In its strictest sense—the study of inscriptions and, in particular, of monumental texts—epigraphy claims a broader scope for ancient Egyptian civilization because of the pictorial and decorative nature of the hieroglyphic writing system and its intimate link with architectural forms. Egyptian epigraphy is concerned with the precise recording, editing, translation, and publication of both monumental inscriptions and their accompanying scenes, in as definitive a manner as possible.
The Hieroglyphic Writing System and Its Monumental Context.
Egyptian hieroglyphs consist, for the most part, of figures of humans, animals, natural features, and manmade objects rendered in miniature. The potential for employing them directly in conjunction with nontextual, purely representational art was realized at a very early date, as on such proto-historic documents as the Narmer Palette, and the intimate bond between text and figural depiction was consciously manipulated. Egyptian inscriptions were preferentially written from right to left—that is, the individual hieroglyphs face right, toward the beginning of the text—and that orientation automatically imposed certain artistic conventions on signs employing the human figure. Those conventionalized standards were faithfully extended to two-dimensional relief and painting and, subsequently, to three-dimensional sculpture.
Because hieroglyphic signs can be written in either direction and can be arranged in horizontal rows as well as vertical columns, the writing system lent itself perfectly to monumental decoration, which emphasizes both the symmetry of a building and its ceremonial orientation. Egyptian monumental texts usually occur in temple or tomb scenes and are thus bound to their immediate spatial context, ultimately to the function of public and ceremonial spaces. Within a pictorial context, the orientation of texts reflects their content: captions that describe the scene are oriented with the initiator of the action; the names and speeches of the participants face in the same direction as the figures to which they variously pertain; protective epithets are placed behind them; and the textual material, in general, frames and enfolds the scene. Reversals of normal sign orientation are due to contextual criteria.
The task of the epigrapher of pharaonic inscriptions, therefore, involves more than the translation of texts, so an appreciation of iconography and monumental context is essential. Ritual scenes cannot be fully understood without a translation of the accompanying texts; nor can the texts be comprehended without observance of their placement in and reference to those scenes. More often than not, the epigrapher is engaged in redacting not just an inscription but a monument, in its two-dimensional (decorative) and three-dimensional (architectural and functional) aspects.
Epigraphy as a scientific study cannot be said to exist prior to a correct understanding of the texts that form the core of its subject. Although the ancient wonders of the Nile drew travelers to Egypt in increasing numbers in the eighteenth century, their early records of pharaonic monuments originated from a profound curiosity and an interest in unfamiliar and indecipherable ruins, rather than from an informed approach to documentation. Even the achievements of the French scholars who in 1798 accompanied Napoleon Bonaparte and his troops during his conquest of Egypt can be called epigraphy only in the sense that their efforts were scientifically motivated and planned on a grand scale. The extraordinary illustration plates in the Description de l'Égypte (published from 1809 to 1822), which was organized topographically from south to north, were not accompanied by translations or textual interpretation; yet they set a high standard for future epigraphic expeditions and initiated an age of wholesale documentation of monuments throughout the Nile Valley. Certain recording techniques made their appearance for the first time, in particular the use of sun and shadow conventions for indicating the visual difference between raised and sunken relief. There are some shortcomings from the modern point of view: many scenes were incompletely copied; reliance cannot be placed on the hieroglyphic signs; and strict attention was rarely paid to Egyptian artistic conventions, with human anatomy in particular influenced by the then current European Romantic ideal.
With the 1822 announcement of hieroglyphic decipherment by Jean-François Champollion, the comprehension of Egyptian monumental texts became a possibility. Champollion then led a team in Egypt from 1828 to 1829, the first to be able to understand monumental texts in situ. His results were published posthumously in Monuments de l'Égypte et de la Nubie (1834–1847) and in Notices descriptives (1844–1849). These works contain a wealth of information, and the hieroglyph signs are accurately rendered; they are accompanied by schematic diagrams, sketch plans, and elevations of buildings keyed to descriptions of the scenes. Additional texts were included as hand copies, notably those in the royal tombs of Thebes, and even the more important graffiti were noted. An auxiliary publication was that of Ippolito Rosellini, who accompanied Champollion, titled I monumenti dell'Egitto e della Nubia (1832–1844). The drawings are grouped thematically according to three categories: historical reliefs (primarily the major Ramessid battle reliefs); “civil” monuments (representations of daily life, fauna, Egyptian arts and crafts, shipping, sports, and funerary scenes); and cult scenes (depictions of temple rituals and gods).
Several artists from the early decades of the nineteenth century may be singled out as pioneers in epigraphy. Much of their fine recording, still unpublished, approaches the highest epigraphic standards and provides invaluable evidence for monuments that have since suffered irreparable damage. Robert Hay made several visits to Egypt between 1824 and 1838; Nestor l'Hote completed three trips between 1828 and 1841; and John Gardner Wilkinson, who had a knowledge of the hieroglyphic and Coptic scripts as well as extraordinary skill as a draftsman, spent a number of years in Egypt from 1821 to 1833.
With the Prussian expedition of Richard Lepsius (1842–1845), remarkable accuracy was achieved, to the extent that even today only marginal improvements are possible in many details. A chronological presentation was selected for the illustration plates, published in twelve volumes as Denkmaeler aus Aegypten und Aethiopien (1849–1859). For the first time by an epigraphic mission, the ancient Egyptian human figure was drawn with a keen eye to pharaonic convention, rather than a European-derived esthetic. Great care was also paid to the relative placement of texts and figures, as well as to representing the extent of damaged surfaces. The contribution of Denkmaeler to the field of epigraphy is enormous; it supersedes what came before and remains the primary source for monuments that have never been republished. It also ended the age of all-inclusive epigraphic surveys and, henceforth, fieldwork would concentrate, more manageably, on selected monuments.
Heinrich Brugsch's Recueil de monuments (1862) is a fine example of an early autographed collection of texts, often accompanied by a schematized sketch of a scene as well. The text lines are numbered, any damage is indicated by convention, and the hieroglyphs are oriented faithfully according to the original source (although long inscriptions are indiscriminately broken to fit the size of the page). Significantly, Brugsch also copied several loose blocks at Thebes that preserve the name of Akhenaten (c. 1382–1365 BCE), presaging by seventy-five years an important trend in epigraphy.
Auguste Mariette devoted a slim but excellent volume, Karnak (1875), to inscriptions from that temple. His illustration plates include plans of the chronological development of Karnak, as well as numerous texts in which both damage and block lines are consistently noted for the first time. Areas of repair, where the name of Amun was restored after the Amarna period, are rendered in a hatched convention. Mariette's hand copies of Giza mastabas, Mastabas de l'ancien empire (1883), also mark a significant development in the thoroughness accorded a single group of related monuments. These private tombs are each documented in toto, with all texts and figures represented in context with their architecture, which is presented as a series of detailed plans, elevations, and measurements.
Percy Newberry's publications of the rock-cut tombs at Beni Hasan and Bersheh (1890–1894) were the first in a notable series sponsored by the Egypt Exploration Fund and devoted largely to the epigraphic recording of private tombs in Middle Egypt. The provincial paleography of those private tombs, the unusual content of the scenes, and the idiosyncratic arrangement of inscriptions and figures were systematically noted, reflecting an astonishingly high standard of objectivity and recording. One of Newberry's artists, Howard Carter, was later the chief draftsman for Édouard Naville at the temple of Hatshepsut (c. 1502–1482 BCE) in Western Thebes. The illustration plates of The Temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahari (1894–1908) were produced from exquisite measured drawings executed in pencil, with architectural block lines systematically included and text columns carefully numbered. In the plates, large areas of intentional erasures—caused during the posthumous proscription of Hatshepsut's memory—were indicated by the use of hatching that only partially obscured the original text. Other alterations (such as changes in personal pronouns, the usurpation of cartouches, and erasures of her royal ka figures) were often noted, though not consistently, by Naville's team.
To Félix Guilmant belongs the credit for employing photography as a direct basis for final drawings, in his groundbreaking publication on the tomb of Ramesses IX (c. 1139–1120 BCE) in the Valley of the Kings. The precision of his plates, each provided with scales and column numbering, still speaks eloquently for the value of the definitive facsimile copy and the application of photography in epigraphy.
Text corpora are essential tools for the advancement of epigraphic research, and between 1875 and 1925 three monumental projects were organized to bring together inscriptions of common funerary theme. These are Édouard Naville's Das aegyptische Totenbuch (1886, on the Book of Going Forth by Day), Kurt Sethe's Die altaegyptische Pyramidentexte (1908–1962, on the Pyramid Texts, with translation and commentary), and Adriaan De Buck's The Egyptian Coffin Texts (1935–1961). Each sets down all known parallel versions of the same spells, side by side, for purposes of comparative analysis. This felicitous pattern has been followed by Erik Hornung in his seminal studies of the New Kingdom's royal underworld books: Das Buch der Anbetung des Re im Westen (1975–1976, on the Litany of Re), Das Buch von den Pforten des Jenseits (1979–1980, on the Book of Gates), and Texte zum Amduat (2d edition, 1987–1994, on the Book of That Which Is in the Underworld).
From 1905 to 1907, the Nubian Expedition of the University of Chicago, led by James H. Breasted, undertook an extensive survey devoted to the recording of inscriptions south of the First Cataract of the Nile, using a camera for complete documentation and employing photographs printed on site to collate the hieroglyphic details at varying scales. At the temple of Sesebi, the expedition grappled with the problem of how to render accurately wholesale palimpsests—scenes initially decorated under Akhenaten and later recarved to obliterate his memory. Starting in 1924, facsimile drawing based on photography was fully elaborated as a documentary technique by the Oriental Institute's Epigraphic Survey, founded as a mission devoted solely to the precise recording of monumental reliefs and inscriptions. At the temple of Ramesses III (c. 1198–1166 BCE) at Medinet Habu, the extensive color traces were reproduced by the application of gouache on enlarged photographic prints.
The fundamental contribution of Norman and Nina de Garis Davies lies not only in the number of tombs they recorded in Middle Egypt and Western Thebes for the Egypt Exploration Fund and the Metropolitan Museum of Art from 1898 until 1937 but also in the remarkable fidelity of their work; it consists of meticulous line drawings and tempera facsimile paintings, whose magnificence and detail approach the semblance of fine color photography. Amice Calverley's exquisite paintings, included in The Temple of Sety I at Abydos (1933–1958), represent another superb effort to document extensive painted traces before the availability of reliable color film.
Particularly noteworthy epigraphic landmarks that postdate World War II include several outstanding publications of Theban tombs, sponsored in separate field surveys by the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, appearing in Archäologische Veröffentlichungen, and by the University of Heidelberg, published in the Theben series. These combine consistently fine standards of recording, photography, and text translation with pertinent archaeological data. The potential for the study of as yet unpublished archival records is exemplified by the fine series on Giza mastabas, produced from fieldwork undertaken by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Harvard University in the early twentieth century. Nonmonumental inscriptions such as graffiti are increasingly the subject of epigraphic study; an example is Graffiti de la montagne thébaine (1968–1971), edited by Jaroslav Černý.
A relatively new development in epigraphy has been the recognition of the importance of loose blocks to the recovery of monuments dismantled in antiquity. The largest effort of that kind has unfolded at Karnak, through the Akhenaten Temple Project and the Centre Franco-Égyptien d'Étude des Temples de Karnak, where tens of thousands of blocks from the vanished temples of Akhenaten have been reassembled with the help of computers on paper, using criteria of scale, textual content, and iconographic continuity. A similar project has been pursued with great success by the Polish-Egyptian Mission at the destroyed temple of Thutmose III (c. 1504–1452 BCE) at Deir el-Bahri, where thousands of fragments of wall decoration, reconstructed in sections, can be accurately fitted to the scant architectural traces. Also at Karnak, blocks adorned with festival scenes of Thutmose IV (c. 1419–1410 BCE) have been physically reassembled in a virtually complete re-creation of an open court that was razed in the reign of Amenhotpe III (c. 1410–1372 BCE) to make room for his Third Pylon. Nor is it necessary to work with large numbers of stones; for example, at the temple of Luxor, missing portions of the Colonnade Hall have been extensively restored, at least thematically, on the basis of a minuscule number of fragments. Such successes confirm the intimate link between the study of monumental decoration and of architecture.
Tools of Epigraphy.
The basic tools for recording were and are paper and a pen or pencil, for copying scenes and inscriptions by hand; accuracy depends on the talents of the epigrapher and whatever mechanical measuring aids are employed. One of the earliest recording techniques was photography, the invention of which coincided with hieroglyphic decipherment; in fact, one of the first purposes envisioned for the camera was the instant documentation of Egyptian monuments without the inaccuracies introduced by the human eye and hand. Photography is the basis of facsimile recording and remains an essential component of recording scenes and texts, but it has limitations as well: successful photography requires access to the monument, correct lighting, and exact measurement to eliminate distortion. Even under the best conditions, not all details may be clear; the camera is of little assistance in badly damaged temples and tombs, where broken or abraded surfaces cast deceptive shadows. Nonetheless, photographs alone can be sufficient to provide a definitive record in rare instances, where the surface is undamaged, the text consists of simple incised signs, and there is no representational iconography connected with it.
An early method of reproduction was the use of “squeezes,” a form of molding in which a mass of wet paper pulp is pressed against the surface until dry; after removal, the paper retains its shape. Latex has been used for the same purpose, and while it provides a much more detailed image of the wall, latex can be used only on highly durable, nonporous surfaces that are in good condition. The disadvantages of such methods include the stress and humidity placed on the ancient surface—good reasons for why squeezes and latex are not currently employed in the field. Moreover, it is the reverse image that is produced, with all the surface defects included, and at full scale. Such three-dimensional examples of recording are not by themselves publishable. Direct tracing of the outlines of a text is the another method of duplication, and it can be essential for curved surfaces or inaccessible areas. One-to-one reproduction is perfect for graffiti and small inscriptions, but it is often cumbersome for large monuments and wasteful of materials. One-to-one tracings of entire walls also require considerable reduction for publication. A related method, rubbing (where graphite, carbon, or chalks are rubbed on paper over a surface), is less precise in its details and cannot be used on soft or friable wall surfaces.
Large scenes are reducible in advance to a scale appropriate for publication through photographic prints, projection, or the use of gridded quadrants and measured reduction. Facsimile copies are most commonly produced from prints made to an exact scale, either by drawing directly on the print emulsion or by tracing over the photograph. The use of alternating sun and shadow lines to lend a three-dimensional sense to carved relief is more than mere convention, since it provides critical clarification in scenes involving overlapping figures or in damaged areas. The facsimile process, however, is very time-consuming and requires experience and long field training. Painted surfaces—in particular, painted tombs with no relief carving—present a special problem. Color is impossible to conventionalize in black-and-white drawings except in the most elementary fashion, and frequently there are numerous layers of information to be recorded: plaster, grid lines, corrections made to the initial draft, base colors laid on in blocks, final coats of paint, figural outlines, and interior details. In some cases, even individual brush strokes, mottling, and gradual shading of color are distinguishable. While color photography can capture most of this information in a single image, the wall surface must be completely clean, since even a superficial coating of dust will dim the image significantly. Color photography is expensive and must be strictly supervised, but excellent results are possible.
Photogrammetry, a survey technique that records contours, has occasionally been used to record deeply carved inscriptions, usually along with relief sculpture. Its practical application is extremely limited because changes of depth in raised and sunken relief inscriptions are very subtle, and contour changes are of less significance than the outlines and incised details of signs.
Computers, digital cameras, and scanners hold great promise for new epigraphic applications, or at least the revamping of old ones. Different hieroglyphic fonts are widely available for publications, and these can be applied to axonometric drawings of objects. Indexes of large textual corpora, such as the Coffin Texts (www.ccer.ggl.ruu.nl/ct/ct.html), are now accessible online for immediate use by researchers, and such resources will certainly proliferate. Digital cameras, which record images as a data file rather than as a film negative, will enhance the uses of field photography and will facilitate archival housing; the electronic scanning of both drawings and photographs has already revolutionized the production of epigraphic publications. Perhaps the most promising use of field scanning—not yet realized—is the possibility of producing a three-dimensional record of a wall surface as a digital file, with the capability of being viewed in light artificially beamed from different directions. The reader may then compare that image, in varying light, with the edited drawing of the wall, and independently judge the worth of the epigraphic effort. Recent advances in computer applications to epigraphy and related areas can be found in the series Informatique et Égyptologie, the published proceedings of the Computer Working Group of the International Association of Egyptologists.
There is no single method to be prescribed for epigraphy. The approach to be attempted will depend on the condition and size of the particular monument, the logistic and financial resources of the expedition, the number of personnel and their respective talents, the time available, and the nature and scale of the publication intended. Ideally, field recording is initiated with a precise idea of how large the plates and photographs will be, and appropriate epigraphic methods are then chosen: drawings or photographs, tracings or reductions, hand copies or facsimiles, or a combination of these options.
An awareness of the conventions of Egyptian art and iconography and a knowledge of paleography are essential in both the copying and correcting processes. Raised relief is a relatively simple matter to draw, the outlines generally following the base cut of the sign. Sunken relief is more challenging, since the outline of a sign is usually beveled and has two edges—the perimeter and the base of the cut. Choosing one edge or the other results in signs that appear too wide or too narrow, respectively, while drawing both (an option that is scientifically accurate) results in confusion on both visual and paleographic grounds; the epigrapher should judiciously draw the line midway along the bevel of the cut. Graffiti are an especially knotty problem in this regard, since they may be incised with clearly cut lines, crudely scratched with a sharp tool, or roughly pecked out in the most cursory manner.
A long history of use and reuse may be read in most Egyptian monuments, not only through the benefactions recorded by successive generations of rulers but also through other changes undertaken for political or religious reasons, such as the purposeful usurpation of cartouches, the wholesale persecution of the god Amun during the reign of Akhenaten, and various kinds of later iconoclastic or superstitious erasures. The chronology of and motivations behind such alterations can often be deduced by noting the distribution of chisel strokes and their physical characteristics—and in a drawing, these features can be differentiated through artistic conventions.
In addition to the final carved or painted lines, other features must be noted where extant: traces of earlier drafts of the scene, name erasures, evidence of restoration in antiquity, the remains of plaster or paint, architectural block lines, graffiti, and various types of damage. Other incidental data that do not intrude on these basics—features that are of interest for purposes of record or of conservation, those that would hinder the readability of these essential components—may be omitted: natural abrasion or erosion, uneven dressing of the wall, stray chisel marks, and salt deterioration. The task of the epigrapher is similar to that of an editor of a manuscript: to clarify the present condition and past history of a monumental text through a readable copy or facsimile for scholars who have no access to the original. In that task, the decision to omit certain information from a drawing for purposes of clarification may override the mandate to record as much as possible.
The most successful epigraphy is undertaken, in all its copying and correcting phases, in the field, where preliminary records can be constantly compared against the original. The process of epigraphy may be described as a constant series of subjective decisions as to what information should be included and what can be omitted. These decisions are based on numerous factors, including a close familiarity with the monument, a conceptual reconstruction of sections of the wall that may be missing or destroyed, a general understanding of the phenomena of usurpation and restoration, an ability to differentiate intentional from accidental damage, and even a knowledge of ancient methods of carving stone. Inevitably, decisions about the features to include in the final record depend on the current understanding of historical and textual problems; certain traces may be inadvertently overlooked that will prove to be of critical importance to a later generation. A necessary adjunct to the drawings is a series of photographs, to allow the reader an opportunity to make an independent judgment and to clarify the conventions chosen during the epigraphic process. Above all, consistency must be achieved in drawing conventions, and in preparing the publication the epigrapher should ensure that the translation of a text reflects its integration within a scene.
Ideally, scenes and texts are published together, but texts may legitimately be presented separately. For readability and comprehension, and where emphasis is on the text alone, hieroglyphs can be composed solely in horizontal lines, as in Kenneth Kitchen's mammoth Ramesside Inscriptions (1975–1990), with an arrow indicating whether the original disposition was vertical. Text can also be arranged purely according to the Western convention of left-to-right reading, and even artificially subdivided into sentences and clauses, as in Kurt Sethe and Wolfgang Helck's Urkunden 4 series (1933–1958) on biographical and historical inscriptions of the eighteenth dynasty. Hieroglyphic fonts are easily adapted to such purpose, the primary obstacle being the enormous variety of signs available to the ancient scribe. Some of the most splendid font publications, however, are those of the Institut français d'archéologie orientale du Caire that deal with the Ptolemaic temples of Esna, Edfu, and Dendera—a period characterized by a bewildering range of individual sign variants.
Epigraphy is not a field in which progress is inevitable, and woeful inadequacies are evident even in the most recent publications. Ironically, exceptionally fine examples of epigraphic recording are to be found even in the early nineteenth-century Description de l'Égypte; for example, the Rosetta Stone—already recognized as offering the best chance for the decipherment of the hieroglyphic script—and the sarcophagus of Nectanebo that was found at Alexandria. The aspiring epigrapher could do worse for models than these drawings, made decades before their inscriptions could even be fathomed.
See also EGYPTOLOGY.
- Bell, Lanny D. “The Epigraphic Survey: Philosophy of Egyptian Epigraphy after Sixty Years' Practical Experience in the Field.” In Problems and Priorities in Egyptian Archaeology, edited by Jan Assmann, Günter Burkard, and Vivian Davies, pp. 43–55. London, 1987. A fine summary of the facsimile method used by the survey, the methodological parameters behind it, and the continuing paramount need for definitive recording.
- Breasted, James Henry. “The Monuments of Sudanese Nubia.” American Journal of Semitic Languages 25 (1908), 1–110. An early field report that emphasizes the importance of collation, using photographic images, and the challenges of dealing with palimpsest inscriptions.
- Breasted, James Henry. The Oriental Institute. University of Chicago Survey, 12. Chicago, 1933. Several important epigraphic projects are described.
- Caminos, Ricardo A. “The Recording of Inscriptions and Scenes in Tombs and Temples.” In Ancient Egyptian Epigraphy and Paleography. Metropolitan Museum of Art, pp. 3–25. New York, 1976. An excellent review of the historical development of epigraphy and a critical evaluation of various epigraphic methods.
- Caminos, Ricardo A. “Epigraphy in the Field.” In Problems and Priorities in Egyptian Archaeology, edited by Jan Assmann, Günter Burkard, and Vivian Davies, pp. 57–67. London, 1987. The problems of documenting the graffiti and rock shrines of Gebel el-Silsila are presented, as well as the urgency in documenting such vulnerable records.
- Der Manuelian, Peter, and Christian Loeben. “New Light on the Recarved Sarcophagus of Hatshepsut and Thutmose I.” Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 79 (1993), 121–155.
- Desroches-Noblecourt, Christiane. Le Petit Temple d'Abou Simbel, vol. 2. Paris, 1968.
- The Festival Procession of Opet in the Colonnade Hall. Reliefs and Inscriptions at Luxor Temple, vol. 1. Epigraphic Survey, Oriental Institute Publications, 112. Chicago, 1994. An example of facsimile publication combining in situ remains with considerable thematic restoration, based on the placement of block fragments.
- Fischer, Henry G. “Archaeological Aspects of Epigraphy and Paleography.” In Ancient Egyptian Epigraphy and Paleography, pp. 29–50. New York, 1976. An excellent review of the chronological, monumental, and social significance of hieroglyphic inscriptions.
- Fischer, Henry G. The Orientation of Hieroglyphs, Part 1: Reversals. Egyptian Studies, 2. New York, 1977. A series of articles on the phenomenon of hieroglyphic sign reversals on private and royal monuments and the contextual reasons for them.
- Lauffray, Jean. “Les ‘Talatats’; du IXe pylône et le Teny-menou.” Karnak 6 (1978–1980), 67–89. The reconstruction of an entire wall from one of Akhenaten's temples at Karnak, based entirely on remains no longer in situ.
- Sauneron, Serge. Esna. 8 vols. Cairo, 1959–1982. An outstanding example of the publication of the inscriptions of an Egyptian temple; uses hieroglyphic fonts, schematic decorative context, and architectural data.
- Smith, Ray W., and Donald Redford. The Akhenaton Temple Project, vol. 1: The Initial Discoveries. Warminster, 1976. Discusses an early computerized method of reconstructing the decoration of a temple that now consists only of numerous block fragments.
- Traunecker, Claude. “Les Techniques d'épigraphie de terrain: principes et pratique.” In Problems and Priorities in Egyptian Archaeology, edited by Jan Assmann, Günter Burkard, and Vivian Davies, pp. 261–298. London, 1987. An excellent discussion of methods of documentation in conjunction with the effective retrieval of architectural data.
- Wilkinson, Charles, and Marsha Hill. Egyptian Wall Paintings: The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Collection of Facsimiles. New York, 1983. A catalog of painted facsimiles by Norman and Nina de Garis Davies held by the Metropolitan Museum; many reproduced in color, with a commentary on their epigraphic work and the techniques of the ancient Egyptian artist.