House of Eternity: The Tomb of Nefertari

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9780500279243: House of Eternity: The Tomb of Nefertari
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Over 3000 years ago, Nefertari, the favourite queen of Ramesses II, was buried in a tomb in Egypt's Valley of the Queens. The discovery of the tomb by Ernesto Schiaparelli in 1904 began a process of drastic deterioration which remained unchecked until 1988 when emergancy consolidation and restoration began. This guide takes the reader through each chamber, describing the hieroglyphic messages depicted in the wall paintings, and discussing the images within the context of religious beliefs. An insight is offered into the life of Nefertari and the Valley of the Queens, and on the development and symbolism of royal tombs generally and their construction and decoration. The author discusses the discovery and degradation of the tomb, and the crucial role of the getty Conservation Institute in restoring and stabilizing the wall paintings. The dangers and risks to such tombs in the future are also addressed.

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Review:

If you can't get to Egypt anytime soon, take John McDonald's informative tour of beloved Queen Nefertari's tomb, which has only been open to the public since 1995. The beautifully structured House of Eternity is replete with full-color photographs of the contrasting desert landscape, the elaborate tomb, and the paintings. Included are explanations of the hieroglyphs and artwork, plus interesting snippets from Nefertari's culture. For example, the queen's own status wasn't enough to make her powerful in the afterlife. The magical chapter 17 from the Egyptian Book of the Dead contains a spell that is painted on Nefertari's tomb walls to assure her transformation from playing senet, to becoming a "ba" bird, then finally worshipping a lion-headed god. To ensure success, the spell ends right at the doorway that marks the burial chamber.

Most souls were believed to experience the judgment of Osiris--not so with Nefertari, whose tomb contains no mention of this trial. In fact, most of the gods seem to be greeting Nefertari and urging her through the many passages to Necropolis, the city of the dead. Although the annexes are not open to the public, McDonald has included a photograph and discussion of the only evidence of Nefertari in mummified form.

With descriptions of the Egyptian gods and the people's beliefs about death being an eternity, McDonald reveals the magnificent culture behind the fragility of the restoration of this art, funded by the Getty Foundation. --Susan Swartwout

About the Author:


John McDonald is an Egyptologist and art historian and former associate director of the Yale University Art Gallery.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780892364152: House of Eternity: The Tomb of Nefertari (Culture and Conservation)

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0892364157 ISBN 13:  9780892364152
Publisher: Oxford University Press, 1996
Softcover

9780500017494: House of Eternity: The Tomb of Nefertari

The Ge..., 1996
Softcover

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