Sabina Savage: Gifts for the Gods

The influence, iconography and culture of Ancient Egypt have captured the imagination of artists, historians, and writers for millennia with Sabina Savage’s newest illustrations being no exception.

Sabina Savage Illustration in Progress
Process Images via Sabina Savage

Foreign emissaries, archaeologists and storytellers alike have been drawn to the country’s rich history – a long and storied tale that remains a well of inspiration.

From its humble beginnings along the Nile in prehistoric 3,100 BCE to the eventual unification of Upper and Lower Egypt and the storied reign of the pharaohs, Egypt’s history has been steeped in intellectualism, deep spirituality and artistry – found in the country’s unique architecture, language and artifacts.

The Sphynx and Great Pyramid ca. 1857 by Francis Frith
The Sphynx and Great Pyramid ca. 1857 by Francis Frith via The MET
Egyptian Tomb Painting
Painting from the Tomb of Menna ca. 1400–1352-B.C. via The MET

This deep well of history is where Sabina Savage draws inspiration for her newest collection, Gifts for the Gods.

Influenced by a vast archive of Ancient Egyptian art – clay and plaster sculptures and talismans, illustrations and paintings on tempera, paper and papyrus, as well as etchings and engravings – Sabina hand-renders images of sacred and celebrated Egyptian animals in her elaborate, lifelike illustrative style.

Sabina Savage Illustration in Progress
Sabina Savage Scarf Construction in Progress

The flora and fauna of the Nile played a core role in Egyptian culture, with relevance in both royal and non-royal life and among religious and secular practices.

Associated with the gods of their polytheistic religion, every animal was deified and linked to a wide array of emotions, natural phenomenons and superstitions.

Egyptian Tomb Painting Detail
Egyptian Tomb Painting Detail
Egyptian Tomb Painting Detail
Ancient Egyptian Paintings via The MET

Choosing to highlight the cat, the goose and the dog, Sabina Savage illustrates the intricate tales of these creatures, granting them the features of Bastet, Horus and Anubis – Egyptian gods they were traditionally associated with.

Sabina Savage Illustration Detail
Sabina Savage Illustration Detail
Sabina Savage Illustration Detail

Bastet takes the form of the cat, an animal that finds its origins of domestication in Egypt.

A well-known deity associated with feminine fertility and the protection of women and children, Sabina frames the cat in a defensive posture and drapes it with decadent gold and jewels as a nod to the goddess.

Sabina Savage Bastet Scarf

Horus, God of the Sky, reincarnates as an Egyptian goose flying above the water-bound creatures and wheat fields along the Nile.

Sabina Savage Horus Scarf

Anubis, a god of the afterlife, has commonly been depicted as a black dog.

Sabina’s prone Anubis carries a shepherd’s crook, representing the god’s watchful guidance of souls in the afterlife.

Sabina Savage Anubis Scarf

Alongside these characterizations are an abundance of references to Ancient Egyptian culture and design.

Animals such as snakes, bulls, crocodiles, fish, owls, rats and ibises find themselves surrounded by native North African vegetation.

Jewelry, ornamentation, vases and other crafted artifacts appear next to iconographic hieroglyphs.

Illustration Detail
Illustration Detail

The details of Sabina’s work are the highlight of her designs, rendered within this collection in deep, lush tones.

Shades of blues, greens, reds, golds and grays paint her silk and velvet scarves, tops and jackets, creating a dark and moody atmosphere for these ancient stories.

Sabina Savage Catalog Image
Image via Sabina Savage

With this collection, Sabina Savage continues the tradition of finding artistic inspiration in Egypt, an ancient civilization whose influence convinces us to desire a life that cherishes art, history and culture.

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