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Topics: Topics: Crafts
Arts and Crafts > Crafts
Subtopics  Carpentry, Jewelry, Textiles, Pottery, Glass Work, Metal Work, Transcription

In the Pharaonic times, the temples, royal cemeteries, and royal palaces included workshops where specialized craftsmen worked making furniture, jewelry, glass, metals, and other products. Egyptian tombs show vivid scenes and figures portraying various groups of craftsmen performing their handicrafts, such as carpenters and weavers in workshops. Museums around the world are full of various products made by those ingenious craftsmen.

For 4,000 years, Egyptian crafts have generated various types of small arts with different styles and artistic tastes, which were known worldwide. Egyptians were skillful in engraving all kinds of metals with ornamented shapes and adorning them with semiprecious stones and colored glass. They were also proficient in woodworking, creating different kinds of furniture, which were often gold-plated and adorned with precious stones for the royal palaces.

Glass vessels of the Pharaonic period were made around a pre-made template. The glass-blowing technique was not used until the Roman era. In the Islamic age, the glass industry and the making of oriels and arabesque, which is the engraving in wood by making complex geometric and artistic shapes, were also popular. Different kinds of transparent and colored glass vessels are still kept, even very small ones were made in great detail with various monuments drawn on them. Weaving was a popular art that flourished notably in the Coptic culture and continued in the Islamic age as high-class Islamic carpets became widespread.

The multitude of craftsmen with their innovative techniques allowed for their artistic experience to be passed from one generation to another. They were divided into groups; each group had an elected Head, who managed its affairs and settled any disputes among its members. Egypt's districts had specified areas for craftsmen, goldsmiths, and coppersmiths.

It is probable that the Egyptian artist was educated and trained by his father at an early age. The young child helped the workgroup in which his father worked to learn the rules of the craft. That was the case in Egypt until the Islamic age. However, in the Ottoman age, Egypt lost most of its craftsmen and artisans, as the skillful artisans were forced to move to Istanbul, capital of the Ottoman Empire. Subsequently, Egypt witnessed a period of stagnation in art that lasted until the beginning of the modern times.

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