Why Did the Artists of Ancient Egypt Record Details of Everyday Life?

February 14, 2024

The ancient Egyptians were a civilization of record-keepers and documenters. They left behind a rich cultural legacy in their imposing monuments, writing system and distinct art forms. Today Egypt is a land that few can imagine without immediately thinking of pyramids, mummies and hieroglyphics.

The artists of ancient egypt meticulously recorded everyday life for several intertwined reasons. First, it was a way of immortalizing their culture and beliefs for posterity. They also believed that depictions of daily activities could please the gods and ensure that these practices continued into the afterlife, a concept central to their spiritual beliefs.

Moreover, the artworks were meant to educate viewers about different professions, social customs and rituals. In an era where much of the population was illiterate, such representations were crucial for providing information.

As for the king, it was his role to preserve order (ma’at) and keep Upper and Lower Egypt united. He was considered to be imbued with divine essence and he was thus given the prominent position of being at the top of the cosmogonical hierarchy.

The ancient egyptians often painted people in profile. It was easier to represent the body as a whole from this angle and it helped the artists achieve consistent proportions. It was also the best option to show details such as facial expressions and clothes. The feet were also illustrated in profile as it was easier to draw them compared to the head or hands.

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