Symbols of Excellence
Precious Materials as Expressions of StatusBook - 1986
Pithily written, rich in anecdote and superbly illustrated with examples of ancient craftsmanship, this book by an archaeologist of world renown ranges freely over the civilisations of the last five thousand years. The theme is a fascinating one. Why is it, Professor Clark asks, that human beings value precious metals, gems and a few organic materials like ivory and pearls so highly? All are difficult to obtain and largely useless for practical purposes. Yet the prestige associated with possession down the ages is undoubted. Position, sanctity and - by extension - the social and political hierarchies of entire societies have become embodied in these materials. Though first exploited to the full in the service of early cults and rulers, their appreciation has survived social change, and personal jewellery and insignia of rank are today more common than ever before. The reasons why are authoritatively explored in this remarkable book.
Publisher: Cambridge [Cambridgeshire] ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1986
Characteristics: ix, 126 p.,  p. of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 26 cm