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Predynastic Art

Any depiction from the past needs to be seen in the context and conventions of its time, if the modern viewer is to gain any understanding of the intentions of its original makers, viewers and users. This has proven particularly difficult for the art of predynastic Egypt (5000-3000 BC), becuase it is often viewed through the modern understanding of other geographical or chronological areas in the history of art, for example, through the modern concept of 'ethnographic art' or through Egyptological readings of ancient Egyptian art. For a recent initiative in separating the art of predynastic, Early Dynastic and ancient Egypt, and analysing the shift from one to the next in more art historical terms, see Davis 1992.

Badarian Art

figures of men and women
ivory and other carvings
painting the body


Naqada Period Art

Further reading:

  • Ucko 1968 (on the figurines)
  • Davis 1992 (on the transition from predynastic to ancient Egyptian two dimensional compositions)



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