Yr 4, Egyptians – printing – Africa

What is printing?

Printmaking can be both simple or complex. The essence of the printmaking process is ‘repetition’ , you can make many copies from one block or plate. A printmaker will design their artwork and then transfer it onto a flat surface (block or plate), ink is then applied followed by transferring the design onto paper or fabric.

Artwork in Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egyptian art refers to art made between the 6th millennium BC and the 4th century AD. 

It includes paintings, sculptures and drawings, the artworks changed very little during this time, the majority of surviving examples are from tombs, the pyramids and monuments.  

Artworks served an essentially functional purpose that were bound with faith, religion and ideology, the ancient language of Egypt did not have a word for ‘art’.

Egyptian Blue

Egyptian blue is recognised as the first synthetic pigment (not naturally found), it was made 4500 years ago. Before the Egyptians learned how to make a synthetic blue pigment from sand and copper the main blue pigment was obtained from the mineral lapis lazuli, grounding blue from lapis lazuli was extremely expensive.

lapis lazuli
The ‘Opening of the Mouth’ ceremony being performed on a mummy before the tomb.
How does the design stand out from the background?
What colour scheme has been used? Is it harmonious or built up of colour contrasts?
Why did ancient Egyptian art remain the same for so long?
What story is being told in the artwork?

Ancient Egyptian society was based on the concept of harmony known as ma’at. All Egyptian art is based on perfect balance because it reflects the ideal world of the gods. Egyptian art was always first and foremost functional. No matter how beautifully a statue may have been crafted, its purpose was to serve as a home for a spirit or a god. 

Egyptian hieroglyphs can be written from right to left or left to right; in order to determine the direction of the inscription, the reader can look to the animal signs, which usually face towards the beginning of the text.

Ancient Egypt 101, National Geographic


  • printing block
  • brayer
  • inking up
  • printing station
  • texture
  • transfer
  • surface
  • raised
Printmaking tools.
The process is still the same today!
Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Writing