Real-life details fill these books of the dead. Gardens, houses, feasts, clothes, animals and boats are lovingly portrayed. The texts themselves are also very beautiful: it is amazing to look at precisely inked writing that is more than 3,000 years old, a thousand years before Julius Caesar. So why are there comparatively few quotes in this exhibition? Although Budge's translation is now considered dated, there are clear, modern English translations of many of these spells, and surely there should be more of them on the walls.
The show does not stint on deathly drama, however. The setting, under the dome of the old British Museum reading room, is strikingly exploited with ghostly lighting and deep shadows; a mummy's burial chamber is even recreated inside.
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
Exhibtion: More re Journey through the Afterlife
The Guardian, UK (Jonathan Jones)