Ancient Egyptian Architecture flashcards |

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Egyptian king.

Step pyramid

Uses flat platforms as steps, receding from the bottom up to form a pyramid shape. Bottom step is a mastaba in some cases.


Earliest tombs that were built as eternal houses for the departed and were based on the design of dwellings for the living. They were built from bricks, bundled reeds and wooden supports. The building was a block like structure above ground containing a small room for offerings and another for the body and a statue of the deceased. Later a deep shaft was added to the design that places the body at its base with the shaft filled with stone and rubble to deter would-be robbers.


A cemetery of mastabas, where pharaohs were once buried.



Architect and advisor for King Zoser (Djoser), designed the first pyramid, for Zoser's funerary complex at Saqqara.


Spirit of the king. It was believed that a Ka statue at a king's tomb would keep the spirit from wandering away.



Set of rules for designing figures and buildings, such as rules of proportion.

Papyrus and lotus capitals

Lotus capital have two types closed bud for dark spaces that act as "night" and a open bud in open and bright spaces that act as "day". This plays on the nature of the lotus flower. Papyrus capitals also plays with nature.

True pyramid

A perfect geometric pyramid with flat, smooth sides.

Khufu (Cheops)

King Sneferu's son. Had the largest true pyramid built at Giza.

Khafre (Chephren)

Son of Khufu, had the second largest true pyramid built at Giza.

Menkaure (Mycerinus)

Son of Khafre, had the smaller of the three main true pyramids at Giza.


Column carved as a person.

Mortuary temple of Queen Hatshepsut, Deir el-Bahri 1473-1458 BCE

Temple was devoted to Amon (sun god). Has 3 terraces and 2 ramps. The temple is a rock cut temple, cut into the cliff face. Aligned to the temple of Amon. Celebrates the harsh sunlight. The columns don't have a base stone, just a shaft with a capital on top.


A linear series of columns with entablature.

Hypostyle hall

Sizable chambers created by rows of large columns placed closely together.


Windows placed high in a wall, generally above lower roof elements.


Monumental masonry entrance gates. Represented the entrance of the sun being reborn every day and the underworld.



A line at the end of which movement terminates at a significant feature and thereby divides a composition into two equal parts.


Stone shaft with a pyramid on top. Pyramid shapes such as the great pyramids was a symbol of the connection between the ruler and the sun god. Monolith (one rock), cut on four sides and had hieroglyphs with a story of the king. Glorified the pharaoh and was a visual marker in the landscape.


Spirit of the queen.

The Great Sphinx

A man-headed lion carved in situ. A ka statue for Khafre, was made of very hard rock located at a quarry site. Arms and head made of quarry limestone and the body was from hard stone that was already at the quarry site and could not be removed. Located at Giza.


A structural element, square or rectangular in plan, that supports an arch.

Pyramid at Saqarra, c. 2360 BCE

Designed by Imhotep, for Pharaoh Djoser. This was Egypt's first pyramid and monumental construction in stone. The pyramid started as a Mastaba, and has 6 steps. The exterior of the pyramids was dressed in limestone.

The Pyramids at Giza, 2550-2460 BCE

3 pyramids - largest Khufu, Khafre - medium one, and Menkaure, the smaller one. Pyramids are solid stone. Perfect square at the base. Pyramids used to be covered by limestone. The four corners are orientated by the 4 cardinal points.

Khafre's Ka Statue

Kept Khafre's spirit from wandering away from his tomb at Giza.

Hatshepsut, Deir el-Bahri, Egypt, c. 1473-1458 BCE

Husband of Queen Hatshepsut.

Temple of Ramses II, Abu Simbel, Egypt, c. 1500 BCE

Temple carved from a cliff face. Moved to a site for the Aswan dam. Rock cliff temples were often keeping treasure in them, because people were afraid of desecrating a temple. They feared eternal punishment to their family.

Fowling Scene, Tomb of Nebamun - Thebes, Egypt c. 1400-1350 BCE

Painting on Papyrus of Nebamun at his tomb depicting what he wants to take with him to the afterlife, like the ability to move, walk and hunt.

Temple of Amon-Re at Karnak, 1290-1224 BCE

Fortified by an exterior wall with two entry gated and orientated by the 4 cardinal directions. Has pylon gates and a controlled path throughout the building. Has a series of enclosed courtyards between the pylons.

Hypostyle Hall at the Temple of Amon-Re at Karnak, 1290-1224 BCE

Sizable chamber created by rows of large columns placed closely together. Had a stone grill - screen that would cut down on the glare and keep sand from blowing into the window, and columns made of several stones. Has drawings etched into the stone and whitewashed.

Last Judgement of Hu-Nefer, Thebes, Egypt c. 1290-1280 BCE

Shows entry into the underworld of the pharaoh Hu-Nefer.


Symbolic or metaphorical purpose of the pyramid

A symbol of the connection between the ruler and the sun god. It also meant annual rebirth of nature.

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