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It is not known at what period they began to cast statues and other objects in bronze, or how long the use of beaten copper preceded the art of casting in that metal. No light is thrown on this point by the earlier paintings, nor is there any representation in later times, among the many subjects connected with the trades, arts, and occupations of the Egyptians, which relates to this process:-one of the many proofs that no argument against the existence of a custom ought to be derived from the circumstance of its not being indicated on the monuments.
Many bronzes have been found, evidently, from their style, of a very early period. A cylinder, with the name of Papi, of the 6th Dynasty, has every appearance of having been cast; and other bronze implements of the same age bear still stronger evidence of having come from a mould; all of which date more than two thousand years before our era.
Pausanias, in speaking of the art of casting metal, says the people of Pheneum in Arcadia pretended that Ulysses dedicated a statue of bronze to Neptune Hippius, in order that he might recover the horses he had lost, through the intervention of the Deity; indeed," he adds, "they showed me an inscription on the pedestal of the statue offering a reward to any person who should find and take care of the animals; but I do not give credit to the whole of their statement, and no one can persuade me that Ulysses erected a bronze statue to Neptune. The art of fusing metal and casting it in a mould was not yet known; a statue was made in those times like a dress, successively, and in pieces, not at one time, or in a single mass, as I have already shown in speaking of the statue of Jupiter, surnamed the Most High. In fact, the first who cast statues were Rhocus the son of Philæus, and Theodorus the son of Telecles, both natives of Samos; the latter the same who engraved the beautiful emerald in the ring of Polycrates."
The Samians were noted at an early period for their skill in this branch of art; and before the foundation of Cyrene, or B.C. 630, they made a bronze vase, ornamented with griffins, supported on three colossal figures of the same metal, for the temple of Juno. The art was also known at a very remote period in Italy
Among the Etruscans, bronze statues were common, before the foundation of Rome; and Romulus is said to have placed a statue of himself, crowned by Victory, in a four-horsed car of bronze, which had been captured at the taking of Camerium.
Pliny attributes the discovery of gold and the secret of smelting it to Cadmus, who is supposed to have gone to Greece 1493 years before our era; but this, like most of the inventions mentioned by him, was long before known to the Egyptians; and we may apply the same remark to the supposed discovery of Rhocus and Theodorus.
It is uncertain whether the Egyptians possessed the art of damaskening or inlaying iron with gold, since, owing to the speedy decomposition of that metal, nothing made of iron has been preserved of a remote era; but we may conclude, from their inlaying bronze in this manner, that it was not unknown to them.
Some have supposed that Glaucus of Chios was the inventor of this art, and that the stand of his silver vase presented to the temple of Delphi by Alyattes king of Lydia, which, according to Herodotus, was the most beautiful of all the offerings there, was made of iron inlaid with gold. But the description given of it by Pausanias will scarcely sanction this opinion, as he states "it consisted of several plates of iron, adjusted one over the other in the form of steps, the last, that is, those of the summit, curving a little outwards. It had the form of a tower, large at the base, and decreasing upwards, and the pieces of which it was composed were not fastened either with nails or. pins, but simply soldered together."
The Greeks, however, were not ignorant of damaskening, and if the stand of Alyattes' vase was not so inlaid, it is certain they possessed the art, and ornamented goblets and other objects in that manner. The process was very simple: the iron was carved with various devices, and the narrow lines thus hollowed out were filled with gold, or with silver, which in some instances. may have been soldered, but in others was simply beaten in with the hammer, the surface being afterwards filed and polished.
The term damaskening, though generally confined to iron or steel so inlaid (owing to its having been borrowed from the
specimens of this work in the modern sword blades of Damascus), may with equal propriety be extended to any metal; and numerous instances of bronze inlaid with gold and silver occur in statues, scarabæi, and various ornamental objects discovered at Thebes and other places. Hard stones were also engraved in the same manner, and the intaglio filled with gold or silver beaten into it; a process commonly adopted at the present day by the Turks, and other Eastern people, in their hookahs or nargilehs, and in the stone ornaments of their amber mouth-pieces.
The art of soldering metals had long been practised in Egypt before the time of Glaucus; and it is curious to find gold and bronze vases, made apparently in the same manner as the stand of
Vases of the time of Thothmes III.,
that mentioned by Pausanias, represented at Thebes, in the tribute brought from Asia to the third Thothmes, and consequently dating many centuries previous to the Chian artist. They are shown to have been composed of plates of metal, imbricated, or overlapping each other, as Pausanias describes, and sometimes bound at intervals with bands of metal. Instances occur in the same sculptures of gold vases with stands formed of similar plates; which
imbricated, or ornamented with plates of are interesting also from the elegance of their forms.
In coarser work, or in those parts which were out of sight, the Egyptians soldered with lead, but we are ignorant of the time when it was first used for that purpose, though it could only have been after the discovery of tin; for, as Pliny justly observes, "lead can only be united by the addition of tin, nor is this last efficient without the application of oil." The oldest specimen of metal soldered with lead with which I am acquainted is the sistrum of Mr. Burton: its date, however, is uncertain; and though, from the style of the figures engraved upon it, we may venture
to ascribe to it a Pharaonic age, the exact period when it was made cannot be fixed.
In early ages, before men had acquired the art of smelting ore, and of making arms and implements of metal, stones of various kinds were used, and the chasseur was contented with the pointed flint with which nature had provided him. The only effort of his ingenuity was to fix it in some kind of handle, or at the extremity of a reed, in order to make the knife, or the arrow; and we still witness the skill which some savage people of the present day display in constructing those rude weapons.
The Egyptians, at a remote period, before civilization dawned upon them, adopted the same; and we find that stone-tipped arrows continued to be occasionally used for hunting long after the metal head had been commonly adopted, and after the arts had arrived at the state of perfection in which they appear subsequently to the accession of the 18th dynasty. Long habit had reconciled them to the original reed shaft with its head of flint, and even to arrows made with a point of hard wood inserted into them, which were also the remnant of a primæval custom. Those, however, who preferred them of a stronger kind, adopted arrows of wood tipped with bronze heads; and these were considered more serviceable, and were almost invariably used in war.
The same prejudice in favour of an ancient and primitive custom retained the use of stone knives for certain purposes connected with religion among the Egyptians; and Herodotus tells us it was usual to make an incision in the body of the deceased, when brought to be embalmed, with an Ethiopic stone. This name, in all instances where the stone is said to be used for cutting, evidently signifies flint, which is shown by its frequent employment for that purpose among many people, and by our finding several flint knives in the tombs of Thebes. In other cases, the Ethiopic stone, mentioned by Herodotus, is evidently granite, so called from being common in Ethiopia; and it is possible that the flint received that name from its black colour.
The stone knives found in the excavations and tombs, many of which are preserved in our European museums, are generally of two kinds; one broad and flat like the blade of a knife, the other
narrow and pointed at the summit, several of which are preserved in the Berlin Museum (fig. 1). These last are supposed to have been used for making the incision in the side of the body, for the purpose of removing the intestines, preparatory to the embalming process already mentioned; and, considering how strongly men's minds are prepossessed in favour of early habits connected with religion, and how scrupulous the Egyptians were, above all people, in permitting the introduction of new customs in matters relating to the gods, we are not surprised that they should have retained the use of these primitive instruments in a ceremony of so sacred a nature as the embalming of the dead.
The difference in the type of the metal implements of the Egyptians and early European people is very marked. The former continued always to use flat blades of metal for adzes and hatchets ; those of Italy, Greece, the Tyrol, Gaul, Britain, Ireland, and other parts of Europe, gradually changed the form of the flat blade (which had succeeded to the stone hammer and hatchet), and gave it projecting sides, then a transverse ridge in the centre to prevent the shifting of the wooden handle fitted upon it, and to withstand the shock of a blow; and at length they made it into a metal socket, with which the wood was shod. The mode of fastening the metal to the handle was the same in Europe as in Egypt; which was with thongs of hide (as is still done in the South Sea Islands and other places); but our various forms of celtes, or "hatchets," were unknown to, and are readily distinguished from the tools of, the Egyptians."
Besides the various trades already noticed, were public weighers and common notaries, answering to the kabbáneh of modern Egypt. The business of the former was to ascertain the exact weight of everything they were called upon to measure, in the