pottery - History of Egyptian Pottery - cemaic and pottery


About 2700 B.C., after the dispersion of the family of men in the Euphrates valley, a small number found their way along the shores of the sea, or pushed an adventurous expedition through Arabia across the deserts, and discovered a land of abundant fruitfulness, watered by a mighty river, and dark with the green foliage of fruit-bearing palms. The beasts of the field and the birds of the air had preceded them. Food was abundant. Nature was lavish in her gifts. The sunshine was perpetual, scarcely a cloud obscuring it--only those vast silvery clouds of millions of water-fowl of every species, then, as until within our own memory, floated and circled in innumerable quantity and variety through the day, making Egypt, from sea to cataract, a "land shadowing with wings."

The small colony increased with great rapidity. Either the peculiarity of their life, or hereditary ability, rapidly advanced them in the arts above the rest of the human family, from whom they were isolated by sea and desert. The natural surroundings, the birds above, the luxuriant flowers and foliage of the vast morasses in the lower country, the solemn, barren mountains on each side of the narrow valley, entered into their conceptions of beauty and guided their imaginations. They retained the monotheistic religion of their ancestors for several centuries. In a very short time, without immigration, their numbers increased, by ordinary generation, to millions. The patriarchal form of government became a monarchy. The monarchy had its vicissitudes, was divided and reunited again and again, but the national civilization remained pre-eminent for twenty centuries. Their wise men were learned. The whole population were well educated. Whatever was important in history was recorded for all the people to read. Books, poetry, philosophy, history, abounded. When at length they came into contact with other races, their superiority imposed on these the characteristics of Egyptian art. But the end of this long and unparalleled history came. From the land of their common origin, the Persians descended on the Nile valley, and overthrew the monuments of the Egyptians.

The Greek civilization, which Egypt had nurtured in its childhood, overcame her by force of arms, without compensating her with the gifts of Greek art, and the national existence perished under the exhausting away of avaricious Rome.
Centuries afterward, on the sands of the desert along the Nile valley, the exquisite creations of a new art, coming again from the Asiatic home of the race, sprang up in the sunshine to mark the burial-places of Saracen rulers of Egypt; but, too beautiful to endure, are now melancholy ruins, splendid even as they crumble to the desert sand.
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