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Exotic Decor: Ancient Egyptian Decor

 


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Egypt's lost history is both profound and unique. From the Great Library in Alexandria to the mysterious Pyramids in Giza, ancient Egyptian art, decor and style towered above 'lesser' civilizations. Looking at ancient Egyptian art can provide inspiration for  'new' and exciting decor ideas for around your own home.  

Ancient Egypt's beautiful sculptures, paintings, interesting styles of pottery and simplicity of the furniture are all wonderfully coloured in the following article by Kashmira Lad. Browse the links provided for more on decor and furniture or visit CBN for other business related articles.

Ancient Egyptian Decor
By: Kashmira Lad

The striking beauty of ancient Egyptian décor can never be ignored. Let’s take a detailed look at some basic elements and concepts used in this décor.

The ancient Egyptian culture involves many interesting beliefs that give a glimpse of life way back then. A look at the stylized art forms of this civilization proves the kind of talent that existed in the olden days. Ancient Egyptian fashion as well as the décor showcased their knowledge of the creative field. Their concepts in terms of interiors and architecture were very much advanced. There were many particular characteristics in terms of ancient Egyptian décor and elements used in their architecture. These elements defined this particular style. From painting to fashion and architecture, the ancient Egyptians were surely ahead of their times. Let’s take a trip back into that Era to discover many important elements associated with ancient Egyptian décor.

The beauty of ancient Egyptian paintings

Ancient Egyptians mainly depicted religious forms and symbols in their paintings. These paintings were usually done on wall surfaces. The artwork always involved the efforts of many artists. The themes always revolved around their gods and goddesses and the warriors. The artists also predicted life after death through these drawings. A look at these wall paintings would showcase incidents that involve the kings and queens, warriors out on a hunt, musicians, jackal-headed gods, etc. Apart from gods, ancient Egyptian artists also loved to depict nature and animals. Cats were particularly revered in the Egyptian culture. The drawings also show the profile view of the face but the frontal view of the body. This is a typical characteristic of ancient Egyptian paintings. The artist always drew the basic forms and then worked upon the detailing. After the detailing, color pastes were applied to these forms. These ancient artists used certain fixers in these color pastes so that the paints remained on the surface in perfect condition. Egg whites were added to these pastes to give it the required thickness. Shades of orange, red and a tinge of blue are the common colors seen in the murals. These murals were particularly seen in the tombs. Archaeologists have even discovered unfinished works, which indicate guidelines marked in red. Apart from murals, many scenes were carved into the walls of the tombs. This tradition of carving reliefs was revived in the early 18th dynasty.

The majestic sculptures

Like the Egyptian paintings, sculpture also had its base completely in religion. The belief behind these statuettes was to preserve a person’s soul even after death. The sculptors often depicted gods and goddesses, pharaohs and all the eminent kings and queens. The people also believed crafting these statues gave eternal life to the kings and queens. An artist always had to stick to certain norms while creating a particular statue. The heads showed no particular facial expression, the hands always had to be placed on the knees and the legs had to be kept close together and parallel to each other (for seated statues). Symmetry in design was yet another rule to be followed and an artist who met all the standards of design was considered to be the most talented of the whole lot. Cats being sacred to the ancient Egyptians, these symbolized their Goddess Bastet. Therefore, Bastet statues played a very important part in ancient Egyptian décor. The statues of gods, goddesses and pharaohs were worshiped by all and symbolized divinity.

The interesting styles of pottery

Pottery in ancient Egypt was initially made of reddish brown clay. The basic way of creating these forms involved a hollow in a lump of clay. The required shape was then given by the hand. It was only during the period of the Old Kingdom, the potter’s wheel was finally used to create many forms. Although the potter’s wheel was used to create pots in abundance, there were many other methods used to create the same. Ancient Egyptian pottery can be classified into two types depending upon the type of clay used. The most commonly created kinds were made of Nile clay. This was also known as Nile silt ware. The other kind of material used was Marl clay, which was found in Qena, located in Upper Egypt. The ancient Egyptians also created amulets, religious deities, animals and many other clay based pottery items related to decoration. The artists also devised a way to cover the pottery with enamel. These pottery objects had a lot of importance due to their beliefs. Often, such forms of pottery covered with enamel were kept besides the dead in the tomb. The pottery cones were often created on the walls. One can find details associated with the deceased on these cones.

Simplicity of the furniture

The homes of the ancient Egyptians were sparsely furnished. The houses of the common folk included only a few baskets or chests. People of the ancient Egypt generally carried out their household duties on the floor. Sometimes, low stools were also used. The legs of the furniture were often in the shape of animal legs (hooves of bulls or lion paws). The tables were low and were generally made of wood. However, wood was not always available so the ancient Egyptians also used stone or metal for their furniture. An interesting concept was the three or one-legged gaming table made from wood. Guests that were respected and revered were given seats covered with animal skin. Sometimes, plant materials were also used. The affluent families always had expensive boxes in their collection. These were beautifully decorated with panels. These chests could be locked only in a particular fashion! A string was tied to the knob of the lid and the chest and this was further sealed with clay. These chests were used to store Egyptian jewelry and utensils. The concept of a cupboard was not relatively in use. For the rich, furniture was covered with gold sheets or particular stone work to make it look really exquisite. The chair was considered to be really important to the noble families. Particular chairs were reserved for the eminent dignitaries. These were either engraved with hieroglyphs or were ornately carved to make them appear different from the rest of the furniture. The higher the position of the individual, the better the look of the chair. The ancient Egyptians did not use pillows while sleeping. They rested their heads on a curved and elevated stand. These headrests were often made of ivory or even wood.

The art and décor of ancient Egypt stand as testimony to the kind of concepts, beliefs and rules followed by the people who belonged to that era. Today, there are many interior designers who still refer to the designs and the styles used in ancient Egypt. The beauty of the art that belonged to this civilization thus continues to mesmerize many despite the advent of modern designs. Ancient Egyptian décor continues to remain a source of inspiration for artists from all over the world.

By Kashmira Lad

Date Posted: 2009-08-27
Posted By: Decor and Furniture
Listed under these Business Listing Categories: Manufacturing,

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