Trophy engraving and engraved, personalized gifts are popular ways to award someone or show appreciation. However, the art of engraving personalized gifts has come a long way over thousands of years. From prehistoric water containers to artistic masterpieces, engraving has a long history. Here is a brief look back at the history of engraving and customized gifts near San Jose and Santa Clara:
Prehistoric Water Containers
As early as 60,000 years ago, prehistoric humans were engraving designs in emptied ostrich eggshells. Hundreds of eggshell fragments have been found in a South African cave named Howieson’s Poort Shelter. The carvings show a variety of patterns that indicate the prehistoric humans followed specific artistic details. Based on current tribal action, archaeologists assume that these prehistoric eggshells were likely used as water containers.
One of the most famous types of engravings can be found inside Egyptian pyramids. Hieroglyphics were largely used by the Egyptians to record data, such as the height of the Nile and the import of goods. However, pottery, funerary pots, and pyramid walls were used to engrave stories of the Egyptian people and their gods. One of the earliest Egyptian engravings is known as the “Pyramid Texts” and can be found on the walls and sarcophagi at Saqqara.
Fifteenth Century Mass Production
During the 1300s, paper was being mass produced, but people were still required to copy texts and pictures by hand. This changed in the 1400s when ambitious engravers began carving religious art and devotional texts into metal plates for mass production.
Golden Age of Engraving
During the late 1400s and early 1500s, the Golden Age of Engraving included the artists Albrecht Durer, Martin Schongauer, and Lucas von Leiden. These artists—likely learning the art of metal-working and engraving from goldsmithing—were regarded as master artists. Masterpieces like Adam and Eve by Durer and Saint Anthony Tormented by Demons by Schongauer are still regarded as artistic feats in the world of engraving.