Let’s not forget that some of their remains, such as the Sphinx and the pyramids, still exist until now. Not only we can learn a lot from their history and culture, but there are also some mysteries that still remain. Controversies of how the pyramids were still going on. There are some small parts about their civilization still unknown. Experts considered them quite mysterious.
Among these artifacts, there are some ancient paintings that depict the history and lifestyle of the Egyptians. These paintings have existed since the ancient era. Yes, from the Egyptian time. These Egyptian paintings are unique in the sense that they are unique and historical. Not only you can learn a lot about their lifestyle and history, but you can also see the details of those images. These are the most popular paintings from the ancient Egyptian time that have attracted museum visitors until today.
Dancing was considered an important part of ancient Egyptian’s culture. During the civilization, dancing and music were crucial. According to some manuscripts, workers could work efficiently if they followed the rhythmic dance. It includes the sound of percussion and songs. It is even believed that the ancient time haseened the birth of street dancers whose role were to entertain people who were walking by. There were different types of dances, depending on the occasion and participants.
This painting dance somewhat represented the trend during that era. It depicts two women dancing together within a paired manner and there is another group playing the music. Pair dancing would include two women (or two men) dancing together in a harmonious manner and unison. Besides the pair dancing, there were also group dances. The groups consisted of trained performers entertaining the viewers in a group. Festival dances were also popular and each of them was unique.
We all know that the Egyptian is well-known for its afterlife concept: the mummification. But to what we believe, the mummification process had to undergo a proper and correct ritual. If the ritual was done correctly, the dead person could face the Egyptian gods and win their judgment. If they won the judgment, they could resurrect in the future. Before the mummification was ‘invented’, the bodies would be buried on the deserts. They experienced natural desiccation that would preserve their body. Yet, as time went by and civilization was getting complicated. The rich Egyptians started to have artificial and elaborate mummification. And they somewhat arranged it. This happened during the Old Kingdom which was the earliest time in Egyptian civilization. In this time, Anubis (the God with Jackal head) would oversee the king’s burial process and results.
During the New Kingdom period, the mummification art had been perfected. The process itself could take 70 days for perfection. It generally involved the brain, internal organs, and natron; which is the body’s desiccation in the salt mixture. During this period, Anubis was somewhat replaced by Osiris. There are several Egyptian paintings depicting this mummification concept.
The ancient societies had polytheistic belief, which is pretty complex and complicated. It means that they believed (and also worshipped) several gods. It includes their own rituals and religions. The ancient civilization had diverse religions with each of them having their own beliefs, rituals, and deities. In fact, different cities had their own gods. The most popular one was Ra, the Sun god. Anubis was the embalming and death god. Horus was the Sky God.
When pharaohs (Egyptian kings) dead, they would be buried inside the pyramids. The pyramids were considered as the most impressive and remarkable memorial tombs that still exist today. The pyramids had to be beautiful, elaborate, and complicated. Several pyramid tombs are quite popular, especially the 3 huge tombs from the 4th dynasty. As if it weren’t enough, the paintings inside the tombs are also marvelous. They would be engraved inside the tombs and telling stories of the deceased’s journey to the afterlife.
This is one of the Egyptian paintings found in Irinefer tomb. It was about the deceased who stood in the barge of sun worshipping the Phoenix, which was the symbol of Heliopolis – the sun god. Tombs generally have several paintings, telling the stories of the deceased’s lives. Royal and regal tombs have more vividly carved cartouches and paintings. All tell stories about the deceased’s journey, death, and afterlife.
If you have seen the popular movie, The Mummy, you probably have seen about the existence of Book of Death and how it could bring the dead back to life. The original and real name for the text meant ‘The book for emerging forth into light’ and ‘The book for coming forth by day’.
The book itself has several magical spells meant to help the dead person. Once they died, they would go to the underworld and then resurrect to the afterlife. The spells inside the book were meant to help the deceased so their journey could run smoothly. The earliest spells were based on the oldest manuscript from 3000 BC. The newer ones were added in the history, dated back to 11 century BC and 7 century BC.
In ancient Egyptian civilization, the concept of the afterlife had always become the basis of all religions. The people believed that death wasn’t the end of their life. Instead of the complete cessation, it was considered an interruption in life. The death process was only temporary. The people believed that mummification was the only possible way to reach eternal life. Mummification was simply a means to preserve the dead.
Those ancient people also believed that the deities would be the one determining the faith of the deceased. Whether they would continue to the afterlife or not. On one of those above Egyptian paintings, you can see that Anubis seemed to determine a deceased’s faith. The pharaohs even believed that they had bigger chances if they could prepare everything well and carefully. It was one of the reasons why they made such a grand preparation for their funerals, ensuring that everything was covered and prepared. When they resurrected, they would be prepared.
The funerary practice was considered very important and crucial because of the concept of afterlife. In fact, funerary practice held a higher place within the civilization. As it was mentioned before, it was the deities who would determine the deceased’s faith for resurrection. The right and proper funerary was believed to help. During the funerary, the deceased should have had a heart free of sin. He or she should have been able to recite passwords (taken from book of dead) and spells.
On the above painting, the deceased’s heart would be put on a scale and then weighed. It wasn’t a regular scale. The weighted heart would be done with Shu’s special feather of justice and truth – the feather itself was taken from Ma’at goddess headdress. If the heart was lighter (compared to the feather), then the deceased would be able to pass. But if the heart was heavier, then Ammut demon would devour him or her. In this painting, it shows the deceased’s faith. This is what the ancient Egyptians believed happening after a person died.
Tutankhamun was an Egyptian pharaoh quite popular among historians. The pharaoh was often heard of. The historian documented him well. He was becoming popular after his tomb was discovered in 1922. It was completely intact with only a little damage. The pharaoh is also known as King Tut and it has become a popular icon in modern pop culture.
Among the many ancient Egyptian paintings, King Tut’s cartouche is quite popular. A cartouche is basically an oval hieroglyphic with a line (horizontally) at one end. It is shown to state that the text is about a royal figure. King Tut’s cartouches depicting his birth moment and also throne name. In this cartouche, there was Sekhmet lioness warrior crushing they’re some ethnic enemies. At the same time, Nekhbet was flying overhead in a protective manner.
This is one of the most popular Egyptian paintings depicting a war scene. King Ramesses was involved in several wars and won most of them. He ruled Egypt for 66 years (1279 BC to 1213 BC) and his victories had expanded his region. He was considered the strongest and most celebrated pharaoh in the Empire.
One of his battles was against the Nubians and it was well documented – mostly in the papyrus painting form. This painting depicts the battle taking place at the Nubian stronghold, the Beit wl-wali temple south wall. In the painting, Ramesses II was seen charging with his war chariot against the Nubians. At the same time, his two sons, Khaemwaset and Amun-Her-Khepsef are behind him also inside the chariot. On one of Ramesses’ temple walls, it was said that it was one of his battles alone where he couldn’t get any help from the soldiers.
As it was mentioned before, Ramesses was one of the most powerful pharaohs ruling the Egypt Empire. Within his ruling of 66 years, he had won a lot of wars and led some military expeditions. Because of this, he managed to expand the region’s stronghold from the deserts to the Nile. There are a lot of documentation about his success (and they are all preserved well) and campaigns. Not to mention that there are still many of his paintings, statues, and also artifacts from his era.
This is the painting found inside his tomb. It depicts his achievement in his raid against Muwatalli’s Hittite resurgent forces. The location would be in Syria at present day. Ramesses had to fight the stronger enemy. To make it even worse, his forces were being ambushed and outnumbered. But the pharaoh somehow managed to fight the battle and win it – returning home being a hero.
The paintings were quite old and the ancient civilization dated to 5000 years back. Not only they became the basic shape of the symbolic form of art, they had managed to show how the old world looked like. It somehow gives us a sense of historical journey. The art form wasn’t only remarkable. But, it is astonishing as well. The fact that most of the remaining are still in good condition over 3000 years of development is quite amazing. From these paintings, we can learn about the ancient wars, the ancient religions and deities, and so much more. It is amazing how these ancient Egyptian paintings have managed to survive through the years – giving us the insight of the ancient time.
Tags: Egyptian paintings, ancient Egyptian paintings, Egyptian tomb paintings, Egyptian wall paintings