Narrative Answer



Here is an outline and some detail of an answer to the narrative question.

Both the Palette of Namer in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and "The Tribute Money" by Masaccio in the Brancacci Chapel in the Church of Santa Maria del Carmine in Florence relate narrative events and both reflect the values of their respective cultures.

The PN relates the event in which King Namer of Upper Egypt unites upper and lower Egypt by defeating the King of Lower Egypt. Because of its different geography and differing cultures there was always a conflict between upper and lower Egypt, so its unification into one land was important to sustain Egyptian power. Therefore, this unification of Upper and Lower Egypt continued to be emphasized in Egypt art for the next 3000 year.

Arranged in registers

Hieratic structure--middle register Namer shown larger

Shown with servant behind holding sacred oil and sandals--performing a sacred, holy act in conquering king of lower Egypt. Bare feet because standing on holy ground--like Moses

Wearing white crown (bowling pin) of upper Egypt.

Egyptian artistic canon--pharaoh always show in same way. Legs in profile, chest head on and head in profile, with eye head on. From Palette of Namer to Ptolemy canon maintained with exception of Akhanaton.

Three level of language development.

Picture of Namer subduing king of lower Egypt

Pictograph of Horus/Namer subduing person with papyrus growing out of his back (lower Egypt of the Delta).

Pictorial hieroglyph

Phonetic hieroglyph--catfish and awl Na- mer

Lower register, two figures in a subdued posture indicating defeat by Namer, hair style indicating Asian origin.

Obverse side Repetition of phonetic hieroglyph na mer

Namer with servant again holding sandals as sign of his acting as a god.

Being led out to examine enemy dead with their heads between their legs.

Now wearing red crown of Lower Egypt.

Lower register in form of bull breaking a city wall and trampling an enemy.

End with a statement of the importance of the Pharaoh as the symbol of Egyptian unity.


An example from Western culture would be The Tribute Money by Masaccio, a fresco in the Brancacci

Chapel in the Church of Santa Maria del Carmine in Florence.

About 1427, by the pioneering painter of the Early Renaissance.

Expresses the values of its own time and of the classical time that it hearkened back to.

Its theme is religious, specifically the Christian story told in the Book of Matthew

Figures are classical--dressed Greek garb.