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'Applied Art': Early Dynastic, Old Kingdom and First Intermediate Period

At the beginning of the First Dynasty there is a shift in art production from small objects to monumental art. Many small object types, which had been elaborately decorated in the Naqadan Period, became rather simple in form (not in terms of technology!) and almost 'purely' functional. The best example is probably provided by the pottery: Naqadan pottery is often painted, whereas Early Dynastic and Old Kingdom pottery is with few exceptions undecorated. The royal court is an exception. There was a production of luxury objects on a high level of workmanship throughout this timespan, though simple forms with few decorations are more common. The value might be indicated by material (metal, stones). Changes in degree of decoration should therefore also be considered under their social aspect Decorated objects became luxury items, which only could be afforded by a narrow elite.

(click on the picture to see the objects in context or more objects)

game pieces
carvings on furniture
button seals (see a typology)
faience objects
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