Art in Ancient Egypt

My mom was somehow always fascinated with the mysterious land of Egypt and a load of stories, novels & movies added to it. A summation of all these, passed on the fascination to me and Egypt made it to the top of my ‘Dream destination’ list at a very early age.

Finally, at the age of 28 I had the chance to visit the country with my parents & sister. What I saw & experienced was no where close to what I had imagined as a child. The place is far more developed and commercialised, in every aspect! I expected to find some original art in Cairo/ Luxor, but maybe I didn’t look hard enough. All I found was repetitive designs on souvenirs, clothes, crockery etc. and annoying salesmen who do not miss a chance to harass.

We took a conducted tour to all the must-visit sights, the architecture & aesthetics in every heritage site are truly marvellous. The temples and tombs are very well preserved and thanks to our well-informed guides, we could understand every bit of -‘why’ they did what they did!

In some of the well preserved temples in the country, we can see wall paintings that have lasted forever and have passed the tests of time. Being the inquisitive one, I wanted to know how these murals were made back then, when humans had no idea they could even paint! The Egyptologist who accompanied us explained as so –  ” The ancient Egyptians used anything colourful they found to make paint! (Back then it wasn’t called Paint) ” They used to powder precious stones, flowers, anything with a pigment to use as colour. But this was dry and could easily wash away or lose colour when applied on walls! So, to make sure they are stuck to the walls, they pounded various ingredients to release their essential oils and used the oil to mix with the pigment powder. This formed a pretty sturdy mixture which could stick on the walls. The colours I saw were yellow, red, blue and green – Yes! the basics!

This also made me wonder if oil paints are as old as pre- B.C period ? Or if this was the origin? Or not ? I guess if any mummy did reincarnate, Boy! Would it be delighted to see these beautifully preserved works of art on the walls & also happy to find something its own age 😉

Egypt is a mystical country & I did fall in love with the history! On our visit to the Temple Island of Philae, we were told the greatest love story of God Isis & God Osiris. It is a simple story of how a wife fought with evil to bring her dead husband back to life – similar to the ‘Nala Damayanthi’ story told in our very own Mahabharata.

Listening to these stories had me imagining on how the scene might have looked! I did see the wall inscriptions which depicts the story, but I now want to paint my version of the Goddess of love – Isis.

Now you know what’s coming up! Stay tuned for more updates 😀

 

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