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Parent category: antiquity - world - Africa

The Great Pyramid of Giza in a 19th century photo

Egyptian pyramids

The pyramids of Egypt, some of which are among the largest man-made constructions ever conceived, constitute one of the most potent and enduring symbols of Ancient Egyptian civilization. It is generally accepted by most archaeologists that they were constructed as burial monuments associated with royal solar and stellar cults, and most were built during the Old and Middle Kingdom periods. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egyptian pyramids [Mar 2006]

See also: motif - Art Deco

Egypt in the European imagination

Cleopatra (1934) - Cecil B. DeMille

Engraving after John Martin's "Seventh Plague of Egypt" (1828), set the Biblical plague in the Hellenistic harbor of Alexandria.

The discovery of the unlooted tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922 introduced a new Ancient Egyptian celebrity to join Nefertiti, as "King Tut". Aside from its spectacular treasures, which influenced the design vocabulary of Art Deco, for many years, popular rumors of a "curse", probably fueled by tabloid newspapers at the time of the discovery, have persisted, selecting the early death of some of those who had first entered the tomb. However, a recent study of journals and death records indicates no statistical difference between the age of death of those who entered the tomb and those on the expedition who did not. Indeed, most lived past 70.

Hollywood's Egypt is America's second contribution to the Egypt of the imagination (see the Book of Abraham); the spectacle of Egypt climaxed in sequences of Cecil B. deMille's The Ten Commandments (1956) and Jeanne Crain as Nefertiti in the Cinecittą 1961 Italian motion picture production of Queen of the Nile but collapsed with the failure of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra (1963), the last serious cinematic Egyptian extravaganza. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egypt_in_the_European_imagination#20th_century [Mar 2006]

The discovery of the treasure of King Tut's tomb by archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922 led to a third revival [of Egyptian architecture]. Grauman's Egyptian Theatre in Los Angeles, USA, now home to the American Cinematheque, is an Egyptian Revival theatre from the era. The Egyptian revival of the 1920s is sometimes considered to be part of the Art Deco decorative arts movement. It was present in furniture and other household objects, as well as in architecture. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egyptian_Revival [Mar 2006]

See also: John Martin - Africa - Art Deco - architecture

Grauman's Egyptian Theatre (1922)

Grauman's Egyptian Theatre (openened in 1922)
image sourced here.

Simply going to the movies became a fantastic, romantic event. In 1922 Grauman's Egyptian Theatre opened in Los Angeles. Grauman's Chinese followed a few years later. Theatres in other cities adopted similarly fanciful and exotic themes. Some resembled French chateaux; others evoked the Ottoman Empire in its heyday. Whatever the architectural style, theatres in large cities became "palaces." --http://www.assumption.edu/ahc/Vanities/default.html [Apr 2005]

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