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Part 2. Men employed in polishing a column, probably of wood.

Thebes.

2. Tightening a thong with his teeth.
c to i. Various tools; 7 an adze.

Fig. 1. Making a hole with an awl. bb. Sandals hanging up in the shop. of a monarch being so often introduced in the most conspicuous manner on the coffins of private individuals, and in the paintings of the tombs; many of the scarabaei they wore presenting the name of a king; and the most ordinary devices being formed to resemble a royal oval. But whether or not they had this custom, or that of affixing the name and occupation of the tradesman, it is difficult to determine; and indeed in those cities where certain districts were set apart for particular trades, the latter distinction was evidently uncalled for and superfluous.

The great consumption of leather in Egypt, and the various purposes to which skins, both in the tanned and raw state, were applied, created a demand far greater than could be satisfied by the produce of the country; they, therefore, imported skins from foreign countries, and part of the tribute levied on the conquered tribes of Asia and Africa consisted of hides, and the skins of wild

animals, as the leopard, fox, and others; which are frequently represented in the paintings of Thebes, laid before the throne of a Pharaoh, together with gold, silver, ivory, rare woods, and the various productions of each vanquished country.

For tanning they used the pods of the Sont, or Acacia (Acacia, or Mimosa, Nilotica), the acanthus of Strabo and other writers, which was cultivated in many parts of Egypt, being also prized for its timber, charcoal, and gum; and it is probable that the bark and wood of the Rhus oxyacanthoïdes, and the bark of the Acacia Séál, both natives of the desert, were employed for the same purpose.

Many persons, both men and women, were engaged in cleaning cloths and stuffs of various kinds; and the occupations of the fuller form some of the numerous subjects of the sculptures. It is probable that they were only a subdivision of the dyers. In

393.

a b. Inclined tables.

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cc. The water running off into the trough below.

early times, before, and even after, the invention of soap, potash, nitre, and several earths, were employed for cleansing cloths, as well as various herbs, many of which are still in use among the Arabs, one of which was doubtless the alkaline plant boréeth, mentioned by Jeremiah (ii., 22) and Malachi (iii., 2). Many of the Suædas and Salsolas, and other alkaline plants, are found in the Egyptian deserts, as well as the gilloo, also called "the soap plant; " and the people of Cairo and the Barbary coast use certain woods for cleansing manufactured stuffs.

A far more numerous class were the potters; and all the processes of mixing the clay, and of turning, baking, and polishing the vases, are represented in the tombs of Thebes and Beni Hassan.

They frequently kneaded the clay with their feet, and after it had been properly worked up, they formed it into a mass of convenient size with the hand, and placed it on the wheel, which was of very simple construction, and generally turned with the hand. The various forms of the vases were made out by the finger during their revolution; the handles, if they had any, were afterwards affixed to them; and the devices and other ornamental parts were traced with a wooden or metal instrument, previous to their being baked. They were then suffered to dry, and for this purpose were placed on planks of wood; they were afterwards arranged with great care in trays, and carried, by means of the usual yoke, borne on men's shoulders, to the oven.

Many of the vases, bottles, and pans of ordinary quality were very similar to those made in Egypt at the present day, as we see from the representations in the paintings, and from those found in the tombs, or in the ruins of old towns; and judging from the number of Coptic words applied to the different kinds, their names were as varied as their forms. Coptos and its vicinity were always noted for this manufacture; the clays found there were peculiarly suited for porous vases to cool water; and their qualities are fully manifested, at the present day, in the goolleh or bardak bottles, of the neighbourhood, made at the modern towns of Kéneh and Ballás.

That the forms of the modern goollehs are borrowed from those of an ancient time is evident, from the fragments found amidst the mounds of ancient towns and villages, as well as from the many preserved entire; and a local tradition asserts that the modern manufacture is borrowed from, and has succeeded without interruption to, that of former days.

It is impossible to fix the period of the invention of the potter's wheel, and the assertion of Pliny, who attributes it to Corobus the Athenian, is disproved by the evidence of the Egyptian

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394.

Potters' earthenware vases. Beni Hassan. a, e, i, p, the wheels on which the clay was put. Fig. 1 forms the inside and lip of the cup as it turns on the wheel a. b c d are cups already made. Fig. 2 forms the outside of the cup, indenting it with the hand at the base, preparatory to its being taken off. Fig. 3 has just taken off the cup from the clay l. Fig. 4 puts on a fresh piece of clay. Fig. 5 forms a round slab of clay with his two hands. Fig. 6 stirs and prepares the oven q. At s is the fire which rises through the long narrow tube or chimney of the oven, upon the top of which the cups are placed to bake, as in v. Fig. 7 hands the cup to the baker 8. Fig. 9 carries away the baked cups from the oven.

monuments, which prove it was known previous to the arrival of Joseph, and consequently long before the foundation of Athens.

But Pliny's chapter of inventions abounds with errors of this kind, and serves to show how commonly the Greeks adopted the discoveries of other nations, particularly of Egypt and Phoenicia, and claimed them as their own: even the art of cutting stones is attributed to Cadmus of Thebes; and Thales of Miletus is said to have enlightened the Egyptians, under whom he had long been studying, by teaching them to measure the altitude of a pyramid, or other body, by its shadow, at the late period of 600 B.C. But we cannot suppose that the Greeks taught their instructors a discovery, of which men so skilful in astronomy and mathematics could not have been ignorant; and however superior they afterwards became in all branches of science, they were in their infancy long after the decline of Egypt.

The Egyptians displayed much taste in their gold, silver, porcelain, and glass vases, but when made of earthenware, for ordinary purposes, they were frequently devoid of elegance, and scarcely superior to those of England before the taste of Wedgewood substituted the graceful forms of Greek models, for some of the unseemly productions of our old potteries. Though the clay of Upper Egypt was particularly suited to porous bottles, it could not be obtained of a sufficiently fine quality for the manufacture of vases like those of Greece and Italy; in Egypt, too, good taste did not extend to all classes, as in Greece; and vases used for fetching water from a well, or from the Nile, were of a very ordinary kind, far inferior to those carried by the Athenian women to the fountain of Kallirhoë.

The Greeks, it is true, were indebted to Egypt for much useful knowledge, and for many early hints in art, but they speedily surpassed their instructors; and in nothing, perhaps, is this more strikingly manifested than in the productions of the potter.

Carpenters and cabinet-makers were a very numerous class of workmen and their occupations form one of the most important subjects in the paintings which represent the Egyptian trades.

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Egypt produced little wood; and with the exception of the date and dom palms, the sycamore, tamarisk, and acacias, few

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