Adorning the World: Art of the Marquesas Islands

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Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2005 - Art - 128 pages
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Known for the elegance and complexity of their decorative art, Marquesan artists were described by Paul Gauguin as possessing "an unheard of sense of decoration" in all they created. The extraordinary ways in which Marquesans adorned their world are reflected in virtually every type of object they made and used, from sacred figures of gods and ancestors to items that were purely functional. Their work was fashioned from a diversity of materials in forms ranging from delicate ivory ornaments and luxuriant featherwork to imposing figural sculpture in wood and stone. The human body was also an important focus for artistic expression. Adorned with finely crafted ornaments, elaborate coiffures, and intricate tattoos that sometimes covered the entire body, Marquesans themselves became living art forms. In this book, Kjellgren and Ivory place the artistic traditions of the Marquesans within their cultural and historical context, giving insights into their distinctive visual imagery and their enduring influence on Western art and literature.-- Metropolitan Museum of Art website.

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