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Object Worlds in Ancient Egypt: Material Biographies Past and Present

object-worlds book cover image
Berg: Oxford
2004

From the Valley of the Kings to Las Vegas, Egypt looms large in the Western imagination. So why are we intrigued by pyramids and practices of mummification? Is it because the ancient Egyptians fetishized material objects? And what do Egyptian remains tell us about biography, embodiment, memory, materiality, the self, and, indeed, ourselves? This book considers how excavated objects reveal ancient Egyptians' experiences of their material world. It also explores existential questions that not only preoccupied ancient Egyptians, but continue to fascinate people today. What is the essence of persons and things? How might we understand the situated experiences of material life? How might objects successfully mediate between worlds? Meskell ultimately moves forward through time and examines the consumption of Egyptian material objects in the contemporary world, including Las Vegas. Meskell provides an elegant analysis of the aesthetics of ancient Egyptian material culture and insights into its mysteries, including our own ongoing fascination.