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A Short History of the Egyptian Obelisks

Cooper, W. R.

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ISBN 10: 1501076256 / ISBN 13: 9781501076251
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Título: A Short History of the Egyptian Obelisks

Editorial: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Encuadernación: PAPERBACK

Condición del libro:New

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An excerpt from the beginning of Chapter I. Characteristics of an Obelisk:

OF all the monuments of Egypt the most striking and the most characteristic are the Obelisk and the Pyramid; both of them solar emblems: the one significant of the rising, and the other of the setting sun; and both alike dating from that pre-historic period of civilization which was in perfection ere the Father of the Faithful had descended from Ur of the Chaldees, or the Turanian races of India were oppressed by their Aryan brethren.

For so long a succession of centuries has the Obelisk been admired and copied in the various cities of Africa, Asia, and Europe; Alexandria, Constantinople, and Rome, that the original peculiarities of the structure itself have been occasionally lost sight of: and any single vertical monument that could not be exactly described as a column, has been set down as an obelisk. Hence there is still in popular acceptance some inaccuracy as to the exact form that an obelisk should assume: and it becomes necessary at once to define what an obelisk is, and what it is not as to external form, before we proceed to examine the intention of its symbolism. An obelisk, or tekhen, to give it its Egyptian name, then, is a monument composed of a single quadrangular upright stone, having its four faces inclined towards each other; and in section, all its angles, right angles, and all its sides; parallel to each other ; its height is not less than that of ten diameters, taken at the base; and its apex is abruptly terminated by a small pyramidion, whose faces are inclined at about an angle of sixty degrees. The obelisk is generally supported upon a quadrangular base, the height of which is approximately that of a cube and a half, and which is also, like the obelisk, composed of a single stone, this base is further supported by two broad and deep steps. It is not necessary that the four sides of either obelisk or base ' have in section the same width, provided that each opposite side is exactly equal; but it is necessary that jail the lines of the monument be right lines; and that it should have no more than four sides. A polygonal, or a cylindrical monolith is not an obelisk; on the other hand, obelisks may be either inscribed or uninscribed; but the ornamentation is never in relief, other than the low sunken relief used in Egyptian art, and known as incavo relievo; and the inscription is always vertical with the lines of the monument, and not horizontal. It must be added, also, that entasis or that slight curvature of all long lines, which is so marked a feature in classic architecture, is wholly foreign to the design of an obelisk in the best period of Pharaohnic art.

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