Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Book Review: Tutankhamun: The Story of Egyptology's Greatest Discovery

Art Museum Journal (Stan Parchin)

Malek, Jaromir. Tutankhamun: The Story of Egyptology's Greatest Discovery. London: Carlton Books Limited, 2009.

Egyptian, New Kingdom, Dynasty 18 (ca. 1332-1323 B.C.). Gold Mask of Tutankhamun. Gold, lapis lazuli, colored glass, faience, quartz, carnelian, obsidian and feldspar. H. 50.4 cm; W. 39.3 cm. Thebes, Valley of the Kings, Tomb of Tutankhamun (KV 62). Egyptian Museum, Cairo. Photograph by Lee Boltin.

Tutankhamun: The Story of Egyptology's Greatest Discovery by Jaromir Malek is one of the best hardcover introductions to the life of ancient Egypt's boy-king (r. 1332-1323 B.C.) and the archaeology of his tomb. The author is Keeper of the Archives at the Griffith Institute of Oxford University's recently refurbished and greatly expanded Ashmolean Museum. The British repository's collection of vintage black & white photographs documenting the excavation of Tutankhamun's burial rivals that of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. Malek takes full advantage of important pictures from various sources for his lively and informative text. Thankfully he uses Lee Boltin's color image of the pharaoh's Gold Mask from the landmark special exhibition Treasures of Tutankhamun (1976-79). The photograph remains unsurpassed in its clarity.

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