Curators and conservators at the British Museum worked together closely to choose items for the exhibition that would not suffer irreparable harm from exposure to light. They judged that many interesting colored papyri were too fragile and must wait for display until the science of conservation is developed enough to protect them. Nevertheless, a gorgeous selection of objects was agreed upon, and this volume is the catalogue for the exhibition. Taylor explains in the preface that the Book of the Dead is a collection of writings and spells transmitted through the ages via text and images on tombs and coffins but primarily via papyrus rolls, of which thousands of examples have survived. The writings were translated and studied in the early 19th century, but modern interpretations have supplemented or supplanted some of the early interpretations. This beautifully produced volume (which measures 11×8.5″) offers narrative, scholarly analysis, and more than 150 images with extended captions–leading readers on the journey through life and death as it was understood by the ancient Egyptians. Two concluding essays discuss the making of the Book of the Dead, and a history of its study. This book has wide appeal for an audience of professional and amateur Egyptologists, art historians, conservators, and philosophers. Annotation ̴å©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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