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Art and life in ancient Egypt
Art and life in ancient Egypt

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8.1 Beyond the stereotype

Most of these characteristic features of Egyptian two-dimensional art can be found in the Nebamun wall-paintings (Figure 28). However, the Nebamun paintings also include several other features that do not conform so readily to our stereotypes of Egyptian art.

Details of the Nebamun wall paintings
© Trustees of the British Museum
Figure 28 Details of the Nebamun wall paintings (EA 37977, EA 37986)

Activity 3 Beyond the stereotype

Study these figures. Can you find three or four examples of features that are not stereotypically Egyptian?

Detail of the Hunting in the Marshes scene
© Trustees of the British Museum
Detail of the Hunting in the Marshes scene (EA 37977)
Detail of the banquet scene
© Trustees of the British Museum
Detail of the banquet scene (EA 37981)
Detail of the agricultural scene
© Trustees of the British Museum
Detail of the agricultural scene (EA 37982)
Detail of the banquet scene
© Trustees of the British Museum
Detail of the banquet scene (EA 37984)

Answer

You may have spotted these features:

  • painterly brushwork to capture the effect of texture
  • a careful variation of details, e.g .of gesture and the positioning of accessories, to avoid visual monotony
  • the sideways view of the old farmer’s shoulders
  • perhaps most striking of all, the presence of two full-face representations among the musicians, and the accompanying effect of movement in their hair.