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Windows in ancient Egypt

Mashrabiya as an Egyptian architectural element

Egyptian windows

''Drawings seem to corroborate this assumption concerning the large windows in the upper stories, some of which have closely grated shutters in their lower part. The upper part seems to consist of variegated mats hanging behind a widely open grating (Nebamun, model) or with a colonnette as mullion (Thutnefer, Neferhotep, Sennufer, Nebamun).

Thus a person could look at leisure from behind the windows of the upper stories through the grated lower part without being seen from the outside. This system was later used in the Islamic wooden Mashrabiya. The Egyptian name of the window, "rolled-up-band," corroborates the interpretation of decorated windows (Nebamun, Neferhotep) as colored mats, as suggested by the drawings." A.B.

Notes similarity between the sketch above which is copied from a house during Tall Al Amarna* Period and the 19th century photograph from Cairo to the right.

Mohamed Abouelnaga


Old Cairo. Mohamed Abouelnaga 2016 November 21

Windows ln Egyptian language ϧⲉⲛ ϯⲁⲥⲡⲓ

Window in Hieroglyphics

A window has a clear mission from its two ideograms, connecting the house to the street or road.; you stand in and look at what is going on outside. This is the main mission. To let the air in is a secondary job in this word here.

ⲭⲁⲑⲏⲟⲩ ⲭⲁ+ⲧⲏⲩ


ⲭⲁ alone in Coptic means a window (or a place through which light and air enter.. a lighthouse for example) ⲧⲏⲩ means air or wind. This is a window whose mission is light more than its mission is air 0

Taka - windows in Egypt

Old houses in Egypt included “Rusha” or “Taka” which is higher than the window and facing it. This causes different speeds in the air movement and in turn, causes the cross ventilation. Thus, the air will be sucked down across the occupants 2

window or opening in the wall in ancient egyptian language

ϣⲟⲩϣⲧ literally window or opening in the wall. Dans le nom de la fenetre (Rmarquer le determinatif 𓍼 ) W.b Vol IV, 301

window or opening in the wall in ancient egyptian language

ⲟⲩⲁⲧⲃⲉ or ⲟⲩⲁⲧϥⲉ; Another word, but not in the sense of the window itself, but in the sense of a window opening or a door opening (i.e., an opening in the wall) ⲟⲩⲁⲧⲃⲉ has an Egyptian root. Its origin is “waft”(meaning to pierce or make a hole)1

There is also a small window sketch from ancient Egypt that was supposed to be handed to a worker to execute it

with the sketch was the following text that was found written in Hieratic:

In English : [A] Nakht-Amoun. Do four of these, exactly. Hurry for the day after tomorrow. These are your instructions (lit. I cause you to know them).

For more on this sketch in detail please read Make four Windows this shape  




Even though I have yet to find archeological or textual evidence that refers to the use of timber for wood, I believe that they used wood to create their windows.

A very skillful hand. The hand that created Kaaper must have at least one time in life a temptation to try wood instead of Sandstone

Kaaper/Sheikh el-Beled, was an ancient Egyptian scribe and priest who lived between the late 4th Dynasty and the early 5th Dynasty (around 2500 BCE)*

It is important to consider that this excellency of working on wood was as early as the 5th Dynasty

A modern example of Egyptian woodwork in windows is documented in one of Hassan Fathy's papers. A copy of the window screen is here in the picture

This picture is copied from the original work of Hassan Fathy. Link to the work

There is another example of woodwork. it is in a different element - a door-. However, it is still a good brief instance of working with wood on architectural elements in ancient Egypt. This is to be seen here in the Visual Library: Doors

Soul house from ancient Egypt with window and opening in the roof

Clay The so-called House of Soul tells us that there is a third material that we need to add to the story of building materials and in our example; Windows

A material that is flexible to be shaped on such a small fine scale and affordable everywhere must not be excluded as a material of great potential.

Compared with drawings that survived to the day. the details here give us a close-up of what a window could look like in reality, considering that variation depends on the material used as well as the skill of the masons.

P 176 Ancient Egyptian construction and architecture by Clarke, Somers, 1841-1926

The similarity between the front opening in Neb-Amun house and the middle window of the Monastery of St. Paul can be used as a guide to how the windows used to look.


Windows from House of Neb-Amun

''..for the most part rather crudely worked and painted red, yellow and blue'' Window grill from the palace of Ramesses III


Rectangular window in ancient Egypt

Forms Vary from the simplest basic grills opening to the extravagant grills

Forms group 1 stone. Only stone? Simple basic window grills

windows simple unit. Rectangular window in ancient Egypt

our basic simple unit that usually has been of stony materials. This unit had been played with differently. horizontal and vertical and while it looks basic and dull, it is a tool of joy and relief in a land of the sun like Egypt


Rectangular windows in ancient Egypt

Decorated craved coloured - Window Grill

Decorated craved coloured - Window Grill. egyptian windows

Combined window grill

Combined window grill. Egyptian windows

Forms group 2 - Wood?

The next group of forms which have been copied from house drawings in the tombs of Egyptians


A Mashrabya from ancient Egypt

Both the Mashrbiya-alike window and the Taka are represented in the house of Nefer-Hotep 55

The repetition of the opening over the door as a ventilation channel that lets air and light while providing privacy

Dimensions & Orientation

1:1 or almost one-to-one ratio

Previous studies (Fathy, 1986), (Givoni, 1998) found that, in Egypt, the best orientation with regard to the sun factor is the east-west, While, it is the north-to-south with regard to the prevailing winds. Fathy (Fathy, 1986) solved this problem by bisecting the angle between the two optimal orientations (Figure 7). He added that by using other ways to ventilate the building e.g. the Malqaf or wind catcher, the designer can concentrate on orienting the building with respect to the sun factor. 2

Reviewing vernacular architecture in a hot dry climate suggested small windows with a total area of about five to ten percent of the floor (Givoni, 1998). However, large windows can be provided with special design details. 2

The surviving texts of Egypt provide us with some evidence of dimensions used for windows, which we have translated from Hieratic to Coptic and also Arabic Make four windows this shape


cairo street view .egyptian windows. Egyptian architecture

Interesting view of the windows in Egypt before 1900

The Adelphoi Zangaki (Zangaki Brothers)

Cairo streets

ca. 1880s

A window is a dependent element. It follows the design as a whole.

You can not put Egyptian windows in a concrete box. The window will not fit in. From a functional point of view, It will not perform as expected; to ventilate. For concrete boxes, they invented Air conditioning.

Any window revival must go hand in hand with the revival of Egyptian design as a whole; Material, proportion, orientation.. etc.


Ancient Egyptian construction and architecture by Clarke, Somers, 1841-1926

''الشباك مهمته الواضحة من مخصصاته المزدوجة برضه ربط البيت بالشارع أو الطريق .. إنك تقف فيه وتبص ع الرايح والجاي .. دي المهمة الرئيسية .. كونه يدخل هوا بقى يبقى حاجة ثانوية .. شباك يعني وسي

كلمتين في القبطي يدوا معنى الشباك .. الأولى ⲭⲁⲑⲏⲟⲩ خاثيو (ka-tyou) .. بمعنى فتحة الهوا أومدخل مدخل أو منور الرياح (حرفيا) .. لأن كلمة ⲭⲁ لوحدها في القبطي معناها نافذة (أو حتة بيدخل منها النور والهوا .. منور مثلا) وⲧⲏⲩ معناها الهوا أو الرياح. وده شباك مهمته النور أكتر ما مهمته الهوا (أو بيقوم بالوظيفتين مع بعض) للأسف الكلمتين دول من أصول غير مصرية في الأغلب .. يونانية أو مجهولة بدقة 1 Seqnenra There Seqnenra ''لكن عندنا كلمة تانية بس مش بمعنى الشباك نفسه لكن بمعنى فتحة الشباك أو فتحة الباب (أي فتحة في الجدار) .. دي ⲟⲩⲁⲧⲃⲉ واتفي أو ⲟⲩⲁⲧϥⲉ واتبي .. دي ليها أصل مصري 100% .. أصلها «وفت» (يعني يخرم أو يصنع فتحة) .. وجاية من الديموطيقي .. وفي الديموطيقي الكلمة حصل فيها إبدال فبقت «وتف» وبعدين «وتب» و«وتبي» .. شيلنا بس الفه وحطينا به ..''

Cairo; sketches of its history, monuments, and social life by Lane-Poole, Stanley, 1854-1931

History of Egyptian architecture A.B-2 Window 14,16,46

55 The Town House in Ancient EgyptN. de Garis Davies Metropolitan Museum Studies

Monastery of St. Paul by Lyster, William (Art historian)

Stone The sill and the lintel are visible and the opening is almost always filled with a more or less regular design which represents either a grid of wooden slats, or simply a hanging mat. The fence can also be in stone, with vertical openings cut in thin

slab 2.

قاموس كرام


1 комментарий

21 мая 2023 г.

thank you for the effort

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