Egyptian artists, through the many centuries of great empire under the Pharaohs in the Nile Valley, created indisputable masterpieces, not a few of which depicted sports. Many of them suffered the depredations of time and man and no longer remain to be admired. On these pages are some of the finest of those which survive, faithfully copied in Egypt by Nina M. Davies for the Oriental Institute. In time they cover several eras. The little painting at right, Birds in an Acacia Tree, dates from about 1900 B.C. The painting of the youthful King Tut'ankhamun (below) was done about 3,300 years ago. The fine hunting and fishing scenes on the next page are of an earlier period. Yet in each, one finds the same magnificent colors, the flawless sense of composition and the decorative richness of stylization. These are paintings of genre type, biographical in nature. They tell of pleasures enjoyed in earthly life, to be continued in life beyond the grave. The animals, birds and fish are among the classic wildlife paintings of all time.
"TUT' ANKHAMUN HUNTING LIONS" a decoration from the lid of a box found in the young Pharaoh's tomb, is a scene of magnificence and violence.
Papyrus thickets on the banks of the Nile were fine hunting and fishing grounds for elite of Thebes, who made a day of sport into a family outing
"FISHING AND FOWLING IN THE MARSHES" shows the use of throwing stick and spear. At left the hunter holds live birds as decoys while a trained cat flushes the birds.
"HUNTING WILD FOWL IN THE MARSHES" again illustrates the throwing stick, the live decoys and the trained cat. The sportsman, accompanied by his wife and daughter, has nonchalantly draped lotus flowers over his shoulder, while his little girl keeps him from falling off the reed boat by hanging onto his leg.
ALL PAINTINGS BY PERMISSION OF THE ORIENTAL INSTITUTE, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO