Yesterday, I delivered my Prehistoric and Ancient Egyptian Art Course in Cairo. The course tackled Rock Art, Predynastic Art and Ancient Egyptian Art (normally –but inaccurately- referred to as Pharaonic Art). Among other things, we shed light on 8 masterpieces, namely:
The Bird Lady, Naqada II (Brooklyn Museum);
Gebel el-Arak Knife, Naqada II (The Louvre);
The Narmer Palette, Naqada III/Early Dynastic (The Egyptian Museum);
The Statue of Khafre Enthroned, IV Dynasty (The Egyptian Museum);
The Tomb-Chapel of Nebamun, XVIII Dynasty (The British Museum);
The Amarna Art, XVIII Dynasty (Various Museums);
The Tomb of Sennedjem, XIX Dynasty (Deir el-Madina);
The Papyrus of Hunefer, XIX Dynasty (The British Museum).
Special emphasis was given to Egypt’s Predynastic Period. Predynastic cultures are the ones that directly preceded the final consolidation of the Upper and Lower Egypt into one state and the rise of the First Dynasty. These cultures produced striking examples of artifacts and left a legacy that is currently scattered across some of the world’s most prestigious museums: pottery, palettes, game boards, statuettes, decorated knives, combs, etc. These objects represent a ‘vision of life’ and help us understand how these cultures related to the world that surrounded them. The archaeological sites of Hierakonpolis, Abidos and Nagada provide most of the material vestiges of these cultures.
Among the most important Predynastic Cultures in Egypt are the Fayoum, the Merimda, the Omari, and the Maadi Cultures in Lower Egypt and the Delta; as well as the Badarian and the Nagada Cultures in Upper and Middle Egypt.