Gifts of the Nile (Book published May 1, 1998)


Book Details

Publisher  Thames & Hudson
Publication Date   May 1, 1998
ISBN  0500237549
Pages  288

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One of the ancient world's most beautiful forms of ceramic is today known as Egyptian faience. The ancient Egyptians named it tjehnet, meaning that which is brilliant or scintillating, and in their eyes it glistened with symbolic light. Although faience was made of common materials, especially quartz sand grains or crushed quartz pebbles, it nevertheless took on the splendor of gold or semiprecious gems. The creative variety was astonishing: from 36,000 faience tiles lining underground rooms in King Djoser's Third Dynasty Step Pyramid complex to tiny plaques for furniture inlay, from jewelry to statuary, from female fertility objects to perfume containers, amulets, inkwells, animal tomb gifts, mummy masks, and a host of other forms. This is the first publication to analyze fully the significance of faience in ancient Egypt, and to present the most marvelous examples of its creation. Under the skilled editorship of Florence Friedman, the world's leading scholars in the field--from the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Cleveland Museum of Art; the British Museum; and elsewhere--show how faience was used and produced, as well as its symbolic values and meanings. More than 150 pieces, drawn from public and private collections around the world, are reproduced in color and described in detail. This dazzling display looks at the origins of faience, and at its use in royal life, in daily life, and in connection with death and rebirth. Scientific data resulting from analyses of faience objects, a specially compiled glossary, and a comprehensive bibliography complete the work.

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