Egypt: Art and Architecture
The great architectural achievements of the past are built of stone. Stone quarries supplied the large blocks of granite, limestone, and sandstone that were used for building temples and tombs. Architects planned carefully as building was done without mortar, so the stones had to fit precisely together. Only pillars were used to sustain short stone supports. At the temple of Karnak, a ramp of adobe brick can be seen leading to the top of the temple wall. Such ramps were used to allow workmen to carry stones to the top of structure and allow artists to decorate the tops of walls and pillars. Pillars were built in the same way. As height was added, the ground was raised. When the top of the pillar was completed, the artists would decorate from the top down, removing ramp sand as they went along. As soon as a pharaoh was named, construction on his tomb was begun. Tomb building continued throughout his life and stopped only on the day on which he died. As a result, some tombs are very large and finely decorated, while other tombs, like that of King Tutankhamun, are small because he ruled as a pharaoh for such a short time. The architecture was based upon perpendicular structures and inclined planes since there was no structural assistance except the strength and balance of the structure itself. For this reason, the square and the plumb-line were very important tools.
One of the most notable and lasting achievements of the Ancient Egyptians are their pyramids. The size, design, and structure of the pyramids reveal the skill of these ancient builders. The pyramids were great monuments and tombs for the kings. The Egyptians believed that a king's soul continued to guide affairs of the kingdom even after his death. To ensure that they would continue to enjoy the blessings of the gods, they preserved the pharaoh's body through the mummification process. They built the pyramids to protect the pharaoh's body, the pyramid...
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