Both literal and highly lyrical, hieroglyphics bring alive a distant world, with descriptions of the natural environment, the art, the society, the religious beliefs, and even the philosophical basis of a culture that flourished 5,000 years ago. Presenting and explaining almost 600 of the figures used in the classic phase of Egypt's "sacred writing," this fascinating volume traces the origins and the meaning of each sign, as well as its graphic stylization. An opening essay reveals the secrets of the hieroglyphic system, including its development and its structural characteristics, and emphasizes the sacred, evocative, even magical power of the form, which — unlike our own abstract alphabet — is immediate and expressive. Concluding the book are a complete glossary, a bibliography, and an index, designed to make this book invaluable to the casual reader as well as the student and specialist.
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