Ancient Egypt culture has identified different types of arts, which exist nowadays. Now we are going to talk about the art of Maquettes and Puppets in ancient Egypt.
Egypt culture: the fact about Maquettes
No doubt the Ancient Egyptian sculptures who carved more than 30 colossi for the king Chephren in his mortuary temple, and the seated statues of king Senusert which occupied a whole gallery in the Egyptian Museum had first used plaster or white limestone Maquettes to copy such colossi of the great Pharaohs.
The first Maquettes were found in an Amarna atelier dated back to the reign of Akhenaten.
Many of these Maquettes and sketch drawings resembled a great extent those inscribed on limestone fragments still in good condition.
And in which the utmost skill and perfection reflected and which they definitely used as reference points in carving their colossi.
Maquettes during Islamic ages
In the Islamic Ages, the narrator of the Tulunide accounts stated that the architect of the Tulunide Mosque had proposed that a Maquette he was made from leather and Ibn Tulun admired and appreciated it.
We conclude from this story that Maquette was also used in Islamic Ages.
Egyptian culture: The fact about Puppets
A lot of toys were discovered belonging to the ancient Egyptians mostly puppets which the children used to play with.
Justaph Lupon mentioned in his book “the Egyptians civilization” that there were toys for the ancient Egyptian boys.
As we got different kinds of toys shaped up as dolls with joints, dolls & animals, and ancient Egyptian boys were playing with puppets like the children nowadays.
The Pharaohs used the puppets in the magic for example when the magician wanted to cause harm to someone he used to make a puppet taking the form of this person, and burn it, so the subject person would feel it. This operation nowadays is known as an environment.
Meanwhile, some hieroglyphic texts mentioned that this operation was practiced on king Ramses III. But the magician was caught, arrested and the kings wax statues or the tools of the game were seized.
Puppets during the Islamic era
Also, the puppets were known to the Arabs, and Aisha, the prophet’s wife had a winged-horse puppet “Griffon” when the prophet Mohammed saw it he showed a wide smile because Aisha told him “Didn’t you hear that king Solomon also had winged horses?
In the meantime, the 4th-century poet Al-Mutanabi gave a share to the puppets in his poems.
The story started when Badr Ibn Ammar, also a poet and a rival of Al-Mutanabi tried to test the responsiveness and wits of Al-Mutanabi in a sporadic and haphazardous situation.
Therefore, Ibn Ammar brought a puppet with long hair, as long as the puppet itself, rotating on a pivot, with one leg lifted up, and a wreath of Rihan in her hands.
Every time the puppet stops, one stroke from one of the attendants would send it rotating ever al-Mutanabi responded”
- A slave with hair as tall as her,
- The heart would love it, though,
- In her hands a wreath of flowers,
- You smell it every time she stands by you.
Describing the puppet provides the proof that it was made in such an elaborate and intricate way, taking the shape of a human being and moving. This is the case until today, where the puppet takes the shape of an animal.
Puppets during Mameluk era
In the Mameluk period, the Sultans allowed their servants to watch the plays where scarecrow dolls and clowns were involved in order to entertain them.
The Turkish period in Egypt also witnessed the folklore plays of the Kura Qoz or the clown or “the black-eyed”, who was the key figure in the puppet plays, aided by another character, Haji Wad.
They were a mason and steel bender during the reign of Sultan Orkhan, the second Ottoman Sultan, who wanted to establish a Mosque in Brussa. He assigned the building works to Kura Qoz and Haji Wad.
However, they were joking, and making fun most of the time, and their fellow workers used to gather and watch them for entertainment, listening to their Jokes, and giggling. This matter had made the Sultan furious and upset.
Later he gave his orders to have them executed. However, he felt sorry and regretful after the damage was done.
To take the sultan away from his grief, a Shiekh called Kashtery, who knew him well, was acquainted with him made two leather puppets with the features of Kura Qoz and Haji Wad, and played them from behind a screen repeating their famous jokes and comic statements.
From the above, we may conclude that the puppets of Kura Qoz and Haji Wad were first made out of leather.
But nowadays they are made of wood and cloth, the matter which could help us trace the development of the doll as the ancient Egyptians used it for some purposes, the Arabs used it for different purposes.
In Turkey, the puppets were used in the processions celebrating the circumcision of the children of the sultans, and the craftsmen excelled in demonstrating them in different sizes such as in the celebrations of Sultan Ahmed III in the Surnama miniature (1729 A.D.).
The Italian Traveller Petro Dela Fila who visited Turkey in the 17th century described puppets saying;
In the evenings they were carrying to the streets a framework made out of superimposed rings, corded with a piece of cloth which resembled the Spanish garment. These rings were played by someone within them.
The puppet according to the above accounts that it a child toy or a magic tool for the ancient Egyptian and a doll for girls with the Arabs.
After all, we can realize that Maquettes and Puppets were part of Egypt culture.
And it is a fact that the ancient Egyptians were the first people in the world to know these kinds of arts.