All the books reviews
Ghurra’s, Goden uit de Himalaya - (Dutch)
This wonderful book is the catalogue of an unusual exhibition that was held in a small town near Antwerp in autumn 2004. Its addresses the author’s collection of about 200 ghurra, or neti, the well-known churn handles of Nepal. For more than twenty years, the author, a retired engineer, has had a passionate interest in these marvelous objects that are both ritual utensils and tools made to churn milk into butter, an important staple in the Himalayas. The book’s main interest lies in its superb, full-page illustrations of objects. The informative text is by curators at the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam and the Antwerp Ethnographic Museum, as well as by ethnologists at the University of Ghent. It is regrettable that the book was not translated into a language accessible to more readers.
Gifts from the Ancestors: Ancient Ivories of Bering Strait - (ENGLISH)
Gifts from the Ancestors is a substantial volume published to accompany the namesake exhibition at the Princeton University Art Museum this autumn and winter. The text guides readers through the history, culture, spirituality, and art of the peoples of Bering Strait. With numerous contributors, the accounts delve deeply and thoroughly into the lives of these peoples and how they have developed. The many illustrations—both photographs and drawings—clearly demonstrate the subtle beauty of the objects and the details that adorn them. This comprehensive volume is a fascinating read and an opportunity to get better acquainted with the peoples and arts of the Bering Strait.
Glittering as Gold - (ENGLISH)
Though bronze, brass, and copper have been regarded as inferior metals in Western eyes, in sub-Saharan Africa, copper and its alloys proved to be a much-coveted material that was used in bodily adornments, on statuary, and as a means of exchange. Brass, in particular, became a highly valued metal that rivaled gold in luster as well as glitter. The adornments that grew from these trade metals became a phenomenon specifi c to West and Central Africa. Among certain African cultures, such adornments served not only to distinguish oneself in life, but were also regarded as the most personal of items of the wearer after death and were commonly placed on the family altar as a form of remembrance. This book introduces in detail some 100 items selected on the basis of form, rarity, and decorative motifs from the many hundreds of items in the Harry and Miep Schillings Collection. This is a useful addition to any reference library of African art.
Global Collectors - Collectionneurs du monde - (FRENCH)
A journalist specializing in the art market, Judith Benhamou-Huet invites readers to browse 114 portraits of collectors, whom she interview in travels from China to Brazil, Russia to Canada. What are the motivations that push these individuals to continually quest for new objects? What is the spark that unleashed this obsession? Why are they “enchanted,” guided by such strong desires? Is it a nostalgic view of things and people past, or a longing to achieve immortality through their collections? The thrill of the hunt? An expression of passion? An escape from solitude? The author attempts to penetrate the proven or repressed motivations of all the book’s subjects, whose collections are often the unconscious reflection of existential preoccupations. Among the personalities presented in this work, one finds collectors as various as Jean Paul Barbier; Pierre Bergé; photographer Alex Van Gelderet; art dealer Anthony d’Offay; financier John Pigozzi; and Robert Wall, president of different high-tech corporations.
Gold Cloths of Sumatra: Indonesia’s Songkets from Ceremony to Commodity - (ENGLISH)
Songket weavings have been created for centuries in Sumatra and the tradition is still very much alive today. This book explores the historical context and techniques of songket weaving as well as the modern, commercial identity of these textiles. The latter part of the book includes a section featuring “biographied textiles,” with enlarged images and detailed descriptions and information about the artist, where known. The textiles discussed date from the nineteenth century to the present day and illustrate both the continuity and the diversity of this art form.
Gold Jewellery of The Indonesian Archipelago - (ENGLISH)
Gold Jewellery of the Indonesian Archipelago features more than 700 unpublished masterpieces from the tribal, ethnic, and courtly gold body adornment traditions of Indonesia’s outer islands—Sumatra, Sulawesi, the Lesser Sundas, and Southeast Maluku. Made available by the Mandala Foundation in Singapore, these pieces date from the fourth to the twentieth centuries, and many are either completely unknown or extremely rare—and all are of high quality. This is the first major book on the gold jewellery of the Indonesian archipelago in more than twenty-five years. Authors Anne Richter and Bruce W. Carpenter, aided by curators Achim Sibeth of the Mandala Foundation and David A. Henkel of the Asian Civilisations Museum, weave together the latest research with historical photos, illustrations, and their knowledge of the history, culture, art, and mythology of the region to produce a groundbreaking new book that thrusts the virtuoso goldwork of Indonesia into the international spotlight.
Gottfried Lindauer: The Maori Portraits - (ENGLISH / German)
This book was published and appeared in conjunction with the eponymous exhibition that opened in November of 2014 at Berlin’s Nationalgalerie and was produced in cooperation with the Toi O Tamaki Auckland Art Gallery. It presents the pictorial work of Gottfried Lindauer, which consists principally of portraits of the indigenous Maori of Aotearoa (New Zealand). Lindauer was born in Pilsen in 1839 in what is now the Czech Republic and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, where he specialized in portrait painting. As the increasing popularity of photography and the upcoming Austro-Hungarian confl ict both threatened his livelihood, Lindauer left Europe at the age of thirty-fi ve. He arrived in Wellington in 1874 and settled in Auckland, where he met Henry Partridge, a businessman who wished to document the Maori society of his time. Many of the portraits Lindauer produced for him are of chiefs and warriors in Maori attire with their rank insignia, such as moko tattoos and nephrite ornaments.
Guatemala’s Masks & Drama - (ENGLISH)
Guatemala is well known for its traditional and colorful textiles, but its masking tradition is a less explored chapter of its culture. This book is very much a per sonal account that allows the reader to experience the masks, speculate on their origins, see how they are made, learn how they are used, and find out how to buy or rent one. The book is filled with photographs of masks that express a variety of mythologies, and some sections have them accurately and fascinatingly juxtaposed to dance scripts that detail how they are used in festivals. It explores the anthropological and cultural aspect of the masks and how they relate to the Guatemalan people, but the book primarily expresses the beauty of these little-recognized masterpieces.
GUBA. (vol. 2) Boucliers en bois du Bassin du Congo - (FRENCH)
Second volume de la série initiée sous l’égide de Marc Leo Félix en 2002, ce livre complète l’étude systématique des boucliers des populations de la R.D. Congo et de quelques pays frontaliers. Fidèle à la tradition, il s’agit d’un véritable répertoire de formes et de matériaux, agrémenté d’une excellente documentation photographique d’archive et des cartes ethnographiques de Charles Meur. Organisée par groupe ethnique, cette “bible de l’art de la guerre” permettra aux connaisseurs d’organiser les formes en typologies et aux néophytes de se faire l’oeil sur des styles et des réalisations connues et méconnues.
Guerrero Art. L’art de la sculpture Mezcala et Chontal dans le Mexique précolombien - (ENGLISH / FRENCH)
This well-conceived book presents evidence of the signifi cant contribution played by chance and human encounters in the evolution of knowledge. Guerrero Art arose from a single small fi gure carved from black stone that the collector Daniel Lebard received as a gift from his wife. With almost disturbing ease, this unexpected surprise plunged him into a passion for the enigmatic Pre-Columbian art of the Mexican region of Guerrero. It also served as the trigger for the formation of a strong friendship between Lebard and Santo Micali—a recognized specialist in the fi eld of Pre-Columbian art and the director of Galerie Mermoz—centered around countless exchanges on the subject of their now-shared interest. Highlighting some forty superb sculptures from the Lebard Collection through the beautifully detailed photographs of Frédéric Dehaen, Guerrero Art stands out as a unique contribution to the study of Pre-Columbian art. The author of the book, Bénédicte Hamard, is a fount of knowledge on the subject of the fi gurative statuary of Guerrero, which dates from around 500–100 BC, according to the generally accepted chronology. His text is concise but fi lled with interesting information. It discusses the formal canon displayed by the corpus of objects, which seems to derive from a shared archetype. There is also discussion of stylistic differences, iconography, and sculptural techniques. The artists of ancient Guerrero were true masters of stone carving. While the resolutely aesthetic quality of this art is exalted on its own terms, the book concludes with a discussion of the infl uence of Guerrero art on the development of the visual language of the Western avant-garde in the early twentieth century. The work of Henry Moore and Brancusi speaks for itself.