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eight sides, and the whole character of the simple round column was changed when its shaft was made to resemble a papyrus or lotus stalk, and its upper part was sculptured in the form of the flower of either plant. Both pillars and pilasters were sometimes decorated with figures of Osiris, cut on the front face in high relief, as at Abû-Simbel, and the capitals were often sculptured in the form of the head of Hathor (the Cow-goddess), surmounted by a sistrum. The
pillar with the Hathor-headed capital was suggested by the pole, or small tree trunk, surmounted by the head of a bull, ox, or cow, which the primitive Egyptians set up over the graves of their chiefs, a custom which survives to the present day among certain of the tribes of Central Africa. Every temple had a sacred lake within its precincts, just as every large house possessed
a garden with an ornamental lake in it.
Each temple also was surrounded by a girdle wall, which was usually made exceedingly strong and was provided with
fortified gateways. The space between the temple buildings and this wall was occupied by gardens and storehouses for the property of the priests, and also by the dwellings of private folk. Thus the girdle wall of the temple actually cnclosed a small city, which
cases of popular panic or invasion became a city of refuge.
Painting and sculpture. The Egyptians, from the IVth dynasty downwards, were in the habit of painting the basreliefs in their temples and tombs, and also their statues, and they seemed to have relied greatly upon paintings in bright colours to enhance the effect of the work of the sculptor. The earliest wall decoration consists of series of figures of men, animals, etc., traced or cut in outline, or sculptured in low relief, on tolerably smooth slabs of limestone; sometimes the surfaces of the slabs were prepared with a sort of limewash, and the paintings painted upon it. The skill of the painter, even in the remote period of the Painted portrait statue of Ån-kheft-ka, a IVth dynasty, is marvel
IVth dynasty, about B.C. 3700. lous, and the accuracy with (Northern Egyptian Gallery, Bay 1, No. 33.]
which he represented every detail and characteristic of animate and inanimate objects is beyond praise. At all periods, however, general scenes are more or less hard, a fact due to want of perspective. The Egyptians loved colour, and they used it wherever it could possibly be employed. A striking instance of this is afforded by the elaborately painted papyri of the Book of the Dead, which when once buried in the tomb were intended to be seen by no other eye than that of the spirit of the deceased !
Head of a painted staluc Alabaster figure of a priest seated on a throne with steps.
of Neb-hap-Rā MenIVth-VIth dynasty.
XIth dynasty. [No. 156, Wall-case 99, Third Egyptian Room.]
[Northern Egyptian Gallery,
Bay 3, No. 104.] The wall sculptures were of two kinds, the bas-relief and the sunk relief. In the bas-relief the sculpture is raised a little above the surface of the slab, and in the sunk relief it is a little below. The sunk relief is one of the most characteristic features of Egyptian sculpture. Of the first kind there are many examples in the Egyptian Galleries of the British Museum, especially in the Vestibule at the north end of the Northern Gallery, where the slab from the tomb
of Rā-ḥetep at Mêdûm (Egyptian Vestibule, No. 40), of the IVth dynasty may be specially noted. Several portions of fine and delicately painted bas-reliefs from the temple of Neb-hap-Rā Menthu-ḥetep, of the XIth dynasty, at Dêr al-Bahari, which are exhibited in Bay 2 of the Northern Gallery, are worthy of careful study. The sepulchral tablet of Sebek-āa, of the XIth dynasty, should be noted (Bay 4, No. 120; see Plate XXIII). Examples of the sunk relief will be found in the Northern Egyptian Gallery, Bay 1.
Diorite statue of Sebek-nekht.
XIIth dynasty, [No. 164, Wall-case 100, Third Egyptian Room.] and reliefs, however, are unsatisfactory from the modern point of view, for while the head is given in profile, the eye is represented as if the figure were in a full-faced position. A front view is given of the shoulders, but the view of the other portions of the body is a mixture of profile and full face. These facts are calculated to give a false impression of the
skill of the painter and sculptor, which, as is admitted on all hands, was very great.
The artist was at a very early period fettered by tradition and conventionality, but sufficient proofs have survived to show
Figure of a king.
XIIIth dynasty. [No. 178, Wall-case 102, Third Egyptian Room.] that when free to give rein to his fancy he could produce even caricatures and comic pictures of the most amusing character. Thus, in Papyrus No. 10,016, we see the lion and the unicorn