Social Science
Literature Arabic Islamic Studies C.R.K HistoryMusicVisual Art Clothing/Textile Home Management Shorthand
Visual Art Paper 1, Nov/Dec. 2009  
Questions: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Main
General Comments
Question 7
  • State five characteristics of Egyptian art.
  • Give five reasons why Egyptian art is referred to as Art for eternity.


Most candidates demonstrated a high degree of confusion and lack of understanding of the question. In some cases, the origin and functions of Egyptian art was substituted for the characteristics that were expected of them. Consequently, most of the candidates that attempted this question scored low marks.

The candidates should have stated the characteristics of Egyptian art as follows.

Characteristics of Egyptian Art

  • Art purely geometric.
  • Artworks full of symmetry.
  • Style is very clear and lacks illusion.
  • Prevalence of funeral statues because of their preoccupation with life after death.
  • Eyes are represented frontally
  • Heads, hands and legs are represented in profile.
  • Stereotyped concept of art.
  • Art controlled by convention.
  • Size of figures determined by status e.g. slaves are represented smaller than freemen, who are also represented smaller than the king and queen.
  • Figures of men are usually bigger and darker than those of women.
  • Men usually represented wearing lower garment only while women were fully clothed.
  • Women adorned with elaborate jewelry.

Art of Eternity

The Egyptian believe in life after death, hence they pre-occupy themselves with activities that would enable them achieve a desired end.

  • The Pharaoh were deitified
  • The pyramid was built to house the sacred body.
  • Painting and hieroglyphic writings were done on walls of pyramids to serve esoteric functions in life beyond.  
  • Imperishable materials were used in producing artworks and other household items to be buried with Pharaoh, e.g. granite, gold, diamond etc.
  • Every other activity was done in a pattern that indicates a strong belief in life after death.  

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