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A World of Necklaces: Africa, Asia, Oceania,…

A World of Necklaces: Africa, Asia, Oceania, America

by Anne Leurquin

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"A World of Necklaces, like a World of Rings, A World of Earrings and A World of Bracelets, is further evidence of the importance and variety of the remarkable Ghysels collection of ethnic jewellery. The collection attests to the rigour and taste with which each item was selected during a long quest in pursuit of the most beautiful, authentic and original pieces of jewellery. The forms, colours and materials of these necklaces never cease to astonish and enchant, and the modernity of certain pieces has not escaped the notice of contemporary jewellers. The book takes us on a long journey from Africa to Asia, and Oceania to America." "Describing necklaces means entering a universe that is both feminine and masculine. Although generally only women wear necklaces, as in the Maghreb, in other societies like the Fulani-Bororo of Mali, men paint and adorn themselves, for ritual ceremonies, as well. The inherited function of jewellery in these traditional societies helps to explain these differing attitudes. Jewellery rarely serves a solely aesthetic purpose as it is primarily moored in the social, religious and political contexts which lend it meaning. In North Africa, for example, necklaces constitute part of a bride's dowry, but in most Oceanic societies they can serve as the stakes in an extremely sophisticated bartering system. Furthermore, it is sometimes difficult for us to imagine that in the practice of ancient Hinduism, devotees might hang their most precious jewellery on trees next to the temple of their chosen god." "Throughout this book the author endeavours to unravel the intricate uses of these necklaces, describes their materials, and emphasizes the originality of artisans who have enriched a cultural patrimony long threatened by extinction, which the Ghysels collection is helping to preserve." "The book includes more than 350 annotated photographs, a glossary, an index, maps and a general bibliography."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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