The Hidden Life of Ancient Egypt

The Hidden Life of Ancient Egypt
Author: Clare Gibson.
Format: 277 x 216mm, 208 pages.

ISBN: 978-1-887354-67-7
Illustrations: Fifty featured plates and many additional artefacts. Cased with jacket
"Compelling... lively, clear and persuasive" "Breathtaking grace and splendour" (The Scotsman)     "Clear, concise and lavish"
(Egyptology UK)                               

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Clare Gibson's popular title in the acclaimed 'Hidden Life' series, featuring favourites like the wonders of King Tut's tomb to the beautiful, newly restored wall paintings from the painted tomb-chapel of Nebamun. Click on the cover below to see some sample pages:

  • What was ancient life really like? See how the Egyptians worked, warred, feasted and worshipped.
  • How did Egyptians hope to attain their dearest hope, to be found worthy in the halls of Osiris, lord of the underworld, and so achieve eternal life?
  • Who were the gods who reigned supreme over this land of towering monuments and incredible wealth?

The answers to these questions and many more, revealed in the the dazzling artworks which are the greatest monument to Egyptian civilization.

List price £20. Buy from this site at £14.95 plus P&P for UK delivery (please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for details on overseas orders).

Review by Egyptology UK:
"The introduction asks: What is so awe inspiring about Ancient Egyptian art?; ... and the book aims to show the reader by taking him/her on a journey through 50 pieces of art, decoding them to bring forth the hidden meanings for each. Covered is the function--what the art was designed for--and form--how and why particular items were depicted in such a specific style or followed certain rules. There is a detailed section on hieroglyphs covering the history, discovery and decipherment; it teaches the reader basic key concepts in how to read and understand the writing. There are frequent references to Herodotus, who was the most notable Father of History when it comes to Ancient Egypt, and these help to build up a picture of what it was like in ancient times.
"The three chapter headings cover important aspects of the Ancient Egyptian belief system. The Divine Cosmos deals with art related to the Gods. The Ancient Egyptian World covers a subject that is becoming more interesting as archaeological practices alter from the wow factor to gaining a better understanding of the people and how they actually lived. The final chapter is called Preparing for the Afterlife, and the title explains its function perfectly. Each of the 50 works of art is displayed with a detailed visual representation, which is then broken down and decoded as you read. The subjects chosen are very good and varied. The major deities are covered in various forms, and the importance of symbolism and layout is learned. The inclusion of the world section is excellent and the reader is able to learn something of the workings of the Ancient Egyptian society. From the humblest person to the Pharaoh, all are depicted in some form or another, and the reader is able to learn much of the culture. The final chapter covers the preparations that were absolutely key to ensuring ongoing life. The chosen artwork helps to carry the reader along on the journey that the dead would have taken. Overall this book is clear, concise, and lavish, which all helps the reader to understand and enjoy the wonders of Ancient Egyptian art." --Egyptology UK, December 2009
"SUMPTUOUS reliefs and stately friezes, rich coffin-paintings, papyrus scrolls and sculptures – Egyptian artists created works of breathtaking grace and splendour. These are unmistakably expressive works, yet expressive of what, exactly? Their eloquence stands frozen into muteness; their beauty stupefies. Art and writing were less clearly distinguished in the visual culture of the Egyptians: the use of hieroglyphics made words into pictures, pictures into words. Gibson sets out here to find which words. Venturing beyond the wow-factor to the worldview, it examines 50 important works in compelling detail, unpacking them in lively, clear and persuasive terms. An abundantly illustrated book, it offers a fascinating way in to Egyptian life and culture."
The Scotsman, Books in Brief, Nov 16, 2009

Ancient Egypt: land of pharaohs, mummies, and mystery. In her latest book, Clare Gibson seeks to uncover the hidden meanings in Egyptian art and to discover the story of the people who created this magnificent civilisation. Through a detailed interpretation of the beautiful Egyptian art, Gibson discovers the forgotten hopes and dreams, magic and religion of a lost empire. Wall-paintings and illustrations, jewelry and golden burial goods – these are not just beautiful objects, but also hold the secrets to understanding the Egyptians’ life. Gibson combines threads of history, religion, and symbology to breathe new life in a lost empire.
The full-colour illustrations, many in full- or double-page spread, allow the reader to fully appreciate the beauty of the artworks, while the many detail images highlight significant symbols. The book is enhanced by a brief introduction to the mysterious hieroglyphs.

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