This masterpiece of ancient Egyptian painting was lost almost 100 years ago (7 photos)

Category: Nostalgia, PEGI 0+
14 March 2023

About a century ago, on the wall of the palace in Amarna - the ancient capital Egypt, located about 300 km south of Cairo, was discovered atypically live image of birds. It was so detailed that researchers can pinpoint exactly which species are present birds.

Part of the painting.

Most of the depicted birds are rock doves (lat. Columba livia), but there are also images that appear on the small piebald kingfisher (lat. Ceryle rudis), shrike-shrike (lat. Lanius collurio) and white wagtail (lat. Motacilla alba).

While the lesser piebald kingfisher and rock dove found in Egypt all year round, Shrike Shrike and White Wagtail are migratory birds. Shrike Shrike - common autumn migrants in Egypt between August and November, while the white wagtail - migrates through Egypt from October to April.

Image of Shrike Shrike (g) and White Wagtail (h) on painting in comparison with photographs of birds.

Rock pigeons do not live in the papyrus swamps of Egypt and more often are found (not counting modern cities) on the rocks of the region's desert. Researchers believe ancient artists included them anyway. scene to make it look better.

Christopher Stimpson, Distinguished Fellow of the Museum of Natural History history at Oxford University, and Barry Kemp, professor emeritus Egyptology at the University of Cambridge, published their study in December in Antiquity magazine.

Fragment of painting with doves.

The team studied the facsimile (copy) of the image and used previously published ornithological and taxonomic studies for bird identification.

A room in the palace at Amarna, known as the "Green Room" was decorated with images of water lilies, papyri and birds - scenes perhaps creating a serene atmosphere in which the royal family could relax and have fun.

Whole painting.

Approximately between 1353 and 1336. BC e. Egypt rules pharaoh Amenhotep IV (aka Akhenaten). He changed the religion of Egypt by creating the first known centralized monotheism in history, concentrating it around the worship of the Aten. Akhenaten founded a new capital called Akhetaten (modern Amarna) and built a northern palace in it, among rooms of which there was also the Green Room with murals.

Location of Amarna on the map of Egypt.

Images in the Green Room, excavated between 1923 and 1925 years by the English Society for the Exploration of Egypt, were fragile, and Egyptologist Nina de Garis Davies created copies (facsimiles) of them. These facsimiles are incredibly important to historians today because the original images no longer exist.

According to Kemp, the only sure way to save The image was of reburial of the room in the sand. However, archaeologists early 20th century decided not to do this, fearing that the locals images will be damaged.

Egyptologists Norman and Nina de Garis Davies.

In 1926, an attempt to preserve the original images from with the help of consolidators (substances intended to strengthen them) gave the opposite effect - the paintings were discolored and darkened. Researchers had to rely on facsimiles drawn by de Garis Davis to identify the birds.

A fragment of a painting with a small piebald kingfisher.

Today, copies of the murals of the Green Room, like other works de Garis Davis, are kept in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York) and continue researched by experts.

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