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House of Eternity: The Tomb of Nefertari [Paperback]

John McDonald
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 1996 Conservation and Cultural Heritage
Nefertari, the favorite queen of Rameses II, was buried about 3200 years ago in the most exquisitely decorated tomb in Egypt's Valley of the Queens. Discovered in 1904, the tomb had deteriorated to a disastrous extent when emergency consolidation began in 1986. The six-year conservation project was completed in 1992 and in November 1995 the tomb was reopened to visitors. In this fascinating exploration of the tomb, McDonald takes the reader through each chamber, describing the hieroglyphic messages depicted in the brilliant wall paintings, and discussing the images within the context of the Egyptian belief system. The study also offers insights into the life of Nefertari, the development and symbolism of royal tombs, construction and decoration of the tombs, and the Getty Conservation Institute's role in restoring and stabilizing the wall paintings. This premier volume in the Culture and Conservation series is punctuated with historic black-and-white and more recent color photographs that illustrate the vibrant beauty of the wall paintings and the extent of their restoration. Visitors to the tomb and the armchair traveler will find this an excellent resource for understanding Nefertari's journey to the afterlife.

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If you can't get to Egypt anytime soon, take John McDonald's informative tour of beloved Queen Nefertari's tomb, which has only been open to the public since 1995. The beautifully structured House of Eternity is replete with full-color photographs of the contrasting desert landscape, the elaborate tomb, and the paintings. Included are explanations of the hieroglyphs and artwork, plus interesting snippets from Nefertari's culture. For example, the queen's own status wasn't enough to make her powerful in the afterlife. The magical chapter 17 from the Egyptian Book of the Dead contains a spell that is painted on Nefertari's tomb walls to assure her transformation from playing senet, to becoming a "ba" bird, then finally worshipping a lion-headed god. To ensure success, the spell ends right at the doorway that marks the burial chamber.

Most souls were believed to experience the judgment of Osiris--not so with Nefertari, whose tomb contains no mention of this trial. In fact, most of the gods seem to be greeting Nefertari and urging her through the many passages to Necropolis, the city of the dead. Although the annexes are not open to the public, McDonald has included a photograph and discussion of the only evidence of Nefertari in mummified form.

With descriptions of the Egyptian gods and the people's beliefs about death being an eternity, McDonald reveals the magnificent culture behind the fragility of the restoration of this art, funded by the Getty Foundation. --Susan Swartwout

From Publishers Weekly

In 1904, the tomb of Nefertari, great wife of Rameses II, was discovered in the Valley of the Queens at Thebes. It is widely considered one of the most beautiful Egyptian tombs, in large part because of its complex and finely crafted program of wall paintings. Between 1986 and 1992, the Egyptian Antiquities Organization and the Getty Conservation Institute worked together to halt the destruction that occurred since the tomb's opening. Now, in House of Eternity: The Tomb of Nefertari, Egyptologist John K. McDonald describes the tomb's construction and offers a chamber-by-chamber guide to its iconography.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Nefertari - Queen of Egypt Dec 24 2000
Format:Paperback
Books about Ancient Egypt usually deal with her Pharaoh's, the State Religion, Ancient Monuments or art treasures . Little is known about most of the Queens of Ancient Egypt. The better known queens, Hatchepsut and Cleopatra ruled in their own right. Nefertari was the principle wife of one of Ancient Egypt's greatest Pharaoh's, Ramesses the Great. Ramesses built many temples and monuments during his long reign, some of which are still standing today including the Ramesseum, and the two Temple's at Abu Simbel. The smaller temple was dedicated to Nefertari. Very few temples or monuments were dedicated to anyone but the Pharaoh or one of the many Gods. The book " House of Eternity, The Tomb of Nefertari" tells as much of the story of Queen Nefertari as is known today. The Tomb of Nefertari is one of the most beautiful surviving monuments of Pharaonic Egypt. Since the Tomb was discovered in 1904, much damage has been caused by tourists. The tomb was closed to the public and preservation of the artwork undertaken by the Getty Institute. The tomb was re-opened to the public in 1995.. This book gives the reader a guided tour of the Tomb. The pictures in the book are spectacular.The author John McDonald takes the reader through the construction and decoration of the tomb, and then guides the reader through the journey into the Egyptian afterlife undertaken by Nefertari. The pictures on the tomb walls are from the Book of the Dead and the meaning of each is explained as Nefertari travels from the doorway of her tomb to her final resting place. I would rate this book as an essential addition to the library of anyone seriously interested in the history of Ancient Egypt and would advise anyone planning to visit the Tomb to read the book before hand.
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4.0 out of 5 stars how many color illustrations? Buy at your own risk. Sept. 24 2003
Format:Paperback
In none of the editorial or customer reviews, nor in any part of the amazon page on this book, is there a very elementary and crucial bit of information -- how many color illustrations does this book contain? It might be 4. It might be 20. Who knows? But none of the reviewers, nor amazon, sees fit to let prospective buyers know. Buy at your own risk, I guess. Since neither the book info, nor Amazon, tells us how many color illustrations, perhaps the number is quite modest. I rate this book as four stars to give it the benefit of the doubt -- but without the critical information, I haven't wanted to buy it, so can't really say what it should be rated.
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5.0 out of 5 stars House of Eternity: The Tomb of Nefertari Dec 25 2002
Format:Paperback
Beautiful book. Trying to get tickets NOW for a tour of her tomb on our trip in Feb. 2003.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Profusely illustrated June 19 2006
By David Shallcross - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The book begins with chapters describing the context of the life of Nefertari and of her tomb. The final chapter, about half of the book, is a tour through the tomb, explaining the pictures and text on the walls. These pictures are almost entirely of Nefertari and the divinities she would meet in the afterlife. No pictures of day-to-day life here.

The book is profusely illustrated. Out of the 120 pages, the Getty Museum claims there are 89 color and 12 black-and-white illustrations. I haven't counted them myself, but the numbers seem right -- most pages have color illustrations on them, and many pages consist entirely of such illustrations. I would estimate that about 80% of the wall surface of the tomb is shown.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nefertari - Queen of Egypt Dec 24 2000
By Alan Webster - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Books about Ancient Egypt usually deal with her Pharaoh's, the State Religion, Ancient Monuments or art treasures . Little is known about most of the Queens of Ancient Egypt. The better known queens, Hatchepsut and Cleopatra ruled in their own right. Nefertari was the principle wife of one of Ancient Egypt's greatest Pharaoh's, Ramesses the Great. Ramesses built many temples and monuments during his long reign, some of which are still standing today including the Ramesseum, and the two Temple's at Abu Simbel. The smaller temple was dedicated to Nefertari. Very few temples or monuments were dedicated to anyone but the Pharaoh or one of the many Gods. The book " House of Eternity, The Tomb of Nefertari" tells as much of the story of Queen Nefertari as is known today. The Tomb of Nefertari is one of the most beautiful surviving monuments of Pharaonic Egypt. Since the Tomb was discovered in 1904, much damage has been caused by tourists. The tomb was closed to the public and preservation of the artwork undertaken by the Getty Institute. The tomb was re-opened to the public in 1995.. This book gives the reader a guided tour of the Tomb. The pictures in the book are spectacular.The author John McDonald takes the reader through the construction and decoration of the tomb, and then guides the reader through the journey into the Egyptian afterlife undertaken by Nefertari. The pictures on the tomb walls are from the Book of the Dead and the meaning of each is explained as Nefertari travels from the doorway of her tomb to her final resting place. I would rate this book as an essential addition to the library of anyone seriously interested in the history of Ancient Egypt and would advise anyone planning to visit the Tomb to read the book before hand.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, but..... June 15 2012
By William A. Llano - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The best book on her tomb available. It deals mostly with the restoration of the paintings on her tomb by the Getty Foundation. My only question is: What is with the writing on top of the photos{near the bottom of each one), I found it very anoying. Looks like the book designer got a bad case of the artsy-fartsies! I recommend it. Very good photography.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the house of eternity Aug. 11 2005
By J. Flesch - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
love the book, but wish it had more complete photos of the entire tomb. seeing the tomb in pieces as it were, makes it difficult to imagine how it really is.
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Most Beautiful Tombs in Egypt Jan. 10 2014
By Outsider - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is such a wonderful reference work on the Getty's restoration efforts. The book is beautifully photographed and I love it.
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