One of the recurrent daydreams of those fascinated by the past is to be able to unlock the doors of history and gaze at the faces of men and women who lived two thousand years ago, to look into their eyes and catch their expressions, their personalities, their presence. It is just this extraordinary experience that the Fayum portraits provide. These remarkable paintings take their name from the oasis in which they were found, whose people in the first three centuries a.d. included Greeks, Egyptians, Romans, Syrians, Libyans, Nubians, and Jews. In the old Egyptian tradition, they and their contemporaries in other parts of the Nile Valley embalmed the bodies of their dead; but they then placed over the mummy a painted portrait, to preserve the memory of each individual. The Fayum portraits are by far the largest body of ancient easel-painting to have survived. Over 1,000 portraits have so far been discovered—men, women, and children, young and old, plain and beautiful, painted in perfect realism or in vivid stylization. A few have become familiar, but most of the portraits have been neglected by art historians and are unknown to the general public. Illustrating almost 200 of the portraits, this book combines arresting beauty with up-to-date scholarship. Selecting the most interesting of the paintings, the author has, for the first time, grouped them according to the places where they were found, allowing us to recreate communities and relationships. Many new photographs were commissioned for this book, which reproduces some portraits in color for the first time, and shows others since cleaning. An explanatory text sets the people and paintings in their social, artistic, and geographical context, describes the painting techniques used, and shows how the Fayum portraits relate to Byzantine icon-painting.
The Mysterious Fayum Portraits
Faces from Ancient Egypt
Foreword byDorothy J. Thompson
150 b/w, 124 color illus.
For sale only in Egypt
Anubis, Upwawet, and Other Deities
Personal Worship and Official Religion in Ancient Egypt
Supreme Council of Antiquities
Personal Worship and Official Religion in Ancient EgyptSupreme Council of Antiquities
Ancient Egyptian religion is immensely complex in its symbolism and in its intellectual and artistic depth. From the early times, certain animals, such as the cow, the falcon, and the snake, were closely associated with religion and with kingship. These animals are among the many embodiments of maginal power. This volume looks at the Egyptian attitude to animals, the jackal deities and their relationships, and the Salakhana stelae...read more
1 May 2008
106 color illus.
Nefertiti, Tutankhamun, Ay, Horemheb, and the Egyptian Counter-Reformation
Nefertiti, Tutankhamun, Ay, Horemheb, and the Egyptian Counter-ReformationAidan Dodson
This new study, drawing on the latest research, tells the story of the decline and fall of the pharaoh Akhenaten’s religious revolution in the fourteenth century bc. Beginning at the regime’s high-point in his Year 12, it traces the subsequent collapse that saw the deaths of many of the king’s loved ones, his attempts to guarantee the revolution through co-rulers, and the last frenzied assault on the god Amun. The book then outlines the events of the subsequent five decades that saw the extinction of the royal line, an attempt to place a foreigner on Egypt’s throne, and the accession of three army officers in turn. Among its conclusions are that the mother of Tutankhamun was none other than Nefertiti, and that the queen was joint-pharaoh in turn with both her husband Akhenaten and her son. As such, she was herself instrumental in beginning the return to orthodoxy, undoing her erstwhile husband’s life-work before her own mysterious disappearance....read more
15 November 2009
African Kingdoms on the Nile
Edited by Marjorie M. Fisher Peter Lacovara Salima Ikram Sue D’Auria Photographs by Chester Higgins Jr. Foreword by Zahi Hawass
African Kingdoms on the NileEdited by Marjorie M. Fisher
Photographs byChester Higgins Jr.
Foreword by Zahi Hawass
2012 American Publishers (PROSE) Awards winner for Best Archaeology & Anthropology Book
For most of the modern world, ancient Nubia seems an unknown and enigmatic land. Only a handful of archaeologists have studied its history or unearthed the Nubian cities, temples, and cemeteries that once dotted the landscape of southern Egypt and northern Sudan. Nubia’s remote setting in the midst of an inhospitable desert, with access by river blocked by impassable rapids, has lent it not only an air of mystery, but also isolated it from exploration. Over the past century, particularly during this last generation, scholars have begun to focus more attention on the fascinating cultures of ancient Nubia, ironically prompted by the construction of large dams that have flooded vast tracts of the ancient land. This book attempts to document some of what has recently been discovered about ancient Nubia, with its remarkable history, architecture, and culture, and thereby to give us a picture of this rich, but unfamiliar, African legacy....read more
6 September 2012
200 color illus.
Egypt’s First Pharaohs and the Cult of Osiris
Egypt’s First Pharaohs and the Cult of OsirisDavid O’Connor
As both the burial place of the first pharaohs and a cult center for the god Osiris, Abydos was of immense importance to the ancient Egyptians for thousands of years and continues to yield spectacular discoveries. However, no full analysis of the site has been written in the last thirty years. Here David O’Connor provides the most up-to-date and comprehensive account of the site’s extraordinary history, as well as telling the story of his own excavations there. O’Connor himself has made some of the most remarkable finds of recent years, including a royal burial consisting of a fleet of fourteen boats, buried far out in the desert. This beautifully illustrated and authoritative book fills a significant gap in the literature on ancient Egypt and will be of interest both to students and to anyone who ever wondered about the origins of one of the greatest civilizations in world history....read more
114 illus. incl. 11 color