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on June 15, 2014
This book was purchased in advance of visiting the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, which has an extensive collection of ancient Egyptian art. The permanent exhibit includes sarcophagi, mummies, and a great deal of other artifacts that are adorned with hieroglyphics. It helped a great deal to have this along for the trip. Each symbol is on a 2-page spread, and organized into groups by type (humans, animals, etc). It made finding a specific hieroglyph easy. The information included about each entry allowed me to understand the significance of the symbols.

Additionally, the size of the book is perfect for this function as well. The outer dimensions are roughly the size of an iPad (but thicker), and being a paperback, it's lightweight enough to carry around the museum without being burdensome.
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on January 18, 2016
Not organized in a user-friendly format.
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on July 16, 2012
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." The association of the beetle with its meaning comes from the apparent belief that the beetles emerged spontaneously from the earth; its association with the divine (especially Atum, the creator god) from the beetle's rolling of feces into a ball (which is later deposited into the ground where its larvae feed on it, to emerge as adults "sponanteoulsy"), which to the ancient Egyptians was reminiscent of the sun "rolling" across the heavens.

Of the hundreds of hieroglyphs, Wilkinson only touches on 100, but these are the hieroglyphs most commonly seen, and provide a detailed primer on how to recognize the secondary meanings in Egyptian art. To further assist students in their study, Gardiner's sign list is provided as an index. This book is primarily geared towards those with at least a passing familiarity with ancient middle Egyptian, although Wilkinson does such a remarkable job of explaining both the literal and symbolic meaning, even lay readers will get something out of it. That said, I would recommend How to Read Egyptian Hieroglyphs: A Step-by-Step Guide to Teach Yourself and Middle Egyptian: An Introduction to the Language and Culture of Hieroglyphs to get you on your way, and perhaps Ancient Egyptian Calligraphy: A Beginner's Guide to Writing Hieroglyphs as a companion book.
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on July 27, 2002
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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on December 18, 2012
I used this book to learn about 100 basic hieroglyphic signs. There is a sign per page with several illustrations of the use of the sign, in different contexts, plus a page of text for for each one. This was the basic book I used for study. Along with "Hieroglyphic Sign List" book by Bill Petty for reference & phonetics, you can (with work) teach yourself enough to read most of the inscriptions on the tombs & temples & add greatly to you enjoyment of ancient Egypt.
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on September 14, 2013
I am very satisfied with this book. I have only glanced though it since I am in the middle of finishing another book on ancient egypt, but I can not wait to begin the process of trying to decypher hieroglyphs. there are close up shots of different hieroglyphs on artifacts/obelisks etc. and then detailed information on how to understand what the hieroglyphs mean. There are black and white photos throughout the book. I'm highly satisfied!
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on September 1, 2012
Great book for history of Egyptology. I used this book for college egyptian history and I kept it because of the illustrations. Good read, lots of information.
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on April 18, 2015
This book will come in as very helpful, especially to those that aren't familiar with hieroglyphics or what they represent. A must have for those new to the scene (and even if you aren't)!
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on February 12, 2014
this book is essential for anyone wishing to travel to Egypt or to see any museum exhibit of Egyptian art - you will get so much more after studying this book
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on July 7, 2016
Each letter 's meaning is explained with an example of inscription wall.
I learnt a lot on hieroglyphs thanks to this book.
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