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The Splendours of the Boy Pharaoh,
This review is from: The Complete Tutankhamun: The King, the Tomb, the Royal Treasure (Hardcover)Since the sensational discovery of the Boy Pharaoh Tutankhamun's almost intact tomb in the Valley of the Kings in 1922 there has been a regular stream of books dealing with the tomb, its discovery, and the rich bounty of treasures found in the burial. The books vary greatly in quality but I have to say that Nicholas Reeves' 1990 work on the subject "The Complete Tutankhamun: The King, the Tomb, the Royal Treasure", is without a doubt one of the very best on the subject and is full of informative information and historical background, and beautifully presented colour and black and white photographs on the subject all displayed in an easy to read format that has a logical flow to it. Indeed "The Complete Tutankhamun", is a small jewel box in itself and is essential reading for all budding Egyptologists or people interested in the customs and religious beliefs of ancient civilisations such as Egypt.
Beginning with a highly appropriate forward written by the present Seventh Earl of Carnarvon the format of the book is very well thought out and takes the reader firstly through the time that Tutankhamun lived in which of course was the controversial Amarna period created by the "Heretic Pharaoh", Akhenaten. This section provides much needed information on Tutankhamun's life much of which is still largely unknown to us. It deals with the Pharaoh's childhood and his eventual succession to the throne of Egypt as a 8 year old God and most interestingly looks at other monuments that Tutankhamun was responsible for creating during his short 9 year reign, most of which were usurped by later rulers. Later sections explore in detail the search for the tomb of the mysterious boy Pharaoh and its eventual discovery and excavation by Howard Carter. The tomb itself , small and largely undecorated compared to other Pharaoh's tombs is examined in an often interesting manner using three dimensional drawings to show its layout and side views. Finally the burial and the tomb's magnificent treasures encompassing golden shrines, jewellery, solid gold coffins, exotic animal figurines, and clothing are examined in detail. This section of the book is in particular a treat as the stunning colour photography really shows each piece described to its best advantage.
When one thinks of Tutankhamun's tomb one always thinks of gold and jewels however one of the great strengths of "The Complete Tutankhamun", is that good coverage is given to the myriad of personal and domestic objects that accompanied a Pharaoh on his journey to his new life. Interesting examinations of food stuffs, clothing, board games, and even touching family heirlooms like a boyhood bow and arrow belonging to Tutankhamun's childhood and a lock of Tutankhamun's Grandmother Queen Tiye's hair are examined and it is these less spectacular items that go a long way towards showing the reader more about just who Tutankhamun was as both boy and Pharaoh. Each section of the book is accompanied by a huge selection of photographs that are both from the time of the discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamun and more recent ones photographed at the Cairo Museum. Those photos that are contemporary with the discovery of the tomb are of great interest and reveal the painstaking work involved in the clearing and cataloguing of even a small tomb such as Tutankhmaun's. Rarely has a book on this subject managed to incorporate photos of so many of the items from Tutankhamun's tomb which helps make "The Complete Tutankhamun", one of the definitive sources of information for the modern reader about a Pharaoh's burial and of Tutankhamun and Egypt near the end of the Eighteenth Dynasty.
"The Complete Tutankhamun", is one of my most cherished books on Ancient Egypt and I strongly recommend it to history and art lovers as one of the best sources of information on the Egypt of the glorious Eighteenth Dynasty. Egpyt of the time of the Pharaohs always seems to have a real attraction to even those people not greatly interested in history and this beautiful book is just the thing to satisfy anyone curious with this fascinating young ruler during Egypt's golden age. Make this gem part of your history library soon it is sure to become a treasured acquisition that you will find yourself returning to time and time again.