Carved on four sides with reliefs depicting members of the imperial house in attendance at the circus games, the base embodies the abstract, hieratic form that had become the norm in official works of art by the end of the fourth century.
Then, in 1785, Charles Joseph de Guignes suggested that the three known Egyptian scripts (hieroglyphic, the early cursive script hieratic , and demotic) were connected.
The alphabet probably was created soon afterward to translate holy texts, replacing Aramaic and Greek scripts and producing both the hieratic script and the contemporary secular alphabet.
A related influence on liturgical ceremonial was imperial court practice, contributing still more to the transformation of the Eucharistic liturgy from common meal to hieratic pageant.
It is no coincidence that the 4th Dynasty shows the first flourishing of the hieratic script, the cursive, simplified form of hieroglyphics that would henceforth be used in all non-monumental writings.
This trend led into the hieratic style of early Christian art, where pictorial illusion was less important than putting over clear messages.
Like the hieroglyphs, the hieratic symbols changed over time but they underwent more changes with six distinct periods.
Despite their loose execution, most of these single-figure compositions are rather stiff and hieratic .
Hieroglyphs for writing and counting gave way to a hieratic script for both writing and numerals.
The Eucharist in particular was transformed from a celebration whose origins in a shared meal were still recognizable into a hieratic pageant at which the laity were increasingly spectators rather than active participants.