|Author||Hans Wolfgang Muller|
|Publisher||Cornell University Press|
|Publication Date||October 1, 1999|
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The fire-and-ice shimmer of carnelian and turquoise in a falcon-shaped necklace, the obsidian gaze of a lapis-encrusted mummy mask, the sheen of pearls and amethyst in a princess's belt, and above all, the dazzling, liquid splendor of gold--representing the quintessence of godliness and encasing the divine Pharaoh's mummy to safeguard his immortality--all of these and more are to be found in the feast for the eyes that is Gold of the Pharaohs. The belief in the magic and divine power of gold led the Egyptians to bury their dead among vast storehouses of treasures. Even after centuries of grave robbing, what remains is so overwhelming that Howard Carter, entering the tomb of Tutankhamen, and Pierre Monet, walking into that of the King of Tanis, could not believe their eyes. In addition to reproducing objects at those famous sites, the book showcases the huge caches of gold found in the pyramids of Meroe, in the grave of Cheops's mother, in Queen Ahotep's tomb, in the graves of princesses of the Middle Kingdom and Early Dynasties, in the Serapeum of Saqqara, and elsewhere. Hans Wolfgang Mller not only describes the excavations but also recounts the adventures of the archaeologists who made such momentous discoveries. Featuring hundreds of spectacular color photographs, Gold of the Pharaohs presents the widest range of ancient Egyptian gold objects and jewels ever assembled in a single volume. As well as depicting the most highly prized possessions of a long-vanished civilization in all their opulence, the book serves as a vivid introduction to the life and culture of ancient Egypt. Tracing the development of style and technique in the creation of gold masterpieces during three thousand years of Egyptian civilization, Mller discusses the function and symbolism of jewelry and the ways in which it was worn. He outlines the steps by which the ancients mined, refined, and transformed gold and precious stones into dazzling works of art. Mller tells of the monopoly over gold enjoyed by the Pharaoh (the "God of Gold") and describes the metal's integral role in Egyptian life and culture. Through his reading of the pic-tures and text on the walls of tombs and temples, Mller offers important insights into the making and uses of gold and jewelry. Among the book's other useful features are a pictorial list of common hieroglyphs and their meanings and a chronological table of the rulers of Egypt. Originally published in Germany in 1998, Gold of the Pharaohs is here available in an elegant and clear English-language version. Everyone who cares about the ancient Egyptians will want to own this magnificent tribute to their craftsmanship and culture.