Vol. 12, No. 4 (page 1)

Sifting Through
The Sands of Time
with Egyptian and Mayan Art

A Unit of Study

Have you ever marveled at how (the gigantic Egyptian pyramids and massive Mayan temples were constructed without the use of modern machinery? Have you wondered how) ancient people recorded their thoughts? Has the advanced craftsmanship of wall painting and ornate relief sculpture from these two ancient cultures captured your imagination? If so, invite your students to assume the roles of archeologists and accompany you through a fascinating and enlightening “dig” through the sands of time.

From the earliest evidence of human existence, people have developed a variety of civilizations that have, over time, flourished, and fallen, and built new societies based on aspects of the old. Two of the most amazing of these are the ancient Egyptian and Mayan civilizations. Both civilizations created a variety of pictorial symbols that relate to universal human experiences and ideas such as war, death, family and history.These two cultures parallel each other in their approaches to the construction of architecture, use of hieroglyphics, and development of styles of art.

The Egyptian tomb painting Scene Showing the Official Nebamun Hunting Birds, British Museum, London, and the Mayan wall relief Presentation of Captives to a Maya Ruler c. 785 , Mexico, Usumacinta River Valley, Maya

  Late Classic period , Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, were chosen as the initial focus of the unit because they embody primary parallel characteristics and are strong representations of the Mayan and Egyptian art styles, respectively. These two works will be compared and contrasted in order to illicit an understanding of their meaning and form. Another possible work that could be used is Wall Panel: Royal Woman from the Dallas Museum of Art. A final comparison will be between Egyptian hieroglyphs and Mayan glyphs.

Note: This unit is designed for Grade 3, but can be adapted by the teacher for other levels.


Can You Dig It, Baby?:
Overview of Lessons.. p.1
Lesson 1: Introduction to Egyptian and Mayan Art .. p.4
Lesson 2: Comparing Egyptian and Mayan Writing Styles..p. 8
Lesson 3 Summary: Creating Contemporary Glyphs..p. 11
ART-O-GRAM: Write an Acrostic Poem ..p.12
Student Reproducible Page: Make a Glyph Print.. p.13

Lesson Handouts: .. pp. 14-23

Game: Create your own Egyptian Cartouche
Flash Program: Compare and Constrast Ancient Egyptian and Mayan Art Styles


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