Meketre is shown smelling a lotus blossom, seated in the shade of a small cabin, which on an actual boat would have been made of a light wooden framework with linen or leather hangings. Here the hangings are shown partly rolled up to let the breeze through. Wooden shields covered with bulls' hides are painted on each side of the roof. A singer, with his hand to his lips, and a blind harper entertain Meketre on his voyage. Standing in front of them is the ship's captain, with his arms crossed over his chest. He may be depicted awaiting orders, but he may also be paying homage to the deceased Meketre. As the twelve oarsmen propel the boat, a lookout in the bow holds a weighted line used to determine the depth of the river. At the stern, the helmsman controls the rudder. A tall white post amidship supported a mast and sail (not found in the tomb), which would have been taken down when the boat was rowed downstream—as it is here—against the prevailing north wind. Going south (upstream), with the wind behind it, the boat would have been sailed. The boat is similar to one Meketre might have used in his lifetime. Certain details, however, suggest that on this voyage Meketre is traveling toward the afterlife. For instance the blossom he holds is the blue lotus, a flower the Egyptians associated with rebirth.
Such limestone beasts are the human-headed, winged bull and lion pictured here. The horned cap show their divinity, and the belt signifies their power. The sculptor gave these guardian figures five legs so that they appear to be standing firmly when viewed from the front but striding forward when seen from the side.
Features Of Civilization Computer Activity
Egyptian and Mesopotamian Artifact Activity <ul><li>Go to Slide Show on the Task Bar on the top and click on View Show . </li></ul><ul><li>As you view the Power Point, read the descriptions of the artifacts you see. Choose which feature s of civilization the artifact is an example of and write the item’s name (or an abbreviation) in the box next to it. (In other words, most artifacts will be an example of more than one feature of civilization.) </li></ul><ul><li>Complete this process for the Egyptians AND the Mesopotamians. When you’re done, hand in your paper and go to the website link on the last slide to explore the Metropolitan Museum of Art Website. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Finely carved ivory combs and knife handles produced toward the end of Egypt's prehistory demonstrate the high standards Egyptian artists had achieved, even before the Old Kingdom. </li></ul><ul><li>This comb may have been part of the funeral equipment of an elite person who lived about 5,200 years ago. Parts of the comb's teeth, now missing, can be seen along the bottom edge. The detailed decoration suggests that it was a ceremonial object, not just an instrument for arranging the hair. </li></ul><ul><li>On both sides are figures of animals in horizontal rows, a spatial organization familiar from later Egyptian art. The animals include elephants and snakes; wading birds and a giraffe; hyenas; cattle; and perhaps boars. Similar arrangements of these creatures on other carved ivory implements suggest that the arrangement and choice of animals were not just random. Elephants walking on snakes suggest that this part of the scene was symbolic. The mythology of many African peoples associate elephants and serpents with the creation of the universe. The uppermost row of this comb may symbolize a creative deity (god) to whom the rest of the animals owe their existence. </li></ul>Ivory Comb
<ul><li>King Nebhepetre Mentuhotep, often referred to as Mentuhotep II, was revered (honored) by the Egyptians as the ruler who reunited Egypt after an era of disunity known as the First Intermediate period. Mentuhotep II was the founder of the Middle Kingdom. </li></ul><ul><li>He built his mortuary temple at Deir el-Bahri in western Thebes, where this relief was uncovered. The delicately modeled low relief and the finely painted details demonstrate the high artistic standards that prevailed (was favored) in the royal Theban workshops during this dynamic period in Egyptian history. Especially fine is the goddess at the right of the block, destroyed at the end of Dynasty 18 during the Amarna period. She was repaired in plaster in early Dynasty 19, indicating that the temple was still in use seven centuries after it was built. </li></ul>Wall from Mentuhoptep II’s Tomb
<ul><li>The estate manager Wah was buried in a small tomb near that of his employer, Meketre. First seen in an X-ray of Wah's mummy, this magnificent scarab bracelet is extraordinary not only for its superb craftsmanship but for its material as well. Silver was not abundant (plentiful) in Egypt and because of the silver is fragile, most silver objects have completely disintegrated. </li></ul><ul><li>This scarab is made of several sections soldered (welded) together and has a gold suspension tube running horizontally between the base and back. On its back, inlaid hieroglyphs of pale gold give the names and titles of Wah and Meketre. The tomb of Wah was uncovered in 1920. </li></ul>See the hieroglyphics? Scarab Bracelet
<ul><li>Hippo Statuette </li></ul><ul><li>This statuette (small statue) of a hippopotamus demonstrates the Egyptian artist's appreciation for the natural world. It was molded in faience, a ceramic material made of ground quartz. Beneath the blue-green glaze, the body was painted with the outlines of river plants, symbolizing the marshes in which the animal lived. </li></ul><ul><li>To the ancient Egyptians, the hippopotamus was one of the most dangerous animals in their world. The huge creatures were a hazard for small fishing boats. The beast might also be encountered on the waterways in the journey to the afterlife. Therefore, the hippopotamus was a force of nature that needed to be controlled, both in this life and the next. This was one of a pair found in a tomb chapel. Three of its legs have been restored because they were purposely broken to prevent the creature from harming the deceased (dead body). </li></ul>
<ul><li>Faience Sphinx </li></ul><ul><li>The inscription (carved symbols) and the facial features of this faience sphinx identify it as Amenhotep III, pharaoh of Egypt. The graceful body of the lion transforms quite naturally into human forearms and hands, an innovation (new technique) of Dynasty 18. In this form, the sphinx combines the protective power of the lion with the royal function of offering to the gods. The even tone of the fine blue glaze and the almost flawless condition of this sculpture make it unique among ancient Egyptian faience statuettes. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Shawabti </li></ul><ul><li>As the parents of Queen Tiye, wife of Amenhotep III, Yuya and Tchuya were granted burial in the Valley of the Kings. They were provided with funerary equipment from the finest royal workshops, as demonstrated by this superbly carved shawabti on which even the knees are subtly indicated. The text on these mummiform figurines states that the shawabti will substitute for the spirit in any obligatory tasks it is called upon to perform in the afterlife. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Whip Handle </li></ul><ul><li>The horse was a relative latecomer to Egypt. It was introduced in the Second Intermediate period during the Hyksos (people from Mesopotamia) domination of northern Egypt (ca. 1667–1570 B.C.E.), when new elements of warfare, notably the horse and chariot, were brought from the Near East. During the New Kingdom, this animal became a familiar sight, and there were many depictions of horses in art. </li></ul><ul><li>This small ivory handle of a light whip is carved in the form of a prancing or running horse stained reddish brown with a black mane. The eyes, one of which has fallen out, were inlaid with garnet. The lively carving of this piece, especially the gracefully arched back, is typical of the ability of Egyptian artists to bring out the essential qualities of animals. It also exemplifies (is an example of) the fine quality attained (achieved) in the decorative arts during the reign of Amenhotep III. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Coffin </li></ul><ul><li>The brilliantly painted exterior of the coffin of Khnumnakht, an individual unknown except for his name, displays the use of multiple texts and decorative panels characteristic of coffin decoration in the late Middle Kingdom. It has at least one feature—the figure of the goddess on the head end—that is rare before the late Middle Kingdom. The figures and hieroglyphs have been drawn by the confident hand of a skilled artist and each hieroglyph has been carefully painted in the prescribed manner of the time and place in which the coffin was made. </li></ul><ul><li>On the left side of the coffin box there is a small doorway in the center at the bottom. This is basically a false door, which allowed the spirit of the deceased (dead person) to move between the land of the dead and the land of the living. Above the door are two eyes that look forth into the land of the living. The face of the mummy would have been directly behind this panel. The rest of the exterior is inscribed with prayers to various gods, particularly those associated with death and rebirth, such as Osiris, foremost god of the dead, and Anubis, god of embalming. </li></ul>
The boat and more than twenty other models of boats, gardens, and workshops were found in a small chamber in the tomb of Meketre, a Theban official. Boat Model
Book of the Dead This scene from the Book of the Dead shows the journey to the afterlife. Nany, a woman stands the Hall of Judgment to the left of a scale. Her heart is being weighed against Maat, the goddess of justice and truth, wearing a single large feather. On the right is Osiris, god of the underworld and rebirth. He wears the white crown of Upper Egypt and the curving beard of a god. On the table before him is an offering of a joint of beef. Jackal-headed Anubis, overseer of mummification, adjusts the scales, while a baboon—symbolizing Thoth, the god of wisdom and writing—sits on the balance beam and prepares to write down the result. Behind Nany stands the goddess Isis, both wife and sister of Osiris.
Mesopotamian Artifacts AFRICA Euphrates R. Tigris R. Mediterranean Sea Red Sea Nile R. Also Called Mesopotamia Roar Hi Peoples who lived here: Assyrians, Babylonians, Sumerians, Akkadians and many others ASIA
This sphinx was carved as furniture decoration (possibly the foot of a couch). It is from a karum, or "merchant colony” around the northern Mesopotamian (Assyrian) city of Ashur from around 1900 B.C. These decorations were carved to represent the creatures important in the mythology of the ancient Near East. This small female sphinx is an idea borrowed from the Egyptians. Her large almond-shaped eyes and spiral locks are similar to the Egyptian goddess Hathor. What is that an example of? HINT! What term means the spread and blending of culture? Sphinx Furniture Decoration
Carved Cylinder Stamp Carved stones had been used to stamp impressions on clay from as early as the seventh millennium B.C. In the fourth millennium B.C. carved cylinders were invented. They could be rolled over clay and had complex designs. Seals were either pressed on clay masses that were used to close jars, doors, and baskets, or they were rolled onto inscribed clay tablets that recorded information about commercial or legal transactions. (Late Akkadian)
Iron Age Cup On the body of the cup from the Iron Age, four gazelles, framed horizontally by guilloche bands, walk in procession to the left. Their bodies are detailed with finely chased lines to indicate hair and muscles. The projecting heads were made separately and were fastened invisibly in place by soldering, a process much practiced in Iran involving glue and copper salt.
These earrings come from the so-called Great Death Pit, which was probably part of a royal tomb with an almost totally destroyed stone chamber. Laid out in the pit were the bodies of six armed men and sixty-eight people thought to be women or young girls, all adorned with the most splendid jewelry made of gold, lapis lazuli (a blue gem stone), and carnelian. Earrings
Assyrian King Assurbanipal said, "I built thereon [a palace with] halls of cedar, cypress, juniper, boxwood, teak, terebinth, and tamarisk as my royal dwelling and for the enduring leisure life of my lordship. Beasts of the mountains and the seas, which I had fashioned out of white limestone and alabaster, I had set up in its gates. I made the palace fittingly imposing.“ In other words, he had a pair of these limestone beasts, called lamassu, protect and support important doorways in Assyrian palaces. They are the human-headed, winged bull and lion creatures. The horned cap shows to their divinity, and the belt signifies their power. The sculptor gave these guardian figures five legs so that they appear to be standing firmly when viewed from the front but striding forward when seen from the side. Assyrian Lamassu
This 8 th century Neo-Assyrian ivory carving would have been one of a group of similar panels used in the back of a chair. It depicts (shows) a bearded man, perhaps a warrior, holding the stem of a lotus plant. Above him, a winged disc provides protection. Assyrian Ivory Carving
Man carrying a box, possibly for offerings , Early Dynastic I–II; 2900–2600 B.C. Mesopotamia
Ax head This ax head was found along the Oxus and Murghab rivers in modern Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan. While these areas were barely inhabited during much of the third millennium B.C., by about 2200 B.C. permanent settlements with distinctive forms of architecture, burial practices, and material culture had been established, supported in part by active trade with parts of Iran, Mesopotamia, and the Indus Valley. This silver-gilt ax is a masterpiece of three-dimensional sculpture. Expertly cast and gilded with foil, it represents a bird-headed hero grappling (fighting) with a wild boar and a winged dragon. The idea of the heroic bird-headed creature probably came from western Iran, where it is first documented on a cylinder seal impression. The hero's muscular body is human except for the bird talons that replace the hands and feet. He is represented twice, once on each side of the axe, so he appears to have two heads. On one side, he grasps the boar by the belly and on the other, by the tusks. On the other side, the bird-headed hero grasps the winged dragon by the neck.
This figure strides with one arm raised and the other held out, each having held a weapon such as a spear and mace or thunderbolt. His pierced ears had earrings, perhaps of gold, and he is clad in an Egyptian-style kilt. The crown is the distinctive Egyptian crown of Osiris, god of the dead. Here the figure represented is not the Egyptian king but rather an ancient Near Eastern depiction of a local deity (god) of the Levant area. In the Late Bronze Age, a time of intense international economic, political, and cultural connections, artistic elements of a variety of cultures were incorporated (brought into) into local styles. Egyptian art especially influenced the art of the Levant at this time, resulting in an "Egyptianizing" style. Excavations in Syria unearthed numerous examples of small statues of local gods. While the designs used may be similar to Egyptian ones, the meaning was probably different and adapted to a local gods likeness. Much is known about the local religions through the text sources. Levant God AGAIN! What is that an example of? HINT! What term means the spread and blending of culture?
<ul><li>This tiny pendant was probably intended to be worn round the neck as an amulet (charm). Small gold figures with loops survive from Iran, Mesopotamia, the Levant, and Egypt, so there was widespread use of such objects. Similar objects from Hittite culture suggest that these small figures were portable representations of Hittite gods. The figure shown here, cast in gold using the lost-wax process, is of a seated goddess in a long gown, with large oval eyes and a thin mouth with creases at the sides. She is wearing simple, looped earrings and a necklace. Her disk-like headdress probably represents the sun, which would lead to the conclusion that this may be the sun goddess, Arinna, a major Hittite divinity(god). A loop for suspension protrudes (comes out) from the back of the headdress. On her lap the goddess holds a naked child, cast separately of solid gold and then attached. The chair on which they are seated is backless and has lion paws. </li></ul><ul><li>Hittite Sun Goddess </li></ul>
<ul><li>Urartu was a powerful kingdom that rivaled the Assyrian Empire in the first millennium B.C. It extended from northeastern Turkey into northwestern Iran. Its settlements were palace-fortresses that protected agricultural production and supported many crafts, especially an extensive metalworking industry. In the late seventh century B.C., Urartian centers were destroyed by an enemy whose identity remains unknown. </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>This object, with the lower part of a figure standing along the flanks of a bull, was most likely part of a throne. From better-preserved examples, we know that the figure wore the horned crown of a deity. The whole would have been gilded (covered in gold). A throne and footstool supported by four deities (like this one) and their animal companions would have been a potent symbol of the Urartian king's power. </li></ul>By the middle of the first millennium B.C., kingdoms had emerged in southern Arabia based on a monopoly of two of the most prized materials of ancient times, frankincense and myrrh, which are native to the region. Every temple and wealthy home in the Mediterranean and Near East burnt these incense resins on altars. Saba was initially the most important kingdom but others, such as Qataban and Macin, grew to rival it in power. Bronze castings of large sculptures, as well as smaller objects, were made through most of the first millennium B.C. and the early centuries A.D. in southwestern Arabia. Among the types of animal images, bulls—a symbol of strength and potency—are the most common and can be found on funeral sites, seals, and sculptures of the period. Arabian Bull Sculpture Part of a Urartian throne with a god on a bull ,
<ul><li>Babylonian Panel with Striding Lion </li></ul><ul><li>The Assyrian Empire fell when attacked by the Babylonians and Medes in 614 and 612 B.C. A new dynasty was established with its capital in Babylon. The new empire thrived (grew and became wealthy) under King Nebuchadnezzar II. He maintained friendly relations with the Medes and successfully dealing with Egypt for the control of trade on the eastern Mediterranean coast. Babylon became the city of splendor. Because stone is rare in southern Mesopotamia, molded glazed bricks were used for building and Babylon became a city of brilliant color. </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>The most important street in Babylon was the Processional Way, leading from the inner city through the Ishtar Gate to the Bit Akitu, or "House of the New Year's Festival." The Ishtar Gate, built by Nebuchadnezzar II, was a glazed-brick structure decorated with figures of bulls and dragons, symbols of the weather god Adad and of Marduk. North of the gate the roadway was lined with glazed figures of striding lions. This relief of a lion, the animal associated with Ishtar, goddess of love and war, served to protect the street; its repeated design served as a guide for the ritual processions from the city to the temple. </li></ul>
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