Carrie Schidlo, M.A.

Project titel: Floral elements on different objects from the Late Period to the Roman Period of Egypt.

Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Tanja Pommerening, Prof. Dr. Heide Frielinghaus

Dissertation project:

Since early times plants were not only used as foods, scents or for medical purposes, but were also valued for their decorative appearance. A variety of vegetational depictions can be found on archaeological remains, presented in both realistic and stylised form. These floral elements appear in the middle as well as at the borders of depictions. In other cases objects were formed like plants or parts of them.

It would be too simple to interpret floral elements as pure decorations within the scope of Egyptian art. This assumption does not meet the requirements of the images, as there are certain connections between the floral motifs and the different contexts of Egyptian life (profane, sacral, sepulchral). The dissertation project assumes that, by the representation of floral elements on different objects, specific cultural concepts are presented.

This project shall be submitted as an iconographical study, which will firmly observe floral motifs on different pictorial media of the profane, sacral and sepulchral context from the Late Period to the Roman Period of Egypt. By detailed collection and comparison of the various floral motifs and their artistic expression in the different contexts, traditions and changes in the choice of motifs and plants can be revealed, like possible developments from realistic to stylised depiction in certain contexts. As the topic is limited to certain epochs with increased contact to the Ancient Near East and the Mediterranean area, plants of these cultural environments will be of special interest.

The results of the iconographic analysis as well as appropriate textual sources will be used for the identification of the cultural concepts, which might be shown by the use of floral elements on ancient Egyptian objects. A comparative study of all three contexts of ancient Egyptian life from a synchronic and diachronic perspective examines if there are motifs which persist in all contexts and times analysed or if there are changes and preferences for specific motifs in a definite context and time. Ways of transfer and conceptual specifity can be identified by the inclusion of floral motifs stemming from vicinal cultures.