Arts & Crafts of Indonesia

Anne Richter
Lying at the crossroads of trade routes between the Middle East, India and China, Indonesia has long been exposed to a host of cultural influences which have delivered a huge diversity of decorative objects, made either to embellish or sanctify ordinary life, or as offerings to the gods. Nowadays, the skills of the peoples inhabiting the 13,000 tropical islands of the Indonesian archipelago, have found a worldwide audience of collectors. Anne Richter presents a distillation of first-hand research into the traditional arts and crafts of Indonesia. Colour pictures form the centrepiece of her presentation of the different media concerned. Here are world-renowned textiles; wood and horn carvings; ceramics ranging from simple, cooking pots to terracotta modelling; metalwork in the shape of jewelry or folk bronzes; crafts related to drama, like masks and puppets; and products of a tropical garden paradise - decorative ephemera made from grasses or fruits, leaves, vines and bamboo. Advice is given on collecting and conserving all these. Recently, Indonesia's accelerating pace of development and internationalization has fostered new ideas. These modern forms have merged past traditions with present interests to provide an array of living crafts at their most vital.

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