The Name of the Dead: Hieroglyphic Inscriptions of the Treasures of Tutankhamun Translated
Joan Shanks was a freelancer living in Montreal.
This book is a complete and informative guide to the hieroglyphic inscriptions found on the artifacts displayed in the Tutankhamun exhibition. It is a clearly illustrated and well-organized handbook that will be of value and interest to anyone wishing to learn more of this ancient Egyptian artistic communication.
N.B. Millet of the Royal Ontario Museum notes in his foreword: “the Egyptians never lost sight of the decorative value of their formal script, and employed it to beautify as well as to communicate.” The delicacy and intricacy of this legacy is revealed to us through the meticulous reproductions of the authors.
An informative explanation of Egyptian hieroglyphics is included for beginners as well as for those wishing to expand already acquired knowledge. There are eleven colour plates in the book, including a cut-out view of Tutankhamun’s tomb.
To facilitate the use of this guide, the writers have translated the artifacts in the order in which they are found in the exhibition. For each inscription there is first the hieroglyphics, followed by a phonetic translation, a pronunciation, the literal meaning, and finally a translation into standard English grammar. Scribal errors are footnoted.
Each article found in the antechamber, burial chamber, treasury, and annex is clearly drawn, and the position of each inscription is indicated. There is a complete translation of each entire inscription, then the hieroglyphics are depicted and translated line by line. The authors have included an extensive glossary as well as a reference list for further reading.
A word of caution: most of the inscriptions consist of Tutankhamun’s many royal titles and names, and a reader not greatly interested in this subject will begin to find the inscriptions redundant. In addition, the authors assume either a previous knowledge of Tutankhamun’s history or sufficient interest in the reader to do the required research, as no bibliography is included. This is strictly a book of beautiful and precisely illustrated hieroglyphs with clear and complete English translations.