Peter Lacovara, Yvonne J. Markowitz, Nubian Gold: Ancient Jewelry from Sudan and Egypt, AUC Press, 2019. HB, 224 pp., 175 ill. ISBN 9789774167829. GBP 39.95
The fabled land of Nubia, whose very name means ‘gold,’ was famous in ancient times for its supplies of precious metal, exotic material, and intricate craftsmanship. Many of the adornments made in Nubia are masterpieces of the jeweler’s art—marvels of design and construction rivaling, and often surpassing, adornments made in Egypt and the rest of the ancient Mediterranean world. Although these unique treasures are among the most stunning to have survived from antiquity, they remain little known.
Richly illustrated with beautiful photographs of these exquisite items, many of them never before published, Nubian Gold also places the jewelry within the cultural contexts in which it was manufactured and employed. It tells the story not only of the treasures themselves but of the exciting tales of their discovery and the rich background of the exotic and remote civilizations that produced them. The book also explores the innovative techniques used to procure the precious materials used in the jewelry and to craft them into intricate ornaments replete with magical purpose and coded meaning. Featured in the book are not only the intricately crafted pieces themselves but depictions of them in sculpture, relief, and painting as well as references to them in ancient texts, locating them within the full spectrum of Nubian history, from the earliest beginnings of society to the advent of Christianity.