Egyptian Revival, Cavetto Cornice, Vulture Wings and Cobras, Auteuil
Another very popular form of Egyptian architecture in the cemetery is the obelisk, which is representative of a ray of sunlight. Obelisks were first seen in Egypt during the time of the Old Kingdom, approximately 2650-2134 B.C. The earliest excavation of an obelisk, dated around 2500 B.C. is at Abu Ghurob. It was a massive, fairly squat, pyramidal structure set upon a high plinth and was the focal point of the sun temple. During the time of the Middle Kingdom, approximately 20401640 B.C. obelisks made of single slabs of Aswan granite became much taller and slimmer. They were typically erected in pairs in front of selected temples as part of a celebration of a Royal Jubilee. The sides of the obelisk were often inscribed, and the pyramidal top was sheathed in gold to radiate the light of the sun.
The most common type of cemetery architecture is Classical Revival. It is easy to identify by its columns and column capitals, which are classified into orders, generally recognized as Doric, Tuscan, Ionic, Corinthian and Composite. Doric architecture can be divided into Grecian Doric and Roman Doric. The best-known Doric building is the Parthenon, built in Athens around 450 B.C.
Doric architecture is identified by its tapering, fluted columns that rise directly from the base (stylobate) and are crowned by plain capitals. Roman Doric columns are also fluted and crowned by plain capitals, but have a base. Tuscan architecture is a stripped-down form of Doric architecture.
The columns on a Tuscan building are smooth, with a notable absence of ornamentation. Ionic architecture, which was developed around 600 B.C. is characterized by relatively slender fluted columns that have a molded base. The column capitals are surmounted by a volute (a spiral, scrollshaped ornament). Architects assign more feminine characteristics to the Ionic form The most ornamental of all the orders is Corinthian and its hybrid cousin, Composite. The Corinthian order was an Athenian invention from around 500 B.C. but the Romans developed it into its full ornamentation. In pure examples of Corinthian columns, the column capitals are carved representations of leaves of the acanthus, one of the plants most often associated with funerary architecture. Its leaves represent overcoming the trials of life and death. Caught up in the allusions to nature in the Corinthian capitals, designers and carvers often added chirping birds, flowers, ferns and other assorted flora and fauna to the acanthus leaves. When Ionic volutes are added to the design, the capitals officially cross the line from Corinthian to Composite.
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