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Glyphs are Ideal Eccentrics

Immovable and powerful, like a scribe

Being a professional sculptor as well as passionate about evolutionary aspects of ancient cultures, I am really happy to finally write about a part of my self-taught hieroglyphs studies and present a sculpture of mine entitled “The Scribe”, partly inspired by the ancient one : Seated Scribe.

One of the symbolic ancient languages that most fascinates me in general, but also one of the most complex.

Through the time portal, enjoy your trip!

Photo by CALIN STAN on Unsplash

2320 BC circa

Logograms and phonetic signs

Differently from other pre-alphabetic languages, that were used to calculate, maintain and inventory goods, bills and administrative aspects in general, the earliest evidence of hieroglyphic writing reports magic formulas, in the tomb of a pharaoh and are contained in The Texts of the Pyramids.

In the Sumerian, with the spread of the use of cuneiform signs, the design of the original figure ceased to be unrecognizable from the written phase, but the hieroglyph retained the same realistic images and many signs continued to mean what they were representing once born.

Example: an engraved Hunchbacked elderly man with stick means: ‘old / elderly’. These are the logograms. Some hieroglyphs’ meaning could vary from the object depicted and these are called phonetic signs.

Phonetic signs & logograms (not to be considered divided during writing and reading)

No vowels required!

It is well known that the hieroglyphic language was written and read mostly by ‘highly placed’ classes in the ancient egyptian society, but egyptologists confirm that the ancient Egyptians understood each other thanks to a strong and fascinating sensitivity during their speeches.

Hieroglyphic language can therefore be divided into signs to be pronounced and into visual signs which served as a guide while reading; written element are not dissociated from the spoken one.

It’s essential to clarify the meaning of this abstractional association: more than a mnemonic annotation, an hieroglyph indicates a visual/mental transposition of the same spoken language (sound complex).

This explains why hieroglyphs presents this double aspect of visionary simplification and structural complexity at the same time.

Egyptian glyphs language is a deep analysis as well as an *artistic transposition of the ancient egyptian language.

A sort of written spiritualism.

(Small interlude: be wary of anyone who associates emojis with these ancient signs)

‘Book of the Dead’ papyrus; picture taken by the author (Egyptian Museum, Turin)

At the beginning, words pronounced were represented through the sound that compose them, reduced to a minimum number of ‘syllabic elements’, with preference for consonantics sounds.

What does “words pronounced were represented through the sound that compose them means?”

Union of expressive power through an image, a pictographic phoneme and a sound made into a sacred image; this is a glyph.

These sounds were rendered in complex groups that can include from 1 to 3 consonants.

The complexity of pluri-consonant sounds is often clarified by the accompaniment of their minor units.

Words are instead explained with the identification sign / sound or word that carries the related meaning.

There are also classification elements, which indicate in which lexical context the term we read, has to be placed during writing phase to be conceptually coherent and to generates a logical wider sense.

Grammatical desinences are more phonetically precise and include vowels.



We welcome every CZTs or art-passionates to join this publication! Let’s share your thoughts to the world :) Contact me @mikeCZT if you would like to be one of the writers.

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Alberto Ballocca

Contemporary artist | Ancient cultures passionate / Articles in here defines my spiritual horizons 🔗