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See below for a selection of the latest books from Material culture category. Presented with a red border are the Material culture books that have been lovingly read and reviewed by the experts at Lovereading. With expert reading recommendations made by people with a passion for books and some unique features Lovereading will help you find great Material culture books and those from many more genres to read that will keep you inspired and entertained. And it's all free!
Bricks and lime mortars came to this country with the Romans but for most people bricks become popular a little later. After the Great Fire of London, whole buildings had to be built from non-flammable materials and brick buildings came into their own. The Georgian town house became the epitome of urban design; bricks and mortar built the infrastructure of industrial Britain. Mortars had to be created that could set under water for canals and be strong enough to build long railway tunnels, whilst bricks had to be made in huge quantities. They also built the worst slums this country has ever known, contributing to the early deaths of thousands. The love affair with bricks continues today, with exposed brickwork on show in many modern buildings. This is the surprising social history of bricks in Britain.
A Financial Times Best Book of the Year A Guardian Best Architecture Book of the Year Architecture, we like to believe, is an elevated art form that shapes the world as it pleases. Four Walls and a Roof turns this fiction on its head, offering a candid account of what it's really like to work as an architect. Drawing on his own tragicomic experiences in the field, Reinier de Graaf reveals the world of contemporary architecture in vivid snapshots: from the corridors of wealth in London, Moscow, and Dubai to the demolished hopes of postwar social housing in New York and St. Louis. We meet ambitious oligarchs, developers for whom architecture is nothing more than an investment, and layers of bureaucrats, consultants, and mysterious hangers-on who lie between any architect's idea and the chance of its execution. An original and even occasionally hilarious book about losing ideals and finding them again...[De Graaf] deftly shows that architecture cannot be better or more pure than the flawed humans who make it. -The Economist This is a book about power, money and influence, and architecture's complete lack of any of them...Witty, insightful and funny, it is a (sometimes painful) dissection of a profession that thinks it is still in control. -Financial Times
At the beginning of the Victorian period, most of England's population lived in the countryside; by its end, the balance had tipped towards living in urban and suburban spaces. In the context of this rapidly changing world, Rachel Worth explores the ways in which the clothing of the rural working classes was represented visually in paintings and photographs and by the literary sources of documentary, autobiography and fiction, as well as by the collection and conservation of garments of rural provenance by museums. Worth explores the ways in which clothing and its representations throw light on wider social and cultural issues, as well as how 'traditional' styles of dress, like men's smock-frocks or women's sun-bonnets, came to be replaced by 'fashion'. Her compelling study adds breadth to the history of dress by considering it within its social and cultural contexts, and shows how clothing enriches our understanding of Victorian social history.
Object Lessons is a series of short, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things. It may be responsible for a greater improvement in human diet and longevity than any other technology of the last two thousand years-but have you ever thought seriously about your refrigerator? That box humming in the background displays more than you might expect, even who you are and the society in which you live. Jonathan Rees examines the past, present, and future of the household refrigerator with the aim of preventing its users from ever taking it for granted again. No mere container for cold Cokes and celery stalks, the refrigerator acts as a mirror-and what it reflects is chilling indeed. Object Lessons is published in partnership with an essay series in The Atlantic.
In Miniature is a delightful, entertaining and illuminating investigation into our peculiar fascination with making things small, and what small things tell us about the world at large. Here you will find the secret histories of tiny Eiffel Towers, the truth about the flea circus, a doll's house made for a queen, eerie tableaux of crime scenes, miniature food, model villages and railways, and more. Simon Garfield brings together history, psychology, art and obsession, to explore what fuels the strong appeal of miniature objects among collectors, modellers and fans, and teaches us that there is greatness in the diminutive.
Shi'i Islam has been the official religion of Iran from the Safavids (1501-1732) to the present day. The Shi'i world experience has provided a rich artistic tradition, encompassing painting, sculpture and the production of artefacts and performance, which has helped to embed Shi'i identity in Iran as part of its national narrative. In what areas of material culture has Iranian Shi'ism manifested itself through objects or buildings that are unique within the overall culture of Islam? To what extent is the art and architecture of Iran from the Safavid period onwards identifiably Shi'i? What does this say about the relationship of nation, state and faith in Iran? Here, leading experts trace the material heritage of Iranian Shi'ism within each of its political, religious and cultural dimensions.
In Spectacular Accumulation, Morgan Pitelka investigates the significance of material culture and sociability in late sixteenth-century Japan, focusing in particular on the career and afterlife of Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543-1616), the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate. The story of Ieyasu illustrates the close ties between people, things, and politics and offers us insight into the role of material culture in the shift from medieval to early modern Japan and in shaping our knowledge of history. This innovative and eloquent history of a transitional age in Japan reframes the relationship between culture and politics. Like the collection of meibutsu, or famous objects, exchanging hostages, collecting heads, and commanding massive armies were part of a strategy Pitelka calls spectacular accumulation, which profoundly affected the creation and character of Japan's early modern polity. Pitelka uses the notion of spectacular accumulation to contextualize the acquisition of art within a larger complex of practices aimed at establishing governmental authority, demonstrating military dominance, reifying hierarchy, and advertising wealth. He avoids the artificial distinction between cultural history and political history, arguing that the famed cultural efflorescence of these years was not subsidiary to the landscape of political conflict, but constitutive of it. Employing a wide range of thoroughly researched visual and material evidence, including letters, diaries, historical chronicles, and art, Pitelka links the increasing violence of civil and international war to the increasing importance of samurai social rituals and cultural practices. Moving from the Ashikaga palaces of Kyoto to the tea utensil collections of Ieyasu, from the exchange of military hostages to the gift-giving rituals of Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Spectacular Accumulation traces Japanese military rulers' power plays over famous artworks as well as objectified human bodies.
This volume, edited by Antonio Aimi and Antonio Guarnotta, offers a new, up-to-date study of the most important cultures of Mesoamerica and of the Peruvian Area, through magnificent artefacts held by the MIC (Museo Internazionale delle Ceramiche in Faenza) and various other Italian museums. The cultures of the Aztecs, Mayas, Incas and other populations of ancient America are analysed in light of the most recent archaeological and ethnohistorical research. Themes of prime importance are examined in depth: the conquest of America as seen from the point of view of the conquered, the status of women, the systems of calculation of ancient Peru, and pre-Columbian art presented as art, not only as archaeology. Text in English and Italian.
This book is about how water becomes people - or, put another way, how people and water flow together and shape each other. While the focus of the book is on the relationships held between water and people, it also has a broader message about human relationships with the environment generally - a message that illustrates not only that people are existentially entangled with the material world, but that the materials of the world shape, determine and enable humans to be `humans' in the ways that they are. Offering a selection of anthropological examples from Kenya, Wales and Spain to illustrate how water's materiality coproductively generates the way people are able to engage with water, this book uses cross-disciplinary perspectives to provide and promote a new analytic - one that encourages ethical, holistic and sustainable relationships with the world around us. This approach challenges representations that ignore, sidestep or are blind to the fleshy materiality of being human, and aims to encourage a re-imagining of the world that acknowledges humanity as intrinsically active-with and part of the fabric of the collection of materials we call planet Earth.
Best Fifteen Books of March 2019, Refinery29 Top Ten books of March 2019, Paste Magazine Object Lessons is a series of short, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things. Fetishized, demonized, celebrated, and outlawed, the high heel is central to the iconography of modern womanhood. But are high heels good? Are they feminist? What does it mean for a woman (or, for that matter, a man) to choose to wear them? Meditating on the labyrinthine nature of sexual identity and the performance of gender, High Heel moves from film to fairytale, from foot binding to feminism, and from the golden ratio to glam rock. Summer Brennan considers this most provocative of fashion accessories as a nexus of desire and struggle, sex and society, violence and self expression, setting out to understand what it means to be a woman by walking a few hundred years in her shoes. Object Lessons is published in partnership with an essay series in The Atlantic.