Monday, October 26, 2015

Ancient Egypt this week: Art, time, and 3 videos

Merket (instrument of knowing) for keeping time

The merkhet or merjet ("instrument of knowing") was an ancient timekeeping instrument. It was used to track the alignment of certain stars, if they were visible, in order to approximate the time at night (10 stars for the 10 hours of the night, with a total of 24 hours including 12 hours for the day, 1 hour for sunset, 1 hour for sunrise). In this way, it was more efficient than other contemporary devices, such as sundials, which were rendered useless during the dark.

The exact design of the merkhet consists of a horizontal bar, usually carved from wood or bone, with a plumb line hanging from a transverse hole at one raised end of the bar, attached to a controlling wooden handle. As deduced by texts and engravings on the inner walls of the temples of Dendera and Edfu, the merkhet was typically used in conjunction with a corresponding sighting tool, which the Egyptians called a bay, made from a specially cut palm-rib with a sliced "V" shape at one end. The two together could also be used, as appropriate, to determine North.

For the operation to work, two merkhets were required, one aligned with Polaris, the North Pole star. If erected properly, and if a bay was on hand, one could estimate quite accurately the time by observing the transits of certain stars as they crossed the meridian and came into alignment with the two merkhets.

A few merkhets have been excavated and preserved, including one that is on exhibition in the Science Museum in London. This particular exhibit dates to 600 BC, and, according to a related inscription, belonged to the son of a priest who hailed from a temple dedicated to the Egyptian god Horus, located close to Edfu in Upper Egypt

Modern Version of Ancient Egyptian Art

What would their art look like if Ancient Egyptians lived today? This is a quirky little exhibit, and my favorite is obviously Isis resurrecting Osiris. To see more, click here.

VIDEO: Restoration of Tutankhamun mask underway at Egyptian Museum

The mask's beard was accidentally detached from its chin during a cleaning process in 2014

Egyptian gods

Egyptian Gods from oliver brown on Vimeo.

Ancient Egypt 3D

Ancient Egypt 3D
Posted by ‎Egypt Cradle of civilization - مصر مهد الحضارة‎ on Friday, October 9, 2015