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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/646

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

race is subdued to the type of the country by the effect of climate and surroundings within a few centuries.

Turning now to the purely classical Egyptian work, the principal discoveries of the last few years have given us new leading examples in every line. The great copper statue of King Pepy, with his son, dates from before 3000 B.C. It is over life size, and entirely wrought in hammered copper, showing a complete mastery in metal work of the highest artistic power. Probably of the same age is a head of a figure of the sacred hawk, wrought hollow in a single mass of hammered gold, weighing over a pound; this again shows work of noble dignity and power. Both of these were found at Hierakonpolis in 1898, and are now in the Cairo Museum.

Some centuries later was made the exquisite jewelry found at Dahshur in the graves of three princesses. This is a revelation of the delicacy possible in goldsmith's work. The soldering of the minute parts of the gold is absolutely invisible. The figures of hawks are made up of dozens of microscopic pieces of colored stone—lazuli, turquoise, carnelian—every one cut to the forms of the feathers, and every piece having a tiny cell of soldered gold strip to hold it in place, yet the whole bird only about half an inch high. The finest colored enameling ever made would be child's play compared with a piece of this early jewelry. The exquisite grace of form, harmony of coloring, and sense of perfection leave the mind richer by a fresh emotion, after seeing such a new world of skill. Coming down to about 1500 b. c., a large work has been done in the last six years in clearing the temple of Queen Hatshepsut at Deir el Bahri, on the western side of Thebes. That great ruler had there commemorated the events of her reign, particularly the expedition to the south of the Red Sea to obtain the plants of the sacred incense and other valued products. The attention shown to exact figuring of plants and animals makes this valuable as a record of natural history. This clearance has been made by Dr. Naville for the English fund. Meanwhile, Franco-Egyptian officials have been clearing out the Temple of Karnak, on the opposite bank, but with disastrous effect. The huge columns, built poorly of small blocks by Rameses II, stand now below the level of the inundation, and, after removing the earth accumulated around them, the Nile water has free circulation. This has dissolved the mortar so much that nine of these Titanic columns of the Great Hall fell last year, and three more threaten to follow them.

The Valley of the Tombs of the Kings has been prohibited ground to foreign explorers for over forty years, although the official department never did any work there. The native plunderers, however, turned up many years ago the beautiful chair