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Egyptian Art—A Performing Art?

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Chapter Summary

In the relief's on the Lisht block, the humans seem to perform their everyday-life tasks as if they were priestly functions, and the animals, although as stirringly alive as all creatures in ancient Egyptian art, are treated as if they were hieroglyph-like single figures, or groups of figures, rather than interacting partners in a lively narrative. All representational artistic work in ancient Egypt can be understood to a certain extent as "performance", the creative re-enactment of the Lisht artists differs by its more deliberate approach from the ones of the Old Kingdom. Less directly involved in the historical environment that shaped the artistic creations of the Old Kingdom, the Lisht artists had the chance to re-interpret the old forms and iconographies in new ways. If one wants to choose another parallel from present-day theater, the Old Kingdom works were in the repertory, while the Lisht artists created a new production.

Keywords: Egyptian art; lisht block



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