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he Egyptians were as specific in the functions they assigned to art as they were in their artistic conventions. Art was primarily religious and secondarily political. Decorative and aesthetic aims were the least important. Egyptian tombs and temples were covered with scenes and texts which often reflected the various functions of the different parts of the buildings. The front chambers of the chapels of the tombs contained representations of the daily life of the tombs owner, whereas the rear chambers, where the funerary stela was the focus of the cult-food offerings, ritual acts covered the walls.

The scenes in temples and tombs were more than a mere reflection of what went on in the buildings or of aspects of an individual. They were meant to guarantee that everything represented would, in a supernatural and also in a "real" sense, survive forever. A mans mummified body might by mischance be destroyed but his likeness and hence his personality, repeated over and over again in hard stone or wood, would endure.

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