How craftsmen lived in Egypt




artisans, like the peasants, were among the unprivileged segments of the population of Ancient Egypt. They had to pay high enough taxes for their activities. The most common crafts were weaving, woodworking, pottery. Also Egypt was known to master glassblowers and specialists working with metal.


The most prestigious work was considered metalworking. Gold craftsmen often handed over their craft by inheritance, the best of them could be taken at the court of Pharaoh, as well as carry out orders for temples. Their work was well paid, and the artisans themselves in this category had access to areas of religious life closed to the uninitiated. For example, they could produce images of gods, which by the rules of the cult were supposed to remain secret.


Bronze forging specialists did not enjoy such honor as jewelers, but nevertheless also held a privileged position relative to other artisans, as they made weapons for Pharaoh’s army.


In ancient Egypt, artisans used fairly simple tools of labor. During the Ancient and Middle Kingdom metal parts of tools were made of bronze. From bronze made saws, axes, chisels. In pottery, simple technology was also applied – vases and other vessels were made on the pottery circle. However, also with such uncomplicated tools Egyptian artisans could produce things of high artistic value.



artisan often had to be also an artist, as clay vessels and other products were often covered with elaborate ornaments and drawings. The exception was mural by cloth – in ancient Egypt colored most often inexpensive coarse matter, and most of all prized pure white linen.


Craftsmen in the main mass were not dependent people and could work for both private customers and the state. But due to strong centralized power in Egypt, it was government orders that could provide substantial revenues to artisans. In the case of a large-scale project, such as the construction of a temple, many stone processing specialists were involved. Such works were directed by state architects. They personally followed the quarrying of stone – limestone and granite – in quarries, and craftsmen later took up the processing of individual architectural elements.

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