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Reading Egyptian Art: A Hieroglyphic Guide to Ancient Egyptian Painting and Sculpture.

Ian the Baboon, Des the Knife and Ba the Ram are all characters in this quarter's first-place choice: RICHARD H. WILKINSON's excellent Reading Egyptian art: a hieroglyphic guide to ancient Egyptian painting and sculpture (224 pages, 2-colour illustration throughout 1993. London: Thames & Hudson; ISBN 0-500-05064-3 hardback |pounds~16.95), a unique, fascinating and attractive directory of the 100 signs used most often in Egyptian painting and sculpture; 24 sections on man, woman, anthropomorphic deities, parts of the human body, mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles, fishes and parts of fishes, trees and plants, temple furniture and emblems, etc., contain double-page spreads for individual word-motifs: pp. 70-71 is 'Hippopotamus' (this quarter's promotional beast since I heard that their pygmy relatives were kebabed to extinction in 10th-millennium Cyprus; see flinty hippo in the picture). The icon appears in the right-hand margin over its Egyptian name -- I'll have to resist a smile next time I meet a dietarily-challenged Deb -- while the accompanying text tells that she was the manifestation of disorder who eventually became associated with malevolent beings such as Seth (pp. 66-7: Linnaean classification unclear: ?aardvark ?jackal, ?okapi, ?ass), but who had a good side as a stellar aspect of Isis, and as a goddess of pregnancy; the facing page carries three carefully chosen waterhorse images: a hippo-hunting scene from Saqqara (part-symbolizing the preservation of order), a lotus-decorated faience model, and a head from Tut's wooden bed (the protective, rebirthing function). Accessible and delightful -- a book that could easily gain converts to Ancient Egypt.

KARL-THEODOR ZAUZICH's Discovering Egyptian hieroglyphs: a practical guide (translated and adapted by ANN MACY ROTH. xii+121 pages, 13 colour plates. 1992. London: Thames & Hudson; ISBN 0-500-27694-3 paperback |pounds~7.95) is a useful, attractive and thorough short reference that could help in the conversion.
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Author:Taylor, Timothy; Broodbank, Cyprian
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 1, 1993
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