Imagine you are in a tomb, an Egyptian tomb, and you're looking the pictures painted and carved on the walls. You see warriors with bows hunting, servants plowing in the fields, falcon and jackal-headed gods, kings and queens sitting in their palace, musicians playing music. Egyptians loved to make art. The Egyptians made statues, reliefs, paintings, pottery, jewelery, sculptures and coffins. They made art for gods, kings and queens, and for the dead in their tombs. Their beliefs and religion were often drawn on paintings like their predictions of what the afterlife was like, or pictures of gods doing certain things. Egyptian art was very delicate and beautiful.
The Egyptians were influenced by many things. Their religion and beliefs were shown in most of their paintings. Paintings had pictures of gods and goddesses doing different activities. Colored portraits made predictions of the afterlife they believed in. Nature and everyday activities were main subjects too.
Egyptian language in writing was called hieroglyphics. Because of its importance to the culture, this written and painted language was also an art form for the Egyptians. Hieroglyphics was a system with 24 alphabetic characters. Vowels wouldn’t be written down. Instead they had phonograms and ideograms. Hieroglyphics were carved or painted. But for everyday purposes, they used a simple cursive form of hieroglyphics called hieratic. The picture writing, hieroglyphics was used for religious writings and for inscriptions on monuments. There were about 750 different hieroglyphs. It took as much as twelve years to learn to write in the Egyptians script. Many artists and scribes started learning at the age of four! They wrote on papyrus scrolls using colored inks and pens made from the softened ends of reeds.
Egyptians had several kinds of art forms. Mummy cases, or sarcophaguses, were built for the bodies of kings or important people. They believed that the body went to an afterlife and the sarcophagus was to be a beautiful and valuable place for the body to rest. The body was wrapped in white bandages then it was put in its own case with a unique design. But the more significant people were given more than one case, which were piled inside each other. Another interesting art form was relief art. In relief art, the picture was carved into layers to give a raised look. In the Old and Middle Kingdom, reliefs were made in soft limestone. During the New Kingdom sandstone was used. Reliefs showed every kind of activity, from feasting to working, from learning to dancing. Statues were another common art form Egyptians liked making. Most were of gods, goddesses, pharaohs, and queens. The statues could be made small or large. Statues were not suppose to copy nature, but they were meant to be symbols of the people's beliefs. Statues always had to be youthful figures. The paintings and drawings of Egyptian people look flat and strange, because they were painted in a particular way. I mportant people were painted larger than others. Heads were shown from front view. Eyes and the top half of the body were shown from the front, but arms and legs were shown from the side, so that they were easier to see.