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A beast with the body of an ape and the head of a dog. The form is Egyptian in origin, and may originally have been a representation of a baboon; it was subsequently used in Roman art, both as a decorative motif and in free-standing statuettes....

Article

Rupert Featherstone

Aqueous paint composed of pigments held together by animal glue or casein. It has been used since ancient Egyptian times for wall painting, house decoration and the painting of theatrical scenery. It has been employed only occasionally for easel painting.

Article

Lotus  

Eva Wilson

Term for two distinct decorative motifs based on types of water-lily; one originated in Egypt, the other in India. Lotus motifs in Egypt occur from the beginning of the Dynastic period c. 3000 bc in two stylized forms. The curved outline of the flower-head distinguishes the motif based on the white-flowered ...

Article

Morocco  

Fine flexible leather made (originally in Morocco, Kingdom of) from goatskin tanned with sumac, used especially in bookbinding, shoemaking and upholstery. The term is also used to denote imitations made in sheepskin or lambskin.

Article

Muller  

Rupert Featherstone

Stone or glass implement with a flat base, used to grind paints by hand on a hard flat surface or slab. Mullers and slabs of hard stone are first recorded in ancient Egypt. Large glass mullers were used for the commercial preparation of paints until the 19th century. Pigments could be ground on their own for use in fresco or aqueous media or ground in oil for later use....

Article

Obelisk  

Erik Iversen

Square or rectangular shaft, usually monolithic, with tapering sides and a pyramidal apex, first developed in Egypt in the 3rd millennium bc but also popular in Europe in Roman times, the Renaissance and the 19th century.

The Egyptian name for the obelisk was tekhen, from a verb meaning ‘pierce’, while its apex, clearly considered as a distinct part, was known as ...

Article

Sphinx  

F. J. E. Boddens-Hosang and Carole d’Albiac

Type of statue and art form, first found in the early 3rd millennium bc in Egypt and the Ancient Near East, in the form of a mythical animal usually with a human head (see fig.). The sphinx (Gr.: ‘strangler’) could be male or female, and the female version was often shown with breasts. Lion sphinxes were the most numerous, but there were also many examples in the form of bulls or horses. Occasionally they were depicted with various other attributes such as wings, bulls’ horns or snakes’ tails. Throughout Egypt and the Near East the sphinx was seen as a guardian; its role diversified in the ancient Greek world, where it often took on a more sinister aspect....

Article

Trophy  

Luca Leoncini

Dedication of the remains of a defeated enemy, usually on or near the battlefield. This custom was practised by the Egyptians and the Sumerians as well as other peoples of the Mediterranean region and the Ancient Near East. Except in the case of some Egyptian and Mesopotamian monuments celebrating important victories, however, it was never accompanied by any special artistic production in these areas. In ...

Article

Susan Roaf

Traditional form of natural ventilation and air-conditioning built on houses throughout the Middle East from North Africa to Pakistan. Constructed at least since the 2nd millennium bc in Egypt, wind catchers have also been used to cool caravanserais, water cisterns and mosques. Consisting of an open vent built on the roof facing into or away from the prevailing wind, wind catchers have shafts carrying the air down through the roof into the living area below, thereby ventilating and cooling the spaces. Wind catchers are generally placed above the summer rooms of courtyard houses. On the ...