Ethnos. Splendor of Ethnic Jewelry: From the Colette and Jean Pierre Ghysels Collection

Publisher: Skira, 1996

Language: Italian “Ethnos. Gioielli da terre lontane” (English: “The Splendor of Ethnic Jewelry”, 1994)

Review:  Looking for something to read, I stumbled upon this book randomly at the public library of my town. I couldn’t immagine that it would be so pleasant and interesting pastime.

It was a journey throughout history of ethnic and tribal jewellery, containing significant cultural meanings, values and rituals behind the finely crafted works and elaborated adornments. The book reveals to us the Colette and Jean-Pierre Ghysels collection, bringing together masterpieces from Africa, the Arab world, Inida, Central and Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands. Colette Ghysels provides detailed captions for all the illustrations, identifying materials and craft methods, giving tribal names and uses of particular objects, and offering an appreciation of the value, rarity, significance and innate beauty of each piece.

The book is organized by geographic area and represented a great range of pieces, jewelry making methods and materials: silver, gold, various gemstones, leather, coral, bone, beads, teeth, shells.

There are about 400 colour high quality photographs taken by John Bigelow Taylor, one of the most significant photographers of works of art in the world. 

I suppose this book can be of interest not only among jewelry professionals, but also among amateur anthropologists and all who are fond of handmade objects and body adornments of profound cultural significance.

About the author: France Borel is an art historian and doctor in Philosophy and Letters. She was a director of the La Cambre National School of Visual Arts in Brussels and an author of several books on the representation of the human body in art and in everyday life.



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