Traditional Egyptian art existed for almost three thousand years
The art produced in the ancient Egyptian culture, specifically from the time of the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt into one kingdom- around 3000 B.C up until around 30 B.C. This is a very distinctive style that retained it's characteristics throughout the ages, beginning first as tomb, or funeral art; commemorating the passing of a great Pharaoh. This art first began in the pre-dynastic era with the production of small ivory figurines and artifacts and glazed-decorated pottery. A typical ornamental style emerged from these first artifacts and was later applied in the tomb art.
The importance of Egyptian art in death
The Egyptians devoutly believed that death did not mean the end of life, and that any man wealthy enough to create for himself a site worthy of burial and proper embalmment would also ensure his passage into the after-life, to live there for all eternity. The walls of such tombs were decorated with the name and descriptions of the deceased, all strictly within the traditional format of Egyptian standards of proportion and measurement. The various artisans and artists who contributed to these famous decorations and the typical drawings significant for burial rituals had the further motivation to produce their finest artwork, as they usually accompanied the dead king in death. Buried beside their Pharaohs, surrounded by their most supreme efforts, many of the archeological finds in the Valley of Kings hold testament to the glory of Egyptian art and culture.
The incorporation of both iconographic and figurative imagery in Egyptian art
The Ancient Egyptians depicted these scenes figuratively, drawing and sculpting exact replicas of animals and plants, believing that representations of the living would carry onward into the afterlife with the dead, accompanying them on the journey. Human figures are depicted in clean contour lines and the separate compartments of the figures were colored in block colors. There are also typical postures that are strictly gender-affiliated, the symbolic representations of the polytheistic religious structure of Egyptian culture and the famous Egyptian cult of animal representations. The palette is constant, with almost no variations and no medium shades, and though we can see obvious technical ability in all the mediums used, the Egyptian style remains rigidly faithful to the known configurations. Pottery-making techniques were very advanced, and the disinclination to use a wide variety of color was a result of the mystical reverence with which tomb art was undertaken. Archeological finds have also revealed the Egyptians great talent with metalwork, unearthing beautiful and intricate jewelry, various utensils and other religious artifacts. Pottery was also refined into an art form, as well as shallow clay reliefs depicting scenes.