Ancient Egyptian Anecdotes
which have been
edited to make
them easy for
the modern reader.
3D reconstruction - Pylon of Rameses II at Luxor Temple
There are plenty of ground plans of ancient Egyptian temples avaliable and recreating the actual buildings is not so difficult. Providing that is if you're familiar with 3D CAD or other software.
The shapes of the buildings are quite simple - the pylons and columns are made from modified cubes and cylinders and elements such as cornices are easily shaped (checkout the temple of Hathor reconstruction to see how this is done)
The Model Pylon
The real difficulty is reproducing the decorations. When exploring an Egyptian temple it’s common to find whole sections of wall worn away, broken or missing and
the paintwork, in most of theses temples, was long ago destroyed. But from time to time it is possible to finds places usually beneath ledges or under eaves where the colour still remains. So there is enough surviving information to be able to make an educated guess of the pigments and colours used.
You will notice in the photo above that the entire gateway is missing but most New Kingdom temple gateways follow the same design so this is not a problem
Sometimes it is difficult to make out the carved details of walls time worn and smooth. On large buildings the details are high up and hard to see. I over come these problems with a combination of research, photos enhanced in Photoshop to bring out the details and a bit of artistic license.
Over the years I’ve got to know the Luxor temple quite well and in 2005 I’d already planed how to photograph it before traveling to Egypt. My wife and I took over 400 detail photos of the pylon. They were made by dividing the walls of the pylon into an imaginary grid then taking overlapping photos along the grid framework. The photos were then stiched together to make one very large photograph. The actual size of the image above is nearly four meters (about 12 and half feet) wide.
After the stitching is complete many of the details of the relief carvings cannot be seen without some further processing in Photoshop.
I trace over the enhanced photo on a separate layer to make a new image which will be mapped to the surface of my model pylon. You can see the city of Kadesh surrounded by defensive walls, regiments of chariots parade across the walls and the details of a battle scene with Rameses II driving his chariot over the defeated enemy.
The finished drawing of the battle of Kadesh is called an ‘image map’ and is applied to a 3D object just like wall paper – In tthis case to the walls of the model pylon..