Page images
PDF
EPUB

the New

that ushabtiu figures, as well as stelæ, become fewer and poorer during this same period. The stelæ of the XXVIth Stelæ of dynasty exhibit the features which are characteristic of the Empire. sculptures of this period. They occur in large numbers, they are larger in size, the hieroglyphics are small, but cleanly cut, and they have a beauty which is in itself sufficient to proclaim the time to which they belong. The inscriptions are copied from ancient texts, and as neither the scribe nor the sculptor understood at times what he was writing, frequent mistakes are the result. After the XXVIth dynasty stelæ were made of all possible designs and forms; the hieroglyphics are badly cut, the inscriptions are the ordinary formulæ, in which the deceased prays for sepulchral meals, and it is quite clear that the placing of a stele in the tomb had become a mere matter of form with the greater number of the Egyptians. In Ptolemaic times ancient models were copied, but the inscriptions are as often in Greek or demotic, or both, as in hieroglyphics. Stelæ bearing bilingual inscriptions, in hieroglyphics and Greek, or hieroglyphics and Phænician, are also known. Subsequently it became the fashion to make the figures of the gods on stelæ in high relief, and the attributes and costumes of Greck gods were applied to those of Egypt.

The greater number of the wooden stelæ in European museums belong to the XXVIth and subsequent dynasties. They are rounded at the top, they usually stand upon two pedestals having steps on each side, and they vary in size from 6 in. by 4 in. to 3 ft. by 20 in. The inscriptions and Ornamen

tation of scenes upon them are usually painted in white, green, red, stelæ yellow, or black, upon a light or dark brown ground. On the of the

XXVIth back are at times figures of the sun shedding rays and dynasty. standards of the east * and west $. The large tablets have three registers; in the first are the winged disks, with pendent uræi wearing the crowns of the north and south, the jackal-headed gods Anubis and Ap-uat, emblems of "life" and "power" 1+ 1, etc.; in the second register are the boat of the sun, in which stand a number of gods, Rā, Horus, Cheperá, Maāt, Anubis, etc., and the deceased, or his soul, kneeling at a table of offerings in front of the boat

in adoration of Rā; in the third register the deceased makes adoration to a number of gods, and below this comes the inscription. The smaller, and more numerous, tablets have in the rounded part, the winged disk with pendent uræi, and the inscription

Se Behutet neb pet “[Horus of] Behuțet, lord of heaven." The scene which follows is divided into two parts: in the one the deceased stands or kneels by the side of an altar in adoration before Rā-Harmachis

-. the scenes are two inscriptions which read from the middle of the tablet to the sides, and contain, the one an address or prayer to Rā when he rises, the other, an address to Rā when he sets. Frequently a tablet is inscribed with the prayer to Rā-Harmachis and Nefer-Atmu for sepulchral meals.

Wooden stelæ were sometimes inlaid with glass figures and hieroglyphics of various colours in imitation of the scenes and inscriptions on tablets of an earlier date. A remark

91 able example of this class of work is B.M. 5—25 which,

Inlaid stela.

Stelæ in glazed faience.

according to Dr. Birch, is inscribed with the name of Darius, and represents this king making offerings to Anubis, who is seated on a throne under a winged disk and stars; behind the god is Isis, with horns on her head, and a sceptre in her hand.

That sepulchral stelæ were sometimes made of glazed faïence, we know from B.M. No. 6133, a fine example of a light blue colour, in which the deceased Amen-em-åpt, a royal scribe, is standing in adoration before the god Osiris, who holds a flail and crook. This interesting object was probably made about B.C. 1000, when the art of making glazed faïence of a fine blue or green colour was at its greatest perfection.

VASES.

The Vases found in Egyptian tombs are made of alabaster, diorite, granite, basalt and other kinds of hard stone, steatite, bronze, wood, terra-cotta, faïence, and glass. The shapes of vases are various, but the following are the most

common :

vases.

1. l. , 8, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 5. Vases were Use of placed in the tombs to contain the offerings of wine, oil, unguents, spices, and other offerings made to the temples, or to the dead in their tombs. Among hard stones capable of receiving a high polish, granite, diorite and alabaster were those most commonly used for making vases. Granite and diorite vases are usually without inscriptions, and were made during all periods of Egyptian history. Vases of alabaster are very much more numerous, and as this material was comparatively easily worked, and readily lent itself to form symmetrical and beautiful shapes, it was a great favourite with the Egyptians. They were sometimes inscribed on the front, the flat part of the rim, or the top of the cover, with inscriptions recording the names and titles of the deceased persons with whom they were buried ; thus they are valuable as giving the value of

inscripnames of kings and officials of high rank, pedigrees, etc., and as tions on showing at the same time the wonderful skill of the Egyptian vases. alabaster worker at a period nearly four thousand years B.C. Alabaster vases were in use from the IVth-XXVIth dynasty, and the Persian kings had their names inscribed upon them in Egyptian and cuneiform. Arragonite, or zoned alabaster, was used for large vases and liquid measures; a beautiful example of this material is B.M. No. 4839, which has two handles and a cover, and is inscribed with its capacity

"eight hen and three quarters.” Vases in glazed steatite are not common, and I believe the oldest to be B.M. No. 4762, which is inscribed with the name of Thothmes I., B.C. 1633. Vases in bronze are ancient, tolerably numerous, and of various shapes; among them must be classed those, in the shape of buckets with handles, which are ornamented with scenes in relief, in which the deceased is represented adoring various deities; they belong chiefly to the period of the XXVIth dynasty. Models of vases in wood were also Models made and placed in the tombs. They were sometimes painted to resemble glass (B.M. No. 9529d), and were sometiines covered with plaster and gilded, examples of which are B.M. No. 9529e and 9529f; both were made for the

uatchu,

[ocr errors]

www IIII

of vases.

Glass vases.

"

stibium." The use of glass for vases is very ancient, and Dr. Birch states that the earliest dated example of Egyptian glass is a small dark blue fragment inscribed with the prenomen of Antef III., of the XIth dynasty. The next oldest example is a small vase or jug with one handle, of a fine turquoisecoloured, opaque glass, ornamented in yellow, with a border round the neck, and three trees round the sides, and inscribed with the prenomen of Thothmes III., B.C. 1600; the handle has stripes of white and dark blue, and round the neck where it joins the thick part of the vase, is a row of white spots. The vase is 31 in. high, and its greatest diameter is 1 in.; the British Museum number is 4762. Vases made of variegated and striped glass are represented on the walls of tombs of the XIXth and XXth dynasties, and it seems that the terra-cotta and wood vases, or models of them, belong to that period. The next oldest examples are the small black, opaque glass vases, J, mottled with white spots, which formed part of the funereal paraphernalia of the princess Nesi-Chensu, about B.C. 1000. 8 Transparent glass seems not to have been made in Egypt much earlier than the XXVIth dynasty. Vases in faïence glazed with a blue or green colour are at least as old as the XIXth dynasty; a beautiful example of this date is B.M, No. 4796, with lotus leaves, rosettes, and a line of hieroglyphics around the outer edge, in white or light yellow, upon a lavender-coloured glazed ground. The inscription records the name and titles of Rameses II., about B.C. 1333. About B.C. 1000, small vases y and libation jars 3 were glazed with a beautiful light bluish-green ; the vases of Nesi-Chensu are fine examples of this work (B.M. No. 17,402, and 13,152). During the XXVIth dynasty flat, circular, convex vases or bottles made of glazed faïence became common; the neck and lip were in the form of the capital of a papyrus column, with an ape at each side, and where the

Vases in glazed faïence.

Catalogue of the Egyptian Antiquities at Alnwick Castle, p. 179, and Wilkinson's Ancient Egyptians, Vol. II. p. 142.

: 9100At

3

“Beautiful god, Men-cheper-Rā, giver of life.” 3 The No. of the B. M. vase is 17,043.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

body of the vase joins the neck it is ornamented with rows of inscribed papyrus flowers and pendants. On the upper part of the flat band which goes round the vase, is inscribed

May Ptah open a happy new year for "

ft "May Sechet open a happy new year for its owner." These vases were probably given as gifts, and they all appear to come from Lower Egypt. The oldest vases known are made of terra-cotta and red earthenware, and are of various shapes and sizes. They were sometimes glazed or painted and varnished, to imitate porphyry, diorite, and variegated stone and glass, and sometimes they were ornamented with floral designs, figures of animals, geometrical patterns, etc., etc. Vases in this material were inscribed, in hieratic or hieroglyphic, with the names and titles of the persons in whose tombs they were found, and sometimes with sepulchral inscriptions. It is not possible, in the absence of inscriptions, to date terra-cotta vases accurately, and all the evidence forthcoming tends to prove that the various kinds of vases which were thought to belong to the XVIIIth or XIXth dynasty belong to the XXIInd or later.

mirrors.

OBJECTS FOR THE TOILET.
The Egyptian lady, in making her toiiette, made use of the
following objects :-
Mirror, in Egyptian fa

mm ig un-hrá,“ lifting up the Egyptian face," or

98 maa-șra, “ object for seeing the face.” The mirror was made of bronze, and in shape was nearly round (B.M. No. 2728 a), or oval (B.M. No. 2733), or oval flattened (B.M. No. 2732), or pear-shaped (B.M. No. 27286). Mirrors were kept in bronze cases or wooden boxes. The handles were made of ivory (B.M. Nos. 22, 830, 2734), wood, bronze, or faïence (B.M. No. 2736), and were usually in the shape of the lotus in flower 8. Wooden handles were inlaid with gold (B.M. No. 2728 a), or were painted with the colours of the lotus plant and flower (B.M. No. 18,179); they

L. M.

Q

« PreviousContinue »