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Egyptian architecture


Comparison Between Egyptian and Japanese Architecture

Criteria Egyptian Architecture Ancient Japanese Architecture
Images Photo of the Great pyramid of Giza photo showing a classical wooden Japanese temple
Early Development Architectural style developed during the Pre-Dynastic Period c. 4000 BC. Early forms of Japanese architecture shared a close relationship with Korean architecture between 665-57 BC. The distinct Japanese architecture was fully developed during the fifth century A.D.
Function Religious beliefs of eternal life, resulted in an impressive sepulchral architecture, tomb building started as soon as a Pharaoh was named, and continued throughout his life until his death. Massive, static, and serene architecture emerged from the need to obtain stability in stone walls
Castles, aristocratic mansions, teahouses, Buddhist temples, and Shinto shrines.
Architectural Style Focal Points
  1. Statues of Pharaohs and sanctuaries of gods in temples, and sarcophagus in tombs dominated the whole architectural layout.
  2. Walls immensely thick and sloping - structural requirement for balancing (vertical walls of stone are unstable)
  3. Stone Columns closely spaced - Large spans were not possible
  4. Stone Lintels - massive with short spans, stone is a material that has a weak tensile strength
  5. Flat roofs - Domes and vaults were unknown in Egypt
  6. Small Openings - large doors and windows are not possible in stone construction, this also secured privacy to the religious structures inaccessible to the public
  7. Hieroglyphs - recording of historic events in stone obelisks and walls
  8. Religious symbols - ( scarabs, solar disk) essential component for the decoration of all architectural elements
  9. Single storey buildings
  1. Thin vertical wooden walls
  2. Columns made from cypress tree
  3. Thatched roofs
  4. Large doors and windows situated for the most advantageous viewing of external gardens or artwork
  5. Multiple levels - reaching higher than 80 meters
Materials - Building stones - were used in monumental buildings
- Wood - rarely used as a building material, since there are no natural resources of wood in Egypt
- Bricks - sun dried bricks were used extensively in dwellings and small buildings, few examples have therefore survived time.
- Extensive use of wood
- Stones and bricks rarely used - there is little stone for building or carving in Japan.
Durability Monumental temples, tombs and pyramids made of durable stones have survived thousand of years Japanese architecture is best exemplified by the shrines of the Shinto. These shrines were customarily destroyed every 20 years and then rebuilt in an exact replica of the previous shrine.
  1. The basic construction method was post and lintel.
  2. Buildings were erected without mortar, so the stones had to fit and cut precisely together.
  3. Ramps were used to allow workmen to carry stones to the top of structures - as height was added, the ramp was raised.
Wooden construction elements

Old Kingdom Architecture

Archtecture is entirely sepulchral, chiefly the tombs of monarchs and nobles.

  1. Mastabas - the oldest remaining form of sepulcher; it is a rectangular, flat-roofed structure with sloping walls containing chambers built over the mummy pit.
  2. Old Kingdom Pyramids - The pyramid of a sovereign was begun as soon as he ascended the throne, The Giza pyramid complex, are the best known.
  3. Houses were constructed from mud bricks, this method of construction of secular buildings continued through out the entire history of Egypt

Middle Kingdom Architecture

Architecture remains mainly sepulchral

  1. Beni Hasan - Tombs tunneled out of the rock cliffs on the west bank of the Nile
  2. Middle Kingdom Pyramids - Less elaborate than in the Old Kingdom pyramids
  3. Temples construction began at Thebes (Karnak and Abu Simbel) - but all the temples of The Middle Kingdom were subject to massive reconstruction in the New Kingdom. There are no surviving unaltered examples

New Kingdom Architecture

The golden age of temple construction in Thebes

  1. "Rock sculptured" - Abu Simbel
  2. "Hypostyle Hall" - Amun Karnak | Abydos | Luxor Temple
  3. "Mortuary" - Deir El Bahri and The Ramesseum
  4. Sepulchral architecture is present in the Valley of the Kings - tombs are excavated from rock.

Ptolemaic Architecture

A revolution in Egyptian Architecture: public buildings were erected for the first time.

  1. Utilitarian Public Buildings - Pharos Lighthouse
  2. Cultural and Scientific centers - Library and Museum of Alexandria
  3. Temples constructed in the same 'Hypostyle Hall' architectural style of the New Kingdom such as. Edfu, Philae , Denderah, Esna and Kom Ombo
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