The brothers Edgar tackle the Great Pyramid of Giza

[John and Morton Edgar], PASSAGE SYSTEM OF THE GREAT PYRAMID OF GIZEH IN THE LAND OF EGYPT June—July 1909. [Glasgow: Bone & Hulley, 1910 or later?]
Muslin banner printed in four colors, 32 ¼”h x 48 7/8”w at sheet edge. Grommets at lower corners, upper grommets torn away. Water stain along right side, rust-colored discoloration from old tape repair near lower edge.

A large, striking and exceedingly rare banner with a cutaway view of the Great Pyramid of Giza, reflecting the observations and conclusions of early 20th-century pyramidologists John and Morton Edgar.

Broadly speaking, pyramidology is the study of early pyramids with an eye toward uncovering their hidden metaphysical, mystical, prophetic, spiritual and/or theological significance. The underlying premises are that burial is their least important function, and that careful study of their physical features and correlation of these to sacred or esoteric textual evidence will reveal their hidden meaning.

Among the more eminent of the early pyramidologists were the brothers Edgar (?-1910) and John (?-1950) Morton of Scotland. After some years of research, in June-July 1909 they traveled to Egypt to advance their inquiries by means of first-hand observation, measurement and photography of the Great Pyramid. Edgar died in 1910, but some time that year was published the first volume of their magnum opus, The Great Pyramid Passages and Chambers In Which Is Shown How the Great Pyramid of Gizeh Symbolically and By Measurement Corroborates the Philosophy and Prophetic Times and Seasons of the Divine Plan of the Ages, as Contained in the Holy Scriptures (Glasgow: Bone & Hulley, 1910).

Early on in The Great Pyramid the Edgars tag as their intellectual and spiritual guide one Charles Taze Russell, whose deep study of Scripture “enabled [him] to discover symbolic and prophetic features in the Great Pyramid, which had necessarily been hidden from previous Pyramid students” (pp. 15-17). Russell (1852-1916) was a Pittsburgh minister and founder of the Bible Student movement, from which the Jehovah’s Witnesses developed after his death. He sought to strip away the theological accretions of the mainstream Christian denominations and restore the faith to its 1st-century roots. His views extended to pyramidology, and he argued that the Great Pyramid had been built by the Hebrews and “that the various ascending and descending passages represented the fall of man, the provision of the Mosaic Law, the death of Christ, the exultation of the saints in heaven, etc.” (Wikipedia).

The Great Pyramid appears to be the Edgars’ attempt to put meat on the bones of Russell’s work, by bolstering his arguments with their empirical observations at Giza. Per the title, it was the significance of the pyramid’s internal layout and structure that was of particular interest to them. The work is heavily illustrated with photographs, drawings and diagrams, perhaps the most important of which is “Passage System of the Great Pyramid of Gizeh”, which appears on a plate before Chapter V.

The banner offered here illustrates that diagram in four colors on a massive scale of nearly three by four feet. The central image is a cutaway sectional view of the pyramid showing its main passages, galleries and chambers. This is surrounded by a series of insets providing larger-scale sectional views of key elements of the structure. Most of the image is architectural and straightforward, but the notations “1914 A.D. Date-Level” and “Plane of Human Perfection” strike a discordant note. Printed at lower right is, “This Chart Fully Explained in the Book Entitled “Great Pyramid Passages” which may be procured from Morton Edgar, 224 West Regent Street Glascow, Scotland.” What it all means, I’ll leave to the banner’s next owner to tease out.

The surviving grommets at the lower corners indicate suggest that the banner was not a permanent fixture, but rather meant to travel with its owner. Indeed, Morton Edgar, who outlived his brother John by 40 years, seems to have spent much time on the lecture circuit, and presumably he, or perhaps one of his disciples, used it as a teaching aid.

In all, a rare relic of early pyramidology, weird and well worthy of further study.

OCLC 987718765 (UCLA and Univ. of Michigan) and 678879092 (National Library of Scotland). Not in ESTC.