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Reading Egyptian Art: A Hieroglyphic Guide to Ancient Egyptian Painting and Sculpture New edition Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0500277515
ISBN-10: 0500277516
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  • Reading Egyptian Art: A Hieroglyphic Guide to Ancient Egyptian Painting and Sculpture
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson; New edition edition (June 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0500277516
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500277515
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #205,612 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Richard A. Weaver on January 19, 2003
Format: Paperback
What a wonderful book!
The author takes 100 of the hieroglyphs used in writing Egyptian, and used in Egyptian art. (Symbols are identified by the Gardiner code number.) He dedicates 2 pages to each symbol - the right-hand page gives an analysis of the meaning and uses of the symbol, and the left-hand page, through line drawings and photographs, illustrates how the symbol is used.
Whether you study it page by page, or just dip in and browse, this book can be used, with profit, by anyone interested in the language or art of ancient Egypt.
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Format: Paperback
Art language, the signs by which we interpret the meaning of art, is a specialized study. I would recommend this book to anyone who would like to approach Egyptian art on a deeper level than a simple visual feast. Prof. Wilkinson has explained many of the common themes used by ancient Egyptian artists in simple terms, so that anyone who cares to read will be able to understand and appreciate the work in depth. I have found this book invaluable. The book is richly illustrated and the line drawings by Troy Sagillo are exquisite. Wilkinson has opened a path for me that I knew was there, but could not find.
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Format: Paperback
Very well layed out,informative,excellent reference, yet easy to understand, assists with the learning of translation of some of the more common Hieroglyphics, especialy with tombs, ushabtis and other artefacts. "Gardiner's Sign List" was very well presented.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Hieroglyphs, Wilkinson writes, are the very basis of Egyptian iconography - but there are two levels of inscription: one is the hieroglyph as writing, its literal meaning; the other level of meaning is when objects, people and gestures mimic or suggest hieroglyphic signs, spelling out a symbolic message. Wilkinson's _Reading Egyptian Art_ is a fascinating exploration of these twin meanings in Egyptian art, largely drawn from the New Kingdom, but with a healthy dose of supporting examples from the Old and Middle Kingdoms and a smattering from the Late and Greco-Roman periods. The organization of the book is easy to follow, each hieroglyph listed in order according to Gardiner, with several images of the suggested hieroglyph facing Wilkinson's explanation.

For example, in the tomb of Iy-Mery (Giza, G6020), there is a carving of two dancers facing each other, holding hands held horizontally at shoulder height, raising one leg slighlty below waist level. Their posture and the fringes of their skirts are a figurative representation of the word "nbw" (nebu) or "gold." Similarly, on the sarcophogus of Amenhotep II, the goddess Isis is shown kneeling on a nbw sign. Deriving meaning from these symbolic gestures and suggestions of hieroglyphic signs is more tricky, as Wilkinson admits, although his reasoning and logic is flawless. (In the case of Amenhotep II, for example, the royal burial chamber was refered to as "the House of Gold" [prw nbw], with the connotation of gold as both eternal (like the ka), and yellow, like the sun.)

Wilkinson's explanations behind the hieroglyphs and their meaning is also excellent. For example, the scarab or dung beetle (Scarbaeus sacer) is the hieroglyph for "kpr" (kheper), literally "he who comes forth.
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Format: Paperback
Wilkinson is a professor at the University of Arizona (or was) and I believe may still be directing that institution's work in the Valley of the Kings. As he points out in this volume, one of the things often missed in regards to Egyptian art is that it is intended to be "read". Even paintings and objects in the round are often constructed using hieroglyphs. The author gives a well written, organized overview of the rudiments of learning to see into Egyptian art more of what the artist intended the viewer to see. Very nicely illustrated with an excellent selection of examples.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you want a succint and fascinating guide to understanding Egyptian art then this is for you. Arranged in a most unique style, Wilkinson's book captivates the reader and moves him into a richer understanding of Egypt's language and art. Richly illustrated, this masterpiece for the layman traces the impact that the Egyptian language had upon the ancient forms of art. It provides the reader with some basic information as well as specifics which will assist the layman in understanding and appreciating this great civilization. It moved me to purchase the companion volume which I cannot wait to read. Having been to Egypt twice, I can only say that this book is a MUST for anyone who is planning to travel there. I only wish that I had discovered this book before I went there! The only thing better would be if the author himself led you on a tour to this enchanting land!
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Format: Paperback
This book is layed out in such a way as to give clear, concise and very easily accessible information on some of the most frequently occurring symbols in ancient Egyptian art. As such it is valuable as a reference book for anyone with a casual interest in this topic. It is also an excellent first book for those embarking on a more detailed study of either Egyptian art or Hieroglyphs.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a clearly presented, well-written introduction to the layered symbolism and inter-relatedness of Egyptian art and hieroglyphs. When travelling in Egypt I referred to it frequently. It is an excellent book for tourists to Egypt not already familiar with its art because it provides good examples of images frequently encountered at ancient sites. One wishes more hieroglyphs were included, but the information for those covered is superb and whets the appetite for more
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