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I have treated briefly of the Noble Arts; it remains to say something of the Industrial Arts. All classes of society in Egypt were, from an early period, imbued with the love of luxury, and with a taste for the beautiful. Living or dead, the Egyptian desired to have jewels and costly amulets upon his person, and to be surrounded by choice furniture and elegant utensils. The objects of his daily use must be distinguished, if not by richness of material, at least by grace of form; and in order to satisfy his requirements, the clay, the stone, the metals, the woods, and other products of distant lands were laid under contribution.


It is impossible to pass through a gallery of Egyptian antiquities without being surprised by the prodigious number of small objects in pietra dura which have survived till the present time. As yet we have found neither the diamond, the ruby, nor the sapphire; but with these exceptions, the domain of the lapidary was almost as extensive as at the present day. That domain included the amethyst, the emerald, the garnet, the aquamarine, the chrysoprase, the innumerable varieties of agate and jasper, lapis lazuli, felspar, obsidian; also various rocks, such as granite, serpentine, and porphyry; certain fossils, as yellow amber and some kinds of turquoise; organic remains, as coral, mother-of-pearl, and pearls; metallic ores and carbonates, such as hematite and malachite, and the calaite, or Oriental turquoise. These substances were for the most part cut in the shape of round, square, oval, spindle-shaped, pear-shaped, or lozenge-shaped beads. Strung and arranged row above row, these beads were made into necklaces, and are picked up by myriads in the sands of the great cemeteries at Memphis, Erment, Ekhmim, and Abydos. The perfection with which many are cut, the deftness with which they are pierced, and the beauty of the polish, do honour to the craftsmen who made them. But their skill did not end here. With the point, saw, drill, and grindstone, they fashioned these materials into an infinity of shapeshearts, human fingers, serpents, animals, images of divinities. All these were amulets; and they were probably less valued for the charm of the workmanship than for the supernatural virtues which they were supposed to possess. The girdle-buckle in carnelian symbolised the blood of Isis, and washed away the sins of the wearer. The frog was emblematic of renewed birth. The little lotus-flower column in green felspar typified the divine gift of eternal youth. The “Uat,” or sacred eye , tied to the wrist or the arm by a slender string, protected against the evil eye, against words spoken in envy or anger, and against the bites of serpents. Commerce dispersed these objects throughout all parts of the ancient world, and many of them, especially those which represented the sacred beetle, were imitated abroad by the Phoenicians and Syrians, and by the craftsmen of Greece, Asia Minor, Etruria, and Sardinia. This insect was called kheper in Egyptian, and its name was supposed to be derived from the root khepra, “to become.” By an obvious play upon words, the beetle was made the emblem of terrestrial life, and of the successive “becomings” or developments of man in the life to come. The scarabaeus amulet is therefore a symbol of duration, present or future; and to wear one was to provide against annihilation. A thousand mystic meanings were evolved from this first idea, each in some subtle sense connected with one or other of the daily acts or usages of life, so that scarabaei were multiplied ad infinitum. They are found in all materials and sizes; some having hawks’ heads, some with rams’ heads, some with heads of men or bulls. Some are wrought or inscribed on the underside; others are left flat and plain underneath; and others again but vaguely recall the form of the insect, and are called scarabaeoids. These amulets are pierced longwise, the hole being large enough to admit the passage of a fine wire of bronze or silver, or of a thread, for suspension. The larger sort were regarded as images of the heart. These, having outspread wings attached, were fastened to the breast of the mummy, and are inscribed on the underside with a prayer adjuring the heart not to bear witness against the deceased at the day of judgment. In order to be still more efficacious, some scenes of adoration were occasionally added to the formula: e.g., the disc of the moon adorned by two apes upon the shoulder; two squatting figures of Amen upon the wing-sheaths; on the flat reverse, a representation of the boat of the Sun; and below the boat, Osiris mummified, squatting between Isis and Nephthys, who overshadow him with their wings. The small scarabs, having begun as phylacteries, ended by becoming mere ornaments without any kind of religious meaning, just as crosses are now worn without thought of significance by the women of our own day. They were set as rings, as necklace pendants, as earrings, and as bracelets. The underside is often plain, but is more commonly ornamented with incised designs which involve no kind of modelling. Relief-cutting, properly so called (as in cameo-cutting), was unknown to Egyptian lapidaries before the Greek period. Scarabaei and the subjects engraved on them have not as yet been fully classified and catalogued. The subjects consist of simple combinations of lines; of scrolls; of interlacings without any precise signification; of symbols to which the owner attached a mysterious meaning, unknown to everyone but himself; of the names and titles of individuals; of royal ovals, which are historically interesting; of good wishes; of pious ejaculations; and of magic formulae. The earliest examples known date from the Fourth Dynasty, and are small and fine. Sometimes Sixth Dynasty scarabs are of obsidian and crystal, and early Middle Kingdom scarabs of amethyst, emerald, and even garnet. From the time of the Eighteenth Dynasty scarabs may be counted by millions, and the execution is more or less fine according to the hardness of the stone. This holds good for amulets of all kinds. The hippopotamus-heads, the hearts, the Ba birds , which one picks up at Taud, to the south of Thebes, are barely roughed out, the amethyst and green felspar of which they are made having presented an almost unconquerable resistance to the point, saw, drill, and wheel. The belt-buckles, angles, and head-rests in red jasper, carnelian, and hematite, are, on the contrary, finished to the minutest details, notwithstanding that carnelian and red jasper are even harder than green felspar. Lapis lazuli is insufficiently homogeneous, almost as hard as felspar, and seems as if it were incapable of being finely worked. Yet the Egyptians have used it for images of certain goddessesIsis, Nephthys, Neith, Sekhet,which are marvels of delicate cutting. The modelling of the forms is carried out as boldly as if the material were more trustworthy, and the features lose none of their excellence if examined under a magnifying glass. For the most part, however, a different treatment was adopted. Instead of lavishing high finish upon the relief, it was obtained in a more summary way, the details of individual parts being sacrificed to the general effect. Those features of the face which project, and those which retire, are strongly accentuated. The thickness of the neck, the swell of the breast and shoulder, the slenderness of the waist, the fulness of the hips, are all exaggerated. The feet and hands are also slightly enlarged. This treatment is based upon a system, the results being boldly and yet judiciously calculated. When the object has to be sculptured in miniature, a mathematical reduction of the model is not so happy in its effect as might be supposed. The head loses character; the neck looks too weak; the bust is reduced to a cylinder with a slightly uneven surface; the feet do not look strong enough to support the weight of the body; the principal lines are not sufficiently distinct from the secondary lines. By suppressing most of the accessory forms and developing those most essential to the expression, the Egyptians steered clear of the danger of producing insignificant statuettes. The eye instinctively tones down whatever is too forcible, and supplies what is lacking. Thanks to these subtle devices of the ancient craftsman, a tiny statuette of this or that divinity measuring scarcely an inch and a quarter in height, has almost the breadth and dignity of a colossus.

The earthly goods of the gods and of the dead were mostly in solid stone. I have elsewhere described the little funerary obelisks, the altar bases, the statues, and the tables of offerings found in tombs of the ancient empire. These tables were made of alabaster and limestone during the Pyramid period, of granite or red sandstone under the Theban kings, and of basalt or serpentine from the time of the Twenty-sixth Dynasty. But the fashions were not canonical, all stones being found at all periods. Some offering-tables are mere flat discs, or discs very slightly hollowed. Others are rectangular, and are sculptured in relief with a service of loaves, vases, fruits, and quarters of beef and gazelle. In one instancethe offering-table of Situthe libations, instead of running off, fell into a square basin which is marked off in divisions, showing the height of the Nile at the different seasons of the year in the reservoirs of Memphis; namely, twenty-five cubits in summer during the inundation, twenty-three in autumn and early winter, and twenty-two at the close of winter and in spring-time. In these various patterns there was little beauty; yet one offering-table, found at Sakkarah, is a real work of art. It is of alabaster. Two lions, standing side by side, support a sloping, rectangular tablet, whence the libation ran off by a small channel into a vase placed between the tails of the lions. The alabaster geese found at Lisht are not without artistic merit. They are cut length-wise down the middle, and hollowed out, in the fashion of a box. Those which I have seen elsewhere, and, generally speaking, all simulacra of offerings, as loaves, cakes, heads of oxen or gazelles, bunches of black grapes, and the like, in carved and painted limestone, are of doubtful taste and clumsy execution. They are not very common, and I have met with them only in tombs of the Fifth and Twelfth Dynasties. “Canopic” vases, on the contrary, were always carefully wrought. They were generally made in two kinds of stone, limestone and alabaster; but the heads which surmounted them were often of painted wood. The canopic vases of Pepi I. are of alabaster; and those of a king buried in the southernmost pyramid at Lisht are also of alabaster, as are the human heads upon the lids. One, indeed, is of such fine execution that I can only compare it with that of the statue of Khafra. The most ancient funerary statuettes yet foundthose, namely, of the Eleventh Dynastyare of alabaster, like the canopic vases; but from the time of the Thirteenth Dynasty, they were cut in compact limestone. The workmanship is very unequal in quality. Some are real chefs-d’oeuvre, and reproduce the physiognomy of the deceased as faithfully as a portrait statue. Lastly, there are the perfume vases, which complete the list of objects found in temples and tombs. The names of these vases are far from being satisfactorily established, and most of the special designations furnished in the texts remain as yet without equivalents in our language. The greater number were of alabaster, turned and polished. Some are heavy, and ugly , while others are distinguished by an elegance and diversity of form which do honour to the inventive talent of the craftsmen. Many are spindle-shaped and pointed at the end , or round in the body, narrow in the neck, and flat at the bottom .

They are unornamented, except perhaps by two lotus-bud handles, or two lions’ heads, or perhaps a little female head just at the rise of the neck . The smallest of these vases were not intended for liquids, but for pomades, medicinal ointments, and salves made with honey. Some of the more important series comprise large-bodied flasks, with an upright cylindrical neck and a flat cover . In these, the Egyptians kept the antimony powder with which they darkened their eyes and eyebrows. The Kohl-pot was a universal toilet requisite; perhaps the only one commonly used by all classes of society. When designing it, the craftsman gave free play to his fancy, borrowing forms of men, plants, and animals for its adornment. Now it appears in the guise of a full-blown lotus; now it is a hedgehog; a hawk; a monkey clasping a column to his breast, or climbing up the side of a jar; a grotesque figure of the god Bes; a kneeling woman, whose scooped-out body contained the powder; a young girl carrying a wine-jar. Once started upon this path, the imagination of the artists knew no limits. As for materials, everything was made to serve in turngranite, diorite, breccia, red jade, alabaster, and soft limestone, which lent itself more readily to caprices of form; finally, a still more plastic and facile substanceclay, painted and glazed.

[Ilustration: Fi - Perfume vase, alabaster.]

It was not for want of material that the art of modelling and baking clays failed to be as fully developed in Egypt as in Greece, The valley of the Nile is rich in a fine and ductile potter’s clay, with which the happiest results might have been achieved, had the native craftsman taken the trouble to prepare it with due care. Metals and hard stone were, however, always preferred for objects of luxury; the potter was fain, therefore, to be content with supplying only the commonest needs of household and daily life. He was wont to take whatever clay happened to be nearest to the place where he was working, and this clay was habitually badly washed, badly kneaded, and fashioned with the finger upon a primitive wheel worked by the hand. The firing was equally careless. Some pieces were barely heated at all, and melted it they came into contact with water, while others were as hard as tiles. All tombs of the ancient empire contain vases of a red or yellow ware, often mixed, like the clay of bricks, with finely-chopped straw or weeds. These are mostly large solid jars with oval bodies, short necks, and wide mouths, but having neither foot nor handles. With them are also found pipkins and pots, in which to store the dead man’s provisions; bowls more or less shallow; and flat plates, such as are still used by the fellahin. The poorer folk sometimes buried miniature table and kitchen services with their dead, as being less costly than full-sized vessels. The surface is seldom glazed, seldom smooth and lustrous; but is ordinarily covered with a coat of whitish, unbaked paint, which scales off at a touch. Upon this surface there is neither incised design, nor ornament in relief, nor any kind of inscription, but merely some four or five parallel lines in red, black, or yellow, round the neck.

The pottery of the earliest Theban dynasties which I have collected at El Khozam and Gebeleyn is more carefully wrought than the pottery of the Memphite period. It may be classified under two heads. The first comprises plain, smooth-bodied vases, black below and dark red above. On examining this ware where broken, we see that the colour was mixed with the clay during the kneading, and that the two zones were separately prepared, roughly joined, and then uniformly glazed. The second class comprises vases of various and sometimes eccentric forms, moulded of red or tawny clay. Some are large cylinders closed at one end; others are flat; others oblong and boat-shaped; others, like cruets, joined together two and two, yet with no channel of communication . The ornamentation is carried over the whole surface, and generally consists of straight parallel lines, cross lines, zigzags, dotted lines, or small crosses and lines in geometrical combination; all these patterns being in white when the ground is red, or in reddish brown when the ground is yellow or whitish. Now and then we find figures of men and animals interspersed among the geometrical combinations. The drawing is rude, almost childish; and it is difficult to tell whether the subjects represent herds of antelopes or scenes of gazelle-hunting. The craftsmen who produced these rude attempts were nevertheless contemporary with the artists who decorated the rock-cut tombs at Beni Hasan. As regards the period of Egypt’s great military conquests, the Theban tombs of that age have supplied objects enough to stock a museum of pottery; but unfortunately the types are very uninteresting. To begin with, we find hand-made sepulchral statuettes modelled in summary fashion from an oblong lump of clay. A pinch of the craftsman’s fingers brought out the nose; two tiny knobs and two little stumps, separately modelled and stuck on, represented the eyes and arms. The better sort of figures were pressed in moulds of baked clay, of which several specimens have been found. They were generally moulded in one piece; then lightly touched up; then baked; and lastly, on coming out of the oven, were painted red, yellow, or white, and inscribed with the pen. Some are of very good style, and almost equal those made in limestone. The ushabtiu of the scribe Hori, and those of the priest Horuta (Saite) found at Hawara, show what the Egyptians could have achieved in this branch of the art if they had cared to cultivate it. Funerary cones were objects purely devotional, and the most consummate art could have done nothing to make them elegant. A funerary cone consists of a long, conical mass of clay, stamped at the larger end with a few rows of hieroglyphs stating the name, parentage, and titles of the deceased, the whole surface being coated with a whitish wash. These are simulacra of votive cakes intended for the eternal nourishment of the Double. Many of the vases buried in tombs of this period are painted to imitate alabaster, granite, basalt, bronze, and even gold; and were cheap substitutes for those vases made in precious materials which wealthy mourners were wont to lavish on their dead. Among those especially intended to contain water or flowers, some are covered with designs drawn in red and black , such as concentric lines and circles , meanders, religious emblems , cross-lines resembling network, festoons of flowers and buds, and long leafy stems carried downward from the neck to the body of the vase, and upward from the body of the vase to the neck. Those in the tomb of Sennetmu were decorated on one side with a large necklace, or collar, like the collars found upon mummies, painted in very bright colours to simulate natural flowers or enamels. Canopic vases in baked clay, though rarely met with under the Eighteenth Dynasty, became more and more common as the prosperity of Thebes declined. The heads upon the lids are for the most part prettily turned, especially the human heads. Modelled with the hand, scooped out to diminish the weight, and then slowly baked, each was finally painted with the colours especially pertaining to the genius whose head was represented. Towards the time of the Twentieth Dynasty, it became customary to enclose the bodies of sacred animals in vases of this type. Those found near Ekhmim contain jackals and hawks; those of Sakkarah are devoted to serpents, eggs, and mummified rats; those of Abydos hold the sacred ibis. These last are by far the finest. On the body of the vase, the protecting goddess Khuit is depicted with outspread wings, while Horus and Thoth are seen presenting the bandage and the unguent vase; the whole subject being painted in blue and red upon a white ground. From the time of the Greek domination, the national poverty being always on the increase, baked clay was much used for coffins as well as for canopic vases. In the Isthmus of Suez, at Ahnas el Medineh, in the Fayum, at Asuan, and in Nubia, we find whole cemeteries in which the sarcophagi are made of baked clay. Some are like oblong boxes rounded at each end, with a saddle-back lid. Some are in human form, but barbarous in style, the heads being surmounted by a pudding-shaped imitation of the ancient Egyptian head-dress, and the features indicated by two or three strokes of the modelling tool or the thumb. Two little lumps of clay stuck awkwardly upon the breast indicate the coffin of a woman. Even in these last days of Egyptian civilisation, it was only the coarsest objects which were left of the natural hue of the baked clay. As of old, the surfaces were, as a rule, overlaid with a coat of colour, or with a richly gilded glaze.

Glass was known to the Egyptians from the remotest period, and glass-blowing is represented in tombs which date from some thousands of years before our era . The craftsman, seated before the furnace, takes up a small quantity of the fused substance upon the end of his cane and blows it circumspectly, taking care to keep it in contact with the flame, so that it may not harden during the operation. Chemical analysis shows the constituent parts of Egyptian glass to have been nearly identical with our own; but it contains, besides silex, lime, alumina, and soda, a relatively large proportion of extraneous substances, as copper, oxide of iron, and oxide of manganese, which they apparently knew not how to eliminate. Hence Egyptian glass is scarcely ever colourless, but inclines to an uncertain shade of yellow or green. Some ill-made pieces are so utterly decomposed that they flake away, or fall to iridescent dust, at the lightest touch. Others have suffered little from time or damp, but are streaky and full of bubbles. A few are, however, perfectly homogenous and limpid. Colourless glass was not esteemed by the Egyptians as it is by ourselves; whether opaque or transparent, they preferred it coloured. The dyes were obtained by mixing metallic oxides with the ordinary ingredients; that is to say, copper and cobalt for the blues, copperas for the greens, manganese for the violets and browns, iron for the yellows, and lead or tin for the whites. One variety of red contains 30 per cent of bronze, and becomes coated with verdegris if exposed to damp. All this chemistry was empirical, and acquired by instinct. Finding the necessary elements at hand, or being supplied with them from a distance, they made use of them at hazard, and without being too certain of obtaining the effects they sought. Many of their most harmonious combinations were due to accident, and they could not reproduce them at will. The masses which they obtained by these unscientific means were nevertheless of very considerable dimensions. The classic authors tell of stelae, sarcophagi, and columns made in one piece. Ordinarily, however, glass was used only for small objects, and, above all, for counterfeiting precious stones. However cheaply they may have been sold in the Egyptian market, these small objects were not accessible to all the world. The glass-workers imitated the emerald, jasper, lapis lazuli, and carnelian to such perfection that even now we are sometimes embarrassed to distinguish the real stones from the false. The glass was pressed into moulds made of stone or limestone cut to the forms required, as beads, discs, rings, pendants, rods, and plaques covered with figures of men and animals, gods and goddesses. Eyes and eyebrows for the faces of statues in stone or bronze were likewise made of glass, as also bracelets. Glass was inserted into the hollows of incised hieroglyphs, and hieroglyphs were also cut out in glass. In this manner, whole inscriptions were composed, and let into wood, stone, or metal. The two mummy-cases which enclosed the body of Netemt, mother of the Pharaoh Herhor Seamen, are decorated in this style. Except the headdress of the effigy and some minor details, these cases are gilded all over; the texts and the principal part of the ornamentation being formed of glass enamels, which stand out in brilliant contrast with the dead gold ground. Many Fayum mummies were coated with plaster or stucco, the texts and religious designs, which are generally painted, being formed of glass enamels incrusted upon the surface of the plaster. Some of the largest subjects are made of pieces of glass joined together and retouched with the chisel, in imitation of bas-relief. Thus the face, hands, and feet of the goddess Ma are done in turquoise blue, her headdress in dark blue, her feather in alternate stripes of blue and yellow, and her raiment in deep red. Upon a wooden shrine recently discovered in the neighbourhood of Daphnae, and upon a fragment of mummy-case in the Museum of Turin, the hieroglyphic forms of many-coloured glass are inlaid upon the sombre ground of the wood, the general effect being inconceivably rich and brilliant. Glass filigrees, engraved glass, cut glass, soldered glass, glass imitations of wood, of straw, and of string, were all known to the Egyptians of old. I have under my hand at this present moment a square rod formed of innumerable threads of coloured glass fused into one solid body, which gives the royal oval of one of the Amenemhats at the part where it is cut through. The design is carried through the whole length of the rod, and wherever that rod may be cut, the royal oval reappears. One glass case in the Gizeh Museum is entirely stocked with small objects in coloured glass. Here we see an ape on all fours, smelling some large fruit which lies upon the ground; yonder, a woman’s head, front face, upon a white or green ground surrounded by a red border. Most of the plaques represent only rosettes, stars, and single flowers or posies. One of the smallest represents a black-and-white Apis walking, the work being so delicate that it loses none of its effect under the magnifying glass. The greater number of these objects date from, and after, the first Saite dynasty; but excavations in Thebes and Tell el Amarna have proved that the manufacture of coloured glass prevailed in Egypt earlier than the tenth century before our era. At Kurnet Murraee and Sheikh Abd el Gurneh, there have been found, not only amulets for the use of the dead, such as colonnettes, hearts, mystic eyes, hippopotami walking erect, and ducks in pairs, done in parti-coloured pastes, blue, red, and yellow, but also vases of a type which we have been accustomed to regard as of Phoenician and Cypriote manufacture. Here, for example, is a little aenochoe, of a light blue semi-opaque glass ; the inscription in the name of Thothmes III., the ovals on the neck, and the palm-fronds on the body of the vase being in yellow. Here again is a lenticular phial, three and a quarter inches in height , the ground colour of a deep ocean blue, admirably pure and intense, upon which a fern-leaf pattern in yellow stands out both boldly and delicately. A yellow thread runs round the rim, and two little handles of light green are attached to the neck. A miniature amphora of the same height is of a dark, semi-transparent olive green. A zone of blue and yellow zigzags, bounded above and below by yellow bands, encircles the body of the vase at the part of its largest circumference. The handles are pale green, and the thread round the lip is pale blue. Princess Nesikhonsu had beside her, in the vault at Deir el Baharí, some glass goblets of similar work. Seven were in whole colours, light green and blue; four were of black glass spotted with white; one only was decorated with many-coloured fronds arranged in two rows . The national glass works were therefore in full operation during the time of the great Theban dynasties. Huge piles of scoriae mixed with slag yet mark the spot where their furnaces were stationed at Tell el Amarna, the Ramesseum, at El Kab, and at the Tell of Eshmuneyn.

The Egyptians also enamelled stone. One half at least of the scarabaei, cylinders, and amulets contained in our museums are of limestone or schist, covered with a coloured glaze. Doubtless the common clay seemed to them inappropriate to this kind of decoration, for they substituted in its place various sorts of earthsome white and sandy; another sort brown and fine, which they obtained by the pulverisation of a particular kind of limestone found in the neighbourhood of Keneh, Luxor, and Asuan; and a third sort, reddish in tone, and mixed with powdered sandstone and brick-dust. These various substances are known by the equally inexact names of Egyptian porcelain and Egyptian faience. The oldest specimens, which are hardly glazed at all, are coated with an excessively thin slip. This vitreous matter has, however, generally settled into the hollows of the hieroglyphs or figures, where its lustre stands out in strong contrast with the dead surface of the surrounding parts. The colour most frequently in use under the ancient dynasties was green; but yellow, red, brown, violet, and blue were not disdained. Blue predominated in the Theban factories from the earliest beginning of the Middle Empire. This blue was brilliant, yet tender, in imitation of turquoise or lapis lazuli. The Gizeh Museum formerly contained three hippopotamuses of this shade, discovered in the tomb of an Entef at Drah Abu’l Neggeh One was lying down, the two others were standing in the marshes, their bodies being covered by the potter with pen-and-ink sketches of reeds and lotus plants, amid which hover birds and butterflies . This was his naïve way of depicting the animal amid his natural surroundings. The blue is splendid, and we must overleap twenty centuries before we again find so pure a colour among the funerary statuettes of Deir el Baharí. Green reappears under the Saite dynasties, but paler than that of more ancient times, and it prevailed in the north of Egypt, at Memphis, Bubastis, and Sais, without entirely banishing the blue. The other colours before mentioned were in current use for not more than four or five centuries; that is to say, from the time of Ahmes I. to the time of the Ramessides. It was then, and only then, that ushabtiu of white or red glaze, rosettes and lotus flowers in yellow, red, and violet, and parti-coloured kohl-pots abounded. The potters of the time of Amenhotep III. affected greys and violets. The olive-shaped amulets which are inscribed with the names of this Pharaoh and the princesses of his family are decorated with pale blue hieroglyphs upon a delicate mauve ground. The vase of Queen Tii in the Gizeh collection is of grey and blue, with ornaments in two colours round the neck. The fabrication of many-coloured enamels seems to have attained its greatest development under Khuenaten; at all events, it was at Tell el Amarna that I found the brightest and most delicately fashioned specimens, such as yellow, green, and violet rings, blue and white fleurettes, fish, lutes, figs, and bunches of grapes. One little statuette of Horus has a red face and a blue body; a ring bezel bears the name of a king in violet upon a ground of light blue. However restricted the space, the various colours are laid in with so sure a hand that they never run one into the other, but stand out separately and vividly. A vase to contain antimony powder, chased and mounted on a pierced stand, is glazed with reddish brown . Another, in the shape of a mitred hawk, is blue picked out with black spots. It belonged of old to Ahmes I. A third, hollowed out of the body of an energetic little hedgehog, is of a changeable green . A Pharaoh’s head in dead blue wears a klaft with dark-blue stripes.

Fine as these pieces are, the chef-d’oeuvre of the series is a statuette of one Ptahmes, first Prophet of Amen, now in the Gizeh Museum. The hieroglyphic inscriptions as well as the details of the mummy bandages are chased in relief upon a white ground of admirable smoothness afterwards filled in with enamel. The face and hands are of turquoise blue; the head-dress is yellow, with violet stripes; the hieroglyphic characters of the inscription, and the vulture with outspread wings upon the breast of the figure, are also violet. The whole is delicate, brilliant, and harmonious; not a flaw mars the purity of the contours or the clearness of the lines.

Glazed pottery was common from the earliest times. Cups with a foot , blue bowls, rounded at the bottom and decorated in black ink with mystic eyes, lotus flowers, fishes , and palm-leaves, date, as a rule, from the Eighteenth, Nineteenth, or Twentieth Dynasties. Lenticular ampullae coated with a greenish glaze, flanked by two crouching monkeys for handles, decorated along the edge with pearl or egg-shaped ornaments, and round the body with elaborate collars , belong almost without exception to the reigns of Apries and Amasis. Sistrum handles, saucers, drinking-cups in the form of a half-blown lotus, plates, dishesin short, all vessels in common usewere required to be not only easy to keep clean, but pleasant to look upon. Did they carry their taste for enamelled ware so far as to cover the walls of their houses with glazed tiles? Upon this point we can pronounce neither affirmatively nor negatively; the few examples of this kind of decoration which we possess being all from royal buildings. Upon a yellow brick, we have the family name and Ka name of Pepi I.; upon a green brick, the name of Rameses III.; upon certain red and white fragments, the names of Seti I. and Sheshonk.

Up to the beginning of the present century, one of the chambers in the step pyramid at Sakkarah yet retained its mural decoration of glazed ware . For three-fourths of the wall-surface it was covered with green tiles, oblong in shape, flat at the back, and slightly convex on the face . A square tenon, pierced through with a hole large enough to receive a wooden rod, served to fix them together in horizontal pyramid of rows. The three rows which frame in the doorway are inscribed with the titles of an unclassed Pharaoh belonging to one of the first Memphite dynasties. The hieroglyphs are relieved in blue, red, green, and yellow, upon a tawny ground. Twenty centuries later, Rameses III. originated a new style at Tell el Yahudeh. This time the question of ornamentation concerned, not a single chamber, but a whole temple. The mass of the building was of limestone and alabaster; but the pictorial subjects, instead of being sculptured according to custom, were of a kind of mosaic made with almost equal parts of stone tesserae and glazed ware.

The most frequent item in the scheme of decoration was a roundel moulded of a sandy frit coated with blue or grey slip, upon which is a cream-coloured rosette . Some of these rosettes are framed in geometrical designs or spider-web patterns; some represent open flowers. The central boss is in relief; the petals and tracery are encrusted in the mass. These roundels, which are of various diameters ranging from three-eighths of an inch to four inches, were fixed to the walls by means of a very fine cement. They were used to form many different designs, as scrolls, foliage, and parallel fillets, such as may be seen on the foot of an altar and the base of a column preserved in the Gizeh Museum. The royal ovals were mostly in one piece; so also were the figures. The details, either incised or modelled upon the clay before firing, were afterwards painted with such colours as might be suitable. The lotus flowers and leaves which were carried along the bottom of the walls or the length of the cornices, were, on the contrary, made up of independent pieces; each colour being a separate morsel cut to fit exactly into the pieces by which it was surrounded . This temple was rifled at the beginning of the present century, and some figures of prisoners brought thence have been in the Louvre collection ever since the time of Champollion. All that remained of the building and its decoration was demolished a few years ago by certain dealers in antiquities, and the debris are now dispersed in all directions. Mariette, though with great difficulty, recovered some of the more important fragments, such as the name of Rameses III., which dates the building; some borderings of lotus flowers and birds with human hands ; and some heads of Asiatics and negro prisoners . The destruction of this monument is the more grievous because the Egyptians cannot have constructed many after the same type. Glazed bricks, painted tiles, and enamelled mosaics are readily injured; and in the judgment of a people enamoured of stability and eternity, that would be the gravest of radical defects.


Objects in ivory, bone, and horn are among the rarities of our museums; but we must not for this reason conclude that the Egyptians did not make ample use of those substances. Horn is perishable, and is eagerly devoured by certain insects, which rapidly destroy it. Bone and ivory soon deteriorate and become friable. The elephant was known to the Egyptians from the remotest period. They may, perhaps, have found it inhabiting the Thebaid when first they established themselves in that part of the Nile Valley, for as early as the Fifth Dynasty we find the pictured form of the elephant in use as the hieroglyphic name of the island of Elephantine. Ivory in tusks and half tusks was imported into Egypt from the regions of the Upper Nile. It was sometimes dyed green or red, but was more generally left of its natural colour. It was largely employed by cabinet makers for inlaying furniture, as chairs, bedsteads, and coffers. Combs, dice, hair-pins, toilette ornaments, delicately wrought spoons , Kohl bottles hollowed out of a miniature column surmounted by a capital, incense-burners in the shape of a hand supporting a bronze cup in which the perfumes were burned, and boomerangs engraved with figures of gods and fantastic animals, were also made of ivory. Some of these objects are works of fine art; as for instance at Gizeh, a poignard-handle in the form of a lion; the plaques in bas-relief which adorn the draught-box of one Tuai, who lived towards the end of the Seventeenth Dynasty; a Fifth Dynasty figure, unfortunately mutilated, which yet retains traces of rose colour; and a miniature statue of Abi, who died at the time of the Thirteenth Dynasty. This little personage, perched on the top of a lotus-flower column, looks straight before him with a majestic air which contrasts somewhat comically with the size and prominence of his ears. The modelling of the figure is broad and spirited, and will bear comparison with good Italian ivories of the Renaissance period.

Egypt produces few trees, and of these few the greater number are useless to the sculptor. The two which most aboundnamely, the date palm and the dom palmare of too coarse a fibre for carving, and are too unequal in texture. Some varieties of the sycamore and acacia are the only trees of which the grain is sufficiently fine and manageable to be wrought with the chisel. Wood was, nevertheless, a favourite material for cheap and rapid work. It was even employed at times for subjects of importance, such as Ka statues; and the Wooden Man of Gizeh shows with what boldness and amplitude of style it could be treated. But the blocks and beams which the Egyptians had at command were seldom large enough for a statue. The Wooden Man himself, though but half life-size, consists of a number of pieces held together by square pegs. Hence, wood-carvers were wont to treat their subjects upon such a scale as admitted of their being cut in one block, and the statues of olden time became statuettes under the Theban dynasties. Art lost nothing by the reduction, and more than one of these little figures is comparable to the finest works of the ancient empire. The best, perhaps, is at the Turin Museum, and dates from the Twentieth Dynasty. It represents a young girl whose only garment is a slender girdle. She is of that indefinite age when the undeveloped form is almost as much like that of a boy as of a girl. The expression of the head is gentle, yet saucy. It is, in fact, across thirty centuries of time, a portrait of one of those graceful little maidens of Elephantine, who, without immodesty or embarrassment, walk unclothed in sight of strangers. Three little wooden men in the Gizeh Museum are probably contemporaries of the Turin figure. They wear full dress, as, indeed, they should, for one was a king’s favourite named Hori, and surnamed Ra. They are walking with calm and measured tread, the bust thrown forward, and the head high. The expression upon their faces is knowing, and somewhat sly. An officer who has retired on half-pay at the Louvre wears an undress uniform of the time of Amenhotep III.; that is to say, a small wig, a close-fitting vest with short sleeves, and a kilt drawn tightly over the hips, reaching scarcely half-way down the thigh, and trimmed in front with a piece of puffing plaited longwise. His companion is a priest , who wears his hair in rows of little curls one above the other, and is clad in a long petticoat falling below the calf of the leg and spreading out in front in a kind of plaited apron. He holds a sacred standard consisting of a stout staff surmounted by a ram’s head crowned with the solar disc. Both officer and priest are painted red brown, with the exception of the hair, which is black; the cornea of the eyes, which is white; and the standard, which is yellow. Curiously enough, the little lady Nai, who inhabits the same glass case, is also painted reddish brown, instead of buff, which was the canonical colour for women . She is taken in a close-fitting garment trimmed down the front with a band of white embroidery. Round her neck she wears a necklace consisting of a triple row of gold pendants. Two golden bracelets adorn her wrists, and on her head she carries a wig with long curls. The right arm hangs by her side, the hand holding some object now lost, which was probably a mirror. The left arm is raised, and with the left hand she presses a lotus lily to her breast. The body is easy and well formed, the figure indicates youth, the face is open, smiling, pleasant, and somewhat plebeian. To modify the unwieldy mass of the headdress was beyond the skill of the artist, but the bust is delicately and elegantly modelled, the clinging garment gives discreet emphasis to the shape, and the action of the hand which holds the flower is rendered with grace and naturalness. All these are portraits, and as the sitters were not persons of august rank, we may conclude that they did not employ the most fashionable artists. They, doubtless, had recourse to more unpretending craftsmen; but that such craftsmen were thus highly trained in knowledge of form and accuracy of execution, shows how strongly even the artisan was influenced by the great school of sculpture which then flourished at Thebes.

This influence becomes even more apparent when we study the knick-knacks of the toilet table, and such small objects as, properly speaking, come under the head of furniture. To pass in review the hundred and one little articles of female ornament or luxury to which the fancy of the designer gave all kinds of ingenious and novel forms, would be no light task. The handles of mirrors, for instance, generally represented a stem of lotus or papyrus surmounted by a full-blown flower, from the midst of which rose a disk of polished metal. For this design is sometimes substituted the figure of a young girl, either nude, or clad in a close-fitting garment, who holds the mirror on her head. The tops of hair-pins were carved in the semblance of a coiled serpent, or of the head of a jackal, a dog, or a hawk. The pin-cushion in which they are placed is a hedgehog or a tortoise, with holes pierced in a formal pattern upon the back. The head-rests, which served for pillows, were decorated with bas-reliefs of subjects derived from the myths of Bes and Sekhet, the grimacing features of the former deity being carved on the ends or on the base. But it is in the carving of perfume-spoons and kohl-bottles that the inventive skill of the craftsman is most brilliantly displayed.

Not to soil their fingers the Egyptians made use of spoons for essences, pomades, and the variously-coloured preparations with which both men and women stained their cheeks, lips, eyelids, nails, and palms. The designer generally borrowed his subjects from the fauna or flora of the Nile valley. A little case at Gizeh is carved in the shape of a couchant calf, the body being hollowed out, and the head and back forming a removable lid. A spoon in the same collection represents a dog running away with an enormous fish in his mouth , the body of the fish forming the bowl of the spoon. Another shows a cartouche springing from a full-blown lotus; another, a lotus fruit laid upon a bouquet of flowers ; and here is a simple triangular bowl, the handle decorated with a stem and two buds . The most elaborate specimens combine these subjects with the human figure. A young girl, clad in a mere girdle, is represented in the act of swimming . Her head is well lifted above the water, and her outstretched arms support a duck, the body of which is hollowed out, while the wings, being movable, serve as a cover. We have also a young girl in the Louvre collection, but she stands in a maze of lotus plants , and is in the act of gathering a bud. A bunch of stems, from which emerge two full-blown blossoms, unites the handle to the bowl of the spoon, which is in reverse position, the larger end being turned outwards and the point inwards. Elsewhere, a young girl playing upon a long-necked lute as she trips along, is framed in by two flowering stems. Sometimes the fair musician is standing upright in a tiny skiff ; and sometimes a girl bearing offerings is substituted for the lute player. Another example represents a slave toiling under the weight of an enormous sack. The age and physiognomy of each of these personages is clearly indicated. The lotus gatherer is of good birth, as may be seen by her carefully plaited hair and tunic. The Theban ladies wore long robes; but this damsel has gathered up her skirts that she may thread her way among the reeds without wetting her garments. The two musicians and the swimming girl belong, on the contrary, to an inferior, or servile, class. Two of them wear only a girdle, and the third has a short garment negligently fastened. The bearer of offerings wears the long pendent tresses distinctive of childhood, and is one of those slender, growing girls of the fellahin class whom one sees in such numbers on the banks of the Nile. Her lack of clothing is, however, no evidence of want of birth, for not even the children of nobility were wont to put on the garments of their sex before the period of adolescence. Lastly, the slave , with his thick lips, his high shoulders, his flat nose, his heavy, animal jaw, his low brow, and his bare, conical head, is evidently a caricature of some foreign prisoner. The dogged sullenness with which he trudges under his burden is admirably caught, while the angularities of the body, the type of the head, and the general arrangement of the parts, remind one of the terra-cotta grotesques of Asia Minor. In these subjects, all the minor details, the fruits, the flowers, the various kinds of birds, are rendered with much truth and cleverness. Of the three ducks which are tied by the feet and slung over the arms of the girl bearing offerings, two are resigned to their fate, and hang swinging with open eyes and outstretched necks; but the third flaps her wings and lifts her head protestingly. The two small water-fowl perched upon the lotus flowers listen placidly to the lute-player’s music, their beaks resting on their crops. They have learned by experience not to put themselves out of the way for a song, and they know that there is nothing to fear from a young girl, unless she is armed. They are put to flight in the bas-reliefs by the mere sight of a bow and arrows, just as a company of rooks is put to flight nowadays by the sight of a gun. The Egyptians were especially familiar with the ways of animals and birds, and reproduced them with marvellous exactness. The habit of minutely observing minor facts became instinctive, and it informed their most trifling works with that air of reality which strikes us so forcibly at the present day.

Household furniture was no more abundant in ancient Egypt than it is in the Egypt of to-day. In the time of the Twelfth Dynasty an ordinary house contained no bedsteads, but low frameworks like the Nubian angareb; or mats rolled up by day on which the owners lay down at night in their clothes, pillowing their heads on earthenware, stone, or wooden head-rests. There were also two or three simple stone seats, some wooden chairs or stools with carved legs, chests and boxes of various sizes for clothes and tools, and a few common vessels of pottery or bronze. For making fire there were fire-sticks, and the bow-drill for using them (fig and 181); children’s toys were even then found in great variety though of somewhat quaint construction. There were dolls with wigs and movable limbs, made in stone, pottery, and wood ; figures of men, and animals, and terra-cotta boats, balls of wood and stuffed leather, whip-tops, and tip-cats .

The art of the cabinet-maker was nevertheless carried to a high degree of perfection, from the time of the ancient dynasties. Planks were dressed down with the adze, mortised, glued, joined together by means of pegs cut in hard wood, or acacia thorns (never by metal nails), polished, and finally covered with paintings. Chests generally stand upon four straight legs, and are occasionally thus raised to some height from the ground. The lid is flat, or rounded according to a special curvature much in favour among the Egyptians of all periods. Sometimes, though rarely, it is gable-shaped, like our house-roofs . Generally speaking, the lid lifts off bodily; but it often turns upon a peg inserted in one of the uprights. Sometimes, also, it turns upon wooden pivots . The panels, which are large and admirably suited for decorative art, are enriched with paintings, or inlaid with ivory, silver, precious woods, or enamelled plaques. It may be that we are scarcely in a position justly to appraise the skill of Egyptian cabinet-makers, or the variety of designs produced at various periods. Nearly all the furniture which has come down to our day has been found in tombs, and, being destined for burial in the sepulchre, may either be of a character exclusively destined for the use of the mummy, or possibly a cheap imitation of a more precious class of goods.

The mummy was, in fact, the cabinet-maker’s best customer. In other lands, man took but a few objects with him into the next world; but the defunct Egyptian required nothing short of a complete outfit. The mummy-case alone was an actual monument, in the construction of which a whole squad of workmen was employed . The styles of mummy-cases varied from period to period. Under the Memphite and first Theban empires, we find only rectangular chests in sycamore wood, flat at top and bottom, and made of many pieces joined together by wooden pins. The pattern is not elegant, but the decoration is very curious. The lid has no cornice. Outside, it is inscribed down the middle with a long column of hieroglyphs, sometimes merely written in ink, sometimes laid on in colour, sometimes carved in hollowed-out signs filled in with some kind of bluish paste. The inscription records only the name and titles of the deceased, accompanied now and then by a short form of prayer in his favour. The inside is covered with a thick coat of stucco or whitewash.

Upon this surface, the seventeenth chapter of The Book of the Dead was generally written in red and black inks, and in fine cursive hieroglyphs. The body of the chest is made with three horizontal planks for the bottom, and eight vertical planks, placed two and two, for the four sides. The outside is sometimes decorated with long strips of various colours ending in interlaced lotus-leaves, such as are seen on stone sarcophagi. More frequently, it is ornamented on the left side with two wide-open eyes and two monumental doors, and on the right with three doors exactly like those seen in contemporary catacombs. The sarcophagus is in truth the house of the deceased; and, being his house, its four walls were bound to contain an epitome of the prayers and tableaux which covered the walls of his tomb. The necessary formulae and pictured scenes were, therefore, reproduced inside, nearly in the same order in which they appear in the mastabas. Each side is divided in three registers, each register containing a dedication in the name of the deceased, or representations of objects belonging to him, or such texts from the Ritual as need to be repeated for his benefit. Skilfully composed, and painted upon a background made to imitate some precious wood, the whole forms a boldly-designed and harmoniously-coloured picture. The cabinet-maker’s share of the work was the lightest, and the long boxes in which the dead of the earliest period were buried made no great demand upon his skill. This, however, was not the case when in later times the sarcophagus came to be fashioned in the likeness of the human body. Of this style we have two leading types. In the most ancient, the mummy serves as the model for his case. His outstretched feet and legs are in one. The form of the knee, the swell of the calf, the contours of the thigh and the trunk, are summarily indicated, and are, as it were, vaguely modelled under the wood. The head, apparently the only living part of this inert body, is wrought out in the round. The dead man is in this wise imprisoned in a kind of statue of himself; and this statue is so well balanced that it can stand on its feet if required, as upon a pedestal. In the other type of sarcophagus, the deceased lies at full length upon his tomb, and his figure, sculptured in the round, serves as the lid of his mummy-case. On his head is seen the ponderous wig of the period. A white linen vest and a long petticoat cover his chest and legs. His feet are shod with elegant sandals. His arms lie straight along his sides, or are folded upon his breast, the hands grasping various emblems, as the Ankh, the girdle-buckle, the Tat; or, as in the case of the wife of Sennetmu at Gizeh, a garland of ivy. This mummiform type of sarcophagus is rarely met with under the Memphite dynasties, though that of Menkara, the Mycerinus of the Greeks, affords a memorable example. Under the Eleventh Dynasty, the mummy-case is frequently but a hollowed tree-trunk, roughly sculptured outside, with a head at one end and feet at the other. The face is daubed with bright colours, yellow, red, and green; the wig and headdress are striped with black and blue, and an elaborate collar is depicted on the breast. The rest of the case is either covered with the long, gilded wings of Isis and Nephthys, or with a uniform tint of white or yellow, and sparsely decorated with symbolic figures, or columns of hieroglyphs painted blue and black. Among the sarcophagi belonging to kings of the Seventeenth Dynasty which I recovered from Deir el Baharí, the most highly finished belonged to this type, and were only remarkable for the really extraordinary skill with which the craftsman had reproduced the features of the deceased sovereigns. The mask of Ahmes I., that of Amenhotep I., and that of Thothmes II., are masterpieces in their way. The mask of Rameses II. shows no sign of paint, except a black line which accentuates the form of the eye. The face is doubtless modelled in the likeness of the Pharaoh Herhor, who restored the funerary outfit of his puissant ancestor, and it will almost bear comparison with the best works of contemporary sculpture . Two mummy-cases found in the same placenamely, those of Queen Ahmesnefertari and her daughter, Aahhotep II - are of gigantic size, and measure more than ten and a half feet in height . Standing upright, they might almost be taken for two of the caryatid statues from the first court at Medinet Habu, though on a smaller scale. The bodies are represented as bandaged, and but vaguely indicate the contours of the human form. The shoulders and bust of each are covered with a kind of network in relief, every mesh standing out in blue upon a yellow ground. The hands emerge from this mantle, are crossed upon the breast, and grasp the Ankh, or Tau-cross, symbolic of eternal life. The heads are portraits. The faces are round, the eyes large, the expression mild and characterless. Each is crowned with the flat-topped cap and lofty plumes of Amen or Maut. We cannot but wonder for what reason these huge receptacles were made. The two queens were small of stature, and their mummieswhich were well-nigh lost in the caseshad to be packed round with an immense quantity of rags, to prevent them from shifting, and becoming injured. Apart from their abnormal size, these cases are characterised by the same simplicity which distinguishes other mummy-cases of royal or private persons of the same period. Towards the middle of the Nineteenth Dynasty, the fashion changed. The single mummy-case, soberly decorated, was superseded by two, three, and even four cases, fitting the one into the other, and covered with paintings and inscriptions. Sometimes the outer receptacle is a sarcophagus with convex lid and square ears, upon which the deceased is pictured over and over again upon a white ground, in adoration before the gods of the Osirian cycle. When, however, it is shaped in human form, it retains somewhat of the old simplicity. The face is painted; a collar is represented on the chest, a band of hieroglyphs extends down the whole length of the body to the feet, and the rest is in one uniform tone of black, brown, or dark yellow. The inner cases were extravagantly rich, the hands and faces being red, rose-coloured, or gilded; the jewellery painted, or sometimes imitated by means of small morsels of enamel encrusted in the wood-work; the surfaces frequently covered with many-coloured scenes and legends, and the whole heightened by means of the yellow varnish already mentioned. The lavish ornamentation of this period is in striking contrast with the sobriety of earlier times; but in order to grasp the reason of this change, one must go to Thebes, and visit the actual sepulchres of the dead. The kings and private persons of the great conquering dynasties devoted their energies, and all the means at their disposal, to the excavation of catacombs. The walls of those catacombs were covered with sculptures and paintings. The sarcophagus was cut in one enormous block of granite or alabaster, and admirably wrought. It was therefore of little moment if the wooden coffin in which the mummy reposed were very simply decorated. But the Egyptians of the decadence, and their rulers, had not the wealth of Egypt and the spoils of neighbouring countries at command. They were poor; and the slenderness of their resources debarred them from great undertakings. They for the most part gave up the preparation of magnificent tombs, and employed such wealth as remained to them in the fabrication of fine mummy-cases carved in sycamore wood. The beauty of their coffins, therefore, but affords an additional proof of their weakness and poverty. When for a few centuries the Saite princes had succeeded in re-establishing the prosperity of the country, stone sarcophagi came once more into requisition, and the wooden coffin reverted to somewhat of the simplicity of the great period. But this Renaissance was not destined to last. The Macedonian conquest brought back the same revolution in funerary fashions which followed the fall of the Ramessides, and double and triple mummy cases, over-painted and over-gilded, were again in demand. If the craftsmen of Graeco-Roman time who attired the dead of Ekhmim for their last resting places were less skilful than those of earlier date, their bad taste was, at all events, not surpassed by the Theban coffin-makers who lived and worked under the latest princes of the royal line of Rameses.

A series of Graeco-Roman examples from the Fayum exhibit the stages by which portraiture in the flat there replaced the modelled mask, until towards the middle of the second century A.D. it became customary to bandage over the face of the mummy a panel-portrait of the dead, as he was in life .

The remainder of the funerary outfit supplied the cabinet-maker with as much work as the coffin-maker. Boxes of various shapes and sizes were required for the wardrobe of the mummy, for his viscera, and for his funerary statuettes. He must also have tables for his meals; stools, chairs, a bed to lie upon, a boat and sledge to convey him to the tomb, and sometimes even a war-chariot and a carriage in which to take the air. The boxes for canopic vases, funerary statuettes, and libation-vases, are divided in several compartments. A couchant jackal is sometimes placed on the top, and serves for a handle by which to take off the lid. Each box was provided with its own little sledge, upon which it was drawn in the funeral procession on the day of burial. Beds are not very uncommon. Many are identical in structure with the Nubian angarebs, and consist merely of some coarse fabric, or of interlaced strips of leather, stretched on a plain wooden frame. Few exceed fifty-six inches in length; the sleeper, therefore, could never lie outstretched, but must perforce assume a doubled-up position. The frame is generally horizontal, but sometimes it slopes slightly downwards from the head to the foot. It was often raised to a considerable height above the level of the floor, and a stool, or a little portable set of steps, was used in mounting it. These details were known to us by the wall-paintings only until I myself discovered two perfect specimens in 1884 and 1885; one at Thebes, in a tomb of the Thirteenth Dynasty, and the other at Ekhmim, in the Graeco-Roman necropolis. In the former, two accommodating lions have elongated their bodies to form the framework, their heads doing duty for the head of the bed, and their tails being curled up under the feet of the sleeper.

The bed is surmounted by a kind of canopy, under which the mummy lay in state. Rhind had already found a similar canopy, which is now in the Museum of Edinburgh . In shape it is a temple, the rounded roof being supported by elegant colonnettes of painted wood. A doorway guarded by serpents is supposed to give access to the miniature edifice. Three winged discs, each larger than the one below it, adorn three superimposed cornices above the door, the whole frontage being surmounted by a row of erect uraei, crowned with the solar disc. The canopy belonging to the Thirteenth Dynasty bed is much more simple, being a mere balustrade in cut and painted wood, in imitation of the water-plant pattern with which temple walls were decorated; the whole is crowned with an ordinary cornice. In the bed of Graeco-Roman date , carved and painted figures of the goddess Ma, sitting with her feather on her knee, are substituted for the customary balustrades. Isis and Nephthys stand with their winged arms outstretched at the head and foot. The roof is open, save for a row of vultures hovering above the mummy, which is wept over by two kneeling statuettes of Isis and Nephthys, one at each end. The sledges upon which mummies were dragged to the sepulchre were also furnished with canopies, but in a totally different style. The sledge canopy is a panelled shrine, like those which I discovered in 1886, in the tomb of Sennetmu at Kurnet Murraee. If light was admitted, it came through a square opening, showing the head of the mummy within. Wilkinson gives an illustration of a sledge canopy of this kind, from the wall paintings of a Theban tomb . The panels were always made to slide. As soon as the mummy was laid upon his sledge, the panels were closed, the corniced roof placed over all, and the whole closed in. With regard to chairs, many of those in the Louvre and the British Museum were made about the time of the Eleventh Dynasty. These are not the least beautiful specimens which have come down to us, one in particular having preserved an extraordinary brilliancy of colour. The framework, formerly fitted with a seat of strong netting, was originally supported on four legs with lions’ feet. The back is ornamented with two lotus flowers, and with a row of lozenges inlaid in ivory and ebony upon a red ground. Stools of similar workmanship , and folding stools, the feet of which are in the form of a goose’s head, may be seen in all museums. Pharaohs and persons of high rank affected more elaborate designs. Their seats were sometimes raised very high, the arms being carved to resemble running lions, and the lower supports being prisoners of war, bound back to back . A foot-board in front served as a step to mount by, and as a foot-stool for the sitter. Up to the present time, we have found no specimens of this kind of seat.

We learn from the tomb paintings that netted or cane-bottomed chairs were covered with stuffed seats and richly worked cushions. These cushions and stuffed seats have perished, but it is to be concluded that they were covered with tapestry. Tapestry was undoubtedly known to the Egyptians, and a bas-relief subject at Beni Hasan shows the process of weaving. The frame, which is of the simplest structure, resembles that now in use among the weavers of Ekhmim. It is horizontal, and is formed of two slender cylinders, or rather of two rods, about fifty-four inches apart, each held in place by two large pegs driven into the ground about three feet distant from each other. The warps of the chain were strongly fastened, then rolled round the top cylinder till they were stretched sufficiently tight. Mill sticks placed at certain distances facilitated the insertion of the needles which carried the thread. As in the Gobelins factory, the work was begun from the bottom. The texture was regulated and equalised by means of a coarse comb, and was rolled upon the lower cylinder as it increased in length. Hangings and carpets were woven in this manner; some with figures, others with geometrical designs, zigzags, and chequers . A careful examination of the monuments has, however, convinced me that most of the subjects hitherto supposed to represent examples of tapestry represent, in fact, examples of cut and painted leather. The leather-worker’s craft flourished in ancient Egypt. Few museums are without a pair of leather sandals, or a specimen of mummy braces with ends of stamped leather bearing the effigy of a god, a Pharaoh, a hieroglyphic legend, a rosette, or perhaps all combined. These little relics are not older than the time of the priest-kings, or the earlier Bubastites. It is to the same period that we must attribute the great cut-leather canopy in the Gizeh Museum. The catafalque upon which the mummy was laid when transported from the mortuary establishment to the tomb, was frequently adorned with a covering made of stuff or soft leather. Sometimes the sidepieces hung down, and sometimes they were drawn aside with bands, like curtains, and showed the coffin.

The canopy of Deir el Baharí was made for the Princess Isiemkheb, daughter of the High Priest Masahirti, wife of the High Priest Menkheperra, and mother of the High Priest Pinotem III. The centrepiece, in shape an oblong square, is divided into three bands of sky-blue leather, now faded to pearl-grey. The two side-pieces are sprinkled with yellow stars. Upon the middle piece are rows of vultures, whose outspread wings protect the mummy. Four other pieces covered with red and green chequers are attached to the ends and sides. The longer pieces which hung over the sides are united to the centre-piece by an ornamental bordering. On the right, scarabaei with extended wings alternate with the cartouches of King Pinotem II., and are surmounted by a lance-head frieze. On the left side, the pattern is more complicated . In the centre we see a bunch of lotus lilies flanked by royal cartouches. Next come two antelopes, each kneeling upon a basket; then two bouquets of papyrus; then two more scarabaei, similar to those upon the other border. The lance-head frieze finishes it above, as on the opposite side. The technical process is very curious. The hieroglyphs and figures were cut out from large pieces of leather; then, under the open spaces thus left, were sewn thongs of leather of whatever colour was required for those ornaments or hieroglyphs. Finally, in order to hide the patchwork effect presented at the back, the whole was lined with long strips of white, or light yellow, leather. Despite the difficulties of treatment which this work presented, the result is most remarkable. The outlines of the gazelles, scarabaei, and flowers are as clean-cut and as elegant as if drawn with the pen upon a wall-surface or a page of papyrus. The choice of subjects is happy, and the colours employed are both lively and harmonious.

The craftsmen who designed and executed the canopy of Isiemkheb had profited by a long experience of this system of decoration, and of the kind of patterns suitable to the material. For my own part, I have not the slightest doubt that the cushions of chairs and royal couches, and the sails of funeral and sacred boats used for the transport of mummies and divine images, were most frequently made in leather-work. The chequer-patterned sail represented in one of the boat subjects painted on the wall of a chamber in the tomb of Rameses III. , might be mistaken for one of the side pieces of the canopy at Gizeh. The vultures and fantastic birds depicted upon the sails of another boat are neither more strange nor more difficult to make in cut leather than the vultures and gazelles of Isiemkheb.

We have it upon the authority of ancient writers that the Egyptians of olden time embroidered as skilfully as those of the Middle Ages. The surcoats given by Amasis, one to the Lacedaemonians, and the other to the temple of Athena at Lindos, were of linen embroidered with figures of animals in gold thread and purple, each thread consisting of three hundred and sixty-five distinct filaments. To go back to a still earlier period, the monumental tableaux show portraits of the Pharaohs wearing garments with borders, either woven or embroidered, or done in applique work. The most simple patterns consist of one or more stripes of brilliant colour parallel with the edge of the material. Elsewhere we see palm patterns, or rows of discs and points, leaf-patterns, meanders, and even, here and there, figures of men, gods, or animals, worked most probably with the needle. None of the textile materials yet found upon royal mummies are thus decorated; we are therefore unable to pronounce upon the quality of this work, or the method employed in its production. Once only, upon the body of one of the Deir el Baharí princesses, did I find a royal cartouche embroidered in pale rose-colour. The Egyptians of the best periods seem to have attached special value to plain stuffs, and especially to white ones. These they wove with marvellous skill, and upon looms in every respect identical with those used in tapestry work. Those portions of the winding sheet of Thothmes III. which enfolded the royal hands and arms, are as fine as the finest India muslin, and as fairly merit the name of “woven air” as the gauzes of the island of Cos. This, of course, is a mere question of manufacture, apart from the domain of art. Embroideries and tapestries were not commonly used in Egypt till about the end of the Persian period, or the beginning of the period of Greek rule. Alexandria became partly peopled by Phoenician, Syrian, and Jewish colonists, who brought with them the methods of manufacture peculiar to their own countries, and founded workshops which soon developed into flourishing establishments. It is to the Alexandrians that Pliny ascribes the invention of weaving with several warps, thus producing the stuff called brocades (polymita); and in the time of the first Caesars, it was a recognised fact that “the needle of Babylon was henceforth surpassed by the comb of the Nile.” The Alexandrian tapestries were not made after exclusively geometrical designs, like the products of the old Egyptian looms; but, according to the testimony of the ancients, were enriched with figures of animals, and even of men. Of the masterpieces which adorned the palaces of the Ptolemies no specimens remain. Many fragments which may be attributed to the later Roman time have, however, been found in Egypt, such as the piece with the boy and goose described by Wilkinson, and a piece representing marine divinities bought by myself at Coptos. The numerous embroidered winding sheets with woven borders which have recently been discovered near Ekhmim, and in the Fayum, are nearly all from Coptic tombs, and are more nearly akin to Byzantine art than to the art of Egypt.


The Egyptians classified metals under two headsnamely, the noble metals, as gold, electrum, and silver; and the base metals, as copper, iron, lead, and, at a later period, tin. The two lists are divided by the mention of certain kinds of precious stones, such as lapis lazuli and malachite.

Iron was reserved for weapons of war, and tools, in use for hard substances, such as sculptors’ and masons’ chisels, axe and adze heads, knife-blades, and saws. Lead was comparatively useless, but was sometimes used for inlaying temple-doors, coffers, and furniture. Also small statuettes of gods were occasionally made in this metal, especially those of Osiris and Anubis. Copper was too yielding to be available for objects in current use; bronze, therefore, was the favourite metal of the Egyptians. Though often affirmed, it is not true that they succeeded in tempering bronze so that it became as hard as iron or steel; but by varying the constituents and their relative proportions, they were able to give it a variety of very different qualities. Most of the objects hitherto analysed have yielded precisely the same quantities of copper and tin commonly used by the bronze founders of the present day. Those analysed by Vauquelin in 1825 contained 84 per cent. of copper 14 per cent. of tin, and 1 per cent. of iron and other substances. A chisel brought from Egypt by Sir Gardner Wilkinson contained only from 5 to 9 per cent. of tin, 1 per cent. of iron, and 94 of copper. Certain fragments of statuettes and mirrors more recently subjected to analysis have yielded a notable quantity of gold and silver, thus corresponding with the bronzes of Corinth. Other specimens resemble brass, both in their colour and substance. Many of the best Egyptian bronzes offer a surprising resistance to damp, and oxidise with difficulty. While yet hot from the mould, they were rubbed with some kind of resinous varnish which filled up the pores and deposited an unalterable patina upon the surface. Each kind of bronze had its special use. The ordinary bronze was employed for weapons and common amulets; the brazen alloys served for household utensils; the bronzes mixed with gold and silver were destined only for mirrors, costly weapons, and statuettes of value. In none of the tomb-paintings which I have seen is there any representation of bronze-founding or bronze-working; but this omission is easily supplemented by the objects themselves. Tools, arms, rings, and cheap vases were sometimes forged, and sometimes cast whole in moulds of hard clay or stone. Works of art were cast in one or several pieces according to circumstances; the parts were then united, soldered, and retouched with the burin. The method most frequently employed was to prepare a core of mixed clay and charcoal, or sand, which roughly reproduced the modelling of the mould into which it was introduced. The layer of metal between this core and the mould was often so thin that it would have yielded to any moderate pressure, had they not taken the precaution to consolidate it by having the core for a support.

Domestic utensils and small household instruments were mostly made in bronze. Such objects are exhibited by thousands in our museums, and frequently figure in bas-reliefs and mural paintings. Art and trade were not incompatible in Egypt; and even the coppersmith sought to give elegance of form, and to add ornaments in a good style, to the humblest of his works. The saucepan in which the cook of Rameses III. concocted his masterpieces is supported on lions’ feet. Here is a hot-water jug which looks as if it were precisely like its modern successors ; but on a closer examination we shall find that the handle is a full-blown lotus, the petals, which are bent over at an angle to the stalk, resting against the edge of the neck . The handles of knives and spoons are almost always in the form of a duck’s or goose’s neck, slightly curved. The bowl is sometimes fashioned like an animalas, for instance, a gazelle ready bound for the sacrifice . On the hilt of a sabre we find a little crouching jackal; and the larger limb of a pair of scissors in the Gizeh Museum is made in the likeness of an Asiatic captive, his arms tied behind his back. A lotus leaf forms the disk of a mirror, and its stem is the handle. One perfume box is a fish, another is a bird, another is a grotesque deity. The lustration vases, or situlae, carried by priests and priestesses for the purpose of sprinkling either the faithful, or the ground traversed by religious processions, merit the special consideration of connoisseurs. They are ovoid or pointed at the bottom, and decorated with subjects either chased or in relief. These sometimes represent deities, each in a separate frame, and sometimes scenes of worship. The work is generally very minute.

Bronze came into use for statuary purposes from a very early period; but time unfortunately has preserved none of those idols which peopled the temples of the ancient empire. Whatsoever may be said to the contrary, we possess no bronze statuettes of any period anterior to the expulsion of the Hyksos. Some Theban figures date quite certainly from the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Dynasties. The chased lion’s head found with the jewels of Queen Aahhotep, the Harpocrates of Gizeh inscribed with the names of Kames and Ahmes I., and several statuettes of Amen, said to have been discovered at Medinet Habu and Sheikh Abd el Gurneh, are of that period. Our most important bronzes belong, however, to the Twenty-second Dynasty, or, later still, to the time of the Saite Pharaohs. Many are not older than the first Ptolemies. A fragment found in the ruins of Tanis and now in the possession of Count Stroganoff, formed part of a votive statue dedicated by King Pisebkhanu. It was originally two-thirds the size of life, and is the largest specimen known. A portrait statuette of the Lady Takushet, given to the Museum of Athens by M. Demetrio, the four statuettes from the Posno collection now at the Louvre, and the kneeling genius of Gizeh, are all from the site of Bubastis, and date probably from the years which immediately preceded the accession of Psammetichus I. The Lady Takushet is standing, the left foot advanced, the right arm hanging down, the left raised and brought close to the body . She wears a short robe embroidered with religious subjects, and has bracelets on her arms and wrists. Upon her head she has a wig with flat curls, row above row. The details both of her robe and jewels are engraved in incised lines upon the surface of the bronze, and inlaid with silver threads. The face is evidently a portrait, and represents a woman of mature age. The form, according to the traditions of Egyptian art, is that of a younger woman, slender, firm, and supple. The copper in this bronze is largely intermixed with gold, thus producing a chastened lustre which is admirably suited to the richness of the embroidered garment. The kneeling genius of Gizeh is as rude and repellent as the Lady Takushet is delicate and harmonious. He has a hawk’s head, and he worships the sun, as is the duty of the Heliopolitan genii. His right arm is uplifted, his left is pressed to his breast. The style of the whole is dry, and the granulated surface of the skin adds to the hard effect of the figure. The action, however, is energetic and correct, and the bird’s head is adjusted with surprising skill to the man’s neck and shoulders. The same qualities and the same faults distinguish the Horus of the Posno collection . Standing, he uplifted a libation vase; now lost, and poured the contents upon a king who once stood face to face with him. This roughness of treatment is less apparent in the other three Posno figures; above all in that which bears the name of Mosu engraved over the place of the heart . Like the Horus, this Mosu stands upright, his left foot advanced, and his left arm pendent. His right hand is raised, as grasping the wand of office. The trunk is naked, and round his loins he wears a striped cloth with a squared end falling in front. His head is clad in a short wig covered with short curls piled one above the other. The ear is round and large. The eyes are well opened, and were originally of silver; but have been stolen by some Arab. The features have a remarkable expression of pride and dignity. After these, what can be said for the thousands of statuettes of Osiris, of Isis, of Nephthys, of Horus, of Nefertum, which have been found in the sands and ruins of Sakkarah, Bubastis, and other cities of the Delta? Many are, without doubt, charming objects for glass-cases, and are to be admired for perfection of casting and delicacy of execution; but the greater number are mere articles of commerce, made upon the same pattern, and perhaps in the self-same moulds, century after century, for the delight of devotees and pilgrims. They are rounded, vulgar, destitute of originality, and have no more distinction than the thousands of coloured statuettes of saints and Virgins which stock the shelves of our modern dealers in pious wares. An exception must, however, be made in favour of the images of animals, such as rams, sphinxes, and lions, which to the last retained a more pronounced stamp of individuality. The Egyptians had a special predilection for the feline race. They have represented the lion in every attitudegiving chase to the antelope; springing upon the hunter; wounded, and turning to bite his wound; couchant, and disdainfully calmand no people have depicted him with a more thorough knowledge of his habits, or with so intense a vitality. Several gods and goddesses, as Shu, Anhur, Bast, Sekhet, Tefnut, have the form of the lion or of the cat; and inasmuch as the worship of these deities was more popular in the Delta than elsewhere, so there never passes a year when from amid the ruins of Bubastis, Tanis, Mendes, or some less famous city, there is not dug up a store of little figures of lions and lionesses, or of men and women with lions’ heads, or cats’ heads. The cats of Bubastis and the lions of Tell es Seba crowd our museums. The lions of Horbeit may be reckoned among the chefs-d’oeuvre of Egyptian statuary. Upon one of the largest among them is inscribed the name of Apries ; but if even this evidence were lacking, the style of the piece would compel us to attribute it to the Saite period. It formed part of the ornamentation of a temple or naos door; and the other side was either built into a wall or imbedded in a piece of wood. The lion is caught in a trap, or, perhaps, lying down in an oblong cage, with only his head and fore feet outside. The lines of the body are simple and full of power; the expression of the face is calm and strong. In breadth and majesty he almost equals the fine limestone lions of Amenhotep III.

The idea of inlaying gold and other precious metals upon the surface of bronze, stone, or wood was already ancient in Egypt in the time of Khufu. The gold is often amalgamated with pure silver. When amalgamated to the extent of 20 per cent, it changes its name, and is called electrum (asimu). This electrum is of a fine light-yellow colour. It pales as the proportion of silver becomes larger, and at 60 per cent. it is nearly white. The silver came chiefly from Asia, in rings, sheets, and bricks of standard weight. The gold and electrum came partly from Syria in bricks and rings; and partly from the Soudan in nuggets and gold-dust. The processes of refining and alloying are figured on certain monuments of the early dynasties. In a bas-relief at Sakkarah, we see the weighed gold entrusted to the craftsman for working; in another example (at Beni Hasan) the washing and melting down of the ore is represented; and again at Thebes, the goldsmith is depicted seated in front of his crucible, holding the blow-pipe to his lips with the left hand, and grasping his pincers with the right, thus fanning the flame and at the same time making ready to seize the ingot . The Egyptians struck neither coins nor medals. With these exceptions, they made the same use of the precious metals as we do ourselves. We gild the crosses and cupolas of our churches; they covered the doors of their temples, the lower part of their wall-surfaces, certain bas-reliefs, pyramidions of obelisks, and even whole obelisks, with plates of gold. The obelisks of Queen Hatshepsut at Karnak were coated with electrum. “They were visible from both banks of the Nile, and when the sun rose between them as he came up from the heavenly horizon, they flooded the two Egypts with their dazzling rays." These plates of metal were forged with hammer and anvil. For smaller objects, they made use of little pellets beaten flat between two pieces of parchment. In the Museum of the Louvre we have a gilder’s book, and the gold-leaf which it contains is as thin as the gold-leaf used by the German goldsmiths of the past century. Gold was applied to bronze surfaces by means of an ammoniacal solvent. If the object to be gilt were a wooden statuette, the workman began by sticking a piece of fine linen all over the surface, or by covering it with a very thin coat of plaster; upon this he laid his gold or silver leaf. It was thus that wooden statuettes of Thoth, Horus, and Nefertum were gilded, from the time of Khufu. The temple of Isis, the “Lady of the Pyramid,” contained a dozen such images; and this temple was not one of the largest in the Memphite necropolis. There would seem to have been hundreds of gilded statues in the Theban temples, at all events in the time of the victorious dynasties of the new empire; and as regards wealth, the Ptolemaic sanctuaries were in no wise inferior to those of the Theban period.

Bronze and gilded wood were not always good enough for the gods of Egypt. They exacted pure gold, and their worshippers gave them as much of it as possible. Entire statues of the precious metals were dedicated by the kings of the ancient and middle empires; and the Pharaohs of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Dynasties, who drew at will upon the treasures of Asia, transcended all that had been done by their predecessors. Even in times of decadence, the feudal lords kept up the traditions of the past, and, like Prince Mentuemhat, replaced the images of gold and silver which had been carried off from Karnak by the generals of Sardanapalus at the time of the Assyrian invasions. The quantity of metal thus consecrated to the service of the gods must have been considerable, If many figures were less than an inch in height, many others measured three cubits, or more. Some were of gold, some of silver; others were part gold and part silver. There were even some which combined gold with sculptured ivory, ebony, and precious stones, thus closely resembling the chryselephantine statues of the Greeks. Aided by the bas-relief subjects of Karnak, Medinet Habu, and Denderah, as well as by the statues in wood and limestone which have come down to our day, we can tell exactly what they were like. However the material might vary, the style was always the same. Nothing is more perishable than works of this description. They are foredoomed to destruction by the mere value of the materials in which they are made. What civil war and foreign invasion had spared, and what had chanced to escape the rapacity of Roman princes and governors, fell a prey to Christian iconoclasm. A few tiny statuettes buried as amulets upon the bodies of mummies, a few domestic divinities buried in the ruins of private houses, a few ex-votos forgotten, perchance, in some dark corner of a fallen sanctuary, have escaped till the present day. The Ptah and Amen of Queen Aahhotep, another golden Amen also at Gizeh, and the silver vulture found in 1885 at Medinet Habu, are the only pieces of this kind which can be attributed with certainty to the great period of Egyptian art. The remainder are of Saite or Ptolemaic work, and are remarkable only for the perfection with which they are wrought. The gold and silver vessels used in the service of the temples, and in the houses of private persons, shared the fate of the statues. At the beginning of the present century, the Louvre acquired some flat-bottomed cups which Thothmes III. presented as the reward of valour to one of his generals named Tahuti. The silver cup is much mutilated, but the golden cup is intact and elegantly designed . The upright sides are adorned with a hieroglyphic legend. A central rosette is engraved at the bottom. Six fish are represented in the act of swimming round the rosette; and these again are surrounded by a border of lotus-bells united by a curved line. The five vases of Thmuis, in the Gizeh Museum, are of silver. They formed part of the treasure of the temple, and had been buried in a hiding-place, where they remained till our own day. We have no indication of their probable age; but whether they belong to the Greek or the Theban period, the workmanship is purely Egyptian. Of one vessel, only the cover is left, the handle being formed of two flowers upon one stem. The others are perfect, and are decorated in repousse work with lotus-lilies in bud and blossom .

The form is simple and elegant, the ornamentation sober and delicate; the relief low. One is, however, surrounded by a row of ovoid bosses , which project in high relief, and somewhat alter the shape of the body of the vase. These are interesting specimens; but they are so few in number that, were it not for the wall-paintings, we should have but a very imperfect idea of the skill of the Egyptian goldsmiths.

The Pharaohs had not our commercial resources, and could not circulate the gold and silver tribute-offerings of conquered nations in the form of coin. When the gods had received their share of the booty, there was no alternative but to melt the rest down into ingots, fashion it into personal ornaments, or convert it into gold and silver plate. What was true of the kings held good also for their subjects. For the space of at least six or eight centuries, dating from the time of Ahmes I., the taste for plate was carried to excess. Every good house was not only stocked with all that was needful for the service of the table, such as cups, goblets, plates, ewers, and ornamental baskets chased with figures of fantastic animals ; but also with large ornamental vases which were dressed with flowers, and displayed to visitors on gala days. Some of these vases were of extraordinary richness. Here, for instance, is a crater, the handles modelled as two papyrus buds, and the foot as a full-blown papyrus. Two Asiatic slaves in sumptuous garments are represented in the act of upheaving it with all their strength . Here, again, is a kind of hydria with a lid in the form of an inverted lotus flanked by the heads of two gazelles . The heads and necks of two horses, bridled and fully caparisoned, stand back to back on either side of the foot of the vase. The body is divided into a series of horizontal zones, the middle zone being in the likeness of a marshland, with an antelope coursing at full speed among the reeds. Two enamelled cruets have elaborately wrought lids, one fashioned as the head of a plumed eagle, and the other as the head of the god Bes flanked by two vipers . But foremost among them all is a golden centrepiece offered by a viceroy of Ethiopia to Amenhotep III. The design reproduces one of the most popular subjects connected with the foreign conquests of Egypt . Men and apes are seen gathering fruits in a forest of dom palms. Two natives, each with a single feather on his head and a striped kilt about his loins, lead tame giraffes with halters. Others, apparently of the same nationality, kneel with upraised hands, as if begging for quarter. Two negro prisoners lying face downwards upon the ground, lift their heads with difficulty. A large vase with a short foot and a lofty cone-shaped cover stands amid the trees. The craftsmen who made this piece evidently valued elegance and beauty less than richness. They cared little for the heavy effect and bad taste of the whole, provided only that they were praised for their skill, and for the quantity of metal which they had succeeded in using. Other vases of the same type, pictured in a scene of presentations to Rameses II. in the great temple of Abu Simbel, vary the subject by showing buffaloes running in and out among the trees, in place of led giraffes. These were costly playthings wrought in gold, such as the Byzantine emperors of the ninth century accumulated in their palace of Magnaura, and which they exhibited on state occasions in order to impress foreigners with a profound sense of their riches and power. When a victorious Pharaoh returned from a distant campaign, the vessels of gold and silver which formed part of his booty figured in the triumphal procession, together with his train of foreign captives. Vases in daily use were of slighter make and less encumbered with inconvenient ornaments. The two leopards which serve as handles to a crater of the time of Thothmes III. are not well proportioned, neither do they combine agreeably with the curves of the vase; but the accompanying cup , and a cruet belonging to the same service , are very happily conceived, and have much purity of form. These vessels of engraved and repousse gold and silver, some representing hunting scenes and incidents of battle, were imitated by Phoenician craftsmen, and, being exported to Asia Minor, Greece, and Italy, carried Egyptian patterns and subjects into distant lands. The passion for precious metals was pushed to such extremes under the reigns of the Ramessides that it was no longer enough to use them only at table.

Rameses II. and Rameses III. had thrones of goldnot merely of wood plated with gold, but made of the solid metal and set with precious stones. These things were too valuable to escape destruction, and were the first to disappear. Their artistic value, however, by no means equalled their intrinsic value, and the loss is not one for which we need be inconsolable.

Orientals, men and women alike, are great lovers of jewellery. The Egyptians were no exception to this rule. Not satisfied to adorn themselves when living with a profusion of trinkets, they loaded the arms, the fingers, the neck, the ears, the brow, and the ankles of their dead with more or less costly ornaments. The quantity thus buried in tombs was so considerable that even now, after thirty centuries of active search, we find from time to time mummies which are, so to say, cuirassed in gold. Much of this funerary jewellery was made merely for show on the day of the funeral, and betrays its purpose by the slightness of the workmanship. The favourite jewels of the deceased person were, nevertheless, frequently buried with him, and the style and finish of these leave nothing to be desired. Chains and rings have come down to us in large numbers, as indeed might be expected. The ring, in fact, was not a simple ornament, but an actual necessary. Official documents were not signed, but sealed; and the seal was good in law. Every Egyptian, therefore, had his seal, which he kept about his person, ready for use if required. The poor man’s seal was a simple copper or silver ring; the ring of the rich man was a more or less elaborate jewel covered with chasing and relief work. The bezel was movable, and turned upon a pivot. It was frequently set with some kind of stone engraved with the owner’s emblem or device; as, for example, a scorpion , a lion, a hawk, or a cynocephalous ape. As in the eyes of her husband his ring was the one essential ornament, so was her necklace in the estimation of the Egyptian lady. I have seen a chain in silver which measured sixty-three inches in length. Others, on the contrary, do not exceed two, or two and a half inches. They are of all sizes and patterns, some consisting of two or three twists, some of large links, some of small links, some massive and heavy, others as light and flexible as the finest Venetian filigree. The humblest peasant girl, as well as the lady of highest rank, might have her necklet; and the woman must be poor indeed whose little store comprised no other ornament. No mere catalogue of bracelets, diadems, collarettes, or insignia of nobility could give an idea of the number and variety of jewels known to us by pictured representations or existing specimens. Pectorals of gold cloisonne work inlaid with vitreous paste or precious stones, and which bear the cartouches of Amenemhat II., Usertesen II., and Usertesen III. , exhibit a marvellous precision of taste, lightness of touch, and dexterity of fine workmanship. So fresh and delicate are they we forget that the royal ladies to whom they belonged have been dead, and their bodies stiffened and disfigured into mummies, for nearly five thousand years. At Berlin may be seen the parure of an Ethiopian Candace; at the Louvre we have the jewels of Prince Psar; at Gizeh are preserved the ornaments of Queen Aahhotep. Aahhotep was the wife of Kames, a king of the Seventeenth Dynasty, and she was probably the mother of Ahmes I., first king of the Eighteenth Dynasty. Her mummy had been stolen by one of the robber bands which infested the Theban necropolis towards the close of the Twentieth Dynasty. They buried the royal corpse till such time as they might have leisure to despoil it in safety; and they were most likely seized and executed before they could carry that pretty little project into effect. The secret of their hiding-place perished with them, till discovered in 1860 by some Arab diggers. Most of the objects which this queen took with her into the next world were exclusively women’s gear; as a fan-handle plated with gold, a bronze-gilt mirror mounted upon an ebony handle enriched with a lotus in chased gold . Her bracelets are of various types. Some are anklets and armlets, and consist merely of plain gold rings, both solid and hollow, bordered with plaited chainwork in imitation of filigree. Others are for wearing on the wrist, like the bracelets of modern ladies, and are made of small beads in gold, lapis lazuli, carnelian, and green felspar. These are strung on gold wire in a chequer pattern, each square divided diagonally in halves of different colours. Two gold plates, very lightly engraved with the cartouches of Ahmes I., are connected by means of a gold pin, and form the fastening. A fine bracelet in the form of two semicircles joined by a hinge , also bears the name of Ahmes I. The make of this jewel reminds us of cloisonne enamels. Ahmes kneels in the presence of the god Seb and his acolytes, the genii of Sop and Khonu.

The figures and hieroglyphs are cut out in solid gold, delicately engraved with the burin, and stand in relief upon a ground-surface filled in with pieces of blue paste and lapis lazuli artistically cut. A bracelet of more complicated workmanship, though of inferior execution, was found on the wrist of the queen . It is of massive gold, and consists of three parallel bands set with turquoises. On the front a vulture is represented with outspread wings, the feathers composed of green enamel, lapis lazuli, and carnelian, set in “cloisons” of gold. The hair of the mummy was drawn through a massive gold diadem, scarcely as large as a bracelet. The name of Ahmes is incrusted in blue paste upon an oblong plaque in the centre, flanked at each side by two little sphinxes which seem as if in the act of keeping watch over the inscription . Round her neck was a large flexible gold chain, finished at each end by a goose’s head reversed. These heads could be linked one in the other, when the chain needed to be fastened. The scarabaeus pendant to this chain is incrusted upon the shoulder and wing-sheaths with blue glass paste rayed with gold, the legs and body being in massive gold. The royal parure was completed by a large collar of the kind known as the Usekh . It is finished at each end with a golden hawk’s head inlaid with blue enamel, and consists of rows of scrolls, four-petalled fleurettes, hawks, vultures, winged uraei, crouching jackals, and figures of antelopes pursued by tigers. The whole of these ornaments are of gold repousse work, and they were sewn upon the royal winding sheet by means of a small ring soldered to the back of each. Upon the breast, below this collar, hung a square jewel of the kind known as “pectoral ornaments” . The general form is that of a naos, or shrine. Ahmes stands upright in a papyrus-bark, between Amen and Ra, who pour the water of purification upon his head and body. Two hawks hover to right and left of the king, above the heads of the gods. The figures are outlined in cloisons of gold, and these were filled in with little plaques of precious stones and enamel, many of which have fallen out. The effect of this piece is somewhat heavy, and if considered apart from the rest of the parure, its purpose might seem somewhat obscure. In order to form a correct judgment, we have, however, to remember in what fashion the women of ancient Egypt were clad. They wore a kind of smock of semi-transparent material, which came very little higher than the waist. The chest and bosom, neck and shoulders, were bare; and the one garment was kept in place by only a slender pair of braces. The rich clothed these uncovered parts with jewellery. The Usekh collar half hid the shoulders and chest. The pectoral masked the hollow between the breasts. Sometimes even the breasts were covered with two golden cups, either painted or enamelled. Besides the jewels found upon the mummy of Queen Aahhotep, a number of arms and amulets were heaped inside her coffin; namely, three massive gold flies hanging from a slender chain; nine small hatchets, three of gold and six of silver; a golden lion’s head of very minute workmanship; a wooden sceptre set in gold spirals; two anklets; and two poignards. One of these poignards has a golden sheath and a wooden hilt inlaid with triangular mosaics of carnelian, lapis lazuli, felspar, and gold. Four female heads in gold repousse form the pommel; and a bull’s head reversed covers the junction of blade and hilt. The edges of the blade are of massive gold; the centre of black bronze damascened with gold. On one side is the solar cartouche of Ahmes, below which a lion pursues a bull, the remaining space being filled in with four grasshoppers in a row. On the other side we have the family name of Ahmes and a series of full-blown flowers issuing one from another and diminishing towards the point. A poignard found at Mycenae by Dr. Schliemann is similarly decorated; the Phoenicians, who were industrious copyists of Egyptian models, probably introduced this pattern into Greece. The second poignard is of a make not uncommon to this day in Persia and India . The blade is of yellowish bronze fixed into a disk-shaped hilt of silver. When wielded, this lenticular disk fits to the hollow of the hand, the blade coming between the first and second fingers. Of what use, it may be asked, were all these weapons to a woman and a dead woman? To this we may reply that the other world was peopled with foesTyphonian genii, serpents, gigantic scorpions, tortoises, monsters of every descriptionagainst which it was incessantly needful to do battle. The poignards placed inside the coffin for the self-defence of the soul were useful only for fighting at close quarters; certain weapons of a projectile kind were therefore added, such as bows and arrows, boomerangs made in hard wood, and a battle-axe. The handle of this axe is fashioned of cedar-wood covered with sheet gold . The legend of Ahmes is inlaid thereon in characters of lapis lazuli, carnelian, turquoise, and green felspar. The blade is fixed in a cleft of the wood, and held in place by a plait-work of gold wire. It is of black bronze, formerly gilt. On one side, it is ornamented with lotus flowers upon a gold ground; on the other, Ahmes is represented in the act of slaying a barbarian, whom he grasps by the hair of the head. Beneath this group, Mentu, the Egyptian war-god, is symbolised by a griffin with the head of an eagle. In addition to all these objects, there were two small boats, one in gold and one in silver, emblematic of the bark in which the mummy must cross the river to her last home, and of that other bark in which she would ultimately navigate the waters of the West, in company with the immortal gods. When found, the silver boat rested upon a wooden truck with four bronze wheels; but as it was in a very dilapidated state, it has been dismounted and replaced by the golden boat . The hull is long and slight, the prow and stem are elevated, and terminate in gracefully-curved papyrus blossoms. Two little platforms surrounded by balustrades on a panelled ground are at the prow and on the poop, like quarter-decks. The pilot stands upon the one, and the steersman before the other, with a large oar in his hand. This oar takes the place of the modern helm. Twelve boatmen in solid silver are rowing under the orders of these two officers; Kames himself being seated in the centre, hatchet and sceptre in hand. Such were some of the objects buried with one single mummy; and I have even now enumerated only the most remarkable among them. The technical processes throughout are irreproachable, and the correct taste of the craftsman is in no wise inferior to his dexterity of hand. Having arrived at the perfection displayed in the parure of Aahhotep, the goldsmith’s art did not long maintain so high a level. The fashions changed, and jewellery became heavier in design. The ring of Rameses II., with his horses standing upon the bezel , and the bracelet of Prince Psar, with his griffins and lotus flowers in cloisonne enamel , both in the Louvre, are less happily conceived than the bracelets of Ahmes. The craftsmen who made these ornaments were doubtless as skilful as the craftsmen of the time of Queen Aahhotep, but they had less taste and less invention. Rameses II. was condemned either to forego the pleasure of wearing his ring, or to see his little horses damaged and broken off by the least accident. Already noticeable in the time of the Nineteenth Dynasty, this decadence becomes more marked as we approach the Christian era. The earrings of Rameses IX. in the Gizeh Museum are an ungraceful assemblage of filigree disks, short chains, and pendent uraei, such as no human ear could have carried without being torn, or pulled out of shape. They were attached to each side of the wig upon the head of the mummy. The bracelets of the High Priest Pinotem III., found upon his mummy, are mere round rings of gold incrusted with pieces of coloured glass and carnelian, like those still made by the Soudanese blacks. The Greek invasion began by modifying the style of Egyptian gold-work, and ended by gradually substituting Greek types for native types. The jewels of an Ethiopian queen, purchased from Ferlini by the Berlin Museum, contained not only some ornaments which might readily have been attributed to Pharaonic times, but others of a mixed style in which Hellenic influences are distinctly traceable. The treasure discovered at Zagazig in 1878, at Keneh in 1881, and at Damanhur in 1882, consisted of objects having nothing whatever in common with Egyptian traditions. They comprise hairpins supporting statuettes of Venus, zone-buckles, agraffes for fastening the peplum, rings and bracelets set with cameos, and caskets ornamented at the four corners with little Ionic columns. The old patterns, however, were still in request in remote provincial places, and village goldsmiths adhered “indifferent well” to the antique traditions of their craft. Their city brethren had meanwhile no skill to do aught but make clumsy copies of Greek and Roman originals.

In this rapid sketch of the industrial arts there are many lacunae. When referring to examples, I have perforce limited myself to such as are contained in the best-known collections. How many more might not be discovered if one had leisure to visit provincial museums, and trace what the hazard of sales may have dispersed through private collections! The variety of small monuments due to the industry of ancient Egypt is infinite, and a methodical study of those monuments has yet to be made. It is a task which promises many surprises to whomsoever shall undertake it.