Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Art of Small Things

I've recently finished reading The Art of Small Things by John Mack, published by Harvard University Press, 2007. Mack explores our fascination with small, crafted items and offers a survey of their forms and functions in a variety of cultures spanning several millenia. "The making and manipulating of the miniature constitute not just the product of a technology of the aesthetic but also a cultural process... the starting point for narratives that can be of potentially epic proportions." Illustrated with items in the British Museum's collections, the book is written in a straightforward manner, clearly intended for general consumption. For those interested in netsuke, several pages are devoted to this art form. Interest in this aspect comes not from new light he sheds on these carvings, but their placement within a broader context of small objects made for personal adornment.

2 comments:

ford said...

Hi Doug,

thanks for that "heads up". Work of the type we do does seem to be overlooked by the mainstream art establishment on the whole...I've noticed lately though a couple of publications that might mark the beginning of a change of perception. One can dream ;-)

It is odd to think that in all cultures and at all times, except our own, miniature artwork has been highly regarded and been at the centre of artistic focus.

You might find, "Luxury Arts of the Rennaisance" interesting also.

Doug Sanders said...

Thanks Ford- I'll have a look at the book you suggest.