Friday, November 9, 2012

Day 2: The Papyrus Shop

Our guide took us to a papyrus shop where we learned how Egyptians made papyrus. Papyrus is made out of the reed papyrus. It has a triangular shape. The green outer skin is peeled and then the inner white part is thinly sliced. Then the maker rolls or pounds the water out of the papyrus strips, making the strips long and flexible. Then the strips are laid out first vertically, and then a second layer is laid out horizontally. The strips of papyrus are then pressed and dried. Papyrus sheets are surprisingly strong and flexible.

 (An Anhk symbol which means life. This "key" is often shown in heirogylphs.)
This papyrus shop specializes in showing tourists how papyrus is made and then works really hard to sell them papyrus art. And they are good at both.  It wasn't that hard of a sell for us. I thought it would be fun for the kids to get their names written in hieroglyphics in a car-touche. A car-touche is a rounded rectangle where only the Pharaoh's name (and I think that of his wife's) would be written. The kids each chose a piece they liked. I bought a Tree of Life picture that shows a bird going through the stages of life. We had our family names written around the tree.

The salesman was hilarious though in his effort to get us to buy stuff. He kept insisting that he would give us a very good deal because he was our brother--we were like family. It made me chuckle. In the end, he promised us that he like Americans-- I think with the recent problems of Americans in Egypt in mind.

We left with some beautiful art work. While it isn't ancient, it does use ancient techniques.

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