A cross-cultural examination of jewelry spanning 5,000 years that investigates not only the objects themselves but also the bodies they decorated
As an art form, jewelry is defined primarily through its connection to and interaction with the body—extending it, amplifying it, accentuating it, distorting it, concealing it, or transforming it. But how is the meaning of jewelry bound to the body that wears it?
Establishing six different modes of ornamenting the body—Deconstructed, Divine, Regal, Idealized, Alluring, and Resplendent—this artfully designed book illustrates how these various definitions of the body give meaning to the jewelry that adorns it. More than 200 examples of exceptional jewelry and ornaments, created across the globe from antiquity to the present, are shown alongside paintings and sculptures of bejeweled bodies to demonstrate the social, political, and aesthetic role of jewelry. From earflares of warrior heroes in Pre-Columbian Peru to designs by Yves Saint-Laurent, these precious and most intimate works of art provide insight not only about the wearer but also into the designers, artisans, and cultures that produced them.