ARTS OF WOOD by Christine Price


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Everyday woodenwares, usually made by the man of the house for his own family, are copied here in black-in-white drawings and arranged by type of object (bowls, ladles, stools, combs) rather than by culture--though the origin of each item, whether Tlingit, Trobriand Islands, or whatever, is duly noted. Pleasant and natural-looking as the drawings are, photos might have made the items more distinctive, but here they do succeed in evoking ""the old days when even mortars for taro pudding were made beautiful."" Bowls might be decorated in patterns or held by carved human figures; stools can be fine pieces of sculpture or, doubly functional, reversible headrests; tobacco boxes, pipes and the mortars and pestles old islanders use for grinding betel nuts are as varied as their carvers. All of these were made by people who had no word for art, as they made no distinction between art and living, and this modest introduction affords a glimpse of the dimension we've lost.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1976
Publisher: Scribners