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

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9780892364152: House of Eternity: The Tomb of Nefertari (Culture and Conservation)
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Nefertari, the favorite queen of Ramses II, was buried about 3200 years ago in the most exquisitely decorated tomb in Egypt's Valley of the Queens. Discovered in 1904, the tomb had deteriorated to a disastrous extent when emergency consolidation began in 1986. The six-year conservation project was completed in 1992 and in November 1995 the tomb was reopened to visitors. In this fascinating exploration of the tomb, McDonald takes the reader through each chamber, describing the hieroglyphic messages depicted in the brilliant wall paintings, and discussing the images within the context of the Egyptian belief system. The study also offers insights into the life of Nefertari, the development and symbolism of royal tombs, construction and decoration of the tombs, and the Getty Conservation Institute's role in restoring and stabilizing the wall paintings. This premier volume in the Culture and Conservation series is punctuated with historic black-and-white and more recent color photographs that illustrate the vibrant beauty of the wall paintings and the extent of their restoration. Visitors to the tomb and the armchair traveler will find this an excellent resource for understanding Nefertari's journey to the afterlife.

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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

9780500279243: House of Eternity: The Tomb of Nefertari

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ISBN 10:  0500279241 ISBN 13:  9780500279243
Publisher: Thames & Hudson Ltd, 1996
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9780500017494: House of Eternity: The Tomb of Nefertari

The Ge..., 1996
Softcover

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