Ancient Egyptian Craftsmen

Ancient Egyptian craftsmen were a vital part of society. They were skilled laborers in a variety of jobs that were needed in ancient Egypt.

Ancient Egyptian craftsmen lives depended on their level of skill and ability in a specific craft. In most cases when ancient Egyptian craftsmen had superior skills they lived a comfortable life.

The craftsmen depended on selling or contracting their goods to the public or to the pharaoh. Many times a specific village, town or shop was known for producing specific items.

Children learned the crafts of their parents. More times than not, a child would grow to be a similar craftsman. For instance, boys of stone masons became stone masons and boys of farmers became farmers.

There were very few instances when a child grew up and improved their standing in the community.

Types of ancient Egyptian craftsmen

The types of ancient Egyptian craftsmen varied from stone masons and sculptures to pottery makers and painters to shepherds and farmers.

Stone masons played an important role in cutting stones used for temples and expensive homes for wealthy people. Sculptures would carve cut stone into fabulous statues of their gods from Isis to Osiris to Amun to Ra.

Pottery makers were located near sources of clay. The largest source of clay in ancient Egypt was the Nile River.

Pottery was used for almost everything in daily life from eating utensils like plates and glasses to decorative beads and jewelry to vases and urns. Pottery makers were sometimes artists too or they worked with a skilled artist. Almost all pottery in ancient Egypt was painted.

A jeweler in ancient Egypt was a unique craftsman. Ancient Egyptians liked to wear lots of jewelry.

Jewelers also worked with precious metals like gold and silver to make jewelry for rich ancient Egyptians. Other metals used for jewelry included copper and bronze which was worn by poorer people of ancient Egypt.

Jewelers needed to know how to work with metals and precious stones when making their jewelry.

Another type of ancient Egyptian craftsmen is scribes. Scribes were highly educated individuals, mainly males, who were skilled at writing and reading hieroglyphics. Hieroglyphics were the corner stone of communication in ancient Egypt.

Scribes spent years learning their skill of writing more than 3,000 different symbols used in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics.

Other types of ancient Egyptian craftsmen

Other forms of ancient Egyptian craftsmen were musicians, dancers, bakers, farmers and even soldiers. Soldiers learned a variety of crafts from building canals, temples and pyramids for their pharaohs.

Many farmers would specialize in growing a specific crop such as wheat or barley as well as everyday staples to eat. Bakers were sought out for their recipes and use of grains. Breads were often sweet in ancient Egypt and each baker had special recipes for sweetening breads.

Musicians and dancers were needed for celebrations and entertaining. Rich ancient Egyptian families including royalty entertained on a daily basis.

Two types of shops

Ancient Egyptian craftsmen worked in two types of specific shops. The two shops were linked to selling their goods or services. Public shops sold their finished products to the people of ancient Egypt.

Craftsmen within these shops were not allowed to sign or autograph their finished works. Ancient Egyptians bought goods from specific shops based on superior skills of the craftsmen as a whole within the shop.

The second type of shop were ancient Egyptian craftsmen worked was the pharaoh shop. The pharaoh shop produced goods only for the pharaoh and royal family. The ancient Egyptian craftsmen that worked within the pharaoh shops were the most talented in their field.

Facts about ancient Egyptian craftsmen

  • Ancient Egyptian craftsmen acquired their skills from family members.
  • Stone masons were important craftsmen in ancient Egypt.
  • Soldiers learned crafts while building canals, temples and pyramids.
  • Jewelers also worked with precious metals like gold and silver.
  • There were two types of shops that employed craftsmen.
  • Almost all pottery was painted.
  • Craftsmen could not sign or autograph their finished products.
  • Most highly skilled craftsmen lived a comfortable live in ancient Egypt.

Questions

  • Pottery makers were also known for what other ability?
    Painting
  • Bakers had special recipes for what type of product?
    Breads
  • What was the most highly sought after craftsmen in ancient Egypt?
    Stone masons
  • What type of signature crops would make a farmer a craftsman?
    Wheat and barley