origin of the word _pyramid_, 190;
      topographical sketch of ancient Thebes, ii. 29;
      epitaph of Una, 75;
      metal on the capitals of columns, 116, 176;
      social position of Egyptian architects, 177, 178, 197.

      plans of Karnak, i. 363, 367;
      of Medinet-Abou, 383;
      of Dayr-el-Bahari, 419;
      his restoration of Dayr-el-Bahari, 422, 425;
      slight differences from that here given, 425.

    Bubastis, i. 18;
      house in, ii. 33.

    Bunsen, i. XXIII. 10, 18.

    Burnouf, Eugène, i. IX.

    Busiris, ii. 30.


    Caillaud, i. 341, 384, 385.

    Cairo, i. 105, 163, ii. 66.

    Cambyses, i. 309, 430.

    Camp, Maxime du, ii. 76, 147.

    Campania, i. XIII, 162.

    Campbell's tomb, i. 311.

    _Canephorus_, ii. 202.

      had the Egyptians a C. of proportion, ii. 315.

    Canopic vases, i. 305.

    Capitals, lotiform, ii. 86;
      campaniform, 101;
      hathoric, 106;
      secondary forms of the bell-shaped capital, 112;
      C. plated with copper, 116.

    Caricature, confined to small objects, ii. 351;
      battle of cats and rats, 352;
      Turin papyrus, _id._;
      papyrus in the British Museum, 353;
      the God Bes, 354.

    _Cartonnage_, ii. 397.

    Caste, i. 31.

    Cat, the, ii. 219.

    Caviglia, the clearing of the Great Sphinx, i. 321.

    Caylus, Comte de, i. XVI.

    Cesnola, Palma di, i. V., X.

    Chairs, ii. 393.

    Chaldæa, i. IV., XXVI., XLIX.

    Chamhati, bas-relief on his tomb, ii. 253.

    Chamitic race, i. 13.

    Champollion, i. VI, VIII, 4, 89;
      first to appreciate the importance of Beni-Hassan, 249;
      the valley of the kings, 263;
      Saite cemeteries discovered by him, 301;
      his impressions of Karnak, 365;
      gave its proper name to the Ramesseum, 376;
      carelessness of Egyptian masonry, ii. 65;
      his supposed discovery of the origin of the Doric order, 96;
      distinction made in texts between pylon and propylon, 156;
      mainly impressed by the grandeur of the Theban remains, 225;
      his forecast of the important position now held by Egyptian
        art, 401.

    _Chardanes_, ii. 257.

    Charmes, Gabriel, i. 235, ii. 212, 219;
      his opinion on the bust of Taia, 242.

    Cheops, i. 201;
      his pyramid, 201;
      _do._ 227;
      stele commemorating his restoration of a temple, 319;
      doubts as to its date, _id._

    Chephren, i. 24, 86;
      his statues at Boulak, 89;
      _do._ 139;
      discovery of statues in the temple of the sphinx, 193, 227, 221;
      detailed account of the basalt and diorite statues at Boulak, ii.

    China, i. IV., XLVIII., LIX.

    Chinbab, i. 165.

    Chisel, ii. 303-328, _passim_.

    Chnoumhotep, i. 143.

    Choephorœ, i. 130.

    Choubra, ii. 20.

    Choufou (Cheops), inscribed upon the stones of the Great Pyramid,
      i. 222.

    Chounet-es-Zezib, fortress at Abydos, ii. 41.

    Christy, i. XXXVIII.

    Cicero, i. 129.

    Clemens Alexandrinus, i. 56.

    Cloisonné Enamels, unknown to the Egyptians in the proper sense,
      ii. 384.

    Clusium, i. XXXVII.

    Cockerell, Prof., i. XI.

    Colossi, upon pyramids, i. 226;
      transport of C., ii. 72;
      multiplication of C. under the New Empire, 239, 241.

    Colours, used by the Egyptian painters, ii. 334, 336, 340.

    Columns, ii. 85; metal C., 88;
      "proto-doric" _do._ 96;
      polygonal _do._ 99;
      faggot-shaped _do._ 99;
      at Medinet-Abou, 102;
      in the Hall at Karnak, _id._;
      at Philæ, 104;
      comparison between Egyptian and Greek C., 121;
      ordonnance of C., 133;
      spacing, 137;
      no rule governing intercolumniation, 143.

    Constantinople, ii. 13.

    Construction, architectural, ii. 55;
      imitation in stone of wooden C., 59;
      huge stones only used where necessary, 65;
      want of foresight in Egyptian C., 70;
      carelessness, _id._;
      machines used, 72.

    Conventions in Egyptian art, ii. 291.

    Copper, ii. 378.

    Coptic, study of, i. VII.

    Copts, i. 13.

    Corinth, i. XV.

    _Corvée_, the, i. 25;
      its influence upon Egyptian architecture, 27, 30.

    Coulanges, M. Fustel de, _La cité antique_, i. 130.

    Crane, the, in the bas-relief, ii. 219.

    Crimæa, i. XV.

    Crocodile, the, in the bas-reliefs, ii. 218.

    Crocodilopolis, ii. 234.

    Crown, the red crown, i. 16;
      the white _do._, 16;
      the pschent, 16.

      his descriptions of the remains of Græco Buddhic art, i. LIII.

    Curtius, Dr.;
      history of Greece, i. III.
      Græco Buddhic art, LIII.

    Curtius, Quintus, ii. 33.

    "Cutting, the," i. 435.

    Cyclopean walls, ii. 64.

    Cylinders, earthenware and soft stone, ii. 291.

    _Cyma_, ii. 153;
      _do._ _reversa_, ii. 153.

    Cyprus, i. X., XXVI.;
      painted vases, 78, 161.

    Cyrus, i. 79.


    Darius, i. IX.

    Darmesteter, James, i. 69.

    Dashour, i. 165, 206.

    Dayr, i. 407.

    Dayr-el-Bahari, i. 265, 268;
      temple or cenotaph of Hatasu, 421-434.

    Dayr-el-Medinet, i. 264.

    Delbet, Jules, i. 42.

    Delhi, ii. 13.

    Denderah, i. 326, 351, 434, ii. 67, 69;
      pluteus at, 149.

    Derri, i. 408.

    Desjardins, M. E., i. 302.

    Deus Rediculus, temple of the, i. 104.

    Deveria, his belief that he had found a portrait of a shepherd king,
      ii. 177.

    Diocletian, i. 55.

    Diodorus Siculus;
      his assertion that the first man was born in Egypt, i. 4;
      Pyramids, 191;
      height of Great Pyramid, 225;
      plateau on its summit, 226;
      Pyramid of the Labyrinth, 227;
      _Tomb of Osymandias_ (Ramesseum), 266, 375;
      tombs in the Bab-el-Molouk, 279;
      πυλών, 341;
      Mœris (Amenemhat III.), 347;
      labyrinth, ii. 25;
      population of Egypt, 26;
      extent of Thebes, 30;
      the epithet ἑκατόμπυλος, 40.

    Diorite, statue of Chephren in, ii. 221;
      the influence of such a material upon style, 303-305.

    Djezzar Pacha, ii. 20.

    Dog, the, in the bas-reliefs, ii. 219.

    Doors, ii. 156.

    Dordogne, i. XLII., ii. 78.

    "Double," the, i. 128, 135.

    Doum (palm), ii, 50.

    Drah-abou-l'Neggah, i. 217, 253, 291, 315.

    _Dromos_, i. 336.

    Duck, the, in the bas-reliefs, ii. 219.


    Ebers, Georg.;
      extent of the Memphite necropolis, i. 165;
      cenotaph in the temple of Abydos, 264;
      his opinion upon that temple, _id._;
      his discovery of a tomb at Thebes, 279;
      his opinion upon the Ramesseum, 381;
      the funerary character of the temple at Abydos, 391;
      his conjectures upon Dayr-el-Bahari, 426;
      pavilion of Rameses III. not a palace, ii. 16;
      pyramid of the labyrinth, 25;
      origin of the quadrangular pier, 90;
      uses of papyrus, 126;
      his opinion upon the columns in the Bubastite court, Karnak, 146;
      propylons of Karnak and Denderah, 157;
      his belief in the persistence of the Hyksos type, 237.

    Edfou, i. 351, 353;
      peripteral temple, 396;
      foundations of temple at, ii. 69.

    Egger, ii. 126.

    Eilithyia, i. 157; ii. 400;
      temple of Amenophis III. at, _id._

      peripteral temple at, i. 396;
      quarries at, ii. 75, 149.

    Empires, classification of the Egyptian, i. 17.

    Enamels, ii. 375.

    Encaustic painting known to the Egyptians, ii. 336.

    Entef, i. 38, 156, 217.

    Epochs of Egyptian history, i. 18.

    Era, Egypt without one, i. 20.

    Erectheum, i. LVII.

    Erment, ii. 66.

    Esneh, i. 351.

      its civilization an offshoot from that of Egypt, i. 20;
      its pyramids, 217;
      its temples, 404;
      Ethiopian supremacy in Egypt, ii. 265;
      Ethiopians in pictures, 348.

    Etruria, i. XLII., 131, 162.

    Euripides quoted, i. 130.

    "Evandale, Lord," i. 136.


    Faience, i. 146, ii. 369.

    Fayoum, the pyramids in the, i. 226;
      statues discovered in the, ii. 233.

    Fellowes, Sir Charles, i. X., XXVII.

    Feraïg, speos of, i. 406.

    Fergusson, James, ii. 8.

    Festus, i. XXII.

    Fetishism, i. 47-9, 56-8.

    _Ficus Sycomorus_, ii. 54.

    Figure, the, ii. 341;
      coloured reliefs in the mastabas, 341;
      Beni-Hassan, 341;
      Thebes, 344;
      mandore player at Abd-el-Gournah, 347;
      harpers in Bruce's tomb, 348;
      Prisoners, 348;
      winged figure, 349;
      different races distinguished, 350.

    Flamingo, the, in the bas-reliefs, ii. 219.

    Flandrin, i. IX.

    "Foundations," for the service of tomb, i. 144-6.

    Fox, the, in the bas-reliefs, ii. 218.

    Friedrichs, Carl, i. IV.

    Funeral feasts, i. 143.

    Funerary figures, i. 145-147.


    Gailhabaud, M., ii. 36.

    Gartasse, i. 433.

    Gau, i. 353, 421.

    Gautier, Théophile, i. 136, ii. 174.

    _Gawasi_, ii. 249.

    Gazelle, in the bas-reliefs, ii. 218.

    Gebel-Ahmar, i. 104.

    Gebel-Barkal, i. 218, 407.

    Gebel-Silsilis, i. 105, 403;
      bas-relief at, ii. 246.

    Gerhard, i. XV., XVIII.

    Gherf-Hossein, hemispeos, i. 407, ii. 138.

    Gircheh, i. 421.

    Glass, its manufacture represented at Beni-Hassan, ii. 375;
      glass-enamelled statuettes, 376.

    Globe, winged, ii. 151, 152.

    Goat, in the bas-reliefs, ii. 219.

    Gods, age of the Egyptian, i. 321.

    Goethe, i. 121, 153.

    Goose, in the bas-reliefs, ii. 219.

    Gorge, the Egyptian, ii. 149.

    Gournah, temple of, i. 267, 268, 391, ii. 140.

    Gournet-el-Mourraï, ii. 21.

    Græco-Buddhic art, i. LIII.

    Græco-Scythians, i. XV.

    Granaries, ii. 37.

    Granite-chambers, Karnak, ii. 52.

    Graphic processes, ii. 1.

    Grébaut, M., i. 52.

    Group, unknown in its proper sense in Egyptian art, ii. 278.

    _Guglie_, ii. 169.

    Guillaume, Edouard, i. 42.


    Hamilton, W. J., i. X., XXVII.

    Hamy, M., ii. 377.

    Hapi-Toufi, i. 144.

    _Haram-el-Kabbab_ ("the false pyramid"), i. 215.

    Hare, the, in the bas-reliefs, ii. 218.

    Harmachis, i. 237, 389.

    Harm-Habi, i. 178.

    Ha-ro-bes, ii. 289.

    Hatasu, Queen, i. 105;
      her obelisks at Karnak, 122, 265, 268;
      height of her obelisk, 343;
      Dayr-el-Bahari, the cenotaph of H., 425;
      height of her obelisk from more recent measurement, ii. 171;
      her favourite architect, 178;
      her bas-reliefs at Dayr-el-Bahari, 245.

    Hathor, i. 58, 69.

    _Hecuba_ (Euripides), quoted, i. 130.

    Hegel, i. XXXIII.

    Height of principal buildings in the world, i. 225.

    Helbíg, M. W., i. XV.

      its walls, ii. 41;
      its obelisk, 171.

    Hemispeos, i. 253.

    Heracleopolis, i. 17.

    Hermopolis, i. 15.

      Egypt a present from the Nile, i. 2;
      Amasis, 33;
      religious observances, 44;
      Isis and Osiris the only gods whom all the Egyptians worshipped,
      temples in Delta, 93;
      Scythians, 145;
      Pyramids, 191, 202, 219;
      P. in Lake Mœris, 226, 229;
      _do._ of the Labyrinth, 227;
      construction of the Great Pyramid, 233;
      tomb of Apries, 306;
      Cambyses' treatment of the body of Amasis, 309;
      obelisks of Sesostris, 347;
      Rhampsinite and Asychis, _id._;
      propylons and Apis pavilion of Psemethek I., _ib._;
      monolithic chapel of Amasis, 428;
      αὐλὴ built by Psemethek for Apis, 429;
      Labyrinth, ii. 25;
      level of towns raised artificially, 27;
      flat roofs, 36;
      λευκὸν τεῖχος of Thebes, 40;
      monolithic chapels in the Delta, 75;
      _Egyptian beans_, 125.

    Hesiod, i. 133.

    Heuzey, i. XVII., 130.

    Hippopotamus, the, in the bas-reliefs, ii. 218.

    Hittorf, i. XIV. 121.

    Hobs (a god), ii. 281.

      quoted, i. 129, 130;
      "Hundred-gated Thebes," ii. 40.

    Horeau, his plan of the hemispeos of Gherf-Hossein, i. 408.

    Hor-em-khou, i. 321.

    Hor-Khom, inscription, i. 157.

    Hor-Schesou, i. 196.

    Horse, introduced into Egypt about the time of the shepherd
        invasion, ii. 250;
      his characteristic features in Egyptian art, _id._

    Horus, i. 63, 69, ii. 273, 383;
      _do._ a private individual, 270.

    Hosi, panels from the tomb of, ii. 189.

    Hoskins, his plans of the temple of Soleb, i. 384-5.

    House, the Egyptian, ii. 26;
      its situation, 27;
      foundation, _id._;
      restoration based upon a plan found by Rosellini, 33;
      models of houses, 34;
      materials and arrangement, _id._

    Howara, El, i. 217, ii. 25.

    Huber, M., i. LVI.

    Hyena, the, in the bas-reliefs, ii. 218.

    Hyksos, i. 68, 404, ii. 228-38.

    "Hypæthra, the Great," at Philæ, i. 33.

    Hypogea, general character of, i. 188.

    Hypostyle Hall, i. 357, ii. 145-7;
      of Karnak, i. 365-9, ii. 163;
      of Luxor, i. 371;
      of the Ramesseum, 376-7;
      of Medinet-Abou, 382-3;
      of Soleb, 385;
      at Napata, 385;
      at Abydos, 389;
      at Gournah, 391;
      of temple of Khons, ii. 166.


    Ibex, in the bas-reliefs, ii. 218.

    Ibis, in the bas-reliefs, ii. 219.

    Ictinus, i. 444.

    Illahoun, pyramid of, i. 204.

      methods of lighting the temples, ii. 162-7;
      methods of lighting the palaces and private houses, 168.

    Incas, the, i. 22.

    Indra, i. 50.

    Ipsamboul, i. 22;
      little temple at, 405;
      great temple at, 407-8.

    Isæus, i. 130.

    Isis, i. 68, 69, 301, 389, 430.

    Ismandes, i. 376.

    Ivory, ii. 384.


    Japan, i. IV.

    Jewelry, ii. 377;
      pectorals, 380;
      ægis, 382;
      true cloisonné enamels unknown, 384;
      necklaces, _id._;
      materials used, _ib._;
      amber unknown, 387.

    Jollois, i. 123.

    Jomard, i. 152;
      description of the necropolis of Gizeh, 152, 168, 223;
      his analysis of the impression produced by the Pyramids, 237;
      his description of the temple of the third pyramid, 330-4, 397,
      Egyptian cement, ii. 71.

    Josephus, quoted, ii. 26.

    Joubert, Leo, i. XXI.

    _Jour des morts_, an Egyptian, i. 239.

    Judging the Dead, i. 237.

    Justinian, i. 55.


    _Ka_, the, i. 128.

    Kadesh (or Qadech), goddess, ii. 262.

    Kalabcheh, i. 407, ii. 107.

    Kalaçoka, i. L.

    Karnak, i. 25, 28, 105, 155, 263-70, 362-69;
      the granite chambers, ii. 52;
      _stele piers_, 94, 97;
      columns, 102;
      decoration, 104, 130, 132.

    Ker-Porter, Sir R., i. IX.

    Kha-em-uas, jewelry of, ii. 380.

    _Khemi_, i. 14.

    Khetas, i. 266; ii. 327.

    Khnumhotep, i. 160.

    Khons, i. 54;
      temple of, 123, 268, 348, ii. 136.

    Khoo-foo-ankh, i. 182;
      sarcophagus of, ii. 59.

    _Klaft_, ii. 222.

    Kuyler, i., V.

    Kummeh, i. 4, ii. 45.


    Labyrinth, the, i. 226, ii. 25.

    Lakes, sacred, in the temples, i. 344, ii. 6.

    Language, the Egyptian, i. 10-11.

    Larcher, his notes to Herodotus, i. 307.

    Lartet, i. XXXVIII.

    Layard, H. A., i. VIII.

    Lenormant, Fr., i. 25, 377.

    Leopard, the, in the bas-reliefs, ii. 218.

      the Egyptians a proto-semitic race, i. 10;
      inferiority of Ethiopian to Egyptian art well shown in his
        _Denkmæler_, 21;
      Berlin Museum enriched by him, 89;
      tombs to the number of 130 examined by him in Middle and Lower
        Egypt, 164;
      arrangement of the mastabas, 167;
      portraits of defunct in public hall of tomb, 178;
      sixty-seven pyramids examined by the Prussian commission, 198;
      theory of pyramid construction, 201;
      pyramids at Drah-abou'l-neggah, 217;
      paintings at Beni-Hassan figured by L., 249;
      Ramesseum, 376;
      great temple at Medinet Abou, 382;
      temple of Soleb, 384;
      temple of Thothmes III. at Semneh, 400;
      Ethiopian temples in _Denkmæler_, 401;
      speos of Silsilis, and hemispeos of Redesieh, 406;
      Gebel-Barkal, 407;
      fortress of Semneh, ii. 45;
      Egyptian methods of preparing for a siege suggested by a plate
        in _Denkmæler_, 49;
      building operations figured in _Denkmæler_, 53;
      supposed discovery of the labyrinth, 66;
      origin of quadrangular piers, 90;
      campaniform capitals in a hypogeum at Gizeh, 101;
      capitals in the ambulatory of Thothmes at Karnak, 115;
      old form of winged disc at Beni-Hassan, 152;
      monuments in Wadimaghara figured in _Denkmæler_, 184;
      thick-set forms discovered in a tomb dating from the fourth
        dynasty, 190;
      poverty of invention in Theban art seen by glancing through
        _Denkmæler_, 250;
      works in high-relief from the mastabas figured in _Denkmæler_,

    Leroux, Hector;
      his sketch of Philæ, i. 433;
      his opinions on Egyptian painting, ii. 335.

      his researches, i. 224, 232.

    Lion, the, in Egyptian art, ii. 281, 323.

    Longperier, de, his opinion on the age of Egyptian bronzes, ii. 197.

    Loret, M. Victor, ii. 135.

    Lotus, the, ii. 125.

    Lycian remains, i. XXVII.

    Lucian (pseudo), i. 323.

    Lutzow, Carl von, i. IV.

    Luxor, temple of, i. 270, 370, ii. 132;
      obelisk of, 171.


    _Mad_, i. 354.

    Maghara (Wadi), ii. 95, 184.

    Mahsarah, i. 105.

    Mammisi, i. 433.

    Mandore, ii. 344.

    Manetho, i. 18;
      his account of the shepherd invasion not to be relied on, ii. 239.

    Marchandon-de-la-Faye, M., i. 95.

    Mariette, Auguste;
      formation of Egypt, i. 2;
      accession of Menes, 18;
      Egyptian chronology, 20;
      bad workmanship of Egyptian temples, foundations of great temples
        at Abydos, 28;
      house in the desert, 41;
      protest against M. Renan's conception of ancient Egypt, 71;
      excavations, 86;
      ancient art chiefly known through his exertions and his
        contributions to the Louvre and the French Exhibition, 89;
      M. on the arch, 113;
      obelisk of Hatasu gilded, 122;
      sepulchral formula, 135;
      θυμιατήρια in the tomb of Ti, 143;
      objects for the support of the _Ka_ sometimes modelled "in the
        round," 145;
      position of the stele, 157;
      tombs constructed during lifetime, 160;
      his "theory of the mastaba," 164;
      derivation of the word Sakkarah, 166;
      boats found in mummy pits, 184;
      pyramids always in a necropolis, 191;
      Mastabat-el-Faraoun, 215;
      pyramids upon Drah-abou'l-neggah, 217;
      opening of three unexplored pyramids at Sakkarah, 234;
      tomb of Osiris, supposed site, 243;
      tombs at Abydos, 244;
      steles from Abydos, 249;
      temples of the left bank, Thebes, 264;
      method of closing tombs in the Bab-el-Molouk, 278;
      mummy of Queen Aah-hotep, 291;
      tombs of Apis, 295;
      the little Serapeum, 302;
      temple of the Sphinx, 326;
      Sphinxes at the Serapeum of Memphis, 336;
      Sphinx avenues ornamental rather than religious, 337;
      walls of Karnak, 338;
      extent of the temples at Karnak, 362;
      sanctuary in the great temple, 384;
      temple of Dayr-el-Bahari, 425;
      excavations at Sais, 433;
      characteristics of the Egyptian temple, 434;
      contrast between it and the Greek temple, the Christian church,
        and the Mahommedan mosque, 435;
      explanation of its elaborate decoration, _id._;
      Royal Pavilion of Medinet-Abou not a palace, ii. 16;
      building materials, 53;
      brick-making, _id._;
      carelessness of the Egyptian builders, 70;
      true vaults in the necropolis of Abydos, 77;
      inverted arches, 81;
      lotiform capitals in the tomb of Ti, 86;
      origin of the faggot-shaped column, 99;
      origin of the campaniform capital, 128;
      proposal that it should be called _papyriform_, _id._;
      discards the notion that the columns in the Babastite court, at
        Karnak, bore architraves, 145;
      his assumption that they once enclosed a hypæthral temple, _ib._;
      first appearance of the winged disc, 152;
      obelisks in the Theban necropolis, 170;
      obelisks of Hatasu gilded, 174;
      statues in the tomb of Ti, 181;
      statues of Rahotep and Nefert, from Meidoum, 187;
      panels from the tomb of Hosi, 188;
      the Scribe of the Louvre, 192;
      brought figures from Ancient Empire to Paris in 1878, 211;
      Nemhotep, 212;
      picture of geese, 220;
      statues of Chephren discovered in the temple of the Sphinx, 213;
      early Theban works rude and awkward, 226;
      Menthouthotep, _id._;
      groups from Tanis, 228;
      figure discovered in the Fayoum, 233;
      definition of the type of these Tanite remains, 237;
      head of Taia discovered, 242;
      Amenophis IV. perhaps a eunuch, 243;
      expedition to Punt, illustrated at Dayr-el-Bahari, 245;
      belief that Punt was in Africa, 246;
      detestable style of the remains from the last years of Rameses
        II., 258;
      Menephtah, son of Rameses II., statue at Boulak, 260;
      head of Tahraka at Boulak, 263;
      opinion as to the character of the statues in Egyptian temples,
      origin of the Sphinx, 281;
      tomb of Sabou, sculptures, 285;
      models for sculptors at Boulak, their probable date, 324.

    Mariette, Edouard, ii. 28, 55.

    Maspero G.;
      our guide to the history of Egypt, i. 8-9;
      his opinion upon the Egyptian language, 13;
      periods of Egyptian history, 17-18;
      Ethiopian kingdom, 21;
      affiliation of the king to the gods, 22;
      mildness of rule in Ancient Egypt, 37;
      prince Entef's stele, 38;
      Egyptian devotion, 39;
      _do._ 43;
      the number of their devotional works of art, _id._;
      character of sacred animals, such as the Apis, 66;
      his theory as to the _ka_, or double, 126, 137-8, 140-6, 148-153,
      translation from Papyrus IV. at Boulak, 161;
      tomb of Harmhabi, 178;
      pyramid of Ounas, 194;
      commentary on the second book of Herodotus, 227;
      opening of pyramid of Ounas, 235;
      opinion on the tombs at Abydos, 242;
      the staircase of Osiris, 243;
      discovery of remains belonging to royal tombs of the eleventh
        dynasty at Drah abou'l-neggah, 253;
      ascription of power of speech and movement to statues, 289;
      proof that the gods existed in the time of the Ancient Empire,
      translation of the stele of Piankhi from Gebel-Barkal, 353;
      Hatasu's expedition to Punt, 426;
      translations of Egyptian tales, ii. 30;
      symbolism of papyrus and lotus, 126;
      translation of stele C. 14, in the Louvre, 176;
      cause of the Iconic character of Egyptian statutes, 181;
      materials for wooden statues, 197;
      his translation of funerary songs, 249;
      formula by which the right of erecting a statue in a temple was
        granted to a private individual, 278;
      on the Palestrina mosaic, 288.

    Mastaba, i. 164;
      in the Memphite necropolis, 165, 189;
      materials of the, 168;
      Mastabat-el-Faraoun, 169;
      Mastabas of Sabou, 171;
      Haar, _id._;
      Ra-en-mar, _id._;
      Hapi, 171;
      general arrangements, 172.

    Mastabat-el-Faraoun, i. 169, 214, 326.

    Maury, Alfred, i. 286.

    Maut, i. 63, 268.

    Medinet-Abou, i. 22, 102;
      the great temple, 260, 267-8, 375;
      the little temple, 376, ii. 169,
      the royal pavilion, i. 375, ii. 16;
      the great temple, method of lighting, 384;
      brackets in royal pavilion, 23.

    Medinet-el-Fayoum, ii. 25.

    Medledk, i. 159.

    Megasthenes, i. L.

    Meh, house of, i. 156.

    Meidoum, i. 35, 89, 165;
      construction of the pyramid of M., i. 200.

    "Memnon," statues of, i. 267, 290, 376.

    "Memnonium," i. 267, ii. 30.

    Memphis, i. 6;
      discovery of the _Sheik-el-Beled_, 9, 16;
      political centre of the Ancient Empire, 17, 27;
      our knowledge of the early period all derived from the necropolis
        of M., 34;
      the early Egyptians not oppressed, 37;
      worship of Ptah at M., 55;
      significance of apis, 67;
      situation of necropolis, 136;
      doors of the tombs turned eastward, 157;
      mastabas, 165;
      statue of Rameses II. on the site of M., ii. 240.

    Mendes, i. 22.

    Menephtah, head of, at Boulak, ii. 258.

    Menes, i. X, XLVIII., 15, 17, 22, 38.

    Menkaura (Mycerinus), i. 326.

    Menthouthotep, a scribe, ii. 226.

    Mentou-Ra, ii. 266.

    Menzaleh, Lake, fellahs in the neighborhood of their race, ii 237.

    Merenzi, i. 234.

    Mérimée, M., materials employed by Egyptian painters, ii. 334.

    Meroë, i. 20, 217.

    Merval, du Barry de, ii. 11.

    _Mesem Bryanthemum Copticum_, ii. 375.

    Metal-work, ii. 377;
      blow-pipe known, 378;
      iron, 379;
      damascening, 384.

    Metopes, ii. 155.

    Mexico, i. V.

    Michaëlis, i. XIX.

    Michelet, i. 64.

    Midas, i. XXVII.

    Minutoli, i. 213.

    Mit-fares, ii. 234.

    Mitrahineh, bas-relief at, ii. 271.

    Mnevis, i. 54.

    Models for sculptors, ii. 322.

    Modulus, its absence from Egyptian architecture, i. 102.

    Mœris (Pharaoh), i. 347;
      Lake M, i. 7, 216, 228, ii. 25.

    Mokattam, i. 105, 201, 204.

    Monolithic columns rare in Egypt, ii. 66.

    Mosel, i. XVII.

    Müller, Ottfried, i. III., V., XXI., XXV., XXXI., LIV.

    Mummies, i. 135;
      m. pits, 181;
      method of closing m. pit, 183;
      _do._ of sarcophagus, 182;
      furniture of m. chambers, 183;
      decoration of the m. cases, ii. 335.

    Mycenæ, i. XLII., 162.

    Mycerinus, pyramid of, i. 205, 227, 329;
      the sarcophagus of his daughter as described by Herodotus, 307;
      his own sarcophagus, ii. 55-59.

      Berlin, i. 89;
        papyrus narrating the dedication of a chapel by an Ousourtesen,
        funerary obelisk, ii. 170;
        leg in black granite, 228;
        enamelled bricks from stepped  pyramid, 372.
      Boulak, i. 10, 41;
        the art of the pyramid builders only to be fully seen at B., 86,
          89, 90, 139;
        papyrus IV., 161;
        stele with garden about a tomb, 301;
        statues of gods, 319;
        sphinxes in courtyard, ii. 337;
        statue of the architect Nefer, 177;
        statues in tomb of Ti, 181;
        Rahotep and Nefert, 183-7;
        _Sheik-el-beled_, 183, 194;
        panels from tomb of Hosi, 189;
        statue of Ra-nefer, 203;
        _do._ of Ti, 203;
        wooden statue of a man with long robe, 204;
        kneeling statues, 204;
        Nefer-hotep and Tenteta, 207;
        domestic and agricultural figures, 209;
        Nemhotep, 212;
        painting of Nile geese, 219;
        great statues of Chephren, 221;
        Tanite remains, 230-5;
        Thothmes III., 241;
        Taia, 242;
        dancing girls, 249;
        Rameses II., 256;
        bronze statuettes, 312;
        models for sculptors, 322;
        Græco-Roman remains, 274;
        glass, 376;
        bronze ornaments and weapons, 379;
        jewels, 380;
        ivory-work, 388;
        wood-work, 395-8.
        boats found in tombs, i. 185;
        mummy case of Mycerinus, 234, 319;
        _Ritual of the Dead_, ii. 287;
        sceptre of Papi, 198;
        head of Thothmes III., 241;
        _do._ of Amenophis III., 242;
        bronze statuette of _Arsaphes_, 265;
        comic papyrus, 353;
        pottery, 368;
        enamelled faience 371;
        _aryballus_, 372;
        enamelled bricks from Stepped Pyramid, 372;
        enamelled plaques, 374.
        boat from tomb, i. 185.
      Louvre, i. 38, 89, 122, 127;
        boats from tombs, 185;
        tabernacle, 353;
        models of houses, ii. 33-4;
        the "Scribe," 183-192;
        statues from Ancient Empire 181-192;
        _Canephorus_, 202;
        Sebek-hotep, 226;
        red granite sphinx, 228;
        Tanite remains, 235;
        statues from New Empire, 244-260;
        works in bronze, 270-281;
        bas-relief of Amasis from Serapeum, 285;
        gems, 288;
        signs of imperfect tools used, 304-5;
        portraits from Roman epoch, 336;
        jewelry, 382-387;
        woodwork, 395-8.
        stele, i. 301;
        tabernacle, 353;
        statues of the Theban Pharaohs, ii. 225;
        Rameses II., 257;
        satirical papyrus, 351;
        priapic scene in _do._, 355;
        enamel on wood, 375.
        _Pastophorus_, ii. 265.


    Naos, i. 353.

    Napata, i. 21;
      pyramids at, 217, 218;
      great temple at N. 385;
      speos at N. 404-7.

    Naville, E., i. 22, ii. 176.

    Nectanebo, i. 17, 77, 86, 353, 430.

    Nefer (architect), statue of, ii. 177.

    Nefer-hotep, ii. 207.

    Nefert Ari, i. 410.

    Nefert, statue of, from Meidoum, ii. 187.

    Neith, i. 69, 301.

    Nekau, i. 24, 78.

    Nekheb (goddess), i. 63.

    Nem-hotep, ii. 202.

    Nepheritis, ii. 266.

    Nephthys, i. 54, 301, ii. 350, 361.

    Niebuhr, i. XXI.

    Nesa, ii. 185.

    Nestor L'Hôte, i. 4, ii. 15;
      his enthusiasm for the art of the early dynasties, 225.

    Nile, the creator of Egypt, i. 2, 3;
      its inundations, 4, 5;
      homage to the N. as a god, 233.

    Nowertiouta, ii. 294.

    Num-hotep, i. 35, 251.


    Obelisks, the, method of erection, ii. 75, 169;
      ὀβελός, 170;
      ὀβελίσκος, _id._;
      O. of Hatasu, 170;
      _do._ of Luxor, 171;
      _do._ of Ousourtesen, _id._;
      heights of obelisks, _id._;
      O. figured in bas-relief at Sakkarah, 174;
      ovals of Ousourtesen I. on O. at Beggig, 175.

    Offerings, funerary, i. 139-43, ii. 384;
      tables for offerings, 143-4, ii. 362.

    Oliphant, Laurence, ii. 175.

    _Opisthodomos_, i. 354.

    "Orders," the Egyptian, ii. 85;
      asserted derivation from the national flora, 128.

    Orientation of the tomb, i. 157.

    Ornament, importance of the human figure, ii. 355;
      vultures, _id._;
      origin of ornament, 356;
      various motives, 357;
      ceiling decorations, 359;
      winged globe, 361;
      mummy cases, _id._;
      colour well preserved, 362;
      use of gold, _id._;
      graining, 363.

    Osarvaris, i. 159.

    "Osymandias, tomb of," or Ramesseum, i. 266, 375, 378.

    Osorkhon, 362.

    Ouaphra, ii. 266.

    _Oudja_, ii. 383.

    Ouenephes, or Ata, i. 207.

    Ouna, i. 151.

    Ounas, Pyramid of, i. 194, 215;
      mummy chamber of O. 235;
      the opening of the pyramid, 235.

    _Oushebti_, or _shebti_ (answerers or respondents), i. 146.

    Ousourtesens, the, ii. 45, 50, 72.

    Overbeck, history of sculpture, i. V.

    Ovolo (egg moulding), ii. 154.

    Ox, faithful treatment of, in Egyptian art, ii. 253.


    Paccard, i. XIII.

      Egyptian painting really illumination, ii. 332;
      how a picture was begun, _id._;
      complete absence of shadow, _id._;
      tools employed, 333;
      colours known, 334;
      their chemical composition, _id._;
      good condition of Egyptian painting, 335;
      procedures, _id._;
      treatments of flesh tints, 336;
      distemper the true Egyptian method, _id._;
      portrait of Amasis, 336;
      easel pictures not unknown, _id._;
      colours of the gods, 337;
      portraits of Queen Taia, _id._;
      decorations of tomb of Ptah-hotep, 341.

    Palace, the Egyptian, ii. 8.

    Palestrina mosaic, the, ii. 288.

    Palettes, painters', ii. 333.

    Panels, grooved, i. 115;
      carved _do._, ii. 189.

    Papi, i. 235.

      the plant, ii. 125;
      _Papyrus Anastasi III._, ii. 22;
      _Papyrus Casati_, i. 159;
      Papyrus IV., i. 161;
      Satirical Papyri, ii. 351.

      his descriptions of mummies, i. 136, 143;
      his discovery of a tomb, 293.

    _Pastophorus_, of the Vatican, ii. 265.

    _Pat_, ii. 185.

    _Patera_, ii. 370.

    Pausanias, i. 268.

    Pectorals, ii. 380.

    _Pega_, i. 128.

    Peiho, i. 172.

    Pekh-hesi, on panels in tomb of Hosi, ii. 189.

    Penrose, F. C., i. XIV.

    Pentaour, a scribe, i. 5;
      the poet, 266.

    Peripteral temples, Elephantiné, i. 396-398;
      Eilithyia, Medinet-Abou and Semneh, 402.

    Persigny, F. de, his notions about the pyramids, i. 191.

    Perring, J. L.;
      his great work upon the pyramids, i. 195;
      his perception of the object of the discharging chambers in
        the Great Pyramid, 221;
      his drawings of the sarcophagus of Mycerinus, ii. 56.

    Perspective, ii. 5.

    Petamounoph, tomb of, i. 296, 313.

    Petenef-hotep, i. 159.

    Petronius, i. 44.

    "Phamenoph," i. 268.

    _Phiale_, the Greek, ii. 370.

    Philip the Arab, i. 55.

    Philæ, the great temple at, i. 351;
      the island and its ruins, 433;
      arches at, ii. 82;
      columns at, 104-112.

    Philo, i. 224, 232.

    Philostratus, i. 268.

    Piankhi, i. 22;
      married to Ameneritis, ii. 264;
      father of Shap-en-ap, _id._

    Pier, ii. 85;
      origin of the quadrangular P., 90;
      the Hathoric, 91;
      the Osiride, 92;
      the stele, 93;
      the octagonal, 94;
      the sixteen-sided, 94-8;
      the polygonal, 95-8;
      with a flat vertical band, 98;
      _do._ with mask of Hathor, _id._

    Pierret, Paul, i. 47;
      his study of the dogma of the resurrection, i. 135, 147, 152, 436,
        ii. 63, 76, 107, 126, 170, 227, 235, 278;
      jewelry in the Louvre, 289.

    Pietschmann, i. 57, 147.

    Pig, in the bas-reliefs, i. 219.

    "Pipes" (Theban tombs), i. 255.

    Piranesi, i. VII.

    Piroli, i. VII.

    Pisani, ii. 202.

    Pisé, i. 105.

    Plans, Egyptian ground-, ii. 6.

    Plato, quoted, i. 70, 71, 84.

    Pliny, quoted, i. 224, 321, ii. 76.

    Plutarch, pseudo-, quoted, i. 242, 327.

    Pluteus, ii. 149;
      at Denderah, _id._

    Polishing statues, the methods of, ii. 307-10.

    Polychromatic decoration;
      of the Greeks, i. XIV.;
      of the Egyptians, necessary in their sunlight, 126;
      its influence upon their sculpture, ii. 325.

    Pompeii, ii. 89.

    Population of Egypt under the Roman Empire, ii. 26.

    Porcelain, Egyptian, i. 146.

    Porcupine, the, ii. 218.

    Portcullis stones, i. 220.

    Portraiture, the foundation of Egyptian art, ii. 275.

    Posno, collection of M. Gustave, bronzes, ii. 200;
      enamelled bricks, 374.

      potter's wheel in use during the Ancient Empire, ii. 367;
      Dr. Birch's illustrations, 367;
      _aryballus_, 368;
      "Egyptian porcelain," 369;
      should be Egyptian faience, _id._;
      colour of designs, 370;
      doorway in Stepped Pyramid, 372;
      tiles, _id._

    Priene, i. XIII.

    Priests, i. 31.

    Prisoners, Figures of, under brackets at Medinet-Abou, ii. 24, 94;
      upon friezes, 154;
      in the tomb of Seti I., 348;
      upon the soles of sandals, 354.

    Prisse d'Avennes, his _History_, i. 26;
      his Papers, 95, 249, 356, 408, ii. 54, 66, 80, 94, 146, 155;
      his ideas upon the so-called canon, ii. 319.

    Processions, i. 435.

    Profile, its almost exclusive use by painters, and in bas-reliefs,
      ii. 293.

    Pronaos, i. 351.

    Propylon, i. 341-4, ii. 156.

    Proto-doric columns, i. 418;
      differences between them and doric, ii. 97.

    Proto-semitic races, i. 10.

    Provincial art in Greece, i. XII.

    Psemethek I., i. 19, 38, 77, 92, 347, 389, 430;
      group of, with Hathor, ii. 267;
      II., ii. 266;
      Nefer-sam, 271.

    _Pschent_, i. 16.

    Psousennes, ii. 233.

    Ptah, i. 22, 51, 54, 55, 67, 389, 430.

    Ptah-hotep, tomb of, i. 174.

    Ptah-Osiris, i. 68;
      Ptah-Sokar-Osiris, _id._

    Ptolemaic art, ii. 272.

    Ptolemy, Philopator, i. 264;
      Euergetes, ii. 407.

    Punt, the land of, i. 260.

    Pylon, i. 341-4, ii. 156.

    Pyramids, i. 189;
      derivation of the word, 190;
      origin of, 195;
      comparative sizes, 199;
      mode of constructing, 201;
      cubic contents of Great Pyramid, 202;
      Pyramids of Gizeh, 206;
      of Dashour, _id._;
      the Stepped P., 207-212;
      German theory as to the construction of the Pyramids, 208;
      construction of the Blunt Pyramid, Dashour, 210;
      Pyramid of Abousir, 212;
      of Meidoum, 214;
      of Righa, 216;
      of Hawara, _id._;
      of Illahoun, _id._;
      proportions of Nubian pyramids, 218;
      methods of preventing intrusion, 219;
      discharging chambers in Great Pyramid, 221;
      colossi on pyramids, 228;
      Pyramid of Mycerinus, 329.

    Pyramidion, i. 226, ii. 174.


    Qadech--see Kadesh.

    Quarries, i. 105.

    Quintus Curtius--see Curtius.


    Ra, i. 25.

    Ra-en-ma (Amenemhat III.), ii. 289.

    Ra-hesi, ii. 189.

    Ra-hotep, ii. 187.

    Rameses I., commences the hypostylehall at Karnak, i. 378;
      honoured at Gournah, 392.

    Rameses II., i. 19, 22, 27, 76;
      his tomb, 282;
      completes Luxor, 370;
      completes the hypostyle hall at Karnak, 378;
      builds the Ramesseum, 378-81;
      the temple of Abydos completed, 386;
      the temple of Gournah _do._, 395;
      causes hypogea to be excavated in Nubia, 405;
      also in Egypt, 406;
      his colossi at Ipsamboul, 410-15;
      his family, ii. 13;
      his obelisks at Luxor, 171-2;
      his portrait-statues, 240, 255-8;
      decadence of art towards the close of his reign, 257.

    Rameses III., i. 22, 267;
      his tomb, 281;
      his temple at Medinet-Abou, 381-384;
      his pavilion, ii. 16;
      bas-reliefs in which he is represented in his gynecæum, 21-22.

    Ramesseum, i. 266, 376, 377, ii. 97, 167.

    Ra-nefer, ii. 203.

    Rannu, i. 64.

    Raoul-Rochette, his false idea of Egyptian art, i. 71.

    Rayet, ii. 182.

    Redesieh, i. 406.

    Regnier, Ad, i. 341.

    Rekmara, i. 296, ii. 338.

    Renan, Ernest, his opinion on the Egyptian language, i. 13;
      on Egyptian civilization, 19;
      _do._ 71.

    Resheb, ii. 262.

    Revillout, Eug., i. 309, ii. 29.

    Rhæcos, ii. 317.

    Rhampsinite, i. 347.

    Rhind, Henry, his _Thebes_, &c., infiltration in mummy pits, 136;
      a _Burial place of the poor_, 160;
      his discovery of a tomb, 166;
      substitution of a late tenant for an early one, _id._;
      extreme length of some of the _pipes_, 296.

    Rhoné, Arthur, i. 205, 291;
      his _Égypte à petites journées_, 305;
      plans lent, 316, 328.

    Righa, Pyramid of, i. 216.

    Rings, ii. 289.

    _Ritual of the Dead_, i. 39, 146;
      cap. cxxv., 286.

    Rougé, de, his _Memoire sur l'inscription d'Ahmes_, i. 33, ii. 170;
      his opinion upon the statues of Sepa and Nesa, 185, 194, 228, 235.

    Rosellini, i. 406.


    Sabaco, ii. 27;
      the great door at Karnak repaired by him, 263.

    Sabou, mastaba of, i. 167.

    Sais, i. 18, 309;
      its walls, ii. 41.

    Sakkarah, i. 35, 38, 42, 135, 143, 146,166;
      stepped pyramid, 204-15, ii. 372;
      pyramids recently opened at S. i. 234.

    Salzmann, i. X.

    Sardinians, supposed ancestors of the, ii. 257.

    Schasou, ii. 200.

    _Schenti_, ii. 185, 200.

    Schliemann, Dr., his discoveries at Mycenæ, i. 162.

    Schnaase, Carl, i. III., IV., V.

    Scribes, the, i. 30.

    Sculpture, ii. 180;
      the origin of statue-making, 180;
      S. under the Ancient Empire, 184;
      process of making a wooden statue, 197;
      groups in the proper sense unknown, 205;
      animals in S., 217, 280;
      extreme fidelity of royal portraiture, 223;
      S. under the Theban Pharaohs, 226;
      first appearance of colossi, 239;
      the "Apollo Belvedere of Egypt," 248;
      over slightness of proportions characteristic of the Middle and
        New Empires, 249;
      the worst of the Saite statues national in style, 272;
      work under the Roman domination, 273;
      absence of gods from larger works, 275;
      religious statues purely votive, 276;
      statues of Amen and Khons not colossal, 277;
      the right to erect statues in the temples, 278;
      busts not unknown, 279;
      technical methods in the bas-reliefs, 284;
      tools used in S., 303;
      their influence and that of materials upon style, 303, 306-314.

    Sebek-hotep, ii. 226.

    Sebennytos, i. 18.

    _Secos_, the (σηκός, or sanctuary), i. 352, 357, 375, 384, 406.

    Sedeinga, i. 402.

    Sekhet, i. 54, 58, 354, 406.

    Seleucus Nicator, i. L.

    Selk, i. 301.

    Semneh, ii. 45;
      cornice of temple at, 153.

    Semper, Gottfried, his theories upon the origin of decoration, ii.

    Sepa, ii. 184.

    Serapeum, i. 305-8;
      the bronzes discovered in the S., ii. 266.

    Serdab, origin of the word, i. 177, 187.

    Sesebi, ii. 130.

    Sesostris, i. 19, 347, ii. 27.

    Seti I., i. 29, 123, 278;
      his tomb, 280, 389;
      carries on the Hypostyle Hall at Karnak, 378;
      begins the temple at Abydos, 392;
      _do._ _Speos-Artemidos_ and Redesieh, 406;
      bas-reliefs at Abydos, ii. 247.

    Seti II., ii. 260.

    Shap-en-ap, ii. 264.

    Sharuten, ii. 257.

    _Sheik-el-Beled_, i. 9, ii. 194.

    Sheshonk, i. 19,ii. 262.

    Silco, i. 55.

    Siout, i. 144, 249;
     necropolis of, 252.

    Siptah, tomb of, i. 281.

    Snefrou, ii. 95, 184, 187.

    Socharis, i. 166.

    Soldi, Emile, ii. 288;
      his explanation of the influence exercised over Egyptian sculpture
        by the tools and materials employed, 304.

    Soleb, ii. 102, 130, 404.

    Solon, observation of a priest of Sais to, i. XXXIII.

    Somalis, i. 260.

    Soudan, i. 218.

    Soutekh or Set, i. 68, ii. 93.

    Spencer, Herbert, upon the conception of the _double_, i. 128;
      upon "primitive ideas," 132;
      upon the hole pierced for the double to pass through, 178.

    _Speoi_ and _Hemi-speoi_, i. 402.

    Sphinx, types of, i. 58-9;
      the great S., 237-8, 323;
      the temple of the S., 323-7;
      controversy as to its true character, 327-9;
      avenues of S., 336-7;
      the S. of the Louvre, 61, ii. 228;
      S. from Tanis, 230-3.

    Squaring, for transference and enlargement of drawings, ii. 320.

    Stark, Carl B., i. XXV., LV.

    Stele, i. 155-6.

    Stepped Pyramid measurements, i. 197, 207, 212.

    Stereobate, ii. 149.

    Stern, Ludwig, i. 334.

    Steuart, i. XXVII.

    Stobæus, i. 307.

    Stork, the, in the bas-reliefs, ii. 219.

    Strabo, pyramids, i. 191;
      passages to mummy chamber, 192;
      pyramid of the Labyrinth, 227;
      _Memnonium_ (Amenophium), 267;
      _do._ 279;
      Saite worship of Athené, 307;
      "Barbarous" temple at Heliopolis, 323;
      πρόπυλων, 341;
      description of the Egyptian type of temple, 347;
      identification of Ismandes and Memnon, 376;
      the _Memnonium_ close to the colossi of _Memnon_ (Amenophis),
      labyrinth, ii. 25;
      monolithic supports in labyrinth, 66;
      uses of the lotus, 125;
      description of _do._ _id._;
      height of _do._ _id._

    Style, distinguishing features of Egyptian, ii. 329.

    Supports, general types of architectural, ii. 91.

    Susa, ii. 13.

    Suti and Har, architects at Thebes, i. 436.

    Syene, i. 7, 105.


    Tabernacle, i. 352-5.

    Tahraka, i. 385;
      hypæthral temple of T., ii. 145, 263.

    Taia (Queen), bust of, at Boulak, ii. 242;
      painted portrait of, in the tomb of Amenophis III., 337.

    Tanagra, terra-cotta statuettes from, i. XVII., XVIII., 162.

    Tanis, i. 18;
      sculptured remains from T., ii. 230-8;
      Roman head from T., 274;
      sculptors' models from T., 322.

    Ta-ti-bast (Queen), ii. 362.

    Tegæa, i. XVIII.

    Telecles (sculptor), ii. 317.

    Tell-el-Amarna, scene of a new cult under Amenophis IV., i. 69;
      its cemetery on the right bank of the Nile, 157;
      domestic architecture of Egypt may be well studied in the
        paintings and bas-reliefs at T., ii. 5;
      the Egyptian house, 28;
      palace, 33, 155;
      painted landscapes at, 287.

    Tell-el-Yahoudeh, ii. 373.

    Temple, the funerary temples of Thebes, i. 264-275;
      the T. under the Ancient Empire, 318-333;
      under the Middle _do._, 333-335;
      under the New _do._, 335-433;
      general characteristics, 434;
      distinction between the T. in Egypt and in Greece, 435-7.

    Tenteta, statue at Boulak, ii. 208.

    _Tet_, the, ii. 383.

    Teuffel, i. III.

    Texier, i. IX., X., XXVII.

    Teynard, Felix, ii. 157.

    Thebes, i. 6, 16-18, 27, 65-8, 77, 89, 122, 134-6 151-7;
      its necropolis, 255-317;
      its temples, 333-84;
      the meaning of the epithet ἑκατόμπυλος, ii. 40.

    Theodorus (sculptor), ii. 317.

    Theophrastus quoted, ii. 125.

    Theseum, i. VII.

    Thorwaldsen, i. XI.

    Thoth, i. 63.

    Thothmes II., ii. 381, 400;
      Thothmes III., i. 19, 70, 268;
      Hall of T. at Karnak, 369, 381, 400, 406;
      his statues, 241;
      head in the British Museum, _id._;
      his portraits conspicuous for fidelity, _id._;
      his porphyry sphinx at Boulak, 242.

    Thucydides, ii. 40.

    Ti, his tomb, i. LX, 89, 143, 148, 177, 180, ii. 86;
      his offices of state, 177;
      his statue at Boulak, 203.

    Tiberias, kiosque, or summer-house of, at Philæ, i. 433.

    Tiele, Prof., his manual of the history of religions, i. 57.

    Tiryns, ii. 64.

    _To-deser_, i. 135.

    Tomb, the, under the Ancient Empire, i. 163-241;
      under the Middle _do._, 241-254;
      under the New _do._, 255-317.

    Tomb of Osymandias, i. 375.

    _To-merah_, or _To-meh_, i. 15.

    _To-res_, i. 15.

    Toum, i. 68.

    Tourah, i. 204.

    Triglyphs, ii. 155.

    Tuaregs, the, i. 13.

    _Turbehs_, tombs of Saite kings compared to, i. 309.

    Typhon, ii. 93;
      Typhonia, 407, 434.


    Uggeri, the Abbé, i. 104.

    Una, high official under the sixth dynasty, ii. 75.

    Uræus, ii. 151, 227.


    Vases, found in the mastabas, i. 171, 183, ii. 367;
      domestic V., 367-8;
      ornamented _do._, 368-372.

    Vault, i. 110;
      off-set vaults, 111, ii. 83;
      centred V., i. 112;
      V. in pisé, 113;
      theory as to the symbolism of the V. in the hypogea, _id._;
      antiquity of the V. in Egypt, ii. 77;
      (see also _Arch._)

    Vedas, poetry of, i. XLIX., 50.

    Verde-antique, i. 224.

    Versailles, ii. 11.

    Villeroi, Charles, his work upon the columns in Greek temples, i.

    Vinet, Ernest, i. XIV., XIX.

    Viollet-le-Duc, his theory as to the origin of the Egyptian cornice,
        ii. 56;
      upon the employment of inverted arches in basements, 80-2.

    Visconti, E. Q., i. VII.

    Vogüé, Melchior de, i. 73;
      his description of the Boulak Museum, 90, ii. 45;
      his definition of the Egyptian style, 327.

    Volute, ii. 90.

    Vyse, Colonel Howard, his great work upon the Pyramids, i. 195;
      his discoveries in _do._, 221;
      his discovery of the Sarcophagus of Mycerinus, 234;
      his discovery and exploration of Campbell's tomb, 311.


    Wadi, -Siout, i. 105;
      -Seboua, 407-8, ii. 65;
      -Halfah, ii. 42;
      -Maghara, ii. 95, 184.

    Walking-sticks, ii. 397.

    Wallon, M., i. LX.

    Welcker, i. VII., XXV.

    Whitehouse, F. Cope, his theory as to the construction of the
        pyramids, i. 201;
      his theory as to Lake Mœris, ii. 25.

    Wigs, ii. 203.

    Wilkinson, Sir G.;
      his opinion upon the coating Egyptian works with stucco, i. 122,
        ii. 33, 38, 72;
      his theory of the Egyptian _canon_, 319, 366;
      constituents of Egyptian bronze, 379.

    Winckelmann, i. II., V., XV., XX., XXV., LVI.

    Witte, de, on the weighing of souls, i. 286.

    Wolf, the, in the bas-reliefs, ii. 218.

    Woodwork, ii. 390;
      wooden furniture not scanty, 393;
      perfume spoons and other small articles, 394.

    Worship of the dead, i. 128.


    Xoite dynasty, the, i. 17.


    Zeus, i. XII, 69, 133.

    Zeuxis, i. XIV., XVI.

    Zoëga, i. VII.



       *       *       *       *       *

_In a Handsome Imperial 8vo Volume, 36s._


From the French of EUGÈNE MUNTZ.


_Illustrated with 155 Wood Engravings and 41 Full-Page Plates._

"We have already noticed at some length the original French edition of
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"The compendious and profusely illustrated volume forms a valuable
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his career having been brought to light since it was written. The
present work, accordingly, is not superfluous, and no man, probably,
could have accomplished the task more successfully than M. Muntz, who,
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traced the progress and development of his art and the influences
which modified it. The author's remarks moreover, on the works of
Raphael and of the other painters he has occasion to mention are
thoroughly critical and appreciative, and never dogmatically
expressed. The illustrations, of which there are nearly two hundred,
form a very important feature of the work; they include, besides
engravings from nearly all Raphael's existing pictures, and views of
the localities in which he sojourned, a considerable number of
faithful copies of his original studies and drawings. These being
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"A work of such vast importance and interest as this cannot be
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"Taken altogether the volume is one of great merit, both literary and
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Transcriber's Note:

Archaic and inconsistent spelling and punctuation retained.

The volume named "Voyage dans la Haute-Égypte" is variously attributed
to Auguste Mariette and Charles Blanc.

"Voyage dans la Haute-Égypte" was authored by Auguste Mariette and
"Voyage de la Haute-Égypte" was authored by Charles Blanc.

Some of the figure and plate references appear to be incorrect.

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