Ancient Egyptian art is characterized by precision and order. Whether in the tombs of the great pharaohs or the ancient libraries of Alexandria, one sees ultra-organized columns and rows in all of the artistic depictions of the ancient Egyptians. Egyptian artists of antiquity used various tools to create their chronicles of life in Egypt.
Cave Walls and Stones Were Their Canvases
The earliest Egyptian art is found carved on rocks and stones. Whether in cave walls later used as burial vaults or exposed rock formations, Egyptians etched their artistic depictions. Various sharp stones or pottery shards were used to dig the etchings into the rock canvas.
Clays, Minerals, and Charcoal Were Mixed for Paints
The dry, arid climate of Egypt provided a good environment for clay soil, minerals, and charcoals to thrive. These were the raw materials used to provide Egyptian artists with paint in various earth tones. Where the vibrant blues and yellows typical of the period came from is less clear, but some sort of mortar and pestle grinding process is likely. Egyptologists have also determined that each color had symbolic meaning.
Papyrus Was Their Paper
As early as 3000 B.C., Egyptians figured out how to use Cyperus papyrus, a long reedy plant, to make paper. Plentiful in particularly wet portions of the Nile delta, papyrus was used for both artistic and recording purposes. In addition to their own uses for papyrus, Egyptians began exporting it to other countries, which were not able to produce a comparable alternative.
Reeds Were Their Brushes
The heads of reeds and wheat were what the ancient Egyptians used most often as their paint brushes. The various sized heads on such stems would determine the thickness and texture of each stroke or application. Other brushes were made of wood and stick with sufficiently frayed ends to apply the paints to walls or even decorative pottery.
Toby Jones has been a writer since 1981. He has written sports articles and sermons, as well as two books, "The Gospel According to Rock" and "The Way of Jesus." Jones also teaches writing at preparatory schools and colleges. He has a Bachelor of Arts in English from DePauw University and a Master of Divinity from Princeton University.