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Art, Architecture, and Beliefs of Ancient Egypt: Analytical Essay

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The art, architecture, and beliefs of Ancient Egypt have a very influential impact on shaping today’s modern world. Although when many think about Ancient Egypt, they don’t think about its influence, it’s very prominent. The art, architecture, and beliefs were also just generally a huge part of Ancient Egyptian culture. These three aspects shaped much of the culture, and still do shape much of Egypt’s modern culture.

All Ancient Egyptian art served a purpose because they believed that practical purpose goes over beauty. According to an article written by Joshua J. Mark in the Ancient History Encyclopedia, “Art reflected the perfection of the gods while having a practical purpose” (Mark). For example, statues held spirits of the deceased, tomb paintings were made to display scenes from someone’s life so that their spirit could remember. And lastly, amulets were used for protection. Although beauty was a factor when making these art pieces, it wasn’t as important as the function it had. Another important aspect of Ancient Egyptian art was symbolism. Most art pieces have a symbolic meaning. The Golden Throne of Tutankhamun is a good example of symbolism in Ancient Egyptian art. On this throne, there’s an image of two people, with many important details. The red symbolizes vitality, the blue represents fertility, life, and rebirth, them having the same skin color represents their closeness, and their clothing being white symbolizes purity. One can also see the changes in art throughout the periods in Ancient Egypt. During the Old Kingdom of Egypt, which spanned from 2613 to 2181 BCE, art was made to reflect the tastes of Memphis. Memphis was an old important city in Egypt where art was prominent. In the First Intermediate Period of Egypt, which was from 2181 to 2040 BCE, artists were able to express themselves more freely. Art styles were still modeled after the style of Memphis though. Many painting techniques were also introduced in this period. The paint was made by mixing colors made by minerals. The paint was so durable, it remains vibrant today. For example, white paint was made by gypsum, black paint was made by carbon, red and yellow paint was made from iron oxides, and blue paint was made from azurite and malachite. During the Middle Kingdom of Egypt, spanning from 2040 to 1782 BCE, the lower classes of Ancient Egypt was more represented in art. This period was considered a high point for Egypt, especially in art. Art was only based on the wealthy or their gods, so having lower classes introduced was out of the ordinary. The New Kingdom (1570-1069 BCE), was best known for its famous art. “New Kingdom art is defined by high quality in vision and technique due largely to Egypt’s interaction with neighboring cultures” (Mark). For example, the bust of Nefertiti and the golden death mask of Tut originated from this period. Metalworking was also introduced to the Ancient Egyptians by the Hittites, and the artwork that was produced by metalworking was being influenced by other cultures. All these types of art from all these periods were so influential, it had even left an influence on early Greek and Roman art. The way paint was made was used in many cultures, and the idea of having art more as functional and less for beauty was also seen frequently in many other cultures to come.

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Ancient Egyptian architecture has also been influential and was a big aspect of their culture. Two principal building commonly used in Ancient Egyptian architecture was unbaked mud brick and stone. The unbaked mud brick was generally used for tombs, and the stone was generally used for royal palaces, fortresses, and more. Tombs and temples were structures where this sort of architecture is showcased. Tomb architecture usually consisted of columns made of stone and massive mud-brick walls for support. The idea of columns was also something considered important and influential in other cultures. Not only was it designed to support a roof, but the designs differentiated the types of columns. A papyrus bundle column is a tightly carved column resembling papyrus reeds, a Djed column had layered parts, Djed meaning stability. Another important architectural aspect of Ancient Egypt were pyramids. Pyramids are generally made with brick or stone with a rectangular base and four sloping triangular sides meeting together. The idea of having buildings in this form is still used today. Many modern buildings have the same rectangular base and four sides that were seen so often in Ancient Egypt. For example, the Pyramid of Kazan in Russia, the Louvre in France, and the Pyramid of Tirana in Albania are all based on that structure. There is also so much more that has been influenced by this architecture.

Ancient Egyptian beliefs were yet another thing influential in our world today. “Egyptian religion was a combination of beliefs and practices which, in the modern-day, would include Egyptian mythology, science, medicine, psychiatry, magic, spiritualism, herbology, as well as the modern understanding of ‘religion’ as belief in a higher power and a life after death” (Mark). All of these are significant aspects of Ancient Egyptian beliefs. Religion and these aspects had played a part in every second of life for them. Life on Earth was only supposed to be seen as one part of an eternal journey. In your lifetime, you were supposed to live by something they called Ma’at, also known as harmony. Ma’at was the understanding that your actions in life affected everything. For example, something one could affect someone else’s life, your life, or the operation of the universe in general. Ancient Egyptian gods were also a huge aspect of their beliefs. Their gods were seen as the creators but also friends interested in giving guidance. Each god had their specialty. For example, Bastet was the goddess of the hearth, home life, a women’s health, while Ra was the god of sun and radiance. Osiris was the god of the living and Mut was the mother goddess, and all four of these were seen as equally important and necessary to the Ancient Egyptians. “These gods all had names, individual personalities, and characteristics wore different kinds of clothing, held different objects as sacred, presided over their domains of influence, and reacted in highly individualistic ways to events. Each deity had their area of expertise but was often associated with several spheres of human life” (Mark). They also had believed a lot in the cosmos and it’s a connection to the soul. They thought that the Earth reflected the cosmos and concluded that stars and constellations affected one’s personality as well as their soul. The soul was believed to be separated into nine separate parts; Khat, Ka, Ba, Shuyet, Akh, Ab, and Ren. Khat meant your physical body, Ka was your “double form”, Ba was a human-headed bird that had powers, Shuyet was your shadow, Akh was the immortal and transformed self, Ren was your secret name, and Ab was your heart, also known as the source of good and evil. All nine of these were seen as part of your whole existence. Mummification was yet another huge part of the culture, also known as methods of treating dead bodies. It was thought that mummifying someone’s body would then lead the body into the afterworld. Mummification had a big influence because it helps scientists research and understands Ancient Egyptian history.

In conclusion, the art, architecture, and beliefs were all three extremely important aspects of Ancient Egyptian culture. These things were so crucial and essential to the culture that it still has a lasting influence on today’s modern society. It’s influence is still seen through modern art and architecture as well as modern scientific discoverations about Ancient Egypt.

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Art, Architecture, and Beliefs of Ancient Egypt: Analytical Essay. (2022, July 14). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 8, 2023, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/art-architecture-and-beliefs-of-ancient-egypt-analytical-essay/
“Art, Architecture, and Beliefs of Ancient Egypt: Analytical Essay.” Edubirdie, 14 Jul. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/art-architecture-and-beliefs-of-ancient-egypt-analytical-essay/
Art, Architecture, and Beliefs of Ancient Egypt: Analytical Essay. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/art-architecture-and-beliefs-of-ancient-egypt-analytical-essay/> [Accessed 8 Feb. 2023].
Art, Architecture, and Beliefs of Ancient Egypt: Analytical Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jul 14 [cited 2023 Feb 8]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/art-architecture-and-beliefs-of-ancient-egypt-analytical-essay/
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