Journey Through the Afterlife: Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead

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9780714119939: Journey Through the Afterlife: Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead
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Keynote A magnificent, lavishly illustrated book exploring the perilous journey that the ancient Egyptians believed lay between death and the perfect afterlife a journey that could be navigated using a specially commissioned collection of magical spells Sales points A ground-breaking and timely book that draws on intensive recent research at an exciting moment. The first comprehensive book on the subject for over thirty years. The British Museum holds an unequalled collection of Book of the Dead manuscripts on papyri, many of which have never been published before New photography provides lasting record of fragile and rarely exhibited material Published to accompany a major exhibition at the British Museum, 4 November 2010 6 March 2011 Description The Book of the Dead is a compilation of spells that the ancient Egyptians believed would assist them in the afterlife as they made their perilous journey towards the realm of the gods and the ultimate state of eternity. The spells are often accompanied by vignettes, which show the imagined landscape of the Netherworld, the gods and demons whom the deceased will meet, and the critical weighing of the heart the judgement that will determine whether the traveller will be admitted into the afterlife or condemned to destruction by the monstrous Devourer. This fascinating and important book affords a greater understanding of ancient Egyptian belief systems and poignantly reveals the hopes and fears of mortal man about the world beyond death. The whole is beautifully illustrated with specially commissioned photographs of these exceptional papyri and an array of contextual funerary objects painted coffins, gilded masks, amulets, jewellery, tomb figurines and mummy trappings. The Editor and Contributors John H. Taylor is a curator at the British Museum specializing in ancient Egyptian funerary archaeology. Irmtraut Munro Institut für Kunstgeschichte und Archäologie, Bonn Rita Lucarelli Institut für Kunstgeschichte und Archäologie, Bonn Barbara Lüscher Ägyptologisches Seminar der Universität, Basel

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Review:

"In terms of scholarship, the [British Museum] exhibition is a tour de force, but you will have a much greater grasp of what you are looking at if you can first read the magisterial catalogue by curator John H Taylor, the best of the year. " -- The Telegraph, 08 November 2010

"...a guide book to a darker paradise. Take a ghost-train ride into the land of the afterlife, through a cosmos haunted by cobras and crocodiles and scarabs and baboons ... the mythologies are as elaborate as the accompanying text is clear in this eerily entrancing book" --The Times Christmas Recommendations, 20 November 2010

"...magnificent and readable catalogue ... The Book of the Dead was a collection of up to about two hundred spells intended to reanimate and protect the corpse of an Egyptian ... neither the number of spells nor their precise order and content was fixed, so there can be no single, authoritative Book of Dead; nor does it have an easily followed narrative, although the catalogue does its best to provide one, running from chapter two (Preparing for the afterlife) to chapter ten (The perfect afterlife)" --Current World Archaeology, Issue 42

About the Author:

John H. Taylor is a curator at the British Museum specializing in ancient Egyptian funerary archaeology.
Irmtraut Munro - Institut für Kunstgeschichte und Archäologie, Bonn Rita Lucarelli - Institut für Kunstgeschichte und Archäologie, Bonn Barbara Lüscher - Ägyptologisches Seminar der Universität, Basel.

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