Egypt: The Color, The Myth, The Religion. Justin Curtiss

In this gallery, the art of ancient Egypt comes alive. Highlighting the color, mythology, and religion of these ancient peoples through their vivid and imaginative imagery. This exhibit aims to showcase their talent through a variety of works including paintings and sculptures, and give a deeper insight into their mysterious ways.

This wooden grave board which was erected underground to avoid grave robbery. In it the priest is making an offering to a god known as Re-Horatchte. It also deals with direction in relation to the sun rising and setting. Nechtefmut hoped to journey from the underworld in the west to the east and be reborn like the sun god. This is a great example of ancient Egyptian religion. As they were polytheistic, each of their gods had their own purpose, and their own story. The colors here a warm, browns and yellows. This could be interpreted as being not a sad occasion, but a passage from one state of being to the next. The ancient Egyptians were strong believers in the afterlife and this only reinforces that.
Hatshepsut is a granite statue of Queen Maatkare Hatshepsut. Unlike many other societies, Egypt had its share of female Pharaohs. This also aids to show the type of society they were and the things that they valued. In comparison, America has yet to have a female president.The ancient Egyptians also believed that Pharaohs were gods on earth. In the statue, she is seen sitting on her throne, with a traditional headdress. It appears as if she is smiling, peaceful. It's as if the artist wanted to portray her as being powerful yet kind. The statue lacks color. It looks more like it represents strength and the grandiose. The features are rounded, and there aren't really and jagged angles. Once again I believe the artist is trying to convey a softer, more caring side of the leader subtly.
Osiris was the god of the dead/afterlife. This bronze statue represents him as a mummy. Osiris was unique in that he had once walked earth in human form. Here, despite being the ruler of the underworld, he is shown as royalty. Seemingly made of gold and with his elaborate and detailed crown. In his hand a shepherd's crook and flail, which were known as symbols of Egyptian kingship. These kinds of details help to illustrate the Egyptians belief that death was not the end, but merely a transition from one form to the next. Aside from its regal appearance, the angles used to create it are straight or very jagged. To me this represents power. All of these separate elmements combine to create something that is meant to represent importance and respect/ admiration.
The Egyptians prepared the body for the afterlife by preserving it through mummification. This wooden chest is painted with the image of a woman named Tanetcharu. On it are numerous symbols of gods as well as hieroglyphics asking Osiris to provide her with food and drink. The wings of a vulture represent Mut, the mother goddess.In her hands she holds the Ankh, which is the symbol of life. This is incredibly detailed and also showcases funeral practices for for people who were not of royalty. The face painting is detailed showing a realistic depiction of what the woman might have looked like. It also showcases how deeply rooted in religion the Egyptians were. Each symbol having its own importance, each god serving its own purpose
King Amasis was the next to last ruler of the 26th Dynasty. The sculpture made of red quartzite depicts Amasis wearing a traditional names head cloth. On it is a uranus serpent, symbolizing his power as well as protecting him. The eyes lack pupils and he almost looks non human. The quartzite material looks brown and earthly. Perhaps subtly adding to the god on earth belief Egyptians had in regards to pharaohs. The features of very rounded suggesting Amasis was youthful at the time.
This mummy portrait is of a woman named Isidora. She is wearing several items of jewelry topped with a golden wreath. She was one of a small group of mummies that were wrapped in red, the color of regeneration in Egyptian religion. This might suggest they had hoped or believed she would return, either as herself or in some other form. This would differ from the more commonly discussed belief that they crossed over and remained in the afterlife.
The Spinx is a mythical creature comprised of a human head and a lion body. It stands watch like a guard dog over the entrance. The Great Pyramid is a huge structure built for the pharaoh Khufu is is surrounded by additional smaller pyramids. The pyramid was the final resting place for Egyptian royalty. There, they were placed in a tomb with their riches and items Egyptians believed they would need in the afterlife. This pyramid and others like are built of millions of individual blocks, and are often aligned with celestial bodies and constellations with incredible accuracy. This was done without the aid of modern computers and machinery, showing great Egyptian imagination and ingenuity.
In this relief, a blind harpist and a small group of musicians play for a tomb owner and his family. A priest is seen performing a cleansing ritual. This relief is an example of popular funerary art of the time. Above the musicians are heiroglyphics illustrating what the song is about.The relief is highly detailed. The song describes Osiris, the god of the afterlife, and that all people must eventually die. It showcases the Egyptians beliefs, customs, and views on death.
In this relief, a group of singers or dancers are performing at a religious event. The performers are wearing white dresses, flowers, and clapping along. Each, though dressed the same, have unique facial features. The fact that they're wearing white suggests this was a joyous event. Their skin is a yellowish brown that blends somewhat in with the background. This showcases a more celebratory aspect of ancient Egyptian religious practices.
One of the longest existing papyri, this scene from the Great Harris Papyrus we see King Ramses III before Ptah (the patron of craftsmen). Also there is Nefertum (god of the lotus) and Sekhmet (the lion headed goddess). This showcases a pharaohs dealings with the gods. IT is particularly interesting because pharaohs were regarded as gods on earth themselves. There is great detail in their outfits. It features vibrant yellows, red (the color of regeneration in Egyptian religion), as well as symbols/heiroglyphics on the wall in the background. Ramses is there to make offerings to the gods. Even him, with so much power, has someone he must answer too.
Credits: All media
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