Tag Archives: Egyptology

Reading Egyptian Art

Reading Egyptian Art: A Hieroglyphic Guide to Ancient Egyptian Painting and Sculpture by Richard H Wilkinson, from Thames & Hudson, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Richard H Wilkinson Reading Egyptian Art from Thames Hudson

“A multi-purpose reference work, providing the key to the hidden meanings in Egyptian art: an encyclopedia of the major signs and symbols, a visual compendium of artistic motifs, a sourcebook of Egyptian religious beliefs and ideas.

The hieroglyphs are thematically organized and include: seated man · seated god · woman nursing child · wedjat eye · ear · breast · bull · cow · cat · lion · foreled of ox · heart · falcon · vulture · ibis · wing · feather · crocodile · frog · scarab beetle · bee · tree · palm branch · lotus · sky · sun · star · mountain · horizon · gateway · shrine · barque · brazier · dje column · fetish of Abydos · gold · ankh · fan · bow · knife · cartouche · Isis knot · board game · sistrum

Full reference section, including a complete list of hieroglyphic signs, a glossary, and a guide to further reading.” — back cover

“Ancient Egyptian art enjoys great popularity in the modern world and is appreciated by people from many walks of life, as well as by students of art history. Yet Egyptian artworks can often appear deceptively simple, and much can remain hidden from view without knowledge of the symbolic repertoire which was used by the ancient artists and craftsmen. Many Egyptian works of art were designed, in fact, to be ‘read’ symbolically and to provide an underlying message which was an essential part of their composition. Colors, materials, numbers, and especially the forms of the written Egyptian hieroglyphs were all part of this symbolic language which, if it is learned, can open up Egyptian art to an understanding for beyond what is seen by the untrained eye. This book has been designed with this goal in mind—to allow the non-specialist to ‘read’ the major hieroglyphics found in Egyptian painting and sculpture and to understand much of the symbolic content of Egyptian art which is usually only accessible to the trained Egyptologist.” — from the Preface

Ancient Egyptian Magic

Ancient Egyptian Magic: Spells, Incantations, Potions, Stories, and Rituals by Bob Brier, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Bob Brier Ancient Egyptian Magic from Quill

Ancient Egyptian Magic is the first authoritative modern work on the occult practices that pervaded all aspects of life in ancient Egypt. Based on fascinating archaeological discoveries, it includes everything from how to write your name in hieroglyphs to the proper way to bury a king, as well as:

· Tools and training of magicians
· Interpreting dreams
· Ancient remedies for headaches, cataracts, and indigestion
· Wrapping a mummy
· Recipes for magic potions and beauty creams
· Explanations of amulets and pyramid power
· A spell to entice a lover
· A fortune-telling calendar

These subjects and many more will appeal to everyone interested in Egyptology, magic, parapsychology, and the occult; or ancient religions and mythology.” — back cover

The Egyptian Heaven and Hell

The Egyptian Heaven and Hell by E A Wallis Budge, three volumes bound as one, from Dover, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

E A Wallis Budge The Egyptian Heaven and Hell from Dover

“Like the Book of the Dead, the ancient Egyptian document that contained specific instructions and guides for the behavior of the disembodied spirit in the Land of the Gods, the present work is crucial for understanding hieroglyphic Egyptian beliefs about death and the afterlife. It comprises complete hieroglyphic renderings of the texts of two ‘books of the underworld’—the Book Ȧm-Ṭuat and the Book of Gates—which provided the dead with a guide their souls would need to make the journey from this world to the abode of the blessed.

In these books both the living and the dead could learn not only the names, but also the forms, of every god, spirit, soul, specter, demon and monster they were likely to meet along the way. For modern readers, these ancient texts throw considerable light on the development of material and spiritual elements in Egyptian religion and on numerous primitive gods unknown outside these books.

Originally published in three volumes, the books are reprinted here as one work and include English translations and descriptions of all the hieroglyphic texts. Of particular interest to students of Egyptology, these extraordinary documents will also be of value to archeologists and anyone interested in the religions of ancient civilizations.” — back cover

Egyptomania

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews Egyptomania: Our Three Thousand Year Obsession with the Land of the Pharaohs by Bob Brier, introduced by Zahi Hawass.

Bob Brier Zahi Hawass Egyptomania

The subtitle of this book regarding “Our Three Thousand Year Obsession” with Egypt raises the irritating question: Who are “we”? Author Bob Brier encourages the reader to identify with Roman emperors and a Renaissance pope, as well as Napoleon and his team of scholars. Brier himself is a popularizing Egyptologist, and this book leverages his personal collection of Egyptophilic consumer artifacts along with research into the historical contexts of the various Egyptian “revivals” (or “manias,” as he would put it) in European and American taste. The result combines a survey of Egypto-kitsch with the cheeriest history of imperialist domination of northeast Africa you’re ever likely to read.

The considerable amplitude of the topic results in some evident omissions. Despite an account of mummy tunes from Tin Pan Alley, and an accessible survey of Egyptian themes in 20th-century cinema, there is nothing about operas such as Mozart’s Magic Flute or Verdi’s Aida. Brier briefly discusses the involvement of American Freemasons in the transport and installation of the New York obelisk, but he doesn’t touch on the high profile of ancient Egyptian religion in the movements of modern occultism. He does, however deliver the full goods on a history of relevant touring museum exhibits, and Egyptian-styled tobacco packaging.

The whole thing reads very quickly, and contains a host of amusing historical anecdotes. It’s a book that almost seems determined to avoid the importance of its subject matter, reducing cultural intercourse to issues of personal obsession and popular appeal. [via]