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Article

Dahshur  

R. J. Leprohon

[Arab. Dahshūr]

Site of an ancient Egyptian necropolis consisting of Old and Middle Kingdom pyramids, on the west bank of the Nile, 75 km south of Cairo. The oldest pyramid is that of King Sneferu (reg c. 2575–c. 2551 bc), which is the first to have been designed from the start as a true pyramid. The angle of its sides was decreased halfway up, giving it a rhomboidal appearance, hence its name of Bent Pyramid (see Pyramid, fig.b). Inside the pyramid is a complicated system of corridors and portcullises, and some inner chambers have high, corbelled ceilings. Reliefs in the pyramid’s valley temple depict processions of female figures representing Sneferu’s estates throughout the country. The pyramid is still in very good condition, retaining most of its outer casing. Sneferu’s other monument, the Red Pyramid, lies 2 km north of the Bent Pyramid. The angle of its sides is the same as that of the upper part of its southern predecessor. Although the pyramid’s casing was almost completely removed by later builders, its capstone has been found; this ...

Article

A. J. Mills

The largest of Egypt’s western oases (l. c. 120 km), c. 400 km west of Luxor. It was inhabited from earliest times, and although distant from the civilization of the Nile Valley, it was never isolated: most of the preserved monuments show a strong Egyptian influence. The absence of pressure on space and building materials, combined with a kind climate, has left a series of monuments largely complete and in a reasonable condition. Although there is a group of mud-brick mastaba tombs at Balat that dates to the late 6th Dynasty (c. 2325–c. 2150 bc), the best-preserved remains date to the Ptolemaic, Roman and Byzantine periods (304 bcad 641). The Tomb of Kitinos (1st century bc) at Balat is the only masonry tomb with carved relief decoration known in the southern oases. Its style is purely Egyptian, though rather provincial, and typical of the period. More important are the contemporary tombs of Petosiris and Pedubastis at Qaret el-Muzzawaqa, where the painted decoration bears an unusual juxtaposition of religious scenes rendered in the traditional Egyptian style and three excellent zodiac ceilings and several owners’ portraits executed in the much freer Classical style. The nearby sandstone temple of Deir el-Haggar (1st century ...

Article

Francis Russell

(b ?1715; d London, Feb 7, 1791).

English draughtsman, engraver and dealer. As agent to a number of patrons and subsequently librarian to George III, he was one of the most influential figures in the sphere of collecting in England for some four decades. He was the son of the Rev. John Dalton and younger brother of the Rev. John Dalton, poet and divine, whose connection with Algernon Seymour, Earl of Hertford (later 7th Duke of Somerset), forwarded Richard’s early career in Italy. He had arrived there by 1739 and may have trained in Bologna; by 1741 he was studying under Agostino Masucci in Rome and was already active as a dealer, selling a collection of prints in that year to Henry Clinton, 9th Earl of Lincoln, and cultivating the patronage of Sir Erasmus Philipps, Bart.

In 1749 Dalton visited Calabria and Sicily and then, in his capacity as travelling draughtsman, joined the party of James Caulfeild, 1st Earl of Charlemont, on a tour of Egypt, Turkey and Greece. He was possibly the first English artist to record the ancient monuments of these places. A selection of drawings executed on this tour was engraved by Dalton and published in ...

Article

Dendara  

John Baines

[anc. Egyp. Iunet; Gr. Tentyris.]

Egyptian site on the west bank of the Nile c. 65 km north of Luxor. It was an important provincial centre throughout Egyptian history; its chief artistic monuments are successive temples of the goddess Hathor from the 6th Dynasty (c. 2325–c. 2150 bc) to the 2nd century ad (see fig.). The site stands to the south of the Nile, about 1 km away at the edge of the low desert. The temples stand within a high mud-brick enclosure wall and occupy the north-west part of the sacred space. The site was cleared by Auguste Mariette in the mid-19th century, and work continued sporadically until about 1960.

Activity of Pepy I (reg c. 2289–c. 2256 bc) is referred to in the Greco-Roman temple and attested by a fine statue. The 11th-Dynasty king Mentuhotpe II (reg c. 2008–c. 1957 bc) built a chapel to Hathor and her son Harsomtus which also celebrated his own status (Cairo, Egyp. Mus.). This chapel still stood in the time of Merneptah (...

Article

(b Givry, nr Chalon-sur-Saône, Jan 4, 1747; d Paris, April 28, 1825).

French museum director, writer, graphic artist, collector, archaeologist and diplomat. He was the son of a provincial aristocrat. He went to Paris to further his law studies c. 1765 but entered the studio of Noël Hallé. He became Gentleman-in-Ordinary to Louis XV and was appointed keeper of the collection of engraved gems and medals that Mme de Pompadour had left to the King. In 1772 he entered the diplomatic service as attaché to the French embassy at St Petersburg, he was subsequently posted to Stockholm, Geneva (where his disrespectful engraving Repast at Ferney, of 4 July 1775, angered Voltaire) and, from spring 1776, Naples. There he became acquainted with Sir William Hamilton, the British ambassador, and made many drawings of his future wife Emma. Denon began to acquire a diverse collection of paintings and engravings as well as antiquities from excavations at Nola, Catania, Agrigento, Pompeii and Herculaneum. He purchased the painting of the ...

Article

Ann Poulson

[Verginie, Jean Dimitre]

(b Alexandria, Aug 6, 1904; d Athens, Aug 2, 1970).

Greek fashion designer based in Paris. Dessès was born in Egypt to Greek parents and arrived in Paris in the 1920s to study law and diplomacy. By 1925 he had changed his mind and was employed as a designer for Maison Jane. He left Maison Jane to open his own couture house in 1937 at 37, Avenue George V, eventually moving to 17, Avenue Matignon. Dessès is best known for his silk chiffon evening gowns draped asymmetrically in a Neo-classical style.

Though Dessès was raised in Egypt, he considered Greece his native land and the influence of Greek antiquity is clearly seen in his signature draped evening gowns. In appearance they resembled garments represented in ancient sculpture, but in construction they were more closely allied to the moulded and heavily structured gowns of the 19th century, being mounted on corseted bodices and stiffened petticoats. Over this foundation he skilfully manouevered the fabric into pleats and twists, bunches and braids, occasionally releasing it into a flowing scarf. When Dessès used materials stiffer than his favourite silk chiffon, he would often incorporate similar techniques, using sunray pleating or knotting the material, sometimes gathering it at the hips to suggest paniers....

Article

Elizabeth L. Meyers

[Egyp. Hut-sekhem; now Hiw.]

Site in Egypt about 50 km west of modern Qena, occupied continuously from prehistoric to Roman times. A large variety of Predynastic tombs and associated artefacts (including amulets, beads and slate and ivory statuettes of animals) have survived, indicating that Diospolis flourished during this phase. The earliest finds date from the Tasian–Badarian period (c. 4000 bc). The site was first excavated by Flinders Petrie in 1899, providing some of the information for his ‘sequence dating’ system of pottery styles, which led directly to the establishment of a Predynastic chronology. Renewed excavation at the site in the 1980s allowed this ceramic material to be re-examined, producing greater refinement and broad corroboration of Petrie’s system.

The excavations have also revealed about 40 burials of the 4th or 5th dynasties (c. 2575–c. 2325 bc), as well as a number of shallow pit graves dating to the 6th–11th dynasties (...

Article

Rupert Featherstone

Article

Djemila  

T. W. Potter

[anc. Cuicul.]

Roman town in Algeria, founded c. ad 97 as a colony for army veterans. It was given a local, non-Roman name (Cuicul), but its modern name Djemila (Arab.: ‘beautiful’) is a fitting description for one of the most picturesque sites in North Africa. It lies 60 km from the Mediterranean Sea in rugged, mountainous but fertile countryside, its well-defended position enhanced by the construction of defences enclosing an area of some 200×400 m. The uneven topography necessitated a polygonal arrangement of walls, but within them the streets were laid out in orderly, parallel lines. Systematic excavation since 1909 has revealed many of the internal squares and buildings.

The gate into the colony is still standing; from here the cardo maximus leads to the forum, a great square with elegant porticos on two sides. Here also was the capitolium, the curia, the judicial basilica and a macellum (market building). The basilica (built after ...

Article

Mark Dike DeLancey

[Jenne] [Friday Mosque]

Malian mosque that was built in 1906–7 in the Sudanese style under the direction of master mason Ismaïla Traoré. Local historical traditions state that a mosque was first built on this site in the 12th century, replacing the palace of Djenné’s ruler Koi Konboro after he converted to Islam. By the turn of the 20th century the mosque was in ruins.

The mosque’s heavy earthen walls (see fig.) are inset with wooden timbers that act as scaffolding for replastering, while numerous pilasters create a sense of verticality. The horizontal emphasis of the eastern qibla wall is broken by three huge towers, creating a rhythmic alternation of reserved horizontal wall surfaces and projecting vertical towers. Towers in the centre of the north and south walls provide rooftop access for the call to prayer via internal staircases. A monumental entrance on the north side is composed of three projecting pillars enclosing two deep recesses. Seven projections at the top of the portal echo the tops of the pilasters extending beyond the roofline of the mosque walls....

Article

Dougga  

M’Hamed Fantar

[anc. Thugga.]

Site of one of the best-preserved Roman towns in Africa, built on a plateau overlooking the valley of Oued Khalled in north-western Tunisia. A fine collection of archaeological material has been found there. Dougga dates back to the earliest phase of Libyan antiquity and certainly belonged to the kingdom of Numidia long before the reign of Masinissa (d 148 bc); writing on the invasion of Agathalus at the end of the 4th century bc, Diodorus Siculus mentioned the king Ailymas, whose domain included the territory of ‘Tebagga’. During the Second Punic War between Rome and Carthage (218–201 bc), Dougga was under the Carthaginians, but it was won back by Masinissa and retained by his successors until the death of Juba I in 46 bc. Of the Numidian town there remain the megalithic wall (4th century bc), the dolmens and the Mausoleum of Atban, one of the finest Libyo-Punic ...

Article

Hélène Bocard

(b Paris, Feb 8, 1822; d Baden-Baden, Feb 9, 1894).

French photographer and writer. He was from a wealthy background, and he learnt calotype photography from Gustave Le Gray and Alexis de Lagrange. In 1849 he was sent by the Ministère de l’Instruction Publique on a mission to the Middle East to record the monuments and inscriptions. He undertook the trip (1849–51) with his friend the writer Gustave Flaubert, and during his travels he used a modified calotype process imparted to him by Alexis de Lagrange. He brought back c. 200 pictures from Egypt and some from Jerusalem and Baalbek. The album Egypte, Nubie, Palestine et Syrie: Dessins photographiques recueillis pendant les années 1849, 1850, 1851, accompagnés d’un texte explicatif et précédés d’une introduction was published by Gide and Baudry in 1852–4 (copy in Paris, Bib. Inst.; prints in Paris, Mus. d’Orsay; Paris, Bib. N.; Paris, Inst. Géog. N.). It contains 125 calotypes printed by Louis-Désiré Blanquart-Evrard, and it was the first printed work in France to be illustrated with ...

Article

Edfu  

Eleni Vassilika

[anc. Egyp. Behdet or Djeba; Gr. Apollinopolis; now Idfū.]

Site in Upper Egypt. It is dominated by the Temple of Horus, the most completely preserved of all Egyptian temples, dating mainly to the Ptolemaic period (304–30 bc; see also Egypt, ancient, fig.). To the east of the temple are the ruins of a city (now covered by modern Idfū) dating back at least to the Old Kingdom (c. 2575–c. 2150 bc). The Temple of Horus was built and decorated by the Ptolemies, although the cult of the god Horus at Edfu is attested since the Middle Kingdom (c. 2008–c. 1630 bc). The remains at Edfu include part of a pylon of Ramesses III (reg c. 1187–c. 1156 bc). Blocks from the forecourt, excavated in the 1980s, date back to the New Kingdom (c. 1540–c. 1075 bc), but they may have been dragged there from another site....

Article

Helen M. Strudwick, Claude Vandersleyen, Dimitris Plantzos, William A. Ward, William H. Peck, Dominic Montserrat, John Baines, Gay Robins, J. Ruffle, Lise Manniche, Rosemarie Klemm, Jean-Luc Chappaz, Joachim Śliwa, Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, Ann Bomann, R. G. Morkot, Peter Lacovara, Delia Pemberton, Rita E. Freed, Philip J. Watson, Robert S. Bianchi, Henry G. Fischer, Jaromir Malek, S. Curto, Nadine Cherpion, James F. Romano, Karol Mysliwiec, Richard A. Fazzini, Edna R. Russmann, Eleni Vassilika, updated by Dimitris Plantzos, Edda Bresciani, Claude Traunecker, T. G. H. James, W. J. Tait, J. H. Taylor, Dorothea Arnold, Jack Ogden, Jean Vercoutter, Carol Andrews, Donald P. Ryan, E. Finkenstaedt, Paul T. Nicholson, Rosemarie Drenkhahn, Willemina Z. Wendrich, Robert Anderson, Barbara G. Aston and Morris Bierbrier

Civilization that flourished in the Nile Valley for three and a half thousand years, from c. 3000 bc to ad 395.

Helen M. Strudwick

The boundaries of ancient Egypt were formed by substantial natural barriers: to the south the 1st Nile cataract, to the north the Mediterranean and to the east and west the deserts ( see fig. ). There are only three basic components of the physical geography of Egypt: the Nile, flowing from south to north between fertile banks, and the two areas of desert on either side. In the north the Nile branches into many streams through the Delta and finally flows out into the Mediterranean.

The fertile plain through which the Nile runs is solely the result of the annual flooding of the Nile and the deposition of silt carried in suspension by the flood waters. The silt deposition is most noticeable in the areas closest to the river, and consequently the land there is slightly higher. The annual inundation of the Nile was a natural phenomenon caused by the large amounts of rain that normally fall in the summer months in the highlands to the south of Egypt and the ...

Article

[Arab. Jumhūriyya Miṣr al-‛Arabiyya.]

Country in North Africa extending into Asia at the south-eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea, with its capital at Cairo. It is bounded in the west by Libya, in the south by Sudan and in the east by the Gaza Strip, Israel, the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea. Although its total area is over one million sq. km, this is largely desert; the cultivated and settled part, the Nile Valley and Delta and the oases, is only a quarter of the country’s area. (For a description of its geography see Egypt, ancient, §I, 1.) It is the most populous state in the Arab world, with more than 80 million people (2007 estimate). Traditionally the majority have been fellahin, peasant farmers; despite massive rural migration to the towns, about half the working population is still engaged on the land. The majority are Sunni Muslim and perhaps 10–15% are Copts, the largest Christian minority. Many Jews emigrated in the 1940s and 1950s. At the beginning of the 20th century there were over 100,000 Europeans, but many left in the 1960s....

Article

John Wilton-Ely

Neo-classical style of architectural and interior design; as Egyptomania or Egyptiennerie it reached its peak during the late 18th century and early 19th. Napoleon’s campaign in Egypt (1798) coincided with emerging tastes both for monumental and for richly ornamental forms, enhanced by the literary and associational concerns of Romanticism. Unlike its Greek and Gothic counterparts, the Egyptian Revival never constituted a coherent movement with ethical or social implications. Indeed, since its earliest manifestations occurred in the later Roman Empire, the Revival itself can be seen as one in a series of sporadic waves of European taste in art and design (often linked to archaeological inquiry), acting as an exotic foil to the Classical tradition with which this taste was and remains closely involved (see fig.). On a broader plane of inquiry, the study of Egyptian art and architecture has continued to promote a keen awareness of abstraction in design and a decorative vocabulary of great sophistication. These are among the most enduring contributions of ancient Egypt to Western art and design. ...

Article

Emerald  

Gordon Campbell

Green variety of Beryl, mined in Upper Egypt and India from antiquity and in Colombia both before and after the Spanish Conquest. Nero is said to have watched gladiatorial contests through an emerald. The two best-known emeralds are the Devonshire Emerald (London, Nat. Hist. Mus.) and the Patricia Emerald (New York, Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist.). The most famous historical emeralds are the 453 emeralds (totalling ...

Article

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

(b. Tripoli, Libya, 1945).

Libyan painter. He returned to Libya in 1970 after graduating from the Plymouth School of Architecture and Design in England. In 1974 he was appointed consultant to the Festival of Islam in London, and in 1981 he settled in England. He typically uses individual letter forms based on the maghribī style of script typical of North Africa, setting one or two large letters against a richly textured abstract ground with accompanying excerpts from Arabic and world literature that address social and moral issues. His works have been exhibited in more than 60 solo and group exhibitions and can be found in many major museums. Chairman of Muslim Cultural Heritage Center in London, he has also been involved with several other cultural and intellectual institutions there.

A. O. Ermes: Ali Omar Ermes: Art and Ideas: Works on Paper (exh. cat., Oxford, Ashmolean, 1992)A. O. Ermeswith S. Rizvi: Reaching Out: Conversations on Islamic Art with Ali Omar Ermes...

Article

Esna  

John Baines

[anc. Egyp. Ta-senet, Gr. Latopolis.]

Egyptian city c. 55 km south of Luxor on the Nile. Inhabited since ancient times, Esna remains important as the terminus of one of the main caravan routes between Egypt and the Sudan, and as a centre of textile production. The only ancient building to survive is part of the Greco-Roman Temple of Khnum, but Deir Manayus wa Shuhada (the ‘Monastery of the Martyrs’), a 4th-century ad Coptic foundation, lies 6 km to the south-west, and the Ottoman mosque of el-Amri in the town centre retains a brick-built minaret of the Fatimid period (ad 969–1171).

The Temple of Khnum, now reduced to its hypostyle hall, formed the core of a complex including a quay (in situ) and a processional approach (untraced); this was related to four further complexes (almost entirely lost) in the region. The earlier, inner part of the temple is represented by its front wall, which was incorporated into the hall and now forms its rear wall. It has carved relief decoration dating to the reigns of Ptolemy VI Philometor (...

Article

Faiyum  

R. J. Leprohon and T. G. Wilfong

Egyptian semi-oasis region c. 80 km south-west of Cairo on the Bahr Yusuf, an ancient channel of the Nile (see fig.). In the north-west is Lake Qarun, a remnant of the ancient Lake Moeris, an important part of ancient Egyptian cosmogony since it was reputed by some to be the site of Nun, the primeval ocean. Throughout the Dynastic and Greco-Roman periods (c. 2925 bcad 395) the major god worshipped in the Faiyum was the crocodile-headed Sebek (Gr. Suchos), but the region had a large Jewish community from the 3rd century bc, and Christianity probably arrived in the 1st century ad. Major sites in the Faiyum include the Middle Kingdom monuments at Hawara, el-Lahun and Qasr el-Sagha, and Greco-Roman towns at Qasr Qarun and Kom Ushim. The principal Coptic monuments are the monasteries of Deir el-Azab and Deir el-Malak, and there is a 15th-century mosque in the regional capital of ...