Ancient art has been used to convey many different messages depending on the society from which the artwork was depicted. Artwork from the ancient societies of Egypt, China, India, Greece, and Rome is some of the art that is referred to as ancient artwork. In many instances these expressions were used to tell stories of how the dwellers of the land conducted their lives or to convey their beliefs. Today art from these ancient civilizations are some of the main resources that historians and archeologists use to get a better understanding of how life was lived in these ancient societies.
A lot can be learned about ancient Egypt using artwork produced by the Egyptians. This art normally illustrated nature and the lives of the Egyptians. Egyptian artwork takes the form of architecture, paper, pottery, paintings, and literature. The architects of ancient Egypt used kiln-baked bricks and sun-dried bricks, granite, limestone, and fine sandstone. The architectural work was carefully designed as each stone was allowed to fit perfectly with each other. After the completion of the structures, they would then be decorated from the top to the bottom.
A lot of the art work from ancient Egypt illustrates their strong belief in life after death. This is very evident in the houses that were built for the mummified bodies of the dead which can be seen in the Karnak Temple Complex. The walls of these structures were normally covered with writing and paintings to serve as company for the dead in the other world. In the case of a Pharaoh, as soon as he was named, the building of his tomb began and would continue until he died. As a result, tombs for Pharaoh were of various sizes. It is interesting to note that the Egyptian architectural structures had no structural support excect for the balance and strength of the structure itself.
For pottery the Egyptians used steatite to carve pieces of amulets, vases, images of animals and deities along with other objects. They also used enamel to cover some of their pottery artwork. As it relates to the dead, pottery was used to represent various organs in the body, such as the heart, liver and lungs, which were then deposited in the individual’s tomb. Other small pottery artwork covered in enamel would also be deposited with the dead. It was also the custom to carve artwork on this pottery. The engravings would be a legend about the dead, their names, titles or offices they held and other expressions related to their burial.
The sculptures done by the Egyptians concentrated on representing their Pharaoh, the Egyptian gods, along with the various kings and queens. Many huge statues were used to represent famous kings, queens and gods. They were thought to give the kings and queens eternal life and allow the people to see them in a physical form. There were also strict guidelines for constructing these structures, such as the males were to be darker than the females, and if the structure was seated, its hands must be on its knees. There were also special rules for sculpting one of the gods. Based on the different art work of the Egyptians it can be seen that a lot of emphasis was placed on life after death.
Ancient art is not confined to the Medditterranean region. There are plentify relics uncovered throughout Asia, Africa, and the Americas.