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Ancient Egyptian Sacred Symbols

My Gallery will grow, as I study sacred symbols from cultures from around the world. A selection of paintings on paper, cartonnage, canvas and wood frames, boards covered with linen or cotton canvas. Developing and exploring traditional and recycled painting surface products.

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Tasheriankh  Collection

A series of paintings, with reference to the design of the wesekh collar, belonging to a female named Tasheriankh, in the Egyptian & Sudan collection of the Manchester UK Museum. As part of my 'Egyptian Sun' (see previous commentary) & 'Tasheriank' collections, with an interest to experiment with different painting surfaces, I have created a series of cartonnage pieces that complement them. Egyptian cartonnage was used to make molded funeral coffins, masks and mummy coverings. Created using layers of linen or papyrus glued together, in the case of coffins and masks, layered over a mud and straw mold, then by applying a plaster coating, which served as a painting surface. I have created my own cartonnage using recycled linen from clothing, (even in ancient Egypt, linen was expensive and recycled), I then applied layers of gesso, gesso has a limestone base substance, which is the same for plaster. In my experimentation, I have tried using 2 to 4 layers of fabric, to see how pliable and stiff the multiple layers are. I understand from John Taylor, Curator at The British Museum, in his commentary on the restoration of the Sherborne Mummy, that 6 to 20 layers can be used to create cartonnage mummy cases. Something I would like to further experiment with. I have used professional quality acrylic paint, for an intensity of colour. I realise that acrylic paint gives a glossy surface, whereas the Egyptians used a matt paint, this is something I would further like to investigate, how they made their paint. I have left the cartonnage edges uncut, I feel it gives an appearance of being a fragment, that may have been part of a larger piece, just as fragments in archealogical finds are found.

Egyptian Sun Collection

This collection is based on designs which have the same central theme, the ancient Egyptian  hieroglyphic symbol of the 'Sun', which also refers to the sun god Ra, and what I believe are variations of this theme. Several of these sacred symbols are featured on the painted wesekh collar of the mummy coffin and cover of a 20 year old female named Tasheriankh from Akhmim, Egypt Acc. no. 13783, and a mummy mask of a man from Lahun Acc. no.2121 in the Manchester Museum, Egypt and Sudan collection. Though found on these mentioned mummy’s artefacts, these symbols are not exclusive to them, and are featured on wesekh collars across the centuries on ancient Egyptian mummy artefacts. These sacred symbols are to aid the person's transition into the afterlife and for their afterlife. Each symbol has the hieroglyph symbol of the ‘Sun’ as its central element. I have bought these sacred symbols together to study their relationship to the ‘Sun’ hieroglyph. Often crudely painted I wanted to bring them to life and start a more indepth conversation of their presence and spiritual references.

Egyptian Sun Bark Collection

As part of my 'Egyptian Sun' collection, (see previous commentary), with an interest to work on different medium using cartonnage, (see previous commentary on Tasheriankh Collection), I have created what I term as 'sculptured paintings'. Though these hieroglyphs are found on the funeral casing, mask and coverings of the Tasheriankh mummy, they are not exclusive to them and can be found on other examples. By having a single image of the hieroglyph and pairing them, I wanted to bring them more attention and hold a conversation about them. I have covered a wood frame block with layers of linen and prepared with gesso. The blocks are painted on both sides and on 3 edges, attached to a 2 layer wooden plinth. The black plinth layer is representative of a 'solar barque/bark/barge' used by the sun god 'Ra', to sail across the sky, black also has reference to the black fertile soil that settles on the banks of the Nile after flooding. The blue plinth layer represents the blue sky, across which Ra travels in his solar boat, blue is also representative of the River Nile which the Pharoahs would travel on their barge to attend the temple. So I thought it was fitting that these sun hieroglyphs had their own barks. Having lived with these sculputured paintings, I am struck by how as the light fades in the room, the intensity of the colours start to resonate, I feel like they come alive, how then in awe that experience would be in an Egyptian tomb or the mummy coffins when those colours and images come alive.

Egyptian Wesekh Collar  Collection