Perceptual and Conceptual Art in Ancient Egypt



Egyptian contemporary society used significant parts of their earthly existence preparing for eternity, demonstrated a determination and passion that is unsurpassed by other civilizations (D’Auria, Lacovara, Roehrig; 2000, p.55). By making the necessary material and magical preparations within their sepulchre individuals in positions of authority prepared for eternal life-after-death.


The physical structure, as a place of offering, was central to the individual’s continuing eternal existence and most importantly it was a host for the invocations which would guarantee utopian life-after-death even if the tomb became untended by relatives or Ka-priests. Egyptians believed that saying or recording a thing (especially a person’s name) made something happen or become extant in the after-life and evocations were expressed within highly codified tomb scenes – focused on the false-door.


Tomb scenes followed established conventions; the canonical form was conceptual and, although they possess artistic merit, was magical in form and function.


Conceptual and Perceptual

LeWitt (1967), a renowned Conceptual artist, wrote that Conceptual (thought) and Perceptual (sensory) Art have contradictory principles and objectives. Modern artistic interpretation of these styles, which has a tenuous association with Ancient Egypt, is highly subjective and definitions are broad. Art created primarily for the sensation of the eye is Perceptual. Perceptual art depicts the subject-matter realistically - like a photograph or snapshot-in-time - and is how we would actually perceive it in “real life”. Art that depicts the subject more symbolically or abstractly and conveys a concept or idea is classified Conceptual. It is ancillary to the primary rationale if compositions are appreciated for creative skill and artistry. LeWitt (1967) stated that the “… idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work” and that “… the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair. LeWitt stresses that conceptual composition is less dependant on the expression of skill by an artist and ‘simply’ an execution by a craftsman.


Figure-1 demonstrates Conceptual and Perceptual representations within children’s pictures, something that Schäfer also articulated. The top picture is a conceptual image of a family, with identifying text and encoded artefacts associated with the individuals - it is a child’s view of their immediate ‘world’. The bottom picture uses perspective (the term "foreshortening" is often used synonymously with perspective, Wikipedia) to imply depth and the third-dimension - shading implies depth or contours – and is intended to be artistically pleasing.


Lively (1987, p.31) articulated the challenge saying “Because I cannot shed my skin and put on yours, cannot strip my mind of its knowledge and its prejudices, cannot look cleanly at the world with the eyes of a child, am as imprisoned by my time as you were by yours”.


It is ironic that after thousands of years of developing foreshortening as ‘the’ high-art form of the three-dimensional medium some modern artists have re-embraced Conceptual art. This movement has a similarity to the Ancient Egyptian technique of representing on a flat ‘canvas’ things that in reality have depth (Schäfer, 2002, p.80).


Function, not form

An elite non-royal tomb, defined by Van Walsem (2005, p.29), is an architectural complex that is connected with mortal remains and was provided with decoration (iconography and/or text). David (1975, p.66) says that the tomb was regarded as a ‘house’ where the owner would spend eternity doing the pleasurable activities that were recorded within wall scenes and “by a process of sympathetic magic, sought to secure for themselves a prosperous and pleasant hereafter”. Panofsky (1997, p.43) rhetorically asked why Ancients didn’t evolve a “truly exact and systematic construction of space” and David replies that the “funerary and religious art was utilitarian; it was not regarded as a method of tomb decoration”. David (1998, p.74) also explained that the tomb was a place were daily offerings of food and drink were brought to “sustain the spirit or Ka of the deceased”.


Robins (1990, p.7) explained that Egyptians “did not compose ‘art for art’s sake’ but to fulfill specific functions”. Scenes were for ritual purposes and depicted an idealized image of the owner, and other actual people, in the “world of the dead and the gods”. Scenes were intended to sustain the owner should the daily offerings stop and to provide an external environment matching the owner’s desire. Kemp (2006, p.136) adds that they “portrayed reality within frames of reference taken from a world of myth and ideals” and that scenes were selected to create a idealized and perfect world of banquets, hunting and overseeing the management of plentiful estates and contented workers.


From the “beginning of Dynastic Period” Egyptians followed a single and distinctive style of religious art (Robins, 1990, p.11) including text and encoded material to present the viewer with an immediate understanding that was both comprehensible and unambiguous. The view is totally independent of time and space - foreshortening was not allowed to distort the image or interrupt its conceptual message. The Greek technique of foreshortening, and the adoption of a single viewpoint for the total composition, (Robins, p.11) was “irrelevant to its purpose” and Egyptian Art was “conceptual rather than purely perceptual”.


Originality and Style

The question of originality within tomb scenes is raised by Van Walsem (2005, p.34) where he asks if the design originates from a single concept and if it’s possible that a ‘pattern book’ existed to select from and for artisans to reproduce. Each tomb appears unique - suggesting that the selection of designs was personal and dependant on factors such as artistic ability, location, chronological factors, wall-space and other ‘reference’ designs (say in local tombs), Van Walsem (2005, p.51). The selection of scenes/themes could be chosen freely with the exception of the offering table – which was essential for religious and cult purposes.


Scenes of idyllic county life, as Kemp (2006, p.136) says, are not truly accurate because a mature urban framework existed by the Old Kingdom and most Egyptians would have lived within a conurbation and that “this had no part in dreams of an ideal world, which was that of a peaceful agrarian living”. Periods of famine/plagues, civil-disruptions, floods/droughts and unpleasant elements of life (such as illness/arguments/poverty/unhappiness) are rare in the tomb where utopian ‘eternal life’ was deliberately designed.


Conceptual art in the tomb

Arnold (1999, p.11) states that “the essence of Old Kingdom art is joy in life” and that “men and women are predominantly rendered as young, vigorous and beautiful”. This was manifested on the flat surfaces; scenes were typically displayed in two-dimensions. Boxes, for example, are shown side-on with no sides/top and important contents are shown atop the box in profile. Robins (1990, p.11) explains that objects with breadth and little depth, like a scribal palette, were generally shown from above (Figure-2).


The Tomb

The necropolis of Memphis, the Old Kingdom’s capital, stretches 30km along the Nile including Abu-Rawash, Giza, Zawyet el-‘Aryan, Abu Ghurab, Abusir, Dahshur and Saqqara (Daoud, 2006, p.2). Saqqara is 6km long and has extensive individual’s cemeteries and was used from the pre-dynastic period and for the following 3,000 years.


Mariette recorded D.64 in the 1850s at Saqqara, which was further recorded between the 1860’s and 1900’s. It is located 300m north-west of the Step Pyramid (Figure-3.1-3.4). It has a standard mastaba design measuring 80½’ by 63’ with an inward 1:20 slope and was constructed of limestone blocks faced with fine Tura limestone (Quibell, 1898, p.25).


The sepulcher contained Ptah-Hotep II and his son Akhti-Hotep. The name Ptah-Hotep was “fairly common” and used by other individuals buried at Saqqara, Davies (1901, Part-2, p.21), hence the suffix of II.


The tomb (Figure-4.1-4.2) is dated to the end of the 5th-Dynasty using inscriptions on the East and South walls of Ptah-Hotep’s chapel and also from the west wall of Akhti-Hotep’s chapel. Inscriptions report that they both held the title Chief Priest of the Pyramid cities of Ny-user-Re (c.2445-2421 BC), Men-Kau-Hor (c.2421-2414 BC) and Djed-Ka-Re Isesi (c. 2414-2375 BC). This dates (Shaw, 2002, p.480) the tomb to 39-years between 2414-2375 BC (it is possible the title relates to Isesi’s mortuary-cult). There is no indication of how long the tomb took to build but two of the builders are known from inscriptions:


East/West walls 17’5”

North/South walls 7’2”

Ceiling 12’5” high - lower 3’ limestone, upper 9’5” Tura limestone

4402 feet of carved reliefs


East/South walls have upward sloping ceiling level holes linking to the Mastaba roof – their position would illuminate the false-doors. There may have been religious purpose, such as a route for the Ba () to access the terrestrial world.


The carved area of the focal west wall is constructed from two massive limestone slabs. Other walls are made using small poorer quality slabs. The ceiling is formed by two limestone slabs grooved to represent traverse palm logs, which were painted dark-red.


Presentation of Information, Techniques and Colours

The southern false-door of Ptah-Hotep is an example of the efforts that craftsmen applied to construct the “house of life”. The door protrudes 8” into the chapel and was created by carving into the surface of a slab (8’ by 9’) until the door was formed.


Reliefs are based on an isolating composition where separate, although physically contiguous, vinaigrettes are largely independent of another (Wolff, 1972, p.69). Wall scenes were divided into a number of horizontally stacked registers, ‘grounded’ by a distinct baseline which all figure are firmly placed. Robins (1990, p.18) explained that registers are neutral in relation to space and time and didn’t intend to indicate relationships between the different scenes or to imply depth by being physically higher than another. The scenes are often loosely related by theme and scenes may be repeated.


Pictorial and symbolic colour was a critical to the convention of scenes (Davies, 2001, p.XIII); artists who were able to apply artistic flexibility and dexterity used a small range of polychrome colours (red/yellow/blue/green/black/white) and Robins (1990, p.23) writes they were “derived from mineral pigments” which explains how they have remained bright and vibrant. Some blending of colours was used, e.g. the background of Ptah-Hotep’s chapel is dull grey. Strongly symbolic colours were within a convention (Wolff, 1972, p.69); vegetation/green, water/blue, males/reddish-brown, noble-women/white. Davies (2005, p.XV) stresses that the scenes were “designed to be seen and admired” as well has being achieving their spiritual objectives.


Griffith inspected Ptah-Hotep’s chapel in 1898 (Quibell, p.25) and he reported sadly that when the mastaba was first discovered the walls “were still exquisitely coloured” and the taking of “casts and wet squeezes has irretrievably robbed us of half the beauty and interests of the tomb”. Only the false-doors retained their colour because they are painted and not in relief carving.


Figure-5 demonstrates the intensity as it might have originally appeared and combined with the deep-red roof to construct a powerful and polarized message.


Canon of Proportion

Egyptians reproduced the third-dimension on a flat surface within a ‘rule’ or ‘Canon of Proportion’ and Iversen (1955, p.15) wrote that the height and width have “a definite geometrical relation to one another” (Figure-6).


David (1998, p.82) remarks that proportions of the human body are constantly in relation to each other and, as Iversen added, the “standardization of these natural proportions was used as … the system of linear measurement throughout Egypt”. The small cubit (0.45m) was the measure used in everyday purposes and Iversen (1955, p.20) records this as “the length of the forearm from the elbow to the tip of the thumb outstretched” (Figure-6.1).


For standing figures; a grid of 18 equal parts, from the base-line to hair-line, was used into which the parts of the human form were added (four-times the small cubit). Robins (1994, p.36) adds that the critical lines corresponded to grids 6-9-12-15-18 and correlate to the knee-buttock-elbow-armpit-hairline - Schäfer (2002, p.333) agrees saying that “Not only are the … lines of the helping framework always in the same proportions” they “always intersect with the body at the same points”.


By adjusting the size of a grid to ‘fit’ the available space it was possible to consistently reproduce an image of a person (Robins extends this to sitting figures which used a grid of 14 equal parts).


The 18-grid is primarily used to create representations of the tomb owner; Iversen (1955, p.31) stresses that it was “considered essential that they should conform in detail with the canon”.


Conventions for the Human form

Tomb scenes were carefully designed to show not what people saw perceptually but what they conceptually believed to be true – this image was then brought to life magically for eternity (David, 1975, p.67). Scenes “adhered to certain preconceived artistic forms and rules – so much so that ‘Egyptian’ has been used to characterize any highly stylized, iconic art”, Arnold (1999, p.13).


Each part of the human body was presented its most informative aspect. David, Arnold and Robins agree that the head, arms, legs and feet are presented in profile; one-eye and eye-brow, navel, shoulders and hands are shown from the front. Although physically impossible the image does present an image that is understandable (Figure-7). Arnold (1999, p.14) also adds that the torso “appeared in a combination of frontal and profile views in order to effect a transition between the other views”.


The convention used to depict the tomb owner can differ from that used for other individuals. The re-creation of physical activities doesn’t extend to the deceased who is usually shown in a “passive role, watching rather than doing”, Malek (2002, p.129) and is often looking towards the tomb’s entrance. David (1975, p.68) explains that a son may be encoded by the side-lock of youth and is typically depicted significantly smaller than his father. From the titles associated with Ptah-Hotep’s children they must have been adults when the tomb was decorated. David emphasizes that the size of figures indicates status and not perspective. In any scene the largest figure is the most important (Figure-6). The tomb owner and other important figures were “rendered as young, vigorous and beautiful”, Arnold (1999, p.11) while other less important figures are shown more honestly but still within established conventions (Figure-8.1-8.2).


Schäfer (2002, p.299) captures the essence saying “figures should never be judged as human forms comprehended in one glance. Such a view does not do justice to the artist’s intention” which are “exemplifications of the ‘vision’”.


Hands and Feet

Representations of hands and feet can seem confused (Figure-9).


The convention for feet was that the same foot attached to both left and right legs and was the hieroglyph rd for ‘foot’ (Robins, 1990, p.14); for left facing figures it is the right foot and for right facing figure the left (the rear leg is always extended). Schäfer (2002, p.295) wrote that the arch of the foot is recorded although it could only be seen on the inside of one foot and “both arches cannot be seen at once”. Rare representations (see author’s image of Redine’s false-door) deviate from this standard and can be less than visually successful.


Flexibility was required for hands, based on the hieroglyph drt for ‘hand’, represented open-handed from the back (showing the nails) or clenched from either the back or front (Robins, 1990, p.14).


Scenes with a staff/sceptre needed flexibility to maintain the structure of the image and simultaneously support the convention that the staff was held in the rear hand and that the near hand held the sceptre. The two rightmost images from Ptah-Hotep’s false-door demonstrate the creativity required to preserve the message; the sceptre/arm disappear behind the torso and hands are presented in physically impossible positions. This blend of canonical form and practical solution presents a clear and repeatable concept; Schäfer (2002, p.299) summarizes that the “representation of the hand … does not seem arbitrary, but appears to be determined by a custom that varies with the spirit of the age”.



Secular Scenes

Many of the tomb scenes/inscriptions are secular in nature but continue to enforce conceptual purpose (Figure-12). Some of these are:

Fishing (nets, small boat & line)

Industry (jewellery, boat building, wine, dried fish)

River scenes (jousting, cattle crossing, fowling with nets)

Children’s games

Dessert (hunting, wild animals in cages, animal copulation)

Crocodile  - “O filthy one, may your heart be pleased with water-weeds”


False-Door and the Offering Table

The origin of the false-door is unclear but satisfies distinct functions; a spiritual passageway for the Ka to transition between the worlds of the dead and living and a focal-point for offerings.


The false-door was still the sepulcher’s focal point during the late 5t-Dynasty, Aldred (2004, p.85), and had reached the stage of development where significant inscriptions of the owner’s name and titles were included within elaborate panel scenes (Figures 10.1-10.5). Wiebach-Koepke (2001, p.498) says the false-door, possibly originating with the Helwan slab stela in the archaic period, was attested through-out the Old Kingdom reaching it’s full canonical form during the 4th-Dynasty and Ikram (2003, p.161) lists the significant elements as the cornice, upper-lintel, offering-stela, lower-lintel, roll, door, inner and usually an outer-jamb. Wiebach-Koepke also explains that the false-door modelled the door of a contemporary Egyptian house and during the late 5th-Dynasty was always located on the western wall of the offering-room and some chambers can have many doors.


Ptah-Hotep’s chapel has two doors, both on the western wall.


The southern false-door follows a ‘conventional style’ defined by Wiebach-Koepke (2001, p.499) and is surmounted with a corvette cornice and flanked by a torus molding. It is decorated on all of the available surfaces with symmetric representations of Ptah-Hotep, a standardized inscription of his ideal biography and the central focus of a small stela with an offering scene. Wiebach-Koepke (2001, p.501) wrote that Osiris is mentioned in offering text from “second half of the 5th-Dynasty”. Ptah-Hotep is praised before the god a number of times with phases such as “deserving before Osiris"; Quibell (1898, p.32) wrote that the false-door has the invocation "may the King give an offering and may Osiris give an offering … that he [Ptah-Hotep] may have funerary meals every day”. Quibell’s plan (Figure-3.3) shows a ‘yellow stone’ offering-table (Gardiner (2001, p.501) loaf on a reed-mat) adjacent and freestanding in front of the false-door and as Bolshakov (2001, p.573/4) explained “making it convenient for the tomb owner, who was meant to face out towards the opening of the tomb” or “going forth”. This ‘alter’ was used to present physical offerings, converted into ka-doubles of the food, and binding wall-scenes and daily invocations into a heterogeneous request for the gods to provide for Ptah-Hotep’s eternal well-being.


Quibell (1898, p.31/2) described the un-inscribed northern false-door was painted and grained to represent narrow wooden planks, which turned on black-painted pivots, with vertical spaces filled with woven mats brightly decorated with coloured checks and chevrons (held down by cords passed through loops). Quibell also proposed that because servants advance towards Ptah-Hotep from the north the door may symbolically lead into the offering-scene from the house’s kitchens/storehouses. Both false-doors demonstrate a significant use of colour and architectural features such as wooden panels, papyrus, palm-fond, pivots and woven material are translated into “decoration long after they ceased to have any structural meaning”, Flinders-Petrie (1999, p.45) and that the “chequer patterns is unmistakably in plaiting and weaving”.


Between the false-doors is the offering-scene, an epitome of the southern false-door’s Stela, and as the central element of the chapel is the most critical in enabling Ptah-Hotep an eternal life. It is divided into four significant parts (Figure-10.5):


[1] Many titles are listed including (Quibell, 1898, p.33/4):


Governor of the pyramid city, enlightener of the priests of the pyramid 'Nefer' of Djed-Ka-Re Isesi and of the wab priests of the pyramid 'Men-Sut’ of Ny-user-Re and of the priests of the pyramid 'Neter-Sut' of Men-Kau-Hor


Next after the King

Staff of the enlightened people

Traverser of deserts

Captain of the royal boat

Inspector of canals, southern throne

Governor of the Great House

Director of the Great Court (Judge)

Director of artists and scribes

Chief of the king’s secrets

Worthy before the great god Osiris and Anubis chief of the Western Dead

Captain of great ones of the Southern Tens

Priest of Ma’at and Hekt (frog goddess)


[2] Ptah-Hotep is sitting with a unguent vase held to his nose, before an offering-table loaded with bread, offerings of thousands of bread/beer/beef/fowl/linen/alabaster/deer and surrounded with plentiful things.


[3] Registers depict [from top] priests offering and reciting prayers followed by registers of important officials making offerings.


[4] Extensive list of daily offerings recorded within a grid of 24-by-4 cells. Leprohon (2001, p.571) writes that it’s origin is the “royal offering lists found in the Pyramid Texts” and was intended to be recited with the reading magically bringing the items into being. Offering were recorded within cells followed by a number, for example one Malachite and four Loaves. Leprohon explains that some items are food and some are more cultic such as incense or water libation (being used in the upper register [3]).


Serdab & Statues

Akhti-Hotep has a Serdab or walled-up enclosed chamber located off-of his chapel’s southern wall (Figure-3.3). D’Auria/Lacovara/Roehrig (2000, p.88) wrote that the ancient term was (Statue Chamber). The Serdab would have held one or more statues of Akhti-Hotep and possibly other family members. The Ka was believed to be able to live within a statue (Kanawati, 2001, p.59), which was protected within the inaccessible room, and this was a way of allowing the Ka to exist even if the physical body decayed or was destroyed.


No statues were found in the tomb and it’s possible that it was robbed or, more likely, a wooden statue was used which has since been eaten by white-ants. Aldred (2004, p.98) explained that wooden statues were covered in gesso, which was painted, and had realistic artificial eyes and were often standing adopting a striding pose (Figure-11 is an example of a statue dating to the same period) with the left foot thrust forward.



The tomb scenes, especially those on the west wall, are carefully designed to employ magic to grant Ptah-Hotep an eternal-life and to provide him, and others, with permanent environment and equipment for the endless repetition of the services being displayed.




Figure-1: Examples of children’s art

[left] two-dimensional (8 year old) and [right] three-dimensional (13 year old).

As a comparison of Conceptual and Perceptual representations, the middle figure [above] and the figure to the left. Both are of the same person (Róisín) but demonstrate a different objective.


The top picture is Conceptual image of a family, with text and artefacts associated with the individuals. It is a statement of ‘belonging’. The bottom picture is Perceptual using geometric perspective to imply depth and the third dimension to the individual. Shading implies depth or contours – which is actually a flat two dimensional image on paper.


Figure-2: Examples of Conceptual and Perceptual Art using a tomb scene and Egyptian Artefacts.

Conceptual representation of [left] scribal palette, [centre] chair and [right] box, with legs, being offered by the Overseer of Linen.


Perceptual representation of [left] a chair and [right] a small box with legs.

Author enhanced images of items in Boston MFA and the British Museum.


Figure-3.1 : Memphite Necropolis' geology
Based on Sampsell (2003, p.98), author enhanced.
Figure-3.2 : Plan of the Saqqara Necropolis
Richardson (2001, p.193)

Figure-3.3: Plan and cross-section (north-south) of the tomb D 64 at Saqqara of Ptah-Hotep and Akhti-Hotep with a shared entrance, entrance hall and pillared hall. Quibell, (1898, plate I) showing the 4 main chambers.

Figure-3.4: Photos from the Mastaba of Ptahhetep and Akhethetep at Saqqara, Part 2; plates III and XII.

Photo 1: Entrance 

Photo 2: Central Pillared Hall

Photo 3: Chapel of Akhti-Hotep


Figure-4.1: ‘flattered-box’ view of Ptah-Hotep’s chapel

Figure-4.2: ‘3rd Angle American’ view Ptah-Hotep’s chapel

Figure-4.3: North Wall and entrance/exit to interior of the Mastaba Figure-4.4: South Wall
Figure-5: Colour and Registers on Ptah-Hotep’s chapel east wall
Davies (1900, Part-1, plate XXI) and author’s colouring.


Figure-6: Examples of the “Canon of Proportion” using the small cubit.

The image on the left shows how the sculptor would have originally laid-out a scene on the East all from Ptah-Hotep’s chapel. The finished scene is show in the centre. Davies (1901, Part-2, plate XVII) recorded an example of a painted-grid from Akhti-Hotep’s chapel, North Wall.


Figure-7: Images (Davies, 1901, Part-2, plates XVIII and XX)

demonstrating representations of the human form of Akhti-Hotep - Yellow is profile, green is frontal and blue a transition between other views.


Figure-8.1: Examples of the convention used to depict the tomb owner differing from that used for other individuals within the scenes
Side-lock of youth

Ptah-Hotep presented considerably larger the other people indicating his status and importance.


Figure-8.2: Depiction of less important individuals.
Scene of an elderly man with receding hairline being given beer. The man is Ptah-Hotep’s “beloved and trusty chief sculptor Ankh-en-Ptah”. Two overseers, assisting with the toilet of Ptah-Hotep, depicted as being corpulent. Scene of dwarfs making jewellery for Ptah-Hotep.


Figure-9: Examples of representations of Hands and Feet








Figure-10.2: False-Door 

Figure-10.3: Southern False-Door Figure-10.4: Northern False-Door front-elevation and profile

The ‘standard’ elements of an inscribed false-door for most tombs (Ikram, 2003, P.161) are the cornice, upper lintel, offering stela, lower lintel, roll, door, inner and usually an outer jamb. Daoud (2005, p.4) also writes that a single lintel was employed on smaller doors.


Elements on each door varied on the wealth of the individual, chronological factors and the complexity of the tomb.


Figure-10.5: Offering Scene, Ptah-Hotep’s chapel west wall between two false-doors

Scene from between the false-doors, Ptah-Hotep is sitting with a unguent vase held to his nose and is before an offering table loaded with bread and text offering thousands of bread, beer, beef, fowl, linen, alabaster and deer and surrounded with good and plentiful offerings. The main inscription describes his titles as Overseer of the pyramid towns of three kings and his role as Chamberlain.


Four registers of figures are [from top] priests offering and reciting prayers followed by three registers of important officials making offerings.


An unfinished figure is kneeling under Ptah-Hotep’s chair.




Figure-11: Example of a Serdab Statue (Tiradritti, 1999, no page number) in the Cairo Museum (CG 34) from the Saqqara tomb C8 of Ka-Aper (commonly known as Sheikh el-Beled) and dating to the beginning of the 5th-Dynasty.


The statue was constructed in three main parts with a staff and sceptre added (the originals were probably often of ebony wood). The eyes are outlined in copper and inlaid with rock crystal.

The statue’s base has the ever-important name inscribed in front of the right foot.


Figure-12: Examples of Secular scenes



Bibliography – Primary & sources referenced within document

Aldred, Cyril


Egyptian Art

Thames & Hudson (London)

Arnold, Dorothea


When the Pyramids were Built, Egyptian Art of the Old Kingdom

Rizzoli International Publications (New York)

Bolshakov, Andrey


Offering-Table - The Oxford Encyclopaedia of Ancient Egypt, Volumes 1 in Redford, Donald (Ed)

Oxford University Press (Oxford)

D’Auria, Lacovara, Roehrig


The Funerary Arts of Ancient Egypt

Museum of Fine Arts (Boston)

Daoud, Khaled Abdalla


Corpus of Inscriptions of the Herakleopolitan Period from the Memphite Necropolis

Archæopress (Oxford)

David, A. Rosalie


The Egyptian Kingdoms

Elsevier International Projects Ltd (Oxford)

David, Rosalie


The Ancient Egyptians

Sussex Academic Press (Brighton)

David, Rosalie


Religion and Magic in Ancient Egypt

Penguin Books Ltd (London)

Davies, N De G



Mastaba of Ptahhetep and Akhethetep at Saqqara,

Part 1 (1900) & Part 2 (1901)

Egyptian Exploration Fund (London)

Davies, W V (Ed)


Colour and Painting in Ancient Egypt

British Museum (London)

Flinders-Petrie, W M


Egyptian Decorative Art

Dover Publications (New York)

Freed, Berman, Doxey


Arts of Ancient Egypt

MFA Publications (Boston)

Gardner, Sir Alan


Egyptian Grammar

Griffith Institute (Oxford)

Iversen, Erik


Canons and Proportions in Egyptian Art

Sidgwick & Jackson (London)

James, T G H


Egyptian Painting

British Museum (London)

Kanawati, Naguib


The Tomb and Beyond, Burial Customs of Egyptian Officials

Aris & Phillips, Warminster

Kemp, Barry


Ancient Egypt; Anatomy of a Civilization (2nd Edition)

Routledge (Abingdon, Oxon)

Leprohon, Ronald


Offering-List - The Oxford Encyclopaedia of Ancient Egypt, Volumes 1 in Redford, Donald (Ed)

Oxford University Press (Oxford)

LeWitt, Sol


Paragraphs on Conceptual Art


Lively, Penelope


Moon Tiger

Penguin Books (London)

Malek, Jaromir


Egyptian Art

Phaidon Press (London)

Panofsky, Erwin


Perspective as Symbolic Form

Zone Books (New York)

Perrot, Chipiez (translated by Armstrong, Sir Walter)


A History of Art in Ancient Egypt, in two volumes

Chapman and Hall (London)

Quibell, J. E.


The Ramesseum and the Tomb of Ptah-Hetep


Richardson, Dan


The Rough Guide to Egypt

Rough Guides (London)

Robins, Gay


Egyptian Painting and Relief

Shire Publications (Haverfordwest)

Robins, Gay


Proportion and Style in Ancient Egyptian Art

Thames and Hudson (London)

Sampsell, Bonnie


Traveler’s Guide to the Geology of Egypt

American University in Cairo (New York)

Schäfer, Heinrich


Principles of Egyptian Art

Griffith Institute (Oxford)

Shaw, Ian (Ed)


The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt

Oxford University Press (Oxford)

Tiradritti, Francesco (Ed)


The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt

Harry N Abrams, Inc (New York)

van Walsem, René


Iconography of Old Kingdom Elite Tombs, Analysis & Interpretation, Theoretical and Methodological Aspects

Ex Oriente Lux (Leiden)

Wiebach-Koepke, Silvia


False-Door - The Oxford Encyclopaedia of Ancient Egypt, Volume 1 in Redford, Donald (Ed)

Oxford University Press (Oxford)

Wolff, Walther


The Origins of Western Art

Universe Books (New York)


Bibliography – Secondary sources

Freed, Berman,



Arts of Ancient Egypt

MFA Publications (Boston)

Holly, Michael Ann


Panofsky and the Foundations of Art History

Cornell University Press (Ithaca & London)

James, T G H


Egyptian Painting

British Museum (London)

Kelly Simpson, William


Mastaba of the Western Cemetery, Part 1

Museum of Fine Arts (Boston)

Markowitz, Haynes, Freed


Egypt in the Age of the Pyramids

Museum of Fine Arts (Boston)

Michalowski, Kazimierz


Art of Ancient Egypt

Harry Abrams Inc (New York)

Reisner, George Andrew


A History of the Giza Necropolis, Volume 1

Oxford University Press (Oxford)

Robins, Gay


The Art of Ancient Egypt

Harvard University Press (Cambridge, Massachusetts)


Internet Sources

Ancient Egypt Web Site Author, False-door of Redines, G.5032
Digital Egypt for Universities University College London
Digital Library Production Service University of Michigan
Egyptology Online Map of Saqqara
Giza Archives Project Museum of Fine Arts Boston
Stony Book State University Sol LeWitt article
Wikipedia Encyclopedia Definitions of specific phases

Contact & Feedback : Egyptology and Archaeology through Images : Page last updated on 17-December-2023 :