Friday, March 20, 2020

The Polychrome Hieroglyph Research Project

The Polychrome Hieroglyph Research Project

Welcome to the polychrome hieroglyph research project!

This website displays the preliminary results of ongoing research currently carried out at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium, into the use and meaning of colour in Egyptian hieroglyphic inscriptions.
It is powered by a database of polychrome hieroglyphs which at present contains over 3500 occurrences of individual signs.
Uniquely amongst the earliest writing systems, the Egyptian hieroglyphic script was sometimes enhanced by colouring the signs. This was not done in an arbitrary fashion, but was conventional, with each colour used in a conscious attempt either at materialism, naturalism, semi-naturalism or as a metaphor. This study aims to shed some light on the processes involved in writing in colour. The project clearly shows that a polychrome canon was in use, in a remarkably coherent and stable fashion, during some two thousand five hundred years, from the Old Kingdom right through to the Ptolemaic period.

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