American Egyptomania Search

Crania Americana; or, A Comparitive View of the Skulls of Various Aboriginal Nations of North and South America: To which is Prefixed An Essay on the Varieties of the Human Species

Philadelphia: J. Dobson, 1839

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Art & Architecture


former greatly predominates in -the Egyptian sculpture, and is possibly characteristic of the Egyptians as a race. The nose was rather long, and joined the head much in the Grecian manner; the eye was elongated and rather oblique; the lips were well formed, the chin rounded and moderately full, and the whole expression mild and pleasing. It may be added that the Egyptian ear is said to have been placed higher than in the Caucasian ; but on. this point I cannot speak from observation. It is curious, however, that the same remark has been made in reference to the Hindoos of Malabar.*

As to the complexion of these people, history is strangely silent; but judging from the paintings which have been copied by Belzoni, Champollion and others, their prevalent color appears to have been swarthy or. brown, with a tinge of red. It is certain, however, that there was a difference. in color in the different castes, as in the modern Hindoos, presenting every shade from nearly white to a very dark brown, or even black. Their hair was long, straight, and generally black, although in the mummies it has a brownish color, which has been attributed to the process of embalming.

The antiquity of the Egyptian nation, and their skill in the arts and sciences, have been proverbial in all ages. " It is a remarkable fact," says Mr. Wilkinson, "that the first glimpse we obtain of the history and manners of the Egyptians, shows a nation already advanced in the arts of civilised life; and the same customs and inventions that prevailed in the Augustan era of that people, after the accession of the eighteenth dynasty, are found in the remote age of Osirtasen, the contemporary of Joseph."

In illustration of the antiquity and the " learning of the Egyptians," we may briefly notice a few facts in connection with the received chronology : thus, they had completed the pyramids of Memphis within three hundred years after the era assigned to the deluge ;—they wrote their hieroglyphic characters on papyrus as early as the age of Cheops, two thousand years before Christ;--they discovered and constructed the arch at least three thousand four hundred years ago ;--the Greek Scroll is common in the tombs of the Pharoahs ;—and the so called Doric column and entablature ornamented the porticos of Beni-Hassan before sculpture was an art in Greece.? Hence the observation of a late writer, that " this

* VIREY, Diet. d'Hist. Nat. Art. L'Homme.

The Egyptians kept their heads shaved excepting, a lock on the crown, and their head-dresses were as varied as the capitals of their columns.

Ancient Egypt, III, p. 260. § Ancient Egypt, II, p. 117 —IIl, p. 150, 261, 31g.

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