The Use of the Module System in Ancient Egyptian Architecture

  • YASUOKA Yoshifumi
    Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Graduate School of Engineering, the University of Tokyo

Abstract

<p>This article aims to prove that the module system in the architectural design of Ancient Egypt was in use as early as the New Kingdom Period. I first extract the essence of the Egyptian module system evident in the elevation drawings of shrines on papyrus from the Late Period to the Greco-Roman Period, and I then extrapolate its use in works of earlier periods, mainly in depictions of shrines, furniture pieces and smaller wooden shrines, but also in a stone shrine from the time of Thutmose III. The result of this preliminary analysis shows that the use of the Egyptian module system can be traced to as early as the Eighteenth Dynasty and that more precise documentations for wooden and stone shrines known to us would be helpful to further clarify the principles of such design practice.</p><p>The article later defines the characteristics of the Egyptian module system by comparing it to the Vitruvian module system, whose origin hitherto has been said to be Greek. The schematic diagrams of the Doric and Ionic systems clearly show the difference in methods of defining the dimensions of each component of a design. The Doric system represents a radial pattern, in which a single module defines the dimensions of most parts.</p><p>This is identical to the module system of Ancient Egyptian shrines. The Ionic system, on the other hand, designates several dimensions as references, and as such, this system is to be regarded as multi-modular. In the historical development of the architectural styles, in order to create more elaborate system of design that would suit each culture’s architectural style and philosophy, the Doric system was perhaps based on the Egyptian system, and the Ionic system developed from the Doric.</p>

Journal

  • Orient

    Orient 53 (0), 35-54, 2018-09-30

    The Society for Near Eastern Studies in Japan

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