92. The art
| The noble drops one hand idly upon the head of his
favorite hound, and with the other beckons to the Chief gardener and gives
directions regarding the new pomegranates which he wishes to try for dinner.
The house (Fig. 51)
where this dinner awaits him is large and commodious, built of sun-dried
brick and wood. Light and airy, as suits the climate, we find that it has
many latticed windows on all sides. The walls of the living rooms are scarcely
more than a frame to support gayly colored hangings (§
84) which can be let down as a protection against winds and
sand storms when necessary. These give the house a very bright and cheerful
aspect. The house is a work of art, and we discern- in it how naturally
the Egyptian demanded beauty in his surroundings. This he secured by making
all his useful things beautiful.
Beauty surrounds us on every hand as we follow him in to his dinner. The lotus blossoms on the handle of his carved spoon, and his wine sparkles in the deep blue calyx of the same flower, which forms the bowl of his wineglass. The muscular limbs of the lion or the ox, beautifully carved in ivory, support the chair in which he sits or the couch where he reclines. The painted ceiling over his head is a blue and starry heaven resting upon palm-trunk columns (Fig. 56), each crowned with its graceful tuft of drooping foliage carved in wood and colored in the dark green of the living tree; or columns in the form of lotus stalks rise from the floor as if to support the azure ceiling upon their swaying blossoms. Doves and butterflies, exquisitely painted, flit across this indoor sky. Beneath our feet we find the pavement of the dining hall carpeted in paintings picturing everywhere the deep green of disheveled marsh grasses, with gleaming water between and fish gliding among the swaying reeds. Around the margin, leaping among the rushes, we see the wild ox [NEXT]