COUNTRY LIFE IN ANCIENT EGYPT, MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS
Picture Book NO. 2
PREPARED BY DR. WILLIAM STEVENSON SM ITH, CURATOR OF EGYPTIAN ART IN THE MUSEUM
PRODUCED BY THE MERIDEN GRAVURE CO., MERIDEN, CONNECTICUT
Egypt has rightly been called the gift of the Nile. In a country of little rain, the regular annual inundation of the river has produced a rich soil that made agriculture the source of the nation’s prosperity. Although great cities grew up in the narrow desertbordered valley, the Egyptian nevertheless felt himself close to the soil. The country is like no other land. Nearly always within view is the sharp contrast between the green fields and the tawny desert hills that hem in the cultivation on each side. Between summer and late autumn a sheet of water from the river-flood lay across the fields. Out of this rose the villages as though they were islands. The peasant used one word interchangeably for either field or marsh, since only for a part of the year would this be dry land. In thinking of the world after death he imagined a similar ‘Field of Reeds’ and ‘Field of Offerings’ where islands rose from a heavenly inundation for the repose of the transfigured dead.