Q:

What did ancient Egyptian artisans do?

A:

Ancient Egyptian artisans created works of art and ornamental furnishings primarily for the noble and wealthy of Egypt. Because so many of the items they crafted went into Egyptian tombs, archaeologists have a very good record of what the top tier of artisans created.

The ancient Egyptians loved their beautiful things, and an entire class of workmen developed around creating them. Builders of furniture, crafters of jewelry and grooming tools, weavers and seamstresses all found a place in the artisan hierarchy. Artisans generally passed their trades from parent to child. In some cases, artisans were brought together in enough numbers to populate entire towns, as in regions near burial sites, important temples or royal palaces.

These artisans were cognizant of their high status. During the 20th dynasty of the New Kingdom, artisans staged the first workers' strike when they did not get supplies for making beer. They won.


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