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Art of Ancient Egypt   Tags: ancient, art, egypt  

Last Updated: Apr 11, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Art in Ancient Egypt

The ancient Egyptians had no word that was an equivalent for "visual art," though they clearly created many objects that modern people recognize as art. In the modern world, art is the product of an individual's creative expression. But this view of art is bound to modern, Western culture. An ancient Egyptian artist would not have understood the value of individual originality. For the Egyptian artist, the creator god Ptah had ordained the proper form for representing the world in both two- and three-dimensional art. According to Egyptian myth, these forms had existed since the time that Ptah created everything in the world at the beginning of time. The artist's task was to approximate Ptah's pre-ordained pattern as closely as possible. Egyptian artists could be creative within the confines of the patterns that Ptah had created, but the patterns could not be ignored. Thus the basic representation of a man in two dimensions could not change. But within the basic pattern there was room for artists to exercise creativity in the details.

(Arts and Humanities Through the ErasEd. Edward I. Bleiberg, James Allan Evans, Kristen Mossler Figg, Philip M. Soergel, and John Block Friedman. Vol. 1: Ancient Egypt 2675-332 B.C.E.. Detroit: Gale, 2005. p266.)


Sekhmet, lion-headed goddess of ancient Egypt


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