What is Sacred?
Ancient Egypt art and architecture detail the belief systems and socioeconomic structures of ancient Egypt. Some of the diverse architectural structures remain as primary focus points for tourists. The arts are at times compared with evaluations of their various similarities. However, there is still a diversified symbolism in most of them in their anonymity and association with religious beliefs. Art from ancient Egypt received focus and attention from diverse people based on its differences from our modern culture compared to other ancient empires. People have reproduced the arts and used them to influence and inspire modern designers across the world. This paper evaluates the art and architecture including the great pyramids, Stonehenge, and cave paintings that were considered sacred with a focus on attributes that illustrate and demonstrate their sacredness.
The great Egyptian pyramids were used in religious activities. Their shape is believed to have been designed to represent the primordial mounds. Egyptians were among the first empires to believe and focus on the afterlife. They believed that the Earth was created from a primordial mound. In the belief of the afterlife, the ka was thought to experience the afterlife after the expiry of the physical body. The pharaohs are believed to have been built by powerful pharaohs based on the complexity of their engineering and reduced developments in building mechanisms of the age. People had to pass the Osiris test that made them ready to encounter and experience a comfortable life after earth. The pyramids were used as tombs to influential people. Some people believe that the Sphinx’s lion was placed in the middle pyramid to symbolize immortality. The sacredness of the pyramids was also defined by the Egyptian’s belief that any person who defiles the tomb of the pharaoh would receive an eternal curse. Consequently, the internal chambers had limited access.
The Mummies in the burial rituals were also considered sacred. Although the burial procedure using mummies was costly, it is believed that dignified people were mummified with only priests having permission to see them. For instance, the pharaoh’s mummy is noted to have been made placed in a coffin designed from the hardest stone blocks they could find. The coffin referred to as the sarcophagus was large compared to other coffins used for burying other people. The process involved lengthy activities of wrapping and embalming the body before placing it in the coffin.
Initially, Egyptians had opted to bury their dead. The burial process involved the use of a coffin and less drying of the body. Later, they discovered that the bodies buried through the procedures were exposed to heat in the ground and experienced drying with the sand. The impacts were the decay of the bodies, which led to changes in their preservation process. Mummification was incepted as a drying procedure to prevent decay of the body. The motivation for the significant efforts in body preservation was religious and sacred. The Egyptians believed that the physical body would also be valuable in the next life. That created the need to preserve it properly in a lifelike state.
Stonehenge is among standing stones with astronomical alignment about one hundred kilometers away from Abu Simbel. The construction is believed to have been initiated by nomads in the stone age period with aim of navigating and understanding the times of the year. In those times, it was necessary to have ceremonial centers where the people would meet to feed and water their animals. Stonehenge is believed to have been designed for similar activities. The structures were erected on the lake shores with relationship to the rising positions of prominent stars. The remains found at Stonehenge have some sacred characteristics. Settlements found in the area proved that the inhabitants had domesticated cattle. Several fire-reddened stones were also found at the center with several remnants of campfires. The people, therefore, must have been making ceremonial sacrifices from the center and initiated the development of Apis bull worship. The inhabitants of the regions are also associated with the definition of the important of Hathor, a goddess of the sky.
The Hall of the Bulls is one of the most educational caves that is now being preserved after tourists' visits diminished the environment of the caves. The paintings in the cave demonstrate the creativity of the prehistoric people in regards to how the paint was created and how well the paintings have cohered to the cave walls for many years. Paintings of local wildlife are spread amongst the walls along with mysterious paintings of a bison with the intestines spilling out and a man underneath with a bird head. It is believed that it was a shaman who would be able to communicate with spirits of other worlds. The importance of these paintings supports our understanding of what religious activities were being performed during this age.
Ancient Egypt had complex religions with diverse rituals and polytheistic beliefs. However, there are significant similarities in the religious and sacred practices, especially on burial and preparation for life after death. Their funeral practices evolved as their beliefs changed, and the aim of preserving the bodies advanced. The common belief was that the spirit of the deceased worked together with the body afterlife. The ancient Egyptian religion was closely connected to the government. The art and architecture illustrating religious practices were incepted by humankind, with the government playing a significant role.