In the higher grades the student was allowed to use paper. One of the main items of Egyptian trade, and one of the permanent gifts to the world is
Sheets were combined into books by gumming the right edge of one sheet to the left edge of the next; in this way rolls were produced which were sometimes forty yards in length; they were seldom longer, for there were no verbose historians in Egypt. Ink, black and indestructible, was made by mixing water with soot and vegetable gums on a wooden palette; the pen was a simple reed, fashioned at the tip into a tiny brush.
The earliest writing was apparently pictographic and object was represented by drawing a picture of it: e.g. the word for house (Egyptian per) was indicated by a small rectangle with an opening on one of the long sides.
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