The Kingdom of Kush was an ancient African state situated on the confluences of the Blue Nile, White Nile, and River Atbara in what is now the Republic of Sudan .
Established after the Bronze Age collapse and the disintegration of the New Kingdom of Egypt, it was centered at Napata in modern day northern Sudan in its early phase and moved further south to Meroë in 591 BCE. After king Kashta invaded Egypt in the 8th century BCE, the Kushite kings ruled as Pharaohs of the 25th dynasty of Egypt for a century, until they were expelled by Psamtik I in 656 BCE. The reign of the 25th dynasty ushered in a renaissance period for ancient Egypt, and art and architecture emulating the styles of the Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms flourished. Kushite pharaohs built and restored many temples and monuments throughout the Nile Valley, and the construction of Kushite pyramids became widespread. Some of these are still standing in modern Sudan.
The Kushite arts were inspired by the Egyptians but were drastically African. Most remarkable among these was Kushite relief sculpture, which adorned the walls of palaces or pyramids. The cuts that are on the walls were deeper and more strategic than Egyptian hieroglyphics. There are many reliefs scattered across the land of Africa. They mostly depict scenes from African daily life and animals. Reliefs depicting battle scenes or kings are somewhat less common.
Pottery was another important Kushite craft and consisted mostly of pots and bowls that were shaped from clay and then painted in many different colors. Most pottery was initially made for the wealthy, but later on, many commoners also began using pottery in their households. While decoration usually took the form of painted designs, some types of pottery also had stamped designs. Common motifs included geometric and plant-based patterns. The finest pottery was decorated with paintings of animals such as giraffes, antelopes, frogs, crocodiles, snakes, and a variety of birds.
The kings of Kush adopted the Egyptian architectural idea of building pyramids as funerary monuments. However, Kushite pyramids were built above the underground graves, whereas the Egyptian graves were inside the pyramid . The kings' tombs were lodged under large pyramids made of stone. For a short time, the Kushite kings were mummified. Ordinary citizens were buried in much smaller pyramids. The most famous examples of Kushite pyramids are located in their capital Meroë. There are three cemeteries in Meroë. The north and south cemeteries are royal cemeteries and house the pyramids of kings and queens, whereas the west cemetery is a purely non-royal site.