Tell me more.
This muted wall painting is a really special piece! Most of what you see in the galleries from ancient Egypt comes from tombs, but this actually comes from where someone actually lived!
The city this comes from, Tell el Amarna (known as Akhetaten in ancient times) was only occupied during the reign of a single king. When a site is not reused, it can often be a treasure trove of archaeological information.
Is there any hidden meaning to this piece?
I wouldn't say there is a hidden meaning. Depictions of the natural world especially including water and images of the lotus were very common in ancient Egyptian art.
The Nile River and the surrounding marshy areas were very important to life in ancient Egypt as well so it makes sense that they would surround themselves in this imagery.
Where can I find a source of information about this piece?
You're going to want to look at publications on Tell el Amarna and the archaeology of the people that lived there.
This is basically a chunk of a wall. It's not a stand-alone artwork, it is a fragment that represents the type of decoration that you might find on the walls of an ancient Egyptian home. The intent was to represent the natural, outside world.
How was this colored?
Most Egyptian painting is done with mineral pigments mixed with a binder such as animal fat or even egg.
I love the way the color on this has been preserved. Most of what we have in the galleries comes from tombs but this comes from a place someone actually lived making it really special.
What did they use to color it?
Ochre, for example is a popular mineral for making red paints like what you seen in the uppermost part of this fragment.
Black paint was often mad from charcoal or the mineral manganese. They likely applied the paint with brushes.