Lavoro nell'antico Egitto
LE MATERIE PRIME

Gli egizi impararono molto presto a estrarre materie prime dal sottosuolo spingendosi, a questo scopo, anche a grandi distanze dalla Valle del Nilo.

Fra le località più anticamente sfruttate c’erano le miniere di Wadi Maghara, nel Sinai, già attive sotto il faraone Djoser (III Dinastia).

Per raggiungerle era necessario attraversare il Deserto Orientale e seguire la costa del Mar Rosso.

Vi si estraevano il rame e la malachite e la regione era sacra alla dea Hathor, detta infatti “Signora della malachite”.

Nella parte più meridionale del territorio egiziano si trovavano invece le cave di diorite (una roccia scura simile al granito)sfruttate fin dall’epoca di Cheope, il costruttore della Grande Piramide.

Il trasporto di questo materiale avveniva lungo il corso del Nilo, almeno fino alla prima cateratta, ed altre, grazie ai canali fatti scavare dai faraoni a partire dalla IV dinastia.

Cave di alabastro si trovavano a El-Amarna, il basalto veniva dal Fayum, il granito da Assuan, il calcare da Tura, la quarzite dalla zona di Eliopoli.

L’oro,invece,era estratto dalle miniere del Deserto Orientale (Wadi Hammamat) e dalla Nubia.
GLI ARNESI DA LAVORO

Gli strumenti da lavoro degli egizi sono giunti raramente fino a noi. Possiamo tuttavia ricostruirli attraverso le arti figurative.

Alcuni rilievi mostrano infatti falegnami, scultori, fabbri e scalpellini intenti al lavoro circondati dai loro utensili che erano estremamente semplici.

Tra gli strumenti dello scalpellino e dello scultore vi erano accette,scalpelli di bronzo,mazzuoli di legno.

Squadre e filo a piombo consentivano di definire la forma con precisione, per dare lucentezza alla alla superficie, si passava sulla pietra un lisciatoio, argani e corregge consentivano poi di sollevare i blocchi e le statue, con l’aiuto di piani inclinati.

I falegnami non usavano chiodi ma piccoli pioli in legno ed i pezzi si incastravano così precisamente gli uni negli altri che la colla raramente era necessaria.

Il blocco di legno veniva sbozzato con un’accetta di bronzo o tagliato con una sega, quindi rifinito con una pialla; le sagomature più elaborate venivano,invece, eseguite con il trapano ad archetto.

L’oggetto finito era quindi levigato con polvere abrasiva e infine stuccato.

Nelle pitture parietali è possibile vedere i fonditori seduti intorno alla loro fucina, mentre soffiano con dei tubi sui carboni per ottenere il grado di calore necessario alla fusione del metallo

I mantici infatti vennero introdotti solo nel Nuovo Regno.

LA LAVORAZIONE DEL VETRO
Lavoro antico Egitto
Lavorazione del vetro
La lavorazione del vetro è attestata in Egitto sin dal IV millenio a.C.

Gli egizi scoprirono che, mescolando sabbia ricca di notevoli quantità di quarzo, acido silicico puro in forma cristallina con il sodio (che ricavavano dalle ceneri delle alghe), gli alcali calcarei e scaldando il tutto alla temperatura di ottocento gradi, era possibile ottenere una pasta di vetro (faiace).

Questa pasta viscosa e di rapido indurimento si potevano trasformare in perline, in bottigliette o anche in recipienti elegantemente modellati.

Il vetro fuso poteva essere anche colato in uno stampo a parallelepipedo e, una volta raffreddato, poteva essere molato come un blocco di pietra oppure modellato nella forma desiderata con il sistema della cera persa.

Nella seconda metà del II millennio era già usata la tecnica del mosaico, mentre in epoca tarda divennero famosi i cosiddetti “vetri millefiori”.

Questi erano ottenuti da barrette o canne di vetro di diverso colore disposte a forma di fiore assottigliate e tagliate a tessera, una volta riscaldate in uno stampo per farle saldare tra loro,venivano levigate a freddo.

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