Reading Egyptian Art: A Hieroglyphic Guide to Ancient Egyptian Painting and Sculpture

Reading Egyptian Art: A Hieroglyphic Guide to Ancient Egyptian Painting and Sculpture is part of a new genre of books focussed on Egyptian hieroglyphs. The book is a primer on hieroglyphs from the viewpoint of seeing hieroglyphs in the context of their use in iconography of sculpture, monuments, reliefs, tomb reliefs, literature, specifically the corpus of The Book of the Dead versions for various deceased Egyptians, and other areas.

The book is arranged sequentially with the 26 categories of Gardiner's Sign List. Each entry is a detailed write-up, and a facing page of one to six graphic or photo examples, elucidating the hieroglyphs usage.

Example categories

Hippopotamus hieroglyph

The hippopotamus, Gardiner E25,
shows a "Faience hippopotamus, Meir, 12th Dynasty."[1] The photo is a small statuette, the hippo skin covered with large lined lotus buds, and lotus blossoms.

Follower Sign

The less common Follower Sign, Gardiner T18,
uses three examples, the first being from the Tomb of Sennedjem, Thebes, 19th Dynasty, and shows the barque of Ra and the main iconography of the Follower Sign, Ra as seated God, and the Steering Oar (hieroglyph) at rear.[2]

"Clenched Hand" from the palette corpus

The not-so-common Clenched Hand, Gardiner D49, (khefa),
shows 4 graphics, but the largest is one side of the Bull Palette, from the Predynastic Period cosmetic palette corpus, with its iconography of warriors on a field, the 'community large rope', and 5 standards-for-gods, (iat standard (hieroglyph)).[3]


  1. Reading Egyptian Art, Hippopotamus, deb, E25, p. 70-71
  2. Reading Egyptian Art, Follower Sign, shemset, T18 p. 186-187
  3. Reading Egyptian Art, Clenched Hand, khefa D49, p. 54-55

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