One of the reasons that we know so much about ancient Egypt is that scholars were able to decipher the hieroglyphic writing system. Based on the discovery of the Rosetta Stone in 1799, a French scholar, Jean Francois Champollion, cracked the code of hieroglyphs in 1822. Because of our ability to read hieroglyphs, we can translate ancient Egyptian religious texts, and most of the art your have studied this week has a religious significance, either in this world (temples and statues dedicated to the gods) or the next (funerary monuments for the dead). Find two works of art or architecture from your Khan Academy reading sabout ancient Egypt (or from the Metmuseum.org essays); describe the pieces you have chosen, and analyze their function and iconography (also, does it have hieroglyphic writing?) Then answer the following question more generally: how did religious beliefs in ancient Egypt influence their art and architecture? As usual, feel free to expand your search to outside the material in the textbook. When responding to your peers, research a religious concept they mention – like a god or a particular temple – and provide a new perspective on the work of art being discussed.
If a piece of Mesopotamian art particularly struck you as fascinating, you can use one Egyptian and one Mesopotamian work of art in this discussion rather than two Egyptian pieces – the choice is yours.