“Egypt is the birthplace and the cradle of chemistry. Kenrick shows the root of the word to be chemi or chem, which was the name of the country (Psalms cv. 27). The chemistry of colors seems to have been thoroughly well known in that country. Facts are facts. Where among our painters are we to search for the artist who can decorate our walls with imperishable colors?
Ages after our pigmy buildings will have crumbled into dust, and the cities enclosing them will themselves have become shapeless heaps of brick and mortar, with forgotten names, long after that will the halls of Karnak and Luxor (El-Uxor) be still standing; and the gorgeous mural paintings of the latter will doubtless be as bright and vivid 4,000 years hence, as they were 4,000 years ago, and are today. “Embalming and fresco-painting”, says our author, “was not a chance discovery with the Egyptians, but brought out from definitions and maxims like any induction of Faraday.”
Our modern Italians boast of their Etruscan vases and paintings; the decorative borders found on Greek vases provoke the admiration of the lovers of antiquity, and are ascribed to the Greeks, while in fact “they were but copies from the Egyptian vases.” Their figures can be found any day on the walls of a tomb of the age of Amunoph I., a period at which Greece was not even in existence.
Where in our age, can we point to anything comparable to the rock-temples of Ipsambul in Lower Nubia? There may be seen sitting figures seventy feet high, carved out of the living rock. The torso of the statue of Rameses II., at Thebes, measures sixty feet around the shoulders, and elsewhere in proportion. Beside such titanic sculpture our own seems that of pigmies.
Iron was known to the Egyptians at least long before the construction of the first pyramid, which is over 20,000 years ago, according to Bunsen. The proof of this had remained hidden for many thousands of years in the pyramid of Cheops, until Colonel Howard Vyse found it in the shape of a piece of iron, in one of the joints, where it had evidently been placed at the time this pyramid was first built.
Egyptologists adduce many indications that the ancients were perfectly well acquainted with metallurgy in prehistoric times. “To this day we can find as Sinai large heaps of scoriae, produced by smelting.”
Metallurgy and chemistry, as practiced in those days, were known as alchemy, and were at the bottom of prehistoric magic. Moreover, Moses proved his knowledge of alchemical chemistry by pulverizing the golden calf and strewing the powder upon the water.”
H. P. Blavatsky