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Egyptian Art
(3000 BC - 30 BC)

Egyptian Art and Architecture covers buildings, paintings, sculpture, and allied arts of ancient Egypt, from prehistoric times to its conquest by the Romans in 30 BC. Egypt had the longest unified history of any civilization in the ancient Mediterranean, extending with few interruptions from about 3000 BC to the 4th century AD. The nature of the country, fertilized and united by the Nile, and its semi-isolation from outside cultural influences, produced an artistic style that changed little during this long period. 

Egypt 1975. Souvenir sheet. Tourist map, pointing out the most important sites of Egypt.

Art in all its forms was devoted principally to the service of the pharaoh, who was considered a god on Earth, to the state, and to religion. From early times a belief in a life after death dictated that the dead be buried with material goods to their ensure well-being for eternity. The regular patterns of nature -- the annual flooding of the Nile, the cycle of the seasons, and the progress of the Sun that brought day and night -- were considered gifts from the gods to the people of Egypt. 

Egyptian thought, morality, and culture were rooted in a deep respect for order and balance. Change and novelty were not considered important in themselves; thus the style and representational conventions in Egyptian art that were established early in the development of that civilization continued virtually unchanged for more than 3,000 years. 

To the modern eye the Egyptian artistic idiom may seem stiff and static; its underlying intention, however, was not to create an image of things as they appear in reality, but rather to capture the essence of a person, animal, or object for eternity. 

  • Egypt 1975. Souvenir sheet. Tourist map, pointing out the most important sites of Egypt. 

Egypt 2004. Stamps from the set "Egyptian Art Treasures". The set contains 30 stamps.  Stamp #2 of 30.

Egypt 2004. Stamps from the set "Egyptian Art Treasures". The set contains 30 stamps.  Stamp #3 of 30.

Egypt 2004. Stamps from the set "Egyptian Art Treasures". The set contains 30 stamps.  Stamp #1 of 30.

Although extremely well described in numerous books, magazines, and online articles, as well as having a large amount of Egyptian stamps to illustrate, any website interpretation will appear superficial, simply because of the density and overwhelming nature of the subject matter. It is therefore necessary to limit oneself to a few selected areas of general (tourist) interest. To meet this demand I have chosen to point you to my website dedicated to "World Cultural Heritage on Postage stamps" for a very first entry to this fascinating ancient world, that would keep one occupied for years in a more close study. The below links will take you to any of the Egyptian sites designated by UNESCO as World Cultural Heritage. 

Sources and links: 


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Revised 21-nov-2006. Ann Mette Heindorff
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