All the books reviews
Tahiti 1904-1921. Lucien Gauthier, photographe - (FRENCH)
A new exoticism developed during the course of the nineteenth century, sparked by Western colonial expansion and nourished by accounts of voyages and the discoveries of new places. Navigators such as Cook and Bougainville, and artists such as Melville, Stevenson, Gauguin, and Segalen all contributed to a heightened perception of the South Seas as a place to be desired and dreamt of. Through this portfolio of photos taken between 1904 and 1921, Lucien Gauthier tells the story of this Eden as he dreamed it and as he lived it: vahines, scenes of daily life, luxuriant landscapes in Tahiti, Moorea, Raiatea, Bora-Bora, Makatea, the Society Islands, and the Marquesas. As soon as his images were created, they traveled over the oceans and spread throughout the world. Already famous, he returned to France in 1921 with his collection of photos. Images from that collection were used to illustrate many articles and books on Tahiti published in the between-the-wars period. At his house in Neuilly-sur-Marne, Gauthier received visits from departing travelers such as Alain Gerbault, the Allegret brothers, and Henri Matisse. The latter confided in Gauthier that it was his photographs that moved him to travel to the Pacific. After the war, demand for Gauthier's works tapered off, and his photographs were relegated to boxes. The author of this book, Serge Kakou, an expert in antique photography and a historian of travel photography, bought Gauthier's entire collection of negatives, which had remained intact since the war.
Tapa: From Tree Bark to Cloth. The Ancient Art of Oceania, from Southeast Asia to Eastern Polynesia - (ENGLISH / FRENCH)
The art of producing barkcloth has an 8,000-year history in Southeast Asia and is without question one of the most singular and ancient traditions of the Pacific region, where it spread as successive waves of migrations swept across the ocean from west to east. Barkcloth came to be referred to generically as tapa. It is associated with ritual practices, ceremonial exchanges, and rites of passage, to cite but a few of the contexts in which it appears. Published in September 2017 and edited by Michel Charleux, there is finally a book devoted to the subject that is commensurate with its importance in the societies in which it was created and used. The technical aspects of the various kinds of tapa and information about each production center are provided in great detail in this comprehensive exploration of the subject.
Témoins de la maîtrise des sculpteurs africains dans les collections privées (vol. 2) - (FRENCH)
The most recent volume in the Africa Incognita series and the second in the Afrique Noire series, this book makes an important contribution to the literature on traditional African arts. Its original thematic organization fills certain gaps in that literature, in particular with its examination of Mau masks, Senufo helmet masks, Dan masks and spoons, Wé masks, and Grebo figures. It also includes a number of pages devoted to the geographic origins of these pieces. The author combines the approach of the ethnologist with that of the art historian, providing a rigorous but accessible analysis of the subject. The text is well supported by numerous in situ photographs and images of many hitherto unseen objects from European private collections, some of which contain some very surprising works. This volume will be both a precious reference work for connoisseurs and a delight for the less initiated reader.
Ten Southeast Asian Tribes from Five Countries - (ENGLISH)
The third book by photographer David Howard, this is a personal portrayal of Southeast Asian tribes whose ancient traditions are slowly vanishing as Western civilization expands into and encroaches upon remote regions. The result of years of research and travel, this volume examines the threatened indigenous cultures of Thailand, Laos, Burma, Vietnam, and the Philippines. It includes portraits of individuals in traditional dress as well as images of art objects and textiles, and views of the landscapes that have been home to the cultures in question for centuries.
Teotihuacan, Cité des Dieux - (FRENCH)
Mesoamerica is decidedly in vogue these days. Much more than a simple catalog, the book that accompanies the Teotihuacan exhibition at the Musee du Quai Branly paints a precise and scholarly picture of the state of in situ research. The offerings from beneath the Temple of the Moon (one of the highlights of the Paris exhibition) are placed in their archaeological context, and the subject of the presence of foreign communities within the City of the Gods is treated with more clarity than ever before. Chapters devoted to mural painting, the lapidary arts, and the working of bone and shell materials show the degree of organization and sophistication attained by the artisans of Teotihuacan. This is a work that will be indispensable to those interested in the most recent discoveries that have come to light from this spectacular site.
Textiles africains, couleur et créativité à l’échelle d’un continent - (FRENCH)
Ce livre propose la première présentation illustrée, quasi exhaustive, de la multitude de tissus artisanaux et de techniques traditionnelles propres aux textiles africains. Du nord au sud, de l’est à l’ouest du continent, l’ouvrage explore le large champ des techniques utilisées, du tissage par bande des Ashanti du Ghana à la broderie veloutée des Showaa du Congo, des teintures sur noeud des Dida de Côte-d’Ivoire à la réserve par couture des Yoruba, de l’appliqué égyptien au travail des perles des Zoulou d’Afrique australe, ou des chapeaux à plumes du Cameroun au tissus d’écorce de l’Ituri. L’auteur, professeur et collectionneur, décrypte les motifs aux influences religieuses, culturelles ou commerciales, et s’attache à l’évolution du rôle majeur des femmes dans la production textile en Afrique. Outre les superbes illustrations en couleurs et les nombreuses photographies anciennes en noir et blanc, un glossaire et un guide des collections publiques à travers le monde complète ce livre qui sera un outil précieux pour tous les amateurs de textiles africains.
Textiles from Borneo - (ENGLISH)
Borneo, the fourth-largest island in the world, has a body of art that is as varied as it is delicate. The textiles of the Iban, Katunga, and Mualang tribes of the northern part of the island are among its best-known and extraordinary artistic expressions. They are for ceremonial use, most notably for initiation and rites of passage such as birth, marriage, and death and are made using traditional ikat techniques, which involve dyeing individual weft threads prior to weaving. With its abundance of brightly colored designs, this refined work nowadays inspires decorators and creators the world over. Heribert Amann, retired professional violinist and an avid textile aficionado and collector, has produced a superb book on these precious textiles. More than 150 full-page photographs unveil rare and often hitherto unpublished works from one of the world’s most important private collections. Clothing items worn for traditional ceremonies are also well represented. Twenty-five black and-white photographs taken by Hedda Morrison in the 1940s serve as a documentary complement to this homage to the textile traditions of Borneo.
Textiles of Japan - (ENGLISH)
From rugged Japanese fi remen’s ceremonial robes and austere rural workwear to colorful, delicately patterned cotton kimonos, this lavishly illustrated volume explores Japan’s rich tradition of textiles. Textiles are an eloquent form of cultural expression and of great importance in the daily life of a people, as well as in their rituals and ceremonies. The traditional clothing and fabrics featured in this book were made and used in the islands of the Japanese archipelago between the late eighteenth and the mid twentieth centuries. The Thomas Murray Collection featured in this book includes daily dress, workwear, and festival garb and follows the Arts and Crafts philosophy of the Mingei Movement, which recognizes that modernization leaves behind traditional art forms, such as the handmade textiles used by country people, farmers, and fisherman. It includes subtly patterned cotton fabrics, often indigo dyed, from the main islands of Honshu and Kyushu, along with garments of the more remote islands: the graphic barkcloth, nettle-fiber, and fish-skin robes of the aboriginal Ainu in Hokkaido and Sakhalin to the north and the brilliantly colored cotton kimonos of Okinawa to the far south. Numerous examples of these fabrics, photographed in exquisite detail, offer insight into Japan’s complex textile history as well as inspiration for today’s designers and artists. This beautiful volume explores the range and artistry of the country’s tradition of fiber arts and is an essential resource for anyone captivated by the Japanese aesthetic.
The Archaeology of the Caribbean - (ENGLISH)
This scholarly volume takes the reader on a journey that explores the settlement of the Antilles until the time of European arrival. Because of the difficulty of reaching these islands, they were settled far later than the rest of the Americas. The history of the Caribbean has received relatively little archaeological attention, and Wilson makes a serious effort to correct this situation in his publication. The book is detailed and thorough, and will benefit anyone interested in the pre-contact Americas.
The Art of Eastern Australia: Fine Aboriginal Weapons and Artefacts - (ENGLISH)
This beautifully illustrated book is borne of frustration. The author, a noted dealer and collector, has spent twenty-five years immersed in the beauty and mystery of traditional Australian Aboriginal art, particularly weapons and shields. In that time, he has found very little in terms of satisfying reference material that approaches the objects with a collector's eye. With this volume, he has taken it upon himself to create what he could not find. Nearly 100 Aboriginal objects are clearly described and are photographed from multiple angles in full frame and in detail. The objects are of the highest caliber and they are strikingly presented. If you are interested in Aboriginal art, or simply in objects of virtue, this is the book for you.