Symbol & Magic in Egyptian Art (Book published March 1, 1994


Book Details

Author  Richard H. Wilkinson
Publisher  Thames & Hudson
Publication Date   March 1, 1994
ISBN  0500236631
Pages  224

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There is scarcely an Egyptian temple, pyramid, obelisk, wall painting or sculpture that does not possess some hidden meaning - a meaning which can only be understood by reference to the fundamental symbolic code used by the ancient Egyptians. Symbol and Magic in Egyptian Art reveals the language of this ancient code, which endured for thousands of years. Its formulae include the symbolism of shape and size, in which animals could represent kings, and amulets such as the cowrie shell became potent embodiments of sexuality; the significance of location, where the placement of images within royal tombs and the orientation of temples held sacred associations; color symbolism, where red could signify the sun or blood, but also life, destruction or Seth, god of chaos; the magical meaning of numbers, in which two represented duality, three plurality, four totality and completeness, and seven embodied perfection; hieroglyphic signs, the living words of gods and kings, which were often the key to the full meaning of an Egyptian wall painting or sculpture; and the language of the body, including gestures of dominance and submission, mourning and rejoicing.
This highly original and authoritative guide is the first-ever thematic treatment of these and other similar aspects of Egyptian art. Accompanying illustration sections allow the reader to see and understand the ancient works as the Egyptians once did themselves. Symbol and Magic in Egyptian Art will appeal to the art lover, traveler, Egyptophile and anyone fascinated by the mysteries of ancient symbols.

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