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.
“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