Oct 29, 2018

Picture of the Day: 2,200 Year Old Paint Preserved By Dry Desert Air

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Photograph by Fig Wright


Seen here is the incredibly well-preserved, painted ceiling at Egypt’s Temple of Hathor. It is the main temple at the Dendera Temple Complex which was built around 2250 BC and is regarded as one of the best-preserved temple complexes in Egypt. Dendera covers an area of about 40,000 square meters and is one of the most tourist-accessible ancient Egyptian places of worship.

The ceiling of the main hall has retained much of its stunning original colour despite being painted thousands of years ago. According to Tour Egypt, the ceiling is “decorated as a complex and carefully aligned symbolic chart of the heavens, including signs of the zodiac (introduced by the Romans) and images of the sky goddess Nut who swallowed the sun disc each evening in order to give birth to it once again at dawn.” [source]

The ceiling was recently cleaned as a layer of soot had covered much of the temple. According to Sacred Sites, this was caused when Napoleon’s scholars first visited Dendera. They actually founded a centuries-old Arab village directly inside the great temple and the villagers’ cooking fires had blackened the ceilings over the years.




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