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Any discussion of Egyptian art must mention Egyptian writing. In fact, the pictorial nature of the hieroglyphs and the narrative nature of the art makes it virtually impossible to distinguish between the two. The writing accompanying a scene (right) was as carefully rendered as the scene itself. The hieroglyph constituted written language, but it was also capable of artistic effect . Often, a figure in a scene will do double duty, functioning as well in an inscription nearby. This often occurs in scenes from the Old Kingdom, where the final hieroglyphic character–a seated individual–in the name of a person is omitted; the large seated figure in the scene itself serves also as a hieroglyph, thereby ending any distinctions between writing and art. Below is the translation of the Hieroglyphic alphabet:


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