Vocabulary from Early Art

This vocabulary slideshow helps students practice vocabulary that is important when talking about cave paintings and ancient Egyptian art.

1. Pictograph

A pictorial symbol for a word or phrase, often used in cave paintings and early writing systems.

2. Petroglyph

An image or design cut into a rock surface without the use of pigment or coloring. In cave paintings, petroglyphs were often made by chipping away the rock surface.

3. Prehistoric Art

Art created before the advent of written records, often seen in the form of cave paintings, sculptures, and other artifacts.

4. Hieroglyphics

A system of writing using pictures and symbols, used by the ancient Egyptians.

5. Cartouche

An oval or oblong design containing a royal or divine name, used in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics.

6. Sarcophagus

A stone coffin, often inscribed or decorated with sculpture, commonly used in ancient Egypt.

7. Bas-Relief

A type of sculpture where the figures are carved into a flat surface, not freestanding, often used in Egyptian temples.

8. Papyrus

A material similar to thick paper used in ancient times as a writing surface, made from the pith of the papyrus plant.

9. Obelisk

A tall, four-sided, narrow tapering monument which ends in a pyramid-like shape at the top, commonly seen in ancient Egyptian architecture.

10. Sphinx

A mythical creature with the body of a lion and the head of a human or animal, often seen in ancient Egyptian art and architecture.

11. Fresco

A technique of mural painting where pigments are applied on wet plaster, often used in cave paintings.

12. Palette

A thin board or slab on which an artist lays and mixes colors, used in both cave painting and ancient Egyptian art.

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