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
Annales du Service des Antiquités de l’Egypte
Supreme Council of Antiquities
Vol. 80Supreme Council of Antiquities
For centuries, Egyptian civilization and its antiquities have inspired passionate interest. Archaeologists, engineers, astronomers, poets, painters, people of different cultures, and travelers have been riveted by Egypt’s ancient monuments. How much do we really know about these awe-inspiring wonders of the ancient world? This publication provides an up-to-date account of archaeology in the land of the pharaohs, including new discoveries and recent studies. This authoritative volume remains the definitive source for the findings of the various archaeological excavations undertaken in Egypt. For more than a hundred years, the Annales du Service has been studied by Egyptologists, students, and laypersons alike. Published under the auspices of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, its contributors include some of the most well-known Egyptologists in the world covering a broad range of archaeological disciplines and spectrums....read more
1 November 2006
150 illus. incl. 50 color
Ancient Egyptian Art
A Visual Encyclopedia
A Visual EncyclopediaAlice Cartocci
From the earliest clay figures and ivory combs of Predynastic times, through the masterful statuary of the Old Kingdom and the exquisite tomb paintings of the New Kingdom, to the astonishingly modern painted portraits of the Greco-Roman era, the artistic achievements of Egypt span over four thousand years. In this unique new visual reference work, the finest examples of Egyptian art from museum collections around the world are illustrated to advantage in more than 360 beautiful full-color photographs. Not only a feast for the eyes, this book is informative too, with introductions to each historical period, graphic summaries of Egyptian history and great archaeological discoveries, and a chronology and glossary. This celebration and pageant of ancient Egyptian creative expression deserves a place on the shelves of Egyptologists and art lovers alike....read more
1 March 2010
360 color illus.
An Ancient Egyptian Herbal
The ancient Egyptians were skilled in the use of herbs and spices for medicines, cooking, cosmetics, perfumes, and many other purposes. Drawing on texts written by the Egyptians and their neighbors, Lise Manniche has reconstructed a herbal of 94 species of plants and trees used before, during, and after the pharaonic period in Egypt. Each plant, from acacia to zizyphus, is named in Latin and English and (where known) in ancient Egyptian, Coptic, Greek, and modern Arabic. The author explains the special properties of each plant, and quotes authentic recipes for cosmetics and remedies. She also dis-cusses the Egyptians’ uses of herbs and flowers for both decorative and practical purposes, and the importance of plants for funerary and festive occasions. A section on perfume draws on the latest research into the ingredients and uses of Egyptian scents....read more
23 b/w photographs, 96 line drawings
The Necropolis of the Sons of the Sun
The Necropolis of the Sons of the SunMiroslav Verner
At the center of the world-famous pyramid field of the Memphite necropolis lies a group of pyramids, temples, and tombs named after the nearby village of Abusir. Long overshadowed by the more familiar pyramids at Giza and Saqqara, this area has nonetheless been the site, for the last fifty years, of an extensive operation to discover its past. This thoroughly updated in-depth study documents the uncovering by a dedicated team of Czech archaeologists of a hitherto neglected wealth of ancient remains dating from the Old Kingdom to the Late Period. This is Abusir, realm of Osiris, God of the dead, and its story is one of both modern archaeology and the long-buried mysteries that it seeks to uncover....read more
1 August 2017
210 bw 25 color
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