The ancient kingdom of Egypt
By Kinjal Trivedi
Let’s go to Ancient Egypt this week to see how and when the kingdoms were created.
You know a few centuries ago, while Neanderthals who were the species before HomoSapiens (Us) were living in caves, they realised they needed a solid structure to shelter themselves from harsh winds, spine chilling winter or scorching sun. They made maybe 30 individual structures in a cluster having four walls over the ground with a roof on top. They called these ‘house’ and would enter from the roof with the help of a ladder. All of these structures looked the same and there was no hierarchy system. One family was not more privileged than the other.
The reason why I am giving you this trivia is because these houses were first made in what is now called Turkey and Egypt.
Since then, a lot has changed. But when did these ‘kingdoms’ start being formed.
The Old Kingdom in Egypt is the period spanning c. 2686–2181 BC. This is when the Pyramids were built. Encompassing the reigns of the great pyramid builders of the Fourth Dynasty— among them King Sneferu, who perfected the art of pyramid-building, and the kings Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure, who constructed the pyramids at Giza.
Each king had their own contribution towards this magnanimous project – It is called teamwork!
It was in this era that formerly independent ancient Egyptian states became known as nomes, under the rule of the king. The former rulers were forced to assume the role of governors or otherwise work in tax collection. Due to location, most ancient Egyptian buildings were built of readily available materials like mud, brick and limestone. THe design of these ‘houses’ were functional keping the direction of Sun, Wind and the natural terrain in mind. Monumental buildings were built via the post and lintel method of construction, and many buildings were aligned astronomically.
In ancient Egypt, linen was by far the most common textile. It helped people to be comfortable in the subtropical heat. Spinning, weaving and sewing were very important techniques for all Egyptian societies. These fibres were usually left in its natural colour as opposed to using natural dyes from plants and natural elements. Woollen clothes were considered to be impure and only the wealthy wore overcoats made of animal fibre. Ideally, the weather conditions was conducive to linen or pure cotton fabric. Even today, Egyptian cotton is considered as a premium quality cotton and if you go to buy fabric at a store. There will be pure ‘Egyptian cotton’ fabric available as well as counterparts.
Dancing, Expressing, Singing, making music was the joy of the lower class. The villagers could freely express themselves solo, in pair and also group dance. These groups were sometimes called to perform in front of the elite or the authorities as it was considered improper for the elite class to dance in any manner. They danced for royalty accompanied by male musicians playing on guitars, lyres, and harps. The earliest examples of Predynastic dancers come from pottery of the Badarian culture from the 5th millennium B.C. and Naqada I and Naqada II cultures from the 4th millennium B.C.
How do we have knowledge of these dances?
From regions that are found in Predynastic era rock carvings, a linen shroud, a wall painting, a clay model, and pottery in Upper Egypt.
The Ancient Egyptian language had no word for “art”. Artworks served an essentially functional purpose that was bound with religion and ideas. Egyptian art portrayed an idealized, unrealistic view of the world. The pre Dynastic Egypt began form 6000 – 3000 BC.
Merimde culture (5000–4200 BC)
Badarian culture (4400–4000 BC)
Naqada culture (4000–3000 BC)
This era was segregated according to the development and usage of the earthen wear and natural resources to depict the required information. Most of the ideology was to enshrine the kings and queens. During the Middle Kingdom of Egypt when the style of art was established,
the kings had their monuments made in a style influenced by the Memphite models of the Fifth and early Sixth Dynasties. During this time, the pre-unification Theban relief style all but disappeared. These changes had an ideological purpose, as the Eleventh Dynasty kings were establishing a centralized state, and returning to the political ideals of the Old Kingdom.
Egyptian blue is a material related to, but distinct from, faience and glass. Also called “frit”, Egyptian blue was made from quartz, alkali, lime and one or more coloring agents (usually copper compounds). These were heated together until they fused to become a crystalline mass of uniform color.
The color blue, first used in the very expensive imported stone lapis lazuli, was highly regarded in ancient Egypt, and the pigment Egyptian blue was widely used to color a variety of materials.
Many riches have come from various parts of the world. Egypt, Europe, Africa, Central Asia, India and the South East Asian Continent. These riches have been conquered and adorned in the most famous museums around the world for us to appreciate.