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When you visit the Egypt Pavilion at the World Expo, don't get completely distracted by its eight ancient relics. There's also an on location calligraphy performance of the country's ancient characters that date back more than 5000 years.
Mahammed Abd Elfattah has been studying painting for fifteen years. He came to the Shanghai World Expo to perform what he has learned for visitors -- the calligraphy of Egyptian hieroglyphs. In academic terms, it's an ancient Egyptian writing system combining logographics and alphabetic elements, which appear pleasant to the eyes like a painting.
Mahammed Abd Elfattah, Egypt Pavilion, Shanghai Expo, said, "These are called hieroglyphs used in ancient Egypt. The Egyptian hieroglyphic script contains unilateral characters that match the 26 English characters. What we do for visitors here is to spell their names in Chinese Pinyin, and convert them into hieroglyphs. Here's an example, this is the hieroglyph edition of the name of 'Li Ying'."
The Egyptian hieroglyph, along with Chinese characters, and cuneiform writing emerged in the Sumerian civilization. They are considered the three ancient writing forms of the world. The Egyptian hieroglyph, which came into existence more than five thousand years ago, is almost extinct. It was not until the 1920s that archeologists found the ancient language script and successfully deciphered the pictographs that allowed the ancient writing form to survived until today.
The ancient Egyptians used cursive hieroglyphs for religious literature on papyrus. As Elfattah introduces, the papyrus is a wetland sedge that was once abundant in the Nile Delta of Egypt.
Mahammed Abd Elfattah, Egypt Pavilion, Shanghai Expo, said, "This paper is very unique. It's made from the papyrus growing at the banks of the Nile. The plant portrayed on the paper is papyrus. It will turn into qualified paper after going through a certain process."
Elfattah adds that papyrus is also a major component of ancient Egyptian civilization. He hopes that what he is doing at the Shanghai World Expo can better promote Egyptian culture and introduce his home country to people around the world.