Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Light Projections Bring Back The Lost Color In Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs

Source: Timewheel
Written by: Timewheel

The sacred temples of Egypt were not always the monochromatic sandstone buildings we think of today. At the time of their construction, ancient Egyptian temples were adorned with delicately carved, hand-painted scenes detailing events of their most cherished religious and mythological concepts. Unfortunately, centuries of weathering have taken a very serious toll on the antique artworks.

One such temple, the Temple of Dendur, is a perfect example.. The Temple of Dendur is a small, 2-room complex was given to the United States by Egypt in 1965 and in 1967, was awarded to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The temple was completed in 10 BCE and is known to have once bore stunningly vibrant, carved murals of the Pharaoh making offerings to deities wielding scepters and ankhs, the symbol of life. Today, however, it is a pale and rather beige looking example of what it once was. Thanks to the efforts of the Color the Temple project, one of the ancient carved scenes on the temple's exterior has been brought back to life.

A team consisting of former interns of Met Medialab Matt Felsen and Maria Paula Saba in collaboration with former Met Fellow Erin Peters in the Department of Egyptian Art devised a way to return color and detail to these delicate works of art without disturbing their natural state. With the help of light projection and by using unearthed Egyptian art fragments that still possess their color as reference, the team designed a color overlay that, when projected onto the stone carvings, revitalizes even the most minute details with vibrant, life-like colors that behave naturally with the contours and imperfections in the stone.


They chose this particular scene for the project as it appeared to have retained considerably more detail than the others. It portrays an event in which Augustus, depicted as Pharaoh, is offering wine to the ancient, horn-headed goddess Isis and the falcon-headed god Horus. When colored, the scene becomes animated as the deities are rendered in rich white and striking blue with colored hieroglyphs running between them, representing dialogue. One can only imagine the splendor of witnessing this Egyptian temple, or any other, as it stood in its original brilliance over two thousand years ago. 

H/T: hyper allergic

“Color the Temple,” a tool to digitally restore color on the Temple of Dendur with projected light (all photos by, Claire Voon, author for Hyperallergic)

Recreated scene on the Temple of Dendur

Detail of the recreated scene on the Temple of Dendur

Detail of the recreated scene on the Temple of Dendur

“Color the Temple,” a tool to digitally restore color on the Temple of Dendur with projected light

“Color the Temple,” a tool to digitally restore color on the Temple of Dendur with projected light

The Temple of Dendur


Fragments from reliefs that once decorate temples and halls at Armana show traces of how stone would have been painted

Found @ http://timewheel.net/Image-Light-Projections-Bring-Back-The-Lost-Color-In-Ancient-Egyptian

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